8 Ways to Create a Designer Home on a Budget — Haven Illume (2024)

A beautiful home on a budget can be done! Let me show you…

Whether you are working with a limited budget or just want to be thoughtful about how you invest your money when it comes to designing your home, you can create a space that is personal and just as spectacular as those that line the pages of the glossies.

I’m sharing 8 of my favorite tips for creating a personal, unique and beautiful space without blowing your bank account.

I love creating beautiful spaces. I relish in spending time in a home that evokes a feeling and embodies the personalities of those who reside within its walls. I spend my days designing spaces for my clients and my nights trying to create a home that encompasses the same design principles for my own family. Just because my personal budget doesn’t match that of my clients, it doesn’t change the desire that I have to create a space equally as special. And I promise, it can be done!

Read along for my 8 top tips to make that happen:

1. Buy Secondhand

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I think that my ratio of used furnishings and consignment clothing is equal. I would estimate that 75% of what I own is previously loved. Seriously. Fast fashion and fast furnishings go hand in hand.

I love finding scores at antique shops, on Facebook Marketplace, at yard sales or consignments shops. Not only can you find special pieces for a killer deal, but I love the fact that they have a history and help create sustainability in our world.

According to Architectural Digest, The EPA estimates that 9 million tons of furniture goes to landfills every year. Pretty awful. Buying used allows me to purchase higher quality items than I would be able to purchase in a store and the longevity of their life far surpasses a new item at the same price point.

Antiques are another love of mine and though they are not always the most cost effective, you cannot replace the character and warmth they bring to a home. I love to imagine the stories, travels and experiences a beautifully patina’d piece may have seen. Have you ever noticed how a design really can fall flat without the beauty of vintage?

If you are in the Nashville area, my favorite spots for vintage are:

Gas Lamp Antiques

Patina & Co.

Preservation Station

2. Source Free Art

This was a new discovery to me and maybe it is to you, too?!

Did you know there are archives of free, beautiful art? Yes! Free public domain art that you can simply download, print (professionally or yourself) and put in a favorite (possibly vintage) frame!

I found Kadie Pangburn of A Home is Announced, last year and fell in love with her vibe. She is also where I discovered what this was!

Basically when an artist creates a piece they are granted a copyright that is good for the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years. After this time, their work passes to the Public Domain and may be used for free. Katie does a great job of explaining it all and is a great source! Check her site out to understand how Public Domain Art works, as well as links to a ton of galleries! Enjoy!

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3. Incredible and Inexpensive Curtains and Rods

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Curtains are like the mascara of a room. You can have a great base, but until you dress the windows, it always feels a bit incomplete.

When we moved into our new house, I knew that I wanted to create softness and privacy with some gorgeous drapes. I also knew that I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars. Many hours of research later, I found some incredible options that you wouldn’t ever know were as inexpensiveas they were! (Hint - around $30!)

Tip: Go for a light filtering linen curtain for spaces you want to keep bright and airy. Choose a velvet or blackout linen curtain for spaces you’d like to feel more sumptuous.

Here are some of my favorite drapes and rods:

(There are a few items below that I do receive a commission on if you choose to purchase. This does not affect your cost at all. Thank you for your support!)

My favorite curtain rods

Light and Airy Linen Curtains

Blackout Linen Curtains

4. Light Fixture Makeover

No matter how pretty your furniture might be, a dated light fixture always stands out like a sore thumb on top of it. We swapped out all of the lights in our house for between $30-$200 a piece. It was one of the most cost effective changes that went the farthest!

I get questions all of the time on our dining room chandelier - I bought it for $50 on Facebook Market Place and it is one of my favorite pieces! (There’s a peek of it in the photo above.)

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I’m sharing some of my all time favorite Amazon options if you are on the hunt too!

Here are the exact fixtures we used:

Hallway Semi Flush Mount

Primary Bedroom 52” Ceiling Fan - Natural Wood and White

Living Room and Bedrooms 44” Ceiling Fan

Primary Closet Flush Mount Light

Playroom Flush Mount Light

I still have these two saved in my amazon cart to finish our powder bath remodel when budget allows!

Flower Sconce

Globe Light

And these were a few others that I loved:

Schoolhouse Style

Fun for a Kids Room

For a Little Frill

Timeless Chandelier

Fun and Funky Mid Century Mod Chandelier

5. Fresh Coat of Paint!

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They always say that paint can completely transform a room and “they” are right! One of the most cost effective ways to freshen up and truly change the energy of a space is with a can of paint, a roller and a brush.

If you are just moving into a home, I suggest giving a fresh coat of paint to as many rooms you can. No only does it help the aesthetic, It also can help with odors!

I’ll be sharing about the colors we used in our house in a future post, but for now, I’ll tell you that they all came from the Historical Color Collection from Benjamin Moore! Such a great selection of colors rich with history and in the perfect shades.

6. Large Scale Decor

Bigger is generally better when it comes to home decor. The larger the vase, the larger the books, the larger the art, the larger the lamp, the larger the pillows - the better! Though it may seem counterintuitive, larger pieces make spaces feel more spacious and designer.

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Small items can often translate as cheap trinkets, so swap them out for a couple of statement pieces and be amazed at the transformation. Your eyes will be drawn to the beauty of a few outstanding pieces instead of tired and confused looking at so many small items.

7. Fresh Flowers Always

My all time favorite tip for creating a home that feels warm and embodies a designer lifestyle is to always have fresh flowers around! Fresh flowers are life and they give life to any space.

At work, I always laugh with my colleague, Nora, about the power of floral transormation. We often look around at the end of an install day and feel like things look really good, but once that final floral layer goes in, it all comes together and is next level!

I strongly believe that interior floral should be reflective of the seasons, so take your cue from nature and source what is in currently growing outside your door - from fluffy peonies and intricate ranunculus in spring to evergreen, bare branches and hellebore in winter.

My favorite places to get flowers are:

Local Farmers - nothing better than supporting your local flower farmers!

Wholesale Markets - many have hours that are open to the public for shopping!

Trader Joes- hands down the best grocery store floral selection!

8. A Bit at a Time

I think the most important takeaway to note when trying to curate pieces and design a home in a meaningful way, is that it takes time.

Keep the reminder that Rome wasn’t built in a day close as a principle to guide you in your home design. Find special pieces here and there and only say yes to things that you really, truly, love. Those are the pieces that will create the most joy and that you will add electricity to your space.

Don’t buy things just because they are on a great sale. Wait to purchase the right pieces and your home will come together much more beautifully and purposefully. You will feel it and so will all of your guests.


I hope that you found a little nugget or two in here that feels like something you can add to your own home to make it feel just a little closer to the place you’d like it to be.

Wishing you all beauty, joy and memories made within your walls. Love you friends!

As an interior design enthusiast with a passion for creating beautiful spaces, I can provide insights and tips on how to design a personal and unique home on a budget. Let me demonstrate my knowledge by discussing the concepts mentioned in this article.

Buying Secondhand

One of the tips mentioned in the article is to buy secondhand furniture and decor items. This is a great way to find unique pieces at affordable prices. Shopping at antique shops, consignment stores, and online platforms like Facebook Marketplace can help you discover special items with a history. Not only does buying used allow you to purchase higher quality items within your budget, but it also promotes sustainability by reducing waste and landfill usage.

Source Free Art

The article suggests using free public domain art as an affordable way to decorate your home. When artists create a piece, they are granted a copyright that lasts for their lifetime plus 70 years. After this time, their work enters the Public Domain and can be used freely. There are archives available online where you can find and download beautiful artwork to print and display in your home. Websites like A Home is Announced provide information on how to access public domain art and offer links to various galleries.

Inexpensive Curtains and Rods

Curtains play an important role in adding softness and privacy to a room. The article recommends choosing affordable curtain options that provide the desired aesthetic. Light filtering linen curtains can create a bright and airy atmosphere, while velvet or blackout linen curtains can add a more luxurious feel. The article also provides links to specific curtain rods and curtains that the author recommends.

Light Fixture Makeover

Updating outdated light fixtures can have a significant impact on the overall look of a room. The article suggests replacing old fixtures with more modern options, which can be done at a reasonable cost. The author shares some of their favorite affordable light fixtures and provides links to specific products they used in their own home.

Fresh Coat of Paint

Painting a room is a cost-effective way to transform its appearance and create a fresh look. The article emphasizes the power of paint in changing the energy of a space and recommends giving a fresh coat of paint to as many rooms as possible. The author mentions using colors from the Historical Color Collection by Benjamin Moore, which offers a wide selection of colors with rich historical significance.

Large Scale Decor

Using larger decor pieces can make a space feel more spacious and designer. The article suggests opting for statement pieces rather than numerous small items, as small items can sometimes appear cheap or cluttered. By incorporating larger vases, books, art, lamps, and pillows, you can create a more impactful visual experience in your home.

Fresh Flowers Always

Adding fresh flowers to your home is a simple yet effective way to bring life and warmth to any space. The article recommends selecting flowers that reflect the current season and sourcing them from local farmers, wholesale markets, or grocery stores with a good floral selection like Trader Joe's. By incorporating fresh flowers, you can enhance the ambiance and create a more inviting atmosphere.

Curating Over Time

The article emphasizes the importance of curating your home over time and being selective with your purchases. Rather than rushing to fill your space with items on sale, it's advised to take your time and only choose pieces that you truly love. This approach ensures that your home reflects your personal style and brings you joy. Rome wasn't built in a day, and the same principle applies to creating a well-designed home.

I hope this overview of the concepts mentioned in the article demonstrates my expertise in the topic of creating beautiful spaces on a budget. If you have any specific questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask!

8 Ways to Create a Designer Home on a Budget — Haven Illume (2024)


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