Interior Design Masters’ Abi and Rochelle reveal their secret to sticking to a small renovating budget

*Warning* spoilers ahead

Fans of Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr on BBC1 would have been sad to wave goodbye to Rochelle Dalphinis and Abi Davis in a double eviction on Wednesday night's episode.

Rochelle and Abi were paired up in week three to transform the common room of the Lundy Lions. They transformed the space with diagonal grey stripes, bright furniture, and a statement turf wall, however, it wasn't enough to save them from the sofa.

Over the last few episodes, Abi and Rochelle have wowed us with the other contestants with what they're able to achieve on a tight budget. Overhauling whole rooms, and even apartments in just 16 hours with smart budget decorating ideas.

green walled common room with multi-coloured furniture

(Image credit: Future PLC/Interior Design Masters)

Speaking to Ideal Home, Abi and Rochelle revealed that thrifting, second-hand buys, and upcycling furniture ideas were the key to them working with such a tight budget.

'I'm such an avid charity shopper I believe that you should always go to charity shops before you go anywhere to buy anything,' Abi told Ideal Home. 'I think my keen eye for charity shopping got me through so I can spend more budget on wallpaper, more budget on things that were more expensive.'

woman looking at camera

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Interior Design Masters)

Rochelle revealed that on episode 2, it was second-hand buys that got her through too. 'In episode 2, I went to a lot of vintage yards, and bought a lot of stuff from there and from french chateau house clearances,' she explains.

Making the most of secondhand buys is something that both designers apply to their own home design, not just on the show. Abi even has her own upcycling business flipping unloved pieces on her Etsy store Abi Ann Davis (opens in new tab). 'I think both of us it's all about thrifting, and trying to get whatever we can for as cheap as possible and then give it a glow up and make people want it again,' explains Abi.

'The ethos that both of us agree on is that design is accessible for everybody,' adds Rochelle. 'It doesn't matter how tight things are for you, there are ways you can create things that mean that you can have beautiful things. Interior design can be accessible, you just have to be clever about how you do it.'

Abi and Rochelle's tips for shopping second-hand

So where should you start when sourcing second-hand? Both designers swear by Facebook Marketplace. 'Even if you have to drive to Timbuktu and back you can get some great second-hand things on there,' says Rochelle.

women in multi-coloured dress

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Interior Design Masters)

Before taking an item home though Abi recommends checking four things first. 'Always check it has all the legs, you'd be surprised, sometimes they have wonky legs,' she says. 'Make sure that it's actual wood that it's not flatpack. Check for any woodworm, because if you take that back to your house - oh my god. Always just think when you see a piece think of it in your house and think about what color it could go. From there you'll get the upcycling bug.'

'What's the worst that could happen, you spent £50 on a bit of furniture that you painted and you think it doesn't look right you just sell it on, put it on Facebook market place and someone is going to buy it for £50 because they'll go 'I can do a better job of upcycling that'.

If you're not ready to say goodbye to this season's Thelma and Louise, you can find more interior design and thrifty shopping tips on the pair's Instagram @abianndavis (opens in new tab) and @rochelle_dalphinis (opens in new tab).

Is it just us hoping for a thrifty homes podcast from the pair?

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.