You see this phrase a lot but what does it mean? Does it mean the same thing to you that it does to me? Probably not, and here's why.
The term "decorating" is easy to understand; it concerns making something (a room, a space) prettier, better organized, more functional, more esthetically pleasing.
Okay so far.
It's when we start talking "budget" that the confusion sets in.
For instance, I have a friend who thinks following a budget means scrimping on 350 count sheets instead her favorite 700 count set.
Me, I like to keep food on the table, gas in the car, and the cable modem hooked up.
My decorating budget is what's left over, unless it's close to the holidays when that becomes my gift budget.
You may have a zero dollar budget (been there, my friend).
You can still re-arrange your space, clean and de-clutter it, and look around your house for items to use in new, more effective, or unusual ways.
You can create a pleasant, comfortable area without taking out a home equity loan or borrowing against the college fund.
Budget decorating is really about getting the most value and impact for whatever dollars you have available to spend on decorating.
Put like that, it's not such a difficult concept, is it? Budget decorating does not mean buying the cheapest of everything or making do with uncomfortable or inconvenient furnishings because they haven't fallen into pieces yet.
It does involve some stretching of the imagination to see the potential in a marked down can of yellowish paint of a slightly odd hue that just happens to coordinate with another marked down length of fabric.
It also helps to be willing to embrace various decorating styles.
Eclectic is the budget decorator's friend! It's important to spend your money on the most important items first.
If you're decorating a bedroom, make sure that you have the best mattress you can afford.
Stunning draperies lose some of their charm when viewed after a night of tossing and turning on a lumpy mattress.
If it's a home office that you feel the need to spiff up, think about the desk and the desk chair.
Oak filing cabinets look wonderful, but if I have to choose between sufficient room to work and a fancy filing system, I'll stick with my painted metal cabinets, thank you very much.
My decorating budget may be less than your budget, and it's certainly less than my friend's budget, and that's okay.
Each of us can work within our means to create spaces that reflect our style and outlook on our world.
When we sit back to enjoy our newly decorated rooms, we can do so with the satisfaction of knowing that there's still enough money left over for brownies!