How To... Design on a Dime

In my previous blog post I showed the before and after pics of the Florida condo I worked on in December.  

Check out my previous post to see all before and after pics.

Check out my previous post to see all before and after pics.


I had two weeks to get the job done and a tight budget so some design magic was necessary.  In this post I will explain three big things you must do in order to keep your spending low when making over a space.  It takes some work and creativity so roll up your sleeves and get ready!

First thing first, purge as much as you can!  This is not officially my number one of three but it's something I think everyone should do at least once a year.  The items you don't use or no longer love should not continue to take up space in your home.  And if you just moved into a fully furnished home like my Florida clients did, but hate the furniture, donate or get rid of it!  

Rule number one... Save the items you can repurpose or salvage.  This takes some creative thinking but try to imagine what you could do to make that lamp, table or chair look better.  

This is how the living room looked when I arrived.

I thought about what I could work with and what absolutely had to go.  I liked the floor lamp but not the shade.  Later I found out there was an identical lamp in the bedroom.  I decided to keep both and place them on either side of the new sofa.  I also knew I could work with the center and side tables as well as some of the vases.

I painted the tables white and bought new shades for the floor lamps.

I painted the tables white and bought new shades for the floor lamps.


This is how the dining room looked.

The yellow walls and decor was literally hurting my eyes!

The yellow walls and decor was literally hurting my eyes!


The dining room table and chairs could be salvaged but only with a total makeover.  Everything else was donated to the Salvation Army.

I painted the table a dark grey to compliment the new rose quartz and blue/grey colors on the walls. I chose these colors (Behr Ash Rose and Norwester) because my clients love pastels. Then I painted the chairs white and reupholstered them with a graphic print fabric because every room should have at least a little pattern in it.

The photo above leads us to rule number two for keeping the makeover budget low... try shopping at flea markets or antique shops to find your "new" furniture items...  Often times you can get great deals as well as unique finds.  I found the living room chair (above) in a consignment shop named Deja Vu in St. Petersburg Florida for $50.  I love the eagle claw front legs holding on to its egg.  I also found the mirror hanging above the sofa there for $35 and that frame on the dining room wall for $10 (a mirror was eventually put into the empty frame once the glass shop reopened after the holidays).  Deja Vu is the perfect name for a consignment shop and this place had it all, plus more!  

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Let me break down everything I found there for the entryway... check out the picture below.

The bookcase was $90.  The adorable coral and wood chair was $45.  The cool brass lamp, shade included, $22.  Finally, the candle stick holders were $2 each and the basket was $6.  This picture of the entryway leads me to rule number three for keeping your make-over budget low... DIY art. 

Don't be afraid to do your own artwork. I was totally into geometric shapes while working on this make-over so I decided to incorporate some of the accent colors being used throughout the space and put it all into one painting.  I mimicked the design used in the center throw pillow on the sofa (see picture below).

I also got some great ideas for other geometric art designs from the Domino magazine interior design blog.  Click on the following links, under each picture below, to get details on how to do it yourself.

Click   here   or on picture to go to the Domino magazine link to find out how to do this circle wall art.  I did mine a little differently in order to make it my own.

Click here or on picture to go to the Domino magazine link to find out how to do this circle wall art.  I did mine a little differently in order to make it my own.

Click   here   or on pic to go to the Domino magazine link on how to do this 3D cube.  I changed my version up a bit on this piece as well. 

Click here or on pic to go to the Domino magazine link on how to do this 3D cube.  I changed my version up a bit on this piece as well. 


So let's review the three rules to remember and do when trying to make-over a room on a tight budget... Number 1- Save the items you can repurpose or salvage Number 2- Shop at flea markets or antique shops to find your "new" furniture items and home decor and finallyNumber 3- Do at least some of the artwork yourself (DIY).  Every room has at least four walls and they should not be left bare so either buy art or do it yourself.

Believe me, once you accomplish these design goals you will feel really good about all of the work you've done.  Designing on a dime takes much more creativity than not.  Don't get me wrong... spending a lot and buying whatever you want, where ever you want is fun too!!  But if you can't afford to do that just know that you too can live in a well designed space if you just stick to my three rules and let those creative juices flow ; )

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