Budget Decorating Workbook

What do you want to change and can you afford it?

There are many things to consider before undertaking any decorating project in the home. Budget is often a primary factor -- and rightly so, because there is nothing more frustrating than spending more money than necessary. But before you part with any cash, take a good look at your room and decide if you could get away with just a facelift: a lick of paint here, new curtains or blinds, a few new features there.

Removing old architectural features can also help update the look of a room. All of this can be done inexpensively and, if you have the time, you may be able to do it yourself. But before you start, ask your self these questions. We encourage you to print these pages out and fill in your ideas.

Space and Storage

  • Does your space fulfill your needs?
  • Would you like more space? Can this be created by adding an extension, or by knocking through into an adjacent room? Would removing or blocking up any doors give more space and flexibility?
  • Is there enough storage space? Do you need more, or do you just need to be creative with what you have?
  • Do you need an area that can double up as a space for overnight guests?
  • Do you need everything that is in the room or can you get rid of things for a more uncluttered feel?


  • What flooring best suits your needs -something for warmth or comfort, or something that is easy to keep clean?
  • If you are thinking of wooden flooring, will you need under-floor insulation to reduce noise and cut down on draughts?
  • If you are considering a coir or sea grass floor covering, will it be comfortable for bare feet or for crawling children?

Windows & Light

  • Is there enough natural light? Would removing curtains help?
  • Would your windows look more up-to-the-minute with roman or Venetian blinds?
  • What effect would you like the lighting to make -bright and welcoming, or gentle and relaxing?
  • Do you need task lighting for reading and working?

Furniture Placement

  • Does furniture need to be dumped or just given a facelift?
  • Would you gain space with mobile room dividers?
  • Have you got enough height to create a mezzanine level?
  • Would the addition of a platform in a bedroom or dining area give you useful additional space below the platform?
  • With any multi-functional room, make a decision about which function takes priority and give it preference.
  • Are there any rooms which are seldom used while others are over-used? Can you strike a new balance?

Setting up your room

  • If you work from home, use a room or area within a room that won't dominate your home life.
  • If your budget is minuscule you can still integrate spaces successfully. Something as simple as a portable fabric screen will allow two activities in one room.
  • If your home is compartmentalized but integrating sounds right for you then just do it. Integrating can make your home feel twice the size that it actually is.
  • Think laterally when integrating. Space can be carved out both vertically and horizontally in practically every home.


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