Dec­o­rat­ing on a bud­get doesn’t have to look cheap

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - FRONT PAGE - CON­NIE OLIVER

JUST be­cause you’re start­ing out doesn’t mean you can’t have a lovely decor. With a mea­gre bud­get and some handme-down fur­ni­ture you can still live large in style and func­tion. Our fea­ture photo boasts an eclec­tic dining room that is stylish, trendy and dra­matic. Even though the chairs don’t match each other and they don’t match the ta­ble doesn’t mean the set isn’t a great en­sem­ble. There’s some­thing quirky and youth­ful about this set­ting. It’s at­trac­tive, yet min­i­mal­is­tic. The in­ex­pen­sive wo­ven place­mats warm up this mod­ern decor. Be­cause the place­mats are a match­ing set, they bring a touch of uni­for­mity to the eclec­tic ta­ble and chairs. Their wooden flavour re­lates well with the wooden chairs. Any large con­tainer filled with out­door blooms can make a great cen­tre­piece on the ta­ble and doesn’t cost a cent. An af­ford­able sisal mat grounds the dining set and re­lates to the place­mats, floor­ing and wooden chairs. If you’re work­ing with odds and sods you can still have a great decor. Use what you have and make it pur­posely unique. Don’t try to be match ev­ery­thing and you’ll go a long way to hav­ing a dis­tinc­tive space. Bring in some drama The over­sized light fix­ture is the star of this room. IKEA has sim­i­lar, af­ford­able lamps that can work in place of the designer fix­ture in our photo. You can find swag lamps in many great styles at garage sales and thrift stores. The funkier the bet­ter. Just be sure the wiring is sound for safe us­age. The Benjamin Moore wall be­hind the dining ta­ble is cur­rent yet neu­tral and blends beau­ti­fully with the warm wood tones in the room. No­tice there isn’t any art on that wall be­hind the ta­ble. In this min­i­mal­ist decor, none is needed. An­other sav­ings tip: less can be more. You don’t have to fill ev­ery space for a room to be stylish. (back­ground wall: Wil­low Creek 1468, ben, eggshell. side walls: Wood Grain Brown 2109-30, ben, eggshell. ceil­ing: Pal­la­dian Blue HC-144, Wa­ter­borne ceil­ing paint, ul­tra-flat) Although this room is sparse, it still feels warm and invit­ing. This is due to the wood floor­ing and the wooden chairs. Wood ac­cents bring in the out­side and lend an earthy feel to any room. If you’re low on dec­o­rat­ing funds and feel like your home is empty, just think of it as hav­ing breath­ing space. The home in our fea­ture photo feels airy and open and was done so on pur­pose. Look at your own dilemma with a designer’s eye and you’ll soon see that you may have just the right amount of stuff af­ter all. Use state­ment pieces to fill in that blank feel­ing. Don’t fret if your stuff doesn’t match. Go for the eclec­tic look and put your own twist on things via ac­ces­sories and colour. I per­son­ally find a mis­matched decor more in­ter­est­ing than one that’s matched to the hilt. Find a mix that’s right for you us­ing what you have on hand. Dif­fer­ent styles of lamps, funky fur­ni­ture, unique finds at the thrift store or yard sale can make for a re­ally ex­cit­ing space. Don’t for­get you can paint just about any­thing or cover stuff with fab­ric if needed. That dated gilt-framed mir­ror that your par­ents gave you might look smash­ing if the frame were painted in a fun colour, for ex­am­ple. Just to­day, my hus­band and I went shop­ping for a dress­ing mir­ror. We ini­tially went to the lo­cal re­tail store, which didn’t have what we wanted. We then went to the lo­cal thrift store and found a re­ally unique wall mir­ror for un­der $15. I’ve never seen one like it and that makes me happy about my pur­chase. Next time we’ll hit the thrift store first. Be proud of what you have and en­joy the dec­o­rat­ing adventure. Change things as your bud­get al­lows and in­tro­duce new things to keep your decor cur­rent. New doesn’t mean ex­pen­sive or new just new to you. Dec­o­rat­ing should be an adventure of finds, re­fur­bishes, the un­ex­pected and your per­sonal style. En­joy the jour­ney.

BENJAMIN MOORE

This eclec­tic dining room is stylish, trendy and dra­matic. Even though the chairs don’t match each other and they don’t match

the ta­ble, this doesn’t mean the set isn’t a great en­sem­ble.

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