Shelley, a reader of ours, recently sent us a request. She said:
“I really enjoyed your helpful and price friendly decorating ideas for your home…I had noticed that there wasn’t any blog ideas for the seriously challenged decorator such as myself. I really don’t have a clue where or how to begin redecorating my home.”
And it’s true. It’s easy to hire others to redecorate for you if you have the money for it, and it’s easy to create an image of what you are dreaming of in your mind. Turning that image into a reality is a lot harder than it may seem.
When thinking about renovating, you need to first decide on how big you want the renovation to get. Is it one room, the whole house, does it include new furniture, will you be knocking out walls etc. Next, you need to set a budget. Don’t try to cut corners in order to stretch your budget because a badly done job can end up costing more, and being more frustrating.
For the costs you will need to think about:
- Basic tools
- Advanced tools
- Will you need to take off time from work to get the job done?
- Will you need to hire a specialist to do the work you’re not qualified to do?
(Did I miss anything? Add it in the comments below)
Tools are expensive. There’s no denying it. If you happen to have a friend who is a builder, or a friend who owns some of the tools that you need, then ask if you can borrow them. This way you won’t have to spend money on it (as long as you bring it back in one piece).
However, it is useful to have some of the more basic tools lying around the house in general.
This list highlights the basic tools first, and then lists some more advanced tools that you may need, or want to save up for:
- Hammer with ripping claw
- Safety glasses
- Extension cords
- Tape measure
- A Broom and vacuum (to clean away your mess)
- Good lighting
- Sand paper
- Dust masks for lung protection
- Tarps and drop cloths
- Stud sensor
- An electric drill and various drill bits.
- Framing square
- Crow/ Demolition Bars
- Earmuffs for hearing protection
- A power saw and saw blades (there are various types of saws, check what one will do the job efficiently).
If it is a big job that will be done over a few weeks or weekends, and you don’t know anyone who has tools that you can borrow, then each week buy the tools that you will need for that week. By doing it this way, you can spread the cost over a few pay-checks.
If you want to renovate your home but cannot afford it, then buy some new furniture. Furniture can make a huge difference. And at the very least you can paint your walls a different color too, that’s not too hard or expensive.
Shelley went on to explain that she has a vision of turning her single wide trailer into an Italian themed palace. She wanted us to help give her pointers.
When I think of Italian houses I think of terracotta roofs, marble counters, and impressive potted plants in stone planters, arched doorways, veneer stone, and chandeliers. The furniture is elaborate and classy.
For an Italian style kitchen I would incorporate dark wood cabinets, marble counter tops, and tile flooring. If you don’t have dark wood cabinets, there’s no need to worry- the good thing about wood is that you can distress it a little and then varnish it to make it look worn and old. It’s also very simple to switch the handles of a cabinet, and a much cheaper option to replacing the entire cabinet.
In the bathroom I would put a big oval bathtub, or a free standing bathtub. A big mirror with a wrought iron frame, and again, those dark wood cabinets. Buy candles with elaborate candle sticks. These candles can also be put throughout the house: bedroom, living room, you name it! Bathrooms can still have class so install drapes to frame the windows, and a wrought iron chandelier light fitting.
Here’s a tip that is worth every penny – invest in spray paint. You can take basic, cheap items, and make them look expensive with a coat of gold or brass metallic spray paint.
The bedroom needs to have a big bed that is covered in soft throw pillows, includes a bed runner, and ruffled bed skirt. If you can, build yourself a four-poster bed. Your dresser should ooze vintage too – like in the bathroom, get a wrought iron mirror, and stick to dark wood. Best place to pick up little bits and bobs? The thrift store! Try to find a vintage jewelry box that will have a prominent place on your dresser, and use pearl necklaces as décor.
Outside you can put wrought iron garden furniture, install a pebble water feature, find an old wine barrel and use it as a table. Decorate with lots of plants and flowers in clay planters, and add the ‘classic Italian’ look by adding ivy and a garden lattice trellis to the wall.
Decorate the living room with a chaise lounge, or tufted sofa. Tufted ottomans and armchairs also work. You can also buy a rug to make it feel cozy. Find some classic coffee tables, and search eBay or your nearest thrift store for those little touches like antique ornaments.
The same rules apply for your dining area. Find a dark wood table and cabinets, a nice table runner, and a big flower vase. You can take regular dining chairs and re-upholster them with velvet or jacquard fabric. Use the wood varnish trick on them too if they’re light wood.
The best part about all this is that many people are trying to get rid of their old furniture for more modern designs. Their old furniture is perfect for your classic themed home. Find deals on eBay, Craigslist, Gumtree (in the UK), and many others.
Shelley, you’ve inspired me to redecorate my own home now!