Budget Decorating,  House & Home,  Lifestyle

Budget Decorating: What If Your Budget Is $0?

… And your imagination has really expensive taste?

As I wrote in my introductory blog post (http://hearthandgable.com/welcome-to-hearth-gable-interiors/), about halfway through my extended maternity leave, I decided to go back to school part-time and study Visual Design & Interiors. My goal was to begin a blog and start my own decorating and consulting business.

That was three years ago, and now I’m two courses away from graduation.

It has been a long haul. Being a student AND a stay-at-home parent for six years meant that money was Tight with a capital T. So, it was a cruel irony of fate that during my studies I should find myself surrounded and inspired by all manner of beautiful things – furniture, fixtures, textiles and trimmings – with no budget whatsoever with which to decorate my own home. In an average, single-income family, there is precious little funding for natty little décor schemes or renovations, trust.

It’s very frustrating when what you want is this:


photo: clawfoot.com

But what you can afford is this:

redneck tub

photo credit: stasigh.blogspot.dk

Your imagination says, “This!”


 photo: housetohome.co.uk

But your wallet says, “This.”

milk crates-resized

photo: anonymousouyed.blogspot.ca

You dream of this:

place setting

photo: theenchantedhome.blogspot.com

But your reality is this:


You get the idea.

So now, as I approach graduation, I’ve registered my business (Hearth & Gable Interiors), created this blog, and the next step is to build my portfolio. The best way to do this, of course, is to start working on my own home, so potential clients can really appreciate my super amazing personal vision.

Except for one, tiny little hiccup. I still have no budget.

My design journey aptly begins with me bookended by a rock and a hard place.

Since necessity is in fact the mother of invention, I have decided to blog about my home decorating projects, starting at $0 and see if I can work my way up. In between, I’ll continue to post other stuff, like decorating advice, inspiration photos, professional work, colour and trends. Probably also detailed laments over having to settle for IKEA over Restoration Hardware. I’m counting on your empathy.

Being on a budget means that every decorating choice you make must be done carefully, weighing quality, aesthetics, and price. Most of us don’t have the luxury of making superficial impulse purchases, or replacing high-trend items every season. I know I certainly don’t. Working with what you have, and breaking down a larger design scope one fragment at a time is much, much harder than clearing out an entire room and starting from scratch. But let’s face it… it’s what most of us have to do.

Decorating, for me, will be an investment in the future. And my imagination. Join me!

flowers on windowsill

“I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” – William Butler Yeats.



  • Dara

    Brilliant. You really captured how everyday people deal with the realities of making their home beautiful and for that alone I would hire you in a second!

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