How To Design The Perfect Room In Your House On Any Budget: The Ultimate Guide

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Last Updated on August 17, 2022 by Katherine

Spring is in the air, at least in my part of the world (Southern British Columbia, Canada) and naturally my mind thinks about refreshing a room or two. If you’ve ever thought about how to design a room, you’ve probably felt ‌overwhelmed with all the information available. Even watching home decorating shows like Fixer Upper or the Property Brothers can sometimes expose you to simply too much information.

Don’t give up! In this post, I’m going to share with you some of the best strategies that you can easily use for yourself when you are thinking about your next home decor project. So let’s get designing those rooms, shall we?

Find Your Inspiration

Get inspired by the internet, there's loads of beautifully designed rooms out there, pick your favorites!

Bet you thought I’d be talking about budget first, right?

Money is important, but I think it’s more important for you to come up with at least a general vision of what you want your finished room to look like in the end! If you don’t know what you want, I think it’s much harder to come up with an appropriate budget for that project.

Three questions that I like to consider whenever I’m revamping a room are:

  1. What is the purpose of this space?
    1. Is it a kitchen? A bathroom? A living room? Etc.
    2. Who is going to use this space? Pets? Children?
  2. What feeling do I want when I walk into this room?
    1. Cozy? Warm? Etc.
  3. What designs, colors, furniture draw me in?
    1. Look at Pinterest, create a board (you can create a secret board or a public one if you don’t mind sharing it) and pin the designs that inspire you.

Don’t be afraid to pick expensive options here. Once you figure out your budget, you can sometimes source cheaper options that will work just fine for you. You won’t be able to compromise if you aren’t sure what your ideal room looks like, though!

Create a Pinterest Board to collect ideas that inspire you. It doesn’t matter if you have some kitchen pins in your bathroom redesign board, if the pins draw you in, they belong in your inspiration board!

Figure Out Your Budget & Stick To It

Budget is very important when designing a room. Make sure you plan for emergenccies!

As much as I’m sure we’d all like to pretend money doesn’t matter, it matters! We all have a finite amount of money that we can use for our home decor projects. That’s why, whenever I’m redesigning a room in my house, the second thing I know I need to consider is how much money I can spend.

Make sure you don’t neglect a contingency fee. This is money that is earmarked for the project to help cover any budget overrun costs. Most experts recommend around 10% of your total budget should be a contingency fee.

You should consider the extent of your project‌. If you’re gutting a room completely, you need to be prepared for what you might find behind floors and walls that you knock down. I would recommend in that case you put aside a bit more. If you’re just changing furniture and adding in a new rug, 10% should be fine.

Choose Your “Signature” Piece

Your signature piece can be a table and chair set like this photo or anything that you like!

Almost every room has a signature piece or a single item that inspires the rest of the room. This could be a favorite painting, an heirloom rocking chair, or that insanely expensive sculpture that you bought on a trip once. A signature piece can be almost anything, as long as it matters to you.

For example, when I redesigned a bedroom of mine years ago, I designed it based on a large art print of Times Square in New York City. That was my signature piece, and I wanted it to be a focal point in my room. I remember when I found that art print in Jysk, I could picture it hanging above my bed and I pictured other things to change to suit it. Whatever your signature piece is, make sure it lights you up and gets those creative juices flowing!

It isn’t necessary to pick a signature piece, though. You can proceed without this step. I just include it because it can help with the inspiration part of your room redesign journey.

Map Your Ideas Out

You’ve probably heard the ever famous carpenter advice of “measure twice and cut once” right? In redesigning a room, you want to map out the space you’re working with.

The last thing you want to do is to set your heart on a sofa that is 100% too large for your space! 

A quick hack that I recommend is figuring out the dimensions of the furniture pieces in your room and using painter’s tape to set them out onto the floor of your room. Think of this as a chalk outline, but instead of a murder victim, it’s your room! I prefer this method rather than creating a mock up drawing, because I can visualize how much space the items I want are going to take up.

You can also try other methods. For more information, I love 5 Free Online Room Design Software Applications by The Spruce as it offers a few free options you can use to design the room of your dreams!

Figure Out Some Color

Whether you love funky colors like in this bathroom or more understated, make sure you decide that you'd like!

Color can be an ultimate expression of individuality. Major brands around the world often have their signature color. One of my favorite things to do when I have some spare time is to head over to Design Seeds and check out all of their gorgeous color palettes! 

It’s helpful to figure out yourself what colors draw your eye. You want to be in love with the colors in your room because you have to live with it, right?

You can add your color inspirations to your mood book you created in Pinterest (or however you want to collect your inspiring pictures) or have a separate color board just to figure out what paint colors and fixture colors (such as cabinet colors). It’s up to you and what works best for you to stay inspired and on track.

One trick you can try out is taking a screenshot of the items you’re interested in and using your computer’s paint program or a program like Canva to put these items together and visualize how these things will look together.

Look at your design a room inspiration board to see what pins you have there. What color combinations speak to you and inspire you? Consider those when making your selections.

Pick a Design Style (Or Not)

Farmhouse Chic is one the “it” interior design style at the moment, but there are many styles out there. It’s unnecessary to commit to a precise interior design and, in fact, I’d recommend you don’t paint yourself into that corner at all.

There are some design styles that will inspire you and I recommend limiting yourself to choosing smaller pieces that subscribe to a particular style. Design trends and your own personal tastes will change over the years and it’s much easier to switch out curtains and throw pillows than it is to switch out your large furniture pieces!

Pick The Larger Foundations

Once you've figured out most of your design, you're going to want to buy all your larger pieces installed, like these cabinets!

If you are redesigning your kitchen, at this stage you’ll want to pick a cabinet style and color. If it’s a living room you’re doing up, here’s where you buy that sofa you’ve had your eye on. Once the larger pieces are present in the room, you can ‌see how everything will look together and make changes if necessary.

I call these foundational pieces because they’re the pieces that take up the most money out of your budget. Some of the foundation pieces to consider:

  • Cabinets;
  • Toilets & other plumbing fixtures;
  • Flooring; or
  • Larger Pieces Furniture (such as sofas, bookshelves, etc.).

“Bling” Your Room

Once you have the larger parts of your room finished, it's time to accessorize with plants, pillows and other small fun things!

Once you have your major pieces, it’s time to jazz things up with smaller pieces. Think cozy blankets and pillows on your sofa or clever decor items to fill the bookshelf in the corner.

Sometimes it may be best to add these products gradually. I recommend this because as they are smaller; they are the most affordable pieces in your room redesign budget and that means it can be so easy to go overboard! Also, as these pieces are coming in at the end of your budget, you might overspend because you’re not worried about keeping hold of that contingency fee.

Your room can then become cluttered and you don’t want that!

Let There Be Light

The very last thing you'll want to get is your light fixtures, as you'll want to see how everything ties in together once you light it all up!

The wrong light fixture in your space can undo any of the hard work you put in to select the right pieces of furniture and decor. The wrong light can create unsightly shadows in your room, or some lights can wash out any of the cozier feelings you want.

I recommend picking a light after you’ve gotten most of your other pieces together. The light is a finishing touch. It’s important to have the rest of your room put together so that you can see how all your beautiful pieces shine under the light. 

So it’s worthwhile to explore different lighting options for your room and make sure you are picking a light fixture that will suit the refreshed space you are creating in your home.

For a more in-depth post about lighting, please check out my post How to Pick a Beautiful Light You’ll Absolutely Love For Your Home!

Enjoy Your New Room!!

Once your finished designing your room, it is time to sit back and enjoy it! You've earned it!

Now you’ve finished designing and decorating your room, and it’s time to kick back and enjoy your new space! You deserve it now, you’ve put in the work! You’ve now learned some excellent strategies for how to design a room that you’ll love.

Not every step listed above will work for your exact home design project, so it’s important to know what you want, as that is going to help you determine what is best for your unique home decor project. Do you have a favorite hack for designing a room? Let me know in the comments down below!

Don’t forget to pin this content to Pinterest to review later and share to your favorite social media platform and spread some creativity.

pin image

That’s all for now. Until next time, stay crafty, my friends!

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