Save money on interior design by keeping it simple ... photo by CC user Jeremy van Bedijk via Flickr

Are you putting together a new interior design scheme? Not a lot of spare cash lying around? Don’t worry, there are ways of achieving fresh and contemporary interiors without going bankrupt. That’s right, frugal is the new fashionable, and nobody wants to spend more than they need to on creating a vibrant new scheme at home. Read on for easy tips on how to save money on interior design so you can transform that dull interior into a low-cost luxury delight.

There are so many things to consider when designing a new interior; the costs can quickly spiral out of control. Before you begin, decide the extent of your ambition – then make sure it matches up with your budget. A complete overhaul that encompasses new carpets or flooring, fresh paint, and window treatments will take a big chunk out of your cash. When you then add the essentials such as furnishings, lighting and accessories, you’re quickly moving into overspend territory.

Be open-minded

We all know that necessity is the mother of invention, and when budgets are tight, it forces us to be more creative. This is a good thing. Tapping into your creative energies ultimately results in a unique interior that reflects your personality. Embrace awesome resources such as Craigslist, yard sales, local auctions, charity stores, and antique emporiums for finding one-off, interesting items for your home at low prices.

If a sofa is a great style and shape but you hate the fabric, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Consider getting it re-upholstered in material that will fit your design theme. Old and dated furniture can be easily revamped with a lick of paint and some new handles. If you have a collection of furniture that doesn’t seem to hang together, paint it all in the same matt shade – something light and neutral such as a pale blue or green – and see how they suddenly look like they’re all playing on the same team.

Shabby chic is all the rage in interiors, so when furnishings are not pristine and new, it doesn’t really matter. An interior that blends antique and modern is very on-trend right now, so be bold about introducing contrasting pieces that really energize a scheme.

Keep it simple

Using a simple approach to buying new furniture is another way of keeping costs down. Sourcing contemporary designs from stores like Ikea gives you a great starting point for a new scheme. Buy some basic, key pieces and build an interior story around them, letting them inspire and trigger ideas for something that is totally you.

Cool surfaces

Save money in modern interiors by using unexpected finishes on floors and walls. Bare concrete is frequently used in minimalist schemes, can be textured, polished and tinted in different colors and used for floors, walls, counter tops and more. Unfinished plaster on walls is another trend that’s really hot in cool interiors right now. The patina of age that peeling, flaky plaster suggests contrasts neatly with sleek, contemporary finishes and clean lines. Industrial finishes such as stainless steel in kitchens don’t need to be ultra-expensive if you source them direct from catering suppliers. Check out old restaurants in your neighborhood that are refitting their kitchens – you never know what gems might turn up. Plywood is a cheap and versatile material that cutting-edge designers are using for everything right now. Whether it’s for flooring, cabinets, shelving, wall paneling, or a million other applications, the texture, price, and attractive grain of plywood is elevating it to chic status in a hurry.

Spend more on the little things

Invest more in accessories when your budget is limited, and spend low on the basic framework of a room such as the furniture, then pay out on accessories that add a touch of luxury and glamour to proceedings. Rich and sensual throws on sofas and armchairs, grand chandeliers that glitter light across the room, sumptuous floor rugs, and cushions in jewel shades add luxury at relatively low cost. Fantastic lighting lifts a ten cent room into the million dollar category by simply altering the mood with a flick of the switch. Low lighting, dimmer switches, and task lighting should all be part of the plan for an interior that functions on multiple levels.

Create a focal point in a room with a collection of disparate ceramics or vases gathered from yard sales and charity stores. Choose ceramics with a unifying glaze or shade and group them on a shelf or in an alcove to create impact and interest and draw the eye into a room.

Transforming home interiors on a budget needn’t look like a low-cost, budget affair. Follow these easy tips for spending less but achieving more from fun, frugal furnishings with flair.