Interior Decorating Information

Decorating Frugally

The trend these days is to discover extremely innovative ways to decorate interiors on a budget. The tips provided below are just a few of the many ways one can inexpensively achieve a truly original look for a room.

Borders on a wall are an elegant way to change the look of a room. The easiest way to do this is to paint two parallel lines either at eye level or about a foot above the floor. Deciding on what motifs or designs to paint or stencil between these two lines will depend entirely on who the occupants of the room are. For example, if it is a child's room then you could dip the child's hands in paint and make hand prints between the lines at regular intervals. I am yet to find a kid who doesn't enjoy this activity thoroughly! Also, kids love to display their school art projects on their bedroom walls. Try hanging up these projects on their room walls and watch their eyes light up!

Another option for border design is block printing using vegetables or fruits. Capsicum, okra and apples when cut in half horizontally, dipped in paint and stamped onto the surface produce readymade floral designs. String beans can be used to print tiny leaf designs. Use your imagination to cut up a design on potatoes or carrots. Then use this as a homemade stencil to reproduce the design.

Here is another great way to add design to your walls. Choose any old toy car or truck in your child's toy basket, dip the wheels into the paint and roll it along the surface to create parallel lines; or you could zigzag them for a cute effect!

Step outside for a walk. Pick up a few leaves that appeal to you. Now dip the leaf surface into the paint and press it onto the wall to create a naturally stenciled leaf design.

For a genuine work of art, try this. Dip an old toothbrush into paint. Hold the brush close to the surface you would like to produce this effect on. Now pull back the bristles and release them gently so that a fine spray effect is produced on the desired surface. Test out the spray action on a piece of paper before trying it on a wall. Sponge painting is another surface painting method to create special effects inexpensively. Sponged-on designs actually let you personalize your space with minimum effort, cost and time. All you need is a plain wall, some cheap acrylic paint, a sponge and lots of enthusiasm! If you can't afford the expensive sea sponges, then don't fret yet, there is help. Just get any old/new sponge, randomly pinch out pieces so you get an uneven plucked out effect. Now hold this piece of 'personal art' comfortably in your hand and dip it into the paint. Then dab the paint-soaked portion onto a scrap of paper, just to get the excess paint out. Proceed to applying the sponge onto the wall at regular intervals. Stand back and view your artwork before touching up the design. Have fun!

To go in for a really coordinated design scheme, you can use the same effects you used on the walls of the room on the furniture or other accessories in the room. For example, if your kitchen walls have the leaf design, then you can use the same design on the cupboards, tabletops, and refrigerator door and bread box too!

I hope that was a fun set of frugal ideas to spruce up your walls this summer. But before you rush off to start, make a note of the following tips too:

  • Make sure the surface to be decorated is clean and dry.

  • Keep your supplies [sponge, paint, rags, scraps of paper or tissue, stencils, vegetables or fruits etc] on an old newspaper so you don't have a messy floor to contend with at the end of your project.

  • Use acrylic craft paint instead of the oil based stencil paint because it is brighter and easier to clean.

    Now that just reminds me, there are a whole lot of people staying in rented homes who aren't allowed to paint their walls! Guess what? You can still decorate with any design you want! Here's what you do:

    Using any of the tips given above, paint, stencil or block-print the designs you want on cheap sheets or old bed sheets. Make sure you use good quality fabric paint.

    Let it dry thoroughly. Then cut out these designs and soak them in a solution of liquid starch and water [2 tsp starch to one cup water]. Now place them on the walls wherever you want. They can be peeled off easily when you get tired of them or when it's time to move!

    About The Author

    Rachel Paul, 2004.

    Rachel Paul is a busy at-home mom and an avid interior decorator who loves to find genuinely innovative ways to perk up her home in the few free moments she finds between caring for her family and pursuing home study writing courses as well. She can be contacted at:

    Permission is granted to reprint for free with resource box intact.

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