How to Make your House a Home on a Budget

Cate St Hill is a London-based interiors blogger, stylist and interior designer with a love for grey and Scandi-inspired interiors. Her ethos is to be a resource for ‘simple, stylish living that’s authentic and achievable’ with strong beliefs that good design should be accessible to all. In this post Cate shares her secrets and shows that it really is possible to create a beautiful space on a budget, even from scratch…

How to Make your House a Home on a Budget

We all have dreams of the perfect home, the likes of which we’ve seen in the pages of glossy magazines. But it’s not always easy to make it a reality – we all have money worries and time constraints. A stylish home is an ever-evolving thing that takes months, years, sometimes decades, to become our own. Here are five, simple and achievable ways to make your house a home on a budget.

Work out your priorities


Make a list and figure out what jobs need to be done first and the areas of your home that can wait. If you love cooking and entertaining, you might want to focus your efforts on the kitchen and creating a welcoming dining area. If you like nothing better than staying in with your feet up, concentrate on transforming the sofa areas into a warm, cosy sanctuary with lots of blankets, cushions and candles.

Work out what items of furniture and homeware you can reuse and bring a new look and feel to. It might mean getting a new cover for a tired sofa, reupholstering an old armchair, painting a shelf or updating the handles on your kitchen doors.

Decide where to save and where to splurge

laminate flooring wembury winter oak

Plan ahead and work out where your money would be best spent, scrimping on certain items and splurging on others that are really worth it. It’s a good idea to invest in key focal pieces that will last the test of time, such as sofas and beds, as well as mattresses, duvets and bed linen. You can then be a little bit more frugal when it comes to smaller pieces like side tables, occasional chairs, artwork and cushion covers that can be picked up cheaply yet still have a stylish impact.

When it comes to fixtures and finishes, it’s also possible to get a smart, expensive look for less. The cheapest, plain white metro tiles will give a Scandinavian feel, while Stratex flooring gives the appearance of real wood but at a fraction of the price. The latest manufacturing techniques mean that it’s tough, scratch resistant and long-lasting. From clean and contemporary white-washed boards to rustic and rural-inspired designs, Woodpecker has a wide variety of colours and styles to suit everyone.

Get shopping savvy


Do your research and shop around for places where you can pick up homewares for less, so you have a sourcebook of discounted online shops, independent stores, antique markets and seasonal home fairs at your fingertips. eBay, Gumtree and Preloved are good places to start for secondhand homeware and vintage pieces that are in a good condition, while stores like Homesense and TK Maxx stock branded designs at cut prices.

Get to know when the sales and key promotions are throughout the year. Huge bargains can be found for instance on Black Friday or if you wait until just after Christmas for the Boxing Day and New Year sales. For larger pieces of furniture such as sofas, ask stores if they have any ex-display pieces they wouldn’t mind offering at a discount. Sign up to newsletters from your favourite brands and keep an eye out for sample sales where many items will be up to 70% off.

Get stuck in and do it yourself


Excluding specialist skills such as plumbing and wiring, have a go with decoration and DIY, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. It might mean giving a room a fresh coat of colour, fixing a shelving unit you’ve been meaning to put up for a while or upcycling an old piece of furniture. It will save you pennies, and you’ll also have a greater sense of achievement when you’re done and can appreciate the time and effort you’ve put in to make it yours.

The details


A home is an expression of your interests, hopes and dreams so design a space to suit you. It’s the little things that make a house a home, that make it feel lived-in and loved – the personal touches, the unique objects found on travels, the trinkets and decorative finishes. Use soft textures and tactile, natural materials to appeal to the senses. Frame posters and postcards picked up from exhibitions or even pages ripped from favourite magazines to create affordable art. Add colour and instant impact with house plants and vibrant bunches of blooms on side tables and coffee tables. Most importantly, make your own rules and be creative with what you’ve got.


Images courtesy of Cate St Hill and used with kind permission.

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