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‘Decor8’ on a budget – a guest post from Holly Becker

Holly Becker is the queen of interiors blogs. Her hugely popular website, Decor8 has already spawned one best-selling book. Now she has a second out: Decorate Workshop (Jacqui Small), a step-by-step guide to grappling with your own interiors project, beautifully illustrated with inspiring, beautiful pictures by Debi Treloar (see just a few of them below).

I asked Ms Becker to share her best tips for doing up your place, or re-doing it on a small budget. I put as many of them as I could fit into my little column in the Independent on Sunday this weekend, but here they all are in full, plus gratuitous photography from the book to boot - just to make sure you are properly inspired. Over to you Holly...

Embrace the happy accidents. Sometimes you'll make a mistake – maybe you'll hang the wallpaper upside down (I did this once). Upon stepping back, you may prefer the pattern upside down and even find it a great conversation piece. Often the wonky bits bring personality and charm into a home, so embrace the mistakes and don't be so hard on yourself, or your home.

Be yourself. Don't try to copy what others have done. It's one thing to be inspired, it's another to recreate the look one to one. The goal with decorating is to have fun and make it your own project. 

Have confidence in your creative expression. Don't constantly second guess yourself because that can kill creativity. If you want to try something a bit unconventional and you think that you'll love it, then go for it – it's your home.

Put decorating in perspective. It's decorating, not world peace! Seriously, the less stress you put into the process of decorating the more your positive energy and personality will show in the way you've pulled your home together

Shop around your own home before heading to the high street. Go from room to room and list what may work better in another space. Often swapping out curtains, throws, a lamp, some pillows and a few decorative objects can make a huge difference. You may not need to buy anything new at all. Realistically though, we all love something new from time-to-time but shopping at home first helps you to stretch your money – if you can redecorate using what you have then you'll have more money over time to buy that luxury piece you've been after or reupholster the sofa over time. Little purchases add up.

Embellish if you are bored with something that is too expensive to switch out. If your plain linen curtains are boring you to tears, stitch on some trim or paint your curtain rod in a fun color, like hot pink. If your tiled bathroom doesn't excite you, create a focal point through a beautifully patterned shower curtain, throw rugs and towels. Work with what you have until you can afford to change it altogether.

A little paint goes a long way. You can paint a wall, then use what's left over to paint a cabinet, or inside of your closet, or a shelf in the kitchen. Most of us have paint cans lining the storage room that we'll never use again so it's best, while the paint is still fresh and you're still in your painter's pants, to use it immediately and save only a small bit for touch ups later on.

Think of how to turn what you have into something decorative. Some of the most basic things at home can be decorative and pretty if you put some thought into their arrangement. Books, magazines, your collection of tea, vintage cutlery, your linens – Perhaps your tea boxes that are falling apart in the cupboard could be replaced with glass jars that you could fill with tea and arrange on a shelf above your counter. Maybe all of those bath products lining the shower would look nicer poured into dispensers or plain glass or plastic see-through bottles to create a spa-at-home vibe. Perhaps your linens are too pretty to keep in a closet, stack them in a cabinet with glass doors instead. 

Thanks so much Holly!


  1. Lovely post! I particularly love the tip to shop around what you already have. It's so easy to overlook things we already have because it seems more fun to buy something new, but it just results in more 'stuff' - reusing and repurposing is great advice.

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