I have been a long time follower of Kimberly Duran’s interiors blog Swoon Worthy. Any girl who has a penchant for leopard, a wicked sense of humour and can wield a screwdriver is my kind of girl. I am absolutely delighted to welcome Kimberly to RMS today to share tips on getting big style on a small budget.

Never having been privy to a lottery win or a huge inheritance, I have always had to deal with a rather modest budget when it comes to decorating my home. As tempting as it is to throw the credit card towards the extravagant (read: high priced) furnishings and accessories I might long for, I know ultimately that’s never going to be the answer and well, I would rather not spend my life wading in debt. However, I’m not one to accept sacrifices lying down and I’m certainly not going to sacrifice my own style to create a home I feel good in and one that reflects my personality.
And so, it’s always been my aim to achieve a glamorous look with a rather more grounded bank balance. To do that, I’ve had to hone a few of my skills over the years – both from a gathering perspective as well as a DIY one. To be honest, I think it’s been worthwhile. It’s made me more creative, I’ve been forced to think outside the box, I can spot potential from a mile away and it makes me excited to turn those visions into reality.
For those of you who may sadly realise that the £3000 sideboard of your dreams is simply out of reach (yep, me too), then I’d like to share some of my tips for creating that really big glam style without having to smash open your proverbial piggy bank to get it.

Upcycle Furniture

One of my proudest achievements was being recreating an incredible and rather pricey Art-Deco style desk out of a sad, tired office relic of the 70’s with a bit of black paint and new shiny brass handles. While the desk was certainly no looker to start with, I noticed the lines of the piece were very similar to my dream purchase and it was in solid condition – both important factors when searching out furniture. Consider eBay, Gumtree and keep an eye on local Facebook groups for pieces with a good shape that need a bit of love. I saved about £1000 doing it myself and couldn’t be happier with the result.

Know When Not To Paint

Now I’m not saying you should always slap a bit of paint on any furniture find. I believe just about every room benefits from natural wood finishes – it grounds a space and makes it more inviting. Keep an eye out for good quality second-hand furniture that perhaps just needs a bit of oiling to bring it back to its former glory. Keep an open mind when it comes to furnishing your home. My second-hand set of drawers (seen in the header above) was around £150 on eBay and I snapped it up knowing it would work perfectly as is. The more time you invest in searching, the better your results will be.

Get Creative with Wallpaper

I’m a huge fan of wallpaper and can easily lose myself for hours looking through the latest collections but of course, the designs I always love tend to be pretty pricey. Some of the more expensive wallpaper manufacturers allow you to purchase one metre samples which are normally pretty reasonably priced next to their full roll counterparts. Using a £30 sample and some white paint, I saved a really simple pine chest of drawers from the charity shop and I get to enjoy this beautiful pattern in a totally unique way. Consider purchasing just one roll and use it to line the back of a book shelf too.

Don’t Dismiss The Ikea Hack

We all love a bit of Ikea, right? But what we don’t want is it to look like everyone else’s Ikea. And this is where the famous ‘Ikea Hack’ comes from. I’ve sprayed many Ikea pieces with gold spray paint to elevate even the simplest pieces and there’s just profound satisfaction at the look of surprise when people find out my kitchen rail was a £4 purchase from our favourite Swedish superstore.

Create Your Own Artwork

I love the trend for big artwork but the high prices often make it seem out of reach for your average homeowner or renter. So I pulled out my paintbrushes after 20 some years and decided to create my own. You can get some huge canvases for not a lot of money in hobby and craft stores or even at places like Dunelm Mill and then just get busy with a bit of abstract expressionism. The important thing is not to think too hard about what you are doing and simply step back every once in a while to see if the full effect is working for you. Consider using the same colours as what is in the rest of the space as your inspiration. And well, once you tire of it, you can always just paint it again!

Don’t Be Afraid Of DIY

I can’t tell you how much money we’ve saved by learning how to do things ourselves. I’m lucky that my other half is pretty handy but you really don’t have to be incredibly skilled to take on some simple tasks. I always do all the painting and hanging of wallpaper in our home and I’ve refinished lots of furniture myself as well. Not having to pay additional for a handyman will allow you a few extra pounds to spend on pretties.

Make Your Mementos A Little More Special

One of thing things that really brings personality to your home is using little objects from your travels to decorate. I was so excited to finally see one of my favourite artists, Kirsty Mitchell when she had an exhibition in London last year. While I could never afford one of her original pieces, I decided to simply frame one of the post cards from the events in a pretty gold frame. It elevates the piece and now I have a bit of her work in my home!

I’ve had my eye on those Ikea kitchen rails for a while to use as shoe racks for my heels in the new dressing room. I may have to steal Kimberly’s tip for hacking with a can of spray paint. Anyone else inspired to make some low budget, big style decor changes?