Reading Time: 3 minutes

Flipping through a design magazine can be inspiring, yet daunting.  As you browse from one page to the next, images are filled with beautifully decorated spaces that don custom sofas, unique accessories, and one-of-a-kind artwork – All at a price tag higher than a typical yearly income.

As it’s exhilarating to look through these magazines to gather ideas for your own home, many homeowners are often left disappointed thinking that it’s impossible to even implement, because everything is above and beyond their budget.  But that’s untrue!  It is possible to achieve a Designer look at a fraction of the cost.  By doing research, having the right resources, and using images as inspiration, your design vision can come to fruition on a real life budget.

Here are steps to creating a vision on a budget.

Gather Inspiration

As you’re flipping through the design magazines, clip, cut out, and write down the reasons you love the spaces you see.  This is the first and most exciting step of the design process, because it allows you to think outside the box and just let your mind roam free by seeing what you gravitate towards.  There is no right or wrong.  At this point, nothing has to make sense.  Whether you have one image or multiple,  just gather images of spaces and / or pieces that you love.

How to determine an interior design budget

Before starting any project, it’s good to determine a budget.  If it’s not an exact number, a range will be fine.  This will help you stay on track throughout the design process.  If you want to redo an entire living room on a budget of $3000 and are dying for the sofa that is $1800, just remember that half of your budget was just blown on one piece.  Also keep in mind, tax and shipping costs add up and can sometimes eat away about 15-20% of your budget. Create a spreadsheet of the total pieces you need for the room and the associated costs – this will keep you on track to stay within budget.

One of my favorite HGTV shows is Sabrina Soto’s, High Low Project, where she reveals the client’s dream space with an unlimited budget, then mimics the design and recreates it within their means.

Next step to creating your space –

Hone in

Once you’ve gathered your inspiration and determined your budget, it’s time to weed out what stays and what goes.  Evaluate what pieces that you already own will stay and / or what you will need to buy.  Then go through your inspirational images and pair them down to what you ultimately like / don’t like, so your design can start to come together.

Shop discount

Home Goods, Marshalls, and other similar stores carry a great selection of Designer-like pieces at a fraction of the cost.  With your inspirational image(s) in hand, visit these stores to see what goods and accessories you can find.  Ask the store associates what days they receive new product, this way you will have access to pieces right off the truck.  Their inventory is continually changing, so you may want to frequent these stores as it’s always receiving new pieces.

Also Target is another great resource.  With lines by Jonathan Adler, Issac Mizrahi, Cynthia Rowley, you can essentially get Designer goods that are very inexpensive compared to their true Designer lines.  Lastly, by researching and shopping online, you can absolutely score some great deals.

Hire an interior designer

Interior Designers are not just for the über wealthy.  Many Designers, like myself, work with clients of all budgets.   Using some of the steps above, I am able to steer my clients in the right direction so their design vision can be achieved.  As an Interior Designer, many of my clients are working professionals and/or parents, who don’t have the time to be running from store to store.

I can gladly take away that burden of shopping and bring everything to them in the comfort of their home.  Designers also manage and coordinate orders, deliveries, installations, and all the behind-the-scenes details (which there are a lot of)!  Lastly, an Interior Designer who has access to products and resources, can offer a fresh perspective and a trained eye to create a space that is unique and personalized.

By planning ahead and taking the design process one step at a time, a vision can be created on a real life budget.

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Jenna Burger

Jenna Burger is a talented and creative bargain-shopper, DIYer, and Interior Designer. Through her daily blog and resource website, SAS Interiors, she is dedicated to showcasing simple, affordable, and stylish interior design solutions, ideas, and inspiration for the everyday homeowner.