Interior Design - For Young Independent people starting out

I've been asked to write an article about how I've been assisting the Charity, 16-25 Independent People with their room makeover project.  This got me thinking about the whole ethos behind Interior Design and the current climate.  I've always been interested in interior design but often felt that it wasn't achievable on a limited budget.  It's the same for many people when looking through glossy magazines, they depict dreamy living rooms that just don’t seem affordable.  Even the weekly papers and their ‘home’ pages list items that are supposedly ‘affordable’, with ornaments coming in at the £30 - £50 price range for one!  However, I was to be proved wrong.  This is the article I wrote for the charity 16-25ip.

After buying Hannah's first home in Bristol three years ago her and her partner had to have major work carried out to make our home liveable.  This left them with a rather limited budget to decorate and furnish our home.  Freya, Hannah's daughter who was only 11 months old at this point, 'Hannah Redden Interiors & Textiles' was 'on hold' and Hannah's partner’s salary was paying the mortgage and bills.  They had to be clever and think of ways that they could achieve their desired home.  Hannah signed up to Free CycleGumtreePreloved, and was regularly searching on Ebay.  Hannah was visiting the local Charity shops so regularly that she was on first name terms with the staff.  Facebook selling pages were also another handy source for all sorts of items.  Now two years on and they have managed to decorate and fill their home, creating the style they wanted on a limited budget, often with surprising finds for very little or even free!  Our favourite find has to be from a lovely lady from who gave Hannah an amazing anglepoise lamp for free from Free Cycle which is now pride of place in her living room.

"I’ve been working for the Cash Pointers Project branch of the Charity 16-25IP for over six months now, within that time I have been able to assist four households create their desired rooms on a budget of just £50 per person.  £50! I hear you say, YES it can be done! 

Decorating on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to discard your ideas of your dream room.  It's all about changing your way of thinking.  Rather than rushing out to buy something new every time you want to revamp a room, it's about learning to work with what you've got or can get for a fraction of the price.  Just simple, stylish updates that anyone can have a go at make a considerable difference.  Paint, wallpaper and fabric are key to unlocking a new look.  There are many websites out there that will give you samples of fabric and wallpaper that could be framed and used to create a feature wall."

It's alleged that out of these times of economic catastrophe comes great creativity, and this isn't any less true when it comes to interiors.  It may be difficult to change your mind set at first.  One of our clients from the Cash Pointers Project Makeover scheme actually stated that “Sewing was for old people” Having spent four years completing a BA Hons in Textile Design Hannah really wanted to show her that this isn’t true, this client then went on to hem two sets of curtains all by herself, with her brother also having a go on the sewing machine.  This was one of the moments when this project has felt so worthwhile and rewarding.  Another client managed to source fabric table runners from Ikea for 50p each which we then transformed into cushion covers for her existing sofa, revamping the feel of the whole room.

Before:  The room was dark with red accents darkening the room further.
If you are clever with your money and spend time sourcing items, you can do it!  Alternatively, if you hate a piece of furniture but don't want to pay to replace it, you can hide it by painting it the same colour as the walls of your house.  Tester pots of paint may not cover a wall, but there is enough in those little bottles to paint old picture frames and hang them together on what was an empty wall.  There is potential in everything you own, that nondescript kitchen dresser that suddenly takes centre stage once you wallpaper the inside with a vibrant print, those plain Ikea drawers that are instantly updated when you replace the handles with mismatched vintage ones, even those plane pine draws that could stand out after being given a lick of something colourful.
After:  We used pale shades of blue to lighten the room and replaced the red voiles with a white calico and a blue trim

And for people who still harbour concerns about whether all this is worth it, you can easily make simple changes first and see what a difference it makes.  Change the focus of the living room from the TV to the fireplace; or face a sofa and chairs towards each other for a more sociable set-up. Once you have done this you will see that it really is worth moving on to the bigger stuff. Above all, don't be afraid to have a go – you can always change things again if you don't like them.

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