A savvy interior enthusiast shares her top tips.
Homeowner Melissa has been slowly making improvements to her “builders basic” home, which she bought 13 years ago. “This has been a slow and gradual process over many years,” she said.
“I started with a more specific plan and vision at least five years ago. There’s still more to do, but it is beginning to feel more complete and the vision is coming to life.” “Even though decorating brings me great joy, for many years I put off making changes in our house thinking that I would wait until we moved into a ‘forever house’,” Mel says.
“I found that this made me really detest what we did have and pick fault with it. With an expanding family and a tiny house that didn’t reflect my tastes, eventually, I felt quite miserable and trapped; not to mention guilty for feeling this way because there are plenty of people with much less.
“At this stage, it dawned on me that it was very foolish to hold back on personalizing the house we are lucky enough to have, at the expense of waiting for an imagined house that may never actually come to fruition.”
Mel and her husband did most of the work on improving their home themselves, although they did outsource the new carpeting and flooring. Everything else is down to clever budgeting and styling. “I have no specific overall budget, however, I commit to making one, possibly two big-ticket purchases each year,” Mel explains. “That means I can save for each item specifically and spread the cost out across a longer period. I would love to get everything done at once or in a shorter time, but that’s just not realistic for us.
For inspiration, Mel uses Pinterest and keeps costs down by selling old items to make extra cash, shopping during the sales, and mixing and matching budget finds with more expensive ‘investment’ pieces. “I always ‘shop the house’ first to see what I already have,” she adds.
Her favorite stores for bargain pieces include TK Maxx, IKEA, Kmart, Target, Big W, Bunnings, and Pottery Barn. She also sources items from op shops, Etsy and eBay.
“I have projects currently going on throughout the house with no set overall deadline,” Mel says. “My situation has helped me to embrace perceived imperfections and feel a lot more relaxed about not needing things to be completely finished in a fervent rush to get there. “Decorating slowly has brought me great pleasure, mindfulness, and a sense of accomplishment when I make progress on my planning.”