Saturday, July 31, 2010

How to design a room on a budget, by designer Amanda Burdge

Ok so let's be straight here. Design is no longer like it was in 2007. The economy has tanked, and consumers are no longer in "consumption, high-gear". This poses a bit of a challenge to my industry of all things fabulous and fantastic while donning a cute bag and stilettos creating design magic; but a challenge is always welcomed in my corner. As my budgets deplete, and my clients watch every dollar spent, I am forced to become a whole new designer;... (insert cyclone wind tunnel, notable red cape, snazzy fedora hat,  flattering leotard with a big "D" expertly embroidered on my chest, and dare I say tights?) One of my favorite quotes as a testiment to this new mentality is from Brian Flynn Patrick of Decor Demon:

"Lately I’ve been street hustling with hardcore garbage. It’s not my fault, I’m blaming the economy. Nowadays doing the design showroom mambo with deep-pocketed, Prada-clad clients is more fantasy than nine-to-five routine. To make a buck as a decorator in 2010, you’ve gotta strap on the knee pads, prepare to suck it [up] and hope that everyone else is putting out. The trash, that is."

So in this NEW day and age of the F word being thrown around like a cheap pair of bongo wedges from Mervyn's, clients are demanding high style, for the price of food stamps, and a WIC block of government cheese. Barbie herself would shutter in her footsteps if forced to drink boxed wine, and shop at Target. Can you even imagine Barbie on a budget? Gasp!

In my opinion, and yes it is the GOLD standard, tested and approved opinion, design changes peoples lives. When a client sees their room or house transformed, magic by design occurs. A well appointed home does not have to cost a lot, but it is amazing to see how much it can uplift and change the inhabitants that live there. You function better, entertain more and live to a higher standard. Don't beleive me? Spend one weekend de cluttering and painting one room in your house. As an added bonus, put out a vase of fresh flowers. I guarantee you will feel different.
So in an effort to show you that design is possible and doesn't have to be expensive I designed the following room, top to bottom for three times less than an average room cost. Enjoy!  
  AB HOME Interiors #1

Design by AB HOME Interiors
Shopping List:
$18 -

$1,499 -

$899 -

$919 -

$175 -

Locally screen printed

$200 -

Originals from
Screen printed locally

$449 -

Design provided by AB HOME Interiors through polyvore

Need design help from an experienced design professional with over 12 years experience? Want to work with someone who listens to your needs and sticks to your budget? Call our office for a design consultation that will change the way you live and think about your home. Contact us @ or call us @ 615-750-2763

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  1. This is great!! Very affordable :)

    Happy weekend, sweetie!

  2. Great post. I am designing my entire second guest bedroom with inexpensive finds from Ikea. I love that the prices are great and everything is so modern :)

  3. Love your room idea! I don't know why I am so drawn to Union Jack pillows, I'm not even English! I just love them. xo

  4. You rock! That quote is completely hilarious. And I love the room.

  5. Trust me. I'm a believer. And living proof it can be done.

    I love the colors you chose. Tangerine and turquoise. Mmmmmm

  6. I've noticed this in my area for the past couple of years, Amanda. But those, like my current client, who feel more confident about the decisions made with me on board are still around and will still call. These folks may not have a lot of money, but they have enough to make their homes comfortable and something they want to come home to. Sometimes that does involve Target {gasp!}. I do find though that I tend to work with clients who are within the same {or just slightly higher/lower} income bracket as myself. That might make a good topic for Band of Barbies!

    On a side note, the lamps you are showing here remind me of two I saw at Marshalls yesterday. I just loved them and right away pictured them in my master bedroom. The problem is justifying $100.00 when I have a pair of lamps that I've only had a few years and they work fine. The second problem is that I can see myself heading back there this weekend and buying them!

  7. As my friends from NYC say "down is the new up".

    I hope you get that, great post.

  8. So great! Love those drum tables and room and board is such an amazing resource!

  9. Fantastic post, darling!
    Love that ottoman!


  10. this was a great post, i loved it :)

  11. Hi Amanda, thank you for checking my blog.
    I really enjoyed reading this post. I'm in a phase where I want to change my career and do something I have passion for which is interior design. And, it's always good to hear people who has more experience. Thank you,

  12. Fabulous job, Amanda! I agree, I'm not a pro, but our house looks really good on a budget, using stuff we already have. Putting it together is key, you have just done a stunning job! XO!

  13. Love all your ideas here! What a great blog you have!!!


  14. I love your whole design, particularly the Union Jack pillow! Great tips for decorating on a budget — it's tough! I think I'll finish my bedroom at under $1,000 and my boyfriend's at under $500 but it's definitely tricky... I'll take all the help I can get :) Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  15. Gorgeous design and witty banter. Love everything!

  16. Loved your post. Food for thought for my week ahead. I am loving the mirror. I hope Target Australia has similiar lamps!

  17. Wow, great room ideas you pulled together-and the colors are sublime! Here in the East Bay Area, we've finally been blessed with many similar stores(finally!) such as West Elm and CB2, while standbys such as IKEA, Z Gallerie and Crate and Barrel outlet have been around for a few years. Got some deals last year when Z Gallerie in Berkeley announced they were closing and put everything 40 percent off. Few weeks later, they decided NOT to close and prices went back up!

  18. Hi,
    I love your blog. Very cool room design, too! I just saw those lamps at Target. Love how you used them...and the pillow from graham and green.
    great. Look forward to being your newest follower.

  19. Amanda, my dear, we are truly two birds of a feather! "Budget" is such a nasty word, isn't it?! However, like you, I have come to accept that these hard economic times call for the creation of new measures to accommodate the needs and "budgets" (there's that nasty word again! ha) of my design clients. I agree with you that it is completely possible to mix the expensive with the inexpensive and end up with a fabulous outcome! You did an amazing job on this room! Thank you for sharing your insights and sources! As always, I appreciate your entertaining writing style and natural wit! You make me smile every time I read your blog. :)

  20. Thanks for the inspiration, Amanda! I love seeing what your affordable picks are. It's a good reminder that you can get high style if you find the right pieces - and it doesn't have to cost a fortune!

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  21. So I guess the trick here is to know where to look, right Amanda? It's possible to do everything according to the budget; you just have to learn where to get the affordable items. :) Btw, the turquoise chair goes really well with violet ottoman. Good job, Amanda!

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