How to make your new London house a home on a budget!
By Helly Barrett
Finding budget accommodation in London can be a stressful experience in itself! There are so many questions you have to ask yourself. Where do you want to live? Who do you want to live with? What room size do you want? What type of accommodation do you want to live in? The list goes on. And that’s all before you’ve even considered your budget. Then, if you weren’t strapped enough for cash as it is, you’ll want to find the funds to make your new home somewhat your own. So, below are 6 tips to guide you toward inexpensive interior design. Happy furnishing!
#1 Pick a theme:
No matter how amazing that dark chocolate brown fur rug might feel beneath your toes, chances are it isn’t going to compliment your beach themed bedroom. Picking various themes for your home not only limits your options, but also removes (some) of the temptation when you’re out shopping. There are a whole host of bedroom themes out there, from shabby chic to contemporary art deco. The Pinterest app is the new hotspot to find them.
#2 Pinterest your interior interests:
Pinterest, if you haven’t already heard of it (if not where have you been?), is a free image app. The basic concept is you create themed ‘boards’ and search images to ‘pin’ to these specific boards. A quick search for ‘bedroom themes’ and you’re inundated with choice – from upscale Parisian to relaxed Indian colour schemes. Or, if you already have a theme or decorative item in mind, simply type that into the search bar for easy styling ideas. Boys, this goes for you too! There are hundreds of ideas for the male bedroom, from a muted grey colour palette to a recreation of batman’s cave. And the best part? The majority of posts contain hyperlinks to the items pictured, taking you directly to unique boutique sites like Etsy and Amazon seller with the item on the cheap.
#3 George is your new best friend!
And we’re not referring to that stylish, rich new housemate of yours. George. is Asda’s homeware brand. Asda, Tesco and the like have recently excelled in their homeware ranges. They offer everything from throw cushions to chandeliers, mimicking a designer feel for a fraction of the price.
Primark, BnM and Wilkinsons have similarly priced home brands, while M and S have some beautiful things if you have a bit more spare cash going. What could be better than heading out to pick up a courgette and returning with a brand new pomegranate and raspberry candle? Check out the other websites we’ve found for homeware on a budget here.
#4 SOS: Share or Secondhand
In a perfect world, your new housemates will have exactly the same taste as you. In reality however, you’ll all have slightly different views on what constitutes a nice communal living space. On the plus side though, despite some compromise, housemates mean sharing the cost of decorating your new London pad. Friends, family, ebay and local markets are also great sources for second hand furnishings. For ideas on how to renovate furniture, head on over to Google or back to Pinterest. A slick of paint, new drawer pulls or using an old picture frame as a notice board are just a few of the innovative ideas on there!
#5 Off to Market
Whether you’re an experienced Londoner, or you’ve heard it on the grapevine, you’ll know that London is infamous for its markets, for everything from street fashion to hidden vintage treasures. Both Camden Stables and Brick Lane Market play host to an array of stalls, providing the perfect back drop for those on the hunt for second-hand furniture or unique art work on the cheap – especially when the opportunity to barter presents itself. With various outside food stalls and restaurants in the Camden Borough, and Brick Lane’s nod to the Indian curry house, why not make a day of it?
#6 Lighting is everything
No-one’s a stranger to the concept that music can change your mood. Lighting is no different. It can change an entire room with the flick of a switch. Even the most jumbled, mismatch décor can be made to seem endearing with strategically placed candles and a dimmable touch lamp. When the opportunity does arise to treat yourself, invest in a nice candle that combine light, smell and a crackling sound to bring a real sense of calm to any space; perfect when, on the rare occasion, the stresses of London living get a little much.
Another option for transforming the ambience of any room is a string of fairy lights. String them along any wall or entwine them around a bed frame for an instant interior update.
Tip: Common everyday habits can wear your sofa but that doesn’t mean that you need to throw it away. You can reupholster your sofa yourself or use a sofa reupholstery service.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Budget Accommodation Tips and our Hot Tips for house hunting. Or if you’re lucky enough to have too many things for your new place, we’ve also sourced the cheapest self-storage options in London.
You may also want to check out our article on how to dress smart on a budget.