Scandi living room Pin Image

Six Ways to Transform a Space on a Budget

Author: Lisa Soeno

I’m going to start this post with a description of one of my favourite hobbies. FAFFING. If, of an evening, Rich is settled in front of Sky Sports/Narcos/this programme about nuns on Netflix that he’s currently obsessed with (apparently it’s the next Making a Murderer), then I like nothing better than to wander around the house generally faffing. I spend far too long standing on chairs trying to get strings of lights to hang ‘just so’. Rich is constantly complaining that he can’t find the spare change jar/the cat’s food bowl/the bedside table because it has been re-homed during one of these faffing sessions.

But this is my first tip when it comes to transforming a space on a budget. Because you’ve gotta use what you’ve already got! Take my lounge in the header above for example. The TV unit (an eBay find) was previously used as a storage unit (see if you can spot it in the ‘Before’ picture of Jenson’s nursery). The rug used to adorn our hallway floor, and the curtains used to hang in our spare room. However when I tried them all out in the lounge they really made the room come together.

2. Think outside the box when it comes to art.

I have been known to use all sorts as art. From kids’ art, to maps of places I hold dear to my heart, to enlarged photos, to birthday cards, to wrapping paper. (This Paris map is a snip at £3, as is Bicyclettes which is right up my street. Add an Ikea frame and hey presto ). In my last house I even framed a couple of colourful matchboxes that I’d picked up at a market in Thailand.

3. Turn up the texture

Adding a range of tactile materials will always make a space look more luxe. And it needn’t cost the earth. In my lounge the monochrome throw was from Tiger, the rattan chevron basket was from Ikea and most of the cushions are cheapies from H&M. Or if you’re handy with a sewing machine, why not make your own? Amy of The Love Lust List recently crafted her own mudcloth cushion and Lauren and I have since been on her case asking for a how-to post on RMS.

4. Love you some leather

Leather drawer pulls, to be precise. Or ANY alternative drawer pulls, for that matter. In Lauren’s old house she used leather straps whilst making over her bathroom, and Hayley Stuart used this trick to give the kitchen in her rented house an instant expensive-looking uplift.

5. Style a shelfie

Shelves are a super-cheap way of adding interest. Once you’ve put them up you can pop on vases/books/prints/globes/trinkets that you already own. They’re a simple and inexpensive way of displaying all your mementos: simple shelf brackets only cost a couple of quid in B&Q, and Ikea picture ledges are under a tenner. But the fact that they give forever-faffers like myself yet another surface on which to rearrange stuff is priceless.

6. Go for greenery

I wouldn’t say the Pantone Color of the Year was my favourite hue however I can’t deny that it’s amazing what a pop of green can do to lift a room. Try a potted palm (the one in Lauren’s bedroom below was £18 from Ikea), a couple of cacti, or some trailing ivy. And if you’re not green fingered, fake it ’til you make it.

Have you got any tips for transforming a room on a budget? Anyone else obsessed with Narcos or the Netflix nuns? Anyone else a serial faffer?

  • Rifle Cards
  • John Lewis Plant
  • Paris Giftwrap

Header image by Adam Crohill

Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
Follow Lisa on instagram @lisa.soeno
This post may include affiliate links.

18 thoughts on “Six Ways to Transform a Space on a Budget

  1. Lisa everything you’ve said here is so true!!! I’m just in the process of sorting my lounge on a budget and I’ve bought in a throw from Tayo’s room, a kallax unit from my study has now become our TVs unit and the introduction of a few plants has made it look so much more inviting and cosy. Such good tips but I expect nothing less from a pro faffer 😉 x

  2. LOVE faffing! And I love framing random things – so many friends comment on some of our ‘art’ – my favourite is a framed Yorkshire Tea packet from the Tour de France a few years ago! It gets so many comments, but the reality is that I was handed it as a free sample walking through the train station!

    Your house is totally gorgeous btw!

    1. Ahh thank you Kate 😘

      Loving the sound of this framed Yorkshire tea packet. It reminds me of when Orla Keily teamed up with Douwe Egberts on coffee jars…I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t buy them all! x

  3. Lisa, I love all your ideas!
    Also, faffing absolutely deserves “hobby” status, I don’t know why it’s never been given this before!
    The only bad thing about your blog today is you’ve made me realise that faffing is the privilege of a tidy home -one that I’ve not had for a few weeks now, so I need to get on it ☹️

    1. Thank you lovely. I think part of the reason why I love faffing with shelves is because Lyra’s not big enough to reach them and rearrange all the shizzle so they are one of the few areas of my house that remain tidy! 🙊 x

  4. Yes I am now three months into owning my first home and getting to the stage where I’m rearranging things from where they were first plonked!

    I’ve bought loads of IKEA frames and now I’m going to have a look through things I’ve already got, like postcards, to make some instant art!

    PS you lost me at the sudden reference to Narcos in between two faff comments – is the interior design good on Narcos?!

  5. Yes, I am another faffer, often moving things around to make little displays and finding new ways to use things and store stuff! And thanks to you I now know of yet another online store that stocks Rifle Paper Co, one of my absolute faves! 😀 Just as well I have just paid deposit for son’s school trip next year as now stops me from clearing out their stock of cushions. Next month…

  6. Love this post! Some fab ideas here. I,
    too, am a fan of framed postcards and greeting cards etc. There are also some excellent (and cheap) downloadable prints on Etsy that look just as good as the types you can pay through the nose for. Hurrah for making the most of a space on a budget!

    1. Good shout Clare – I’ve always wondered about those but never got round to actually printing one out. x

  7. Some lovely images here, that grey in the hallway is beautiful!
    You have a great eye for mixing textures, materials and shapes in a harmonious way!
    Keep up the amazing work.

    Laura – Surface House

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