How To Design Your Perfect Room on a Shoestring

How can you make your space your own when you’re living in a rented flat, bedsit or student accommodation? Wherever you are, it’s only natural to want to make your house a home.

Everyone needs a cosy pad to escape to so that you can recharge your batteries and regather your energy. But how do you do that when money is tight and you’ve bills to pay?

At this time of year, in particular, making your space lovely and festive only adds to the enjoyment of the season.

So what to do?  And what do you do when you share your space with others?

Make your house a home on a budget

Here are some tips you might like to try.

Create a mood board

You can find inspiration from interior magazines like Elle Decoration and the Sunday supplements.


Be careful if you are renting though.  You might want to follow these tips to avoid upsetting your landlord!

Try some DIY projects

Here’s a way to make your own fabulous cosy headboard.

Display family photos

Create a photo wall or mix and match frames.  Visit your local printer to blow up your favourite prints to A3 or larger and frame them.

Update the curtains 

You could add a statement theme to jazz a room up or just replace with calming neutrals to dial the volume down.  If the light is a problem, it’s worth investing in black-out linings which will give you an extra hour of snooze time on light summer mornings and keep you warm in the winter.

Use seating in the bedroom

Create a cosy corner to read in by adding an armchair to your bedroom.

Upgrade your entertainment

If you have the room why not make your TV and movie-watching more enjoyable by creating your own home theatre.  It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and may even save you money on family trips to the movies and all the overpriced popcorn!

Add texture with throws and cushions

You don’t have to spend a fortune.  You can make such a difference with soft furnishings such as throws and cushions. Buy the cushion pads and the covers separately or make your own covers if you can sew.

You can also add character to your bedroom with bedding in different textures, colours and fabrics.

make your house a home - pile of faux fur cushions and rugs

Hang String lights

These are pretty at any time of year.  Stuff strings of battery operated lights into glass vases to add a cosy glow to corners and mantle pieces or drape over the kitchen or your bed to add some atmosphere.

Create a nook

If you’ve no room in the bedroom to add a chair, create a cosy corner in your main room – perhaps with a mini table or bookshelf and a lamp to read by.

Add light and reflection with mirrors

A decorating basic – make your space big by using the power of reflection.  You could make a large mirror a feature of the room.

Add plants / flowers

Nothing spruces a room up like a beautiful floral display and you can find some reasonable bunches in stores like Aldi.  Add an extra note of interest by displaying them in quirky ways, for example, unusual china cups.

Light Candles

Very Hygge and there are so many types and fragrances to choose from at every price point. Candles are a really quick way to add cosiness.

Make your own artwork

If you are the arty type, why not create a wall dedicated to your own artwork.  I have seen some pretty convincing paintings simply done with acrylic paint.  Or if you are into photography, why not display your work – I love black and white photography.

Replace the toilet seat or taps

No explanation needed on this one and is there anything more irritating than a dripping tap?

Display your make up / perfume bottles

If you don’t have many ornaments, improvise.  Antique perfume bottles and some of the more unusual modern fragrance bottles make a lovely display.

Hat boxes in stacks also make a great display.

Use modular furniture that can be moved around

If you’re investing in furnishings, it makes sense to buy things you can move from room to room – and take with you when you move on.

No matter where you live, it’s easy to add your own personality to your space and create a home that is welcoming and great to come back to after a hard day’s work or studying.

What would be your top tip?

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Nisbet
    4 February, 2021 / 5:06 pm

    I am moving soon, and the whole house needs a lot work, new kitchen, new bathrooms, needs heating put in and all new windows and doors, and our budget is tight, so any tip on how to make it lovely but on a budget is always helpful!

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