Ok, last week I told you that I'm obsessively planning out how I'm going to decorate my next apartment and this week I'd like to tell you how I created my budget for these plans.
I'll start off by saying that I'm kind of cheap. Things that cost more than $20 are a major purchase to me, so I'm keeping my purse strings pretty tight with this whole redecorating business. However, while I am budget conscious, I realize that you sometimes have to spend more than $20 to get quality pieces that are going to last a long time.
My first step in creating my budget was to list everything that I wanted to go into the apartment (chairs, art, side tables, rugs, curtains, etc. etc.) Then I broke down the list into three parts: Have, DIY, and Purchase.
The Have portion of the list consists of items I already had that would work well in the new space
The DIY part lists which pieces I owned, but that needed a little fixing up.
The Purchase part of the list required some research. There are a few larger pieces (couch, dining room table, rug) that we'll be purchasing for our new place, so I needed to look around the internet and research prices as well as visit local consignment shops and discount retailers to see what sort of prices they offered. Once I had a pretty good idea of what I could find each item for, I wrote down a price range next to the items that were on the Purchase part of my inventory list.
Once I had the price ranges for the things we'd need to purchase, I also estimated costs for the DIY projects I had planned. After all the price ranges were written down, I added them up and nearly died because the number seemed so big (remember $20 is a major purchase to me), but then I gave myself some perspective by remembering that some people spend that much on a laptop or a fancy purse and spending that much to decorate an entire apartment, to help build a comfortable home really wasn't that much. I'm also pretty confident that I'll be able to score some deals on the more major purchases (like the couch and the kitchen table) on Craigslist and estate sales and come in under budget.
Now that I knew how much I wanted to spend, I needed to figure out where the money was coming from. So I made another list. This time it was a list of things that I didn't want to take to our new apartment and instead wanted to sell on Craigslist or at a yard sale and how much I thought I could get from them. I'm hoping this will make a small dent in the budget. Then I figured up how many months there were until we moved (approx. 6) and how much I could save each month. It seems that I will be able to save enough to meet my budget (a tax return, a birthday and a graduation in that 6 month period will certainly help).
So this is how I arrived at my budget on a basic level, but there are a few tips to keep in mind when planning and making these inventory lists that may help you out.
Tip #1 - Leave wiggle room
It's important not to get caught up on having a specific item. In a room filled with things, a metallic pouf reads as a metallic pouf whether it's name brand and a few hundred dollars or it's one you made yourself.
Tip #2 - Mix textures
You cannot fill a room with screen printed everything (rugs, pillows, blankets, curtains, art, etc.) and expect it to look luxurious and cozy. You have to mix a screen printed pillow with a crochet blanket or a screen printed rug with velvet pillows. A room could be monochromatic and look phenomenal if there was a good mix of textures.
Tip #3 - Mix High and Low/ Old and New
One easy way to get a good mix of textures is to mix pricier pieces with inexpensive pieces and new things with old things. For example, you could get an old, wooden sideboard at an estate sale for a reasonable price and hang an oil painting that you found at goodwill over it, place a $5 decorative, porcelain Buddha statue from Marshall's on top of it and flank it with fancy, new ghost chairs. Voila! Texture!
Tip #4 - See if you can get stuff for free
Some of my favorite pieces of furniture were given to me by my family. A carved wooden coffee table, a beautiful antique settee, an arm chair that was given to my mom that she then gave to me that I swear I'm going to fix up soon, and more. I realize that I'm fortunate to have such a generous family, but you may be surprised at what's in your grandmother's attic that she may want to get rid of. Be leery of taking on important family heirlooms though if you don't feel that you're up to the task of keeping it safe and toting it around to all the different places you'll be living in the next few years if you haven't settled down yet.
Hopefully, this inventory list and budget will help keep you on track. True story, I took a break from writing this post yesterday and noticed that some really cute x benches were on clearance at Target and I almost ordered a couple. While I probably could have justified it and made the pieces work, they didn't really fit in with my plan or my current inventory list and I decided to keep the money and spend it on something else (which I totally did later that night- $20 for an oversized wire basket lined with burlap to use as a laundry hamper which will replace the torn, collapsible mesh laundry basket left over from Craig's college days and $17 each for big, dark blue velvety pillows from World Market that were on clearance).
P.S. I want that pedestal table at the top soooo much! I am hoping so hard that there's a similar one listed in a few months.