3 Simple Ways to Make a Big Impact on a Small Budget

American designer and architect Charles Eames famously said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”.


All. Day. Long.


My long-time philosophy has always been that you don’t have to spend a lot on high-impact design to make it look like you did.  With a little imagination, patience (and sometimes some elbow grease too),  you’ll be surprised with how much style you can inject into a space even with a limited budget! Most times, it’s the small touches that make the biggest splash. Oh, the irony of it all! 


So if you’re getting all swept up in break-the-bank sofas, rugs and art, allow me to offer a few pieces of no-stress, sage advice to help you style more and save more.



Start With Art. One of the most uncomplicated tricks of the trade when it comes to making a room feel “pulled together” is starting with choosing (inexpensive) art.  Blank walls are depressing but often these walls stay neglected because homeowners are afraid to make a mistake when it comes to buying art.  But here’s the thing.  It doesn’t have to be an original museum piece to make a statement.  With hundreds of online options to source art in all formats (prints, canvas, textile, metal) you might even have fun searching for a piece that resonates with you! Consider hanging art in every room of the home including the dining room, mudroom and bathrooms. Experiment with treating several pieces as a single unit by creating a gallery wall with family photos (mpix.com does a nice job with high quality prints). Play around with leaning framed pieces up against a shelf or mantel. Even scrap wallpaper that is matted and framed can make a stylish addition to your decor.  Be careful not to hang the art too low or too high (think eye level) and consider the scale of the piece as it relates to the size of the wall. A tiny frame will be swallowed up on a large, bare wall.  Your quest for pieces you love will allow the rest of your room to easily fall into place. Plus you’ll evoke a more personalized, cozier look representative of who you are and how you live.  Try online retailers like Minted.com, Etsy.com, Art.com and Society6 for thousands of options of wall art at budget-friendly prices sure to add character to your home.  



Dining room art installation at one of our firm’s Boston luxury condo projects.



Punchy Paint. There’s probably no other singular decor element that can pack a punch like a fresh coat of paint. For very little money, using paint creatively can help make a room look larger, wider or taller.  Newly painted walls will immediately transform a room but paint can also be used to liven up tired pieces of furniture in need of an update. Show off your personality and don’t be afraid to be bold with color! Think about the energy you want to invite into the room and choose your color accordingly. There are some exciting color options trending this year like Pantone’s 2021 color of the year, “Illuminating” (a happy, sunny yellow), paired with a medium gray. If you’re wanting a more serene scene perhaps a tranquil hue like Benjamin Moore’s Agean Teal or for richness and depth, Sherwin Williams’ Urbane Bronze.  Use paint to lighten up a heavy-looking exposed brick wall, to refresh cabinetry or to add high contrast by painting an architectural detail (like molding) in an unexpected shade. Any way you slice it, paint can make the difference between drab and dramatic, so don’t wait a second longer and head to the hardware store.



With the help of FrogTape Brand Painter’s Tape, we gave a little girl’s room a complete & colorful makeover.



Tell-Tale Textiles. One clear-cut way to tell someone has put some thoughtful time and effort into their decor is the strategic use of textiles.  Throw pillows, blankets, poufs, curtains, rugs and bedding are all inexpensive ways to add comfort and style to a room without draining your bank account. Think of area rugs as artwork for the floor or create an entire room’s color scheme using new bedding and linens.  If you’re open to switching out the color, shape or pattern, even changing out lamp shades can create an impressive effect for a minimal expense.  Wrap canvases in your favorite fabric to create instant wall art or if you’re into more bohemian vibes, a fringed wall hanging can add warmth and interest to your decor.  Let textiles work hard for you to unify the room, help establish a color palette and help bring the entire space together in a cost-efficient way. 



My home away from home in Florida. Nubby pillows, a luxe throw blanket and a soft area rug set the stage for an inviting, cozy retreat.



One of the most frustrating realities about styling your home is that you can’t always afford the decor you want. The struggle is real and so are budget boundaries! The good news is that there are everyday resources available to give you the look you want without deep pockets. Being smart and selective with your decor will allow you to save money and create an environment that’s magazine-worthy.


My only question is…what are you going to do with all the money you save?


Thanks for sharing this post with anyone you think would enjoy it and message your ideas for future blog posts to me @taniyanayakI’m listening and always inspired by you.