Decorating on a budget – our top tips to getting a chic, unique look for less

A beautiful home needn't cost a fortune

Give your home a new lease of life without breaking the bank with our top tips for decorating on a budget. Sometimes the simplest solutions can have the biggest impact so try these easy ideas to transform every room in your home.

Our All Room Ideas can be applied to every space in your house

Read on and discover our best hacks for decorating on a budget...

1. Add colour to your walls

bedroom with caret flooring and white table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

In these ‘don’'t move, improve’ times, a lick of paint is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to give your home an instant lift. Whether you make a statement with a feature wall, go all out and decorate an entire room in an intense shade, or opt for a stylish two-tone scheme, you’re guaranteed a striking look with oodles of glamour.

And don't forget the paint effects. Beloved of Laurence Llewelyn Bowen in legendary 1990s series Changing Rooms, they've moved on a bit since then. A current favourite is a plaster effect, which is going to be huge this summer, and also geometrics, which can be easily created using masking tape.

2. Rethink what you have

grey walled room with table and black cupboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Jane Watson)

It costs nothing to reassess what your room already looks like. Why not move a few pieces around? Sometimes a fresh approach encourages you to get rid of tired pieces that only clutter up your space. Ask yourself whether you really need everything you see. If not, then drop those items off at the charity shop or sell them on eBay. Less is often more (and often more eco-friendly)

3. Choose your lighting wisely

white kitchen with wooden flooring and table

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

The right lighting can transform the mood of your scheme at very little cost. Why not buy a fresh shade for your lamp? Try replacing mismatched table lamps, with stylish matching ones. Place one on either side of your sofa or bed, and see how the room suddenly has cohesive style. Get stylish lighting for less at Matalan – the store has taken up the mantel of BHS in the illumination stakes.

Related: Designer-look Matalan lighting collection brightens up homes

4. Update your cushions and throws

blue living room with armchair and fire place

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Can't afford a new sofa? There are dozens of affordable, fabulous cushions that are one of a kind and will zip up your space instantaneously. Find bargain designs to suit your style at Dunelm Mill, Asda or IKEA. If you’'re not sure what colours to go for, take inspiration from the palette of your walls and floor.

5. Build your own headboard

white living room with carpet flooring and dressing table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Give your bedroom an instant update for less with an easy make. Cut pieces of MDF to size and upholster it in a unique fabric to make an eye-catching headboard – you could choose the same fabric for your curtains on scatter cushions. Another idea is to fix planks of wood to a baton, or you could epicycle and old window shutter. Let your imagination run wild!

6. Add light with mirrors

white wallpaper with white framed mirrors

(Image credit: Future PLC/Olly Gordon)

Mirrors can be a cost-friendly alternative to works of art. Use them to add light and shimmer to your walls, or mix and match different styles to bring elegance and personality to even the smallest of spaces. Try M&S  and Ikea for credit-crunch busting mirrors.

7. Recover and renew

blue living room with wooden flooring and armchair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

Instead of splashing out on new armchair, why not give your existing piece a makeover by recovering it a new fabric. An expert can upholster it for you, or for something less permanent, you could have a go at making a loose cover.

8. Transform a window

white tiled bathroom with bathtub

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Create a focal point in your room without overspending, by updating your windows. A roller or Roman blind is a great low-effort, high-impact option – or you could have a go at making your own curtains. Another cheap and cheerful trick is to add window film. It gives you privacy without blocking out the light and can be removed if you tire of the pattern without making a mark – that means it's good for renters, too!

9. Create artwork

white room with wooden flooring and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Consider investing in wall decor that has been pre-framed to avoid a nasty surprise, or make sure it fits a standard Ikea frame (40cm x 60cm, 50cm x 70cm, etc). Don't, and you could be hit with an expensive framing bill. And even cheaper alternative is to make your own artwork – try your hand at marbling, which ties into the latest mindfulness trend, or get the kids to have a go. Find frames at local charity shops, painting them to match if you like!

10. Put down new vinyl flooring

kitchen with grey drawers and worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Inspired? Kitchen flooring ideas – for a floor that’s hard-wearing, practical and stylish

Digital Editor Amy has just done this in her bathroom and it's made all the difference. You can pick up a roll that will cover a small bathroom for under £40 at B&M. Monochrome designs are particularly on trend at the moment, and give you more flexibility when it comes to colour schemes.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.