We're all spending more time at home lately and it's making just about everyone reevaluate their home decor. Since larger renovations can quickly become costly and complicated (did you know, for instance, that you should keep your insurance company in the loop during renovations?), we asked some interior design experts to tell us about their favourite low-budget home improvements. Here are their tips:
Sarah Broderick — Owner & Principal, High Street Design
“When it comes to budget-friendly home improvements, paint is your best friend. White is the new grey for interiors. A crisp white like Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore instantly freshens and brightens your walls making your home feel more spacious. Black accents on trim, doors, ceilings, windows, furniture and cabinetry are all on trend at the moment. Be sure to do your research in terms of what can and can’t be painted, as well as what paint to use and how to prep the surface properly to avoid peeling, cracking and wear down the road.
We’re big fans of colour at High Street but we like to use it in unique, strategic ways. Instead of the usual accent or feature wall, consider painting your ceiling or architectural details, like the inside of archways, to add pops of colour throughout your home. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is another great, inexpensive way to add texture, pattern and colour in small doses. Consider using it on the back of stair risers, sliding closet doors or ceilings for something bold and unexpected.
Last but not least, small upgrades go a long way in your home. Consider updating your door hardware, bathroom towel racks and accessories, faucets, kitchen hardware or lighting for a big impact. There are tons of low-cost options in popular finishes like matte black and brass that quickly update and add visual impact to your home.”
Korina Khamis — Interior Designer, Hibou Design & Co.
“We’ve all experienced an itch to change something at home during confinement. Changing one key element like your rug or window coverings may give you enough of a change. If you need to take it one notch further, maybe a fresh coat of paint is what you need. Think about what you dislike most and start there. A quick and easy way to refresh your decor without breaking the bank is to reassess all of your soft finishes (wall colouring, fabrics, carpets, cushions or curtains) and accessories.
Pro Tip: Start by clearing all surfaces. Sometimes we get so used to seeing our homes one way, that it’s hard to imagine them any other way. Starting and starting with a blank canvas is an easy way to help ease that transition. Once all surfaces are cleared, only keep the items that you still really like but try to mix it up and find a new home for them. This is where you can start incorporating new accessories to make your decor more current and fresh.”
Susan Abramson — Principal Designer, Toronto Designers
“You have to think creatively with what you already have to begin with. Sometimes all it takes is removing everything from the room and putting it back in a different place. The bonus? Purging happens too! And a bit of purging goes a long way together with that new layout.
If you want to add some fun pieces to make it feel new, then I suggest trying second hand stores, which are now open again. Just act quickly if you see something you like because the good stuff goes fast. I really like vintage as it gives a space character, not to mention that it’s eco-friendly. Some things you might try to look for might be colour themed. For example, if your favourite colour is blue, look for blue glassware that you can put in a window so your room glows blue. A small blue rug can go a long way in changing the feel of a space. And perhaps you can start a small collection of blue-spine books, just to give your bookshelves some colour coordination.
If new is your thing, inexpensive and fun items to look for might be tea light holders, a new desk blotter, a small plant and planter, and my favourite: trays and pretty baskets to coral odds and ends. Try budget friendly and trendy stores like Structube, Ikea and Home Sense.
Lastly, I want to stress how important lighting is. Changing that up can completely make your space feel new again. Here I like to suggest new CSA items, and to consider three different sources of light for each room. Getting that little glow light you’ve always admired, or the salt lamp that gives a beautiful glow would be the simplest of updates! Just plug it in and enjoy.”
Negar Reihani — Founder & Principal Designer, Space Harmony
“One of the easiest ways to make an impact in a space is using wallpaper. You can turn a plain room into a fun and inspiring one just by addressing the walls. The paint job can never provide the same wow factor that wallpaper does, and with the variety of styles and products available online, you can literally find anything that matches your style. I always encourage my clients to step a bit further from their comfort zone as it’s always more rewarding that way.”
Josie Abate — Founder & Principal Designer, Ambience
“There are many ways to create storage, organization, and character in your home, without breaking the bank. Clutter can create stress in a home and you may not even realize how draining clutter can be for your life and energy. To keep chaos from accumulating in your home, set up some pretty baskets at the entryway of your home to collect junk mail and other items before they have a chance to clutter up other areas around your home. If your closets are overflowing, get rid of or donate any items you haven’t worn in a year, and add an extra rod in your closets.
Lighting is an important aspect of a home, especially if you’re on video calls when working from home. Natural light is always best, however, LED lighting can help where natural lighting is not possible. Plants can also be a beautiful and inexpensive way to improve the look of your home. Adding plants in any room can enhance the space while improving the air quality too. Another way to beautify your home and enhance the health of it is to select or create artwork that features a natural landscape, which has a similar calming effect as looking out the window at nature. These simple changes to your home can definitely breathe new life into it.”