Expensive touches on a limited budget

The average South African homeowner is always on the lookout for budget ideas to decorate that dream home. With a few designer tricks you can easily afford stylish finishing touches.


Details make the difference

Adding architectural detailing using extruded polystyrene moulding and trim is not expensive, and when you take the DIY route you can install these in a room as and when you can afford to do it. Pop into your local Builders, or use Google search to find a local supplier, and investigate the choices you have for cornice or crown moulding, or for adding layered trim to features like a fireplace.

A designer trick for lowering a high ceiling, and to add extravagant details, is to add box beams. You can make your own box beams on the cheap using MDF or plywood, while faux architectural detail, panelling and beams can be used to restore an older home.


Paint within the lines

Combine moulding and trim with a new paint job to transform a plain space into one that overflows with detail. Choose wall colours that complement features already in the room, such as tiled or wood floors, or highlight crisp white trim. The easiest way to determine complementary colours for walls is to take home a selection of colour swatches and look at these in the room being painted.

Light affects how we perceive colour, so it is always a good idea to view colour swatches under different light conditions - both artificial and natural. Even artificial light affects colour, so if you currently plan on replacing halogen lights with CFL lights, or vice-versa, take this into consideration. CFL lights take a while to warm up, and warm or cool CFL light sources affect colour in different ways. If you do intend to replace light fittings, do this before painting a room or space and then choose your paint colours.




Pattern and texture for luxury

There's no denying that fabrics introduce another dimension to flat spaces. Fabrics not only add colour and pattern, but texture as well. Rooms without pattern or texture lack personality and emotion. Fabrics don't have to be expensive if you shop around at some of the larger bargain fabric stores.

Interior designers look at ways to add fabrics in any way that they can, be it via window treatments, upholstered furniture, or floor rugs. You can use these same tricks to decorate a space and be your own interior designer. The Internet allows almost unlimited access to ideas that you can use to best effect to aid in decorating a home - make full use of what you have at your fingertips and shop around for fabrics that make your interior spaces shine.




Let accent furniture take centre stage

If there is one area where you can splurge rather than save, it's on that one piece of furniture that will really make a room stand out. Accent furniture does just that - it serves as a focal point, a feature, and fills up an another wise bland space. You will obviously select a piece for a particular room, and one that complements your style of decor.

Even accent pieces don't necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg if you are prepared to add a bit of elbow grease! Secondhand stores, online auctions and local classifieds let you browse hundreds of bargains and select the pieces you need for a home. Then all that's needed is to restore or makeover these pieces at your leisure. You will find plenty of ideas and inspiration in our Decorating section to assist and guide you with various methods and techniques.