Finding decorating help on a limited budget is necessary if you can’t afford to pay full price for interior design. There are ways to get help for free or low cost, but you’ll make up the difference in your time spent hunting down everything you need. Here are some ways to get you started:
Interior Design Magazines
Look through interior design magazines and study the tips and techniques they recommend. If you can find pictures of what you’d like your rooms to look like, even better. You can cut out the pictures and mimic what you see as you work on your apartment decorating. If the room decorating tips are expensive, improvise by finding cheaper items or replacing them with free or cheaper items. If the magazines themselves are too expensive, you can find free or cheap ones at:
- Your local gym
- Your favorite coffee shop
- At the doctor’s office
- Amazon, which sometimes offers free promotional subscriptions to magazines
You can also post a “wanted” ad on www.craigslist.com or your local www.freecycle.org group, asking for interior design magazines or home decorating magazines.
Home Decorating Websites
There are home decorating websites that you can review to get ideas if you can’t find magazines for free or cheap. Some magazines have websites that post photos, such as www.bhg.com. Even television home design shows offer tips and ideas with photos on their websites, such as www.hgtv.com. In addition to these, there are websites dedicated solely to interior design and decorating, such as www.myinteriordecorator.com and www.interiordesign.net.
Once you’ve got pictures of what you want your room to look like, you should enlist the help of family members. They can help you clean and paint the room, move furniture and even find antiques or other objects to display. It’s rare that a family member will charge you for helping, but if they do, they may be a lot cheaper than hiring a professional. Bartering with them might also be much easier than approaching outsiders.
College students majoring in interior design or decorating would love the opportunity to gain experience. Helping you with a project would benefit them because they could add before and after photos to their portfolio, and use you a reference if everything goes well. It’s truly a win-win situation, so you don’t have to feel as though you’re taking advantage of them. Find a college that’s offering courses in interior design or home decorating and post flyers on campus. Contact professors and ask them if they know of any students that might be interested. Post a “Help Wanted” ad on bulletin boards where students take classes. You can also post flyers at the closest coffee shops and supermarkets.
If you can’t find anyone to help you, try using how-to books for decorating help. There are books that will guide you step-by-step on how to decorate just about any room. There are some specifically geared to apartment decorating, such as 150 Best Apartment Ideas by Ana G. Canizares. These books are often filled with photographs, making it easy to follow. You can also take your time, and work on your decorating as you have the time and money to do so.