Design lesson: Bedroom save or splurge
The thrifty cook knows when ordinary olive oil suffices and when it's necessary to uncork the "good stuff." After all, there's no point wasting expensive extra-virgin on the kids' chicken fingers. The same principles that stretch the family food budget also invigorate the household decorating fund. There are times when you simply must splurge to create the impact desired and other times when it's perfectly reasonable to save a few dollars. Below I've highlighted areas where it's possible to save and others where spending pays off when it comes to decorating your bedroom. Most of these tips work for every room in the house.
Where to splurge
• Fine bedding is the last thing you feel as you drift off and the first thing you're aware of as you awake. Don't settle for anything less than the absolute best you can afford.
• Couture pillow fabrics transform even the most generic bedding into a custom-coordinated style statement. Source quality remnants from fabric retailers like Department of Interiors in Toronto, where the selection includes high-end fabrics priced well below wholesale. For an 18-inch square pillow, you'll need only about three-quarters of a yard of fabric, so go ahead and treat yourself. • Quality upholstery is always a smart investment. A classic lounge chair, like the William Birch-style one in the corner, can be repurposed at any time in any room in the house.
• Original art is a worthwhile investment that injects a room with personality -- a key ingredient for truly successful design projects. Although you're likely to spend $200 and up for small oil paintings, there are other affordable options, like original prints, photography and watercolours. Attend local art fairs and annual exhibits of projects by fine arts students.
Where to save
• Ready-made draperies offer considerable savings and work well for most relatively standard windows. Visit retailers like Invu Drapery Company (three locations in Ontario), where there's a vast selection of fabrics and drapery headers, or design studios that offer ready-made as well as custom, like Kimberlee's Decorating in Edmonton. Before shopping, take detailed measurements of the window and its exact location within the full wall.
• Affordable lamps are available at large retailers across Canada. HomeSense, The Home Depot and IKEA have excellent selections.
• A headboard frame you cover yourself -- in an affordable linen or cotton -- is a budget-friendly alternative to buying a handcrafted solid wood bed frame. You won't sacrifice an ounce of style, and you'll love it if you read in bed.
• Garage sale finds like side tables are instantly renewed with spray paint. Opt for fresh white to improve the style quotient. Add new hardware, and you'll save big without skimping on style.
• Accessories are readily available at any price point, so here's where you can be thrifty. Wait for sales, buy end-of-season remainders and source retailers like HomeSense for great bargains.