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In the spirit of saving money and maintaining interior style, we reached out to a few New York City designers to get their best advice on how to revamp your home for under $200.
Not everyone has the time, space, or money to create a magazine-worthy interior space. Given the exorbitant rent prices and general cost of living in New York City, even a trip to IKEA can put a major stint in your monthly budget. “Do I want to eat this month or do I really want that new shelving unit?”
For the biggest change on a limited budget, Highlyann Krasnow, founder of The Design High, a boutique interior design firm specializing in residential buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan, recommends rethinking a central object in the bedroom. “Statement headboards can be very inexpensive,” she says. “They can completely change the feeling of the room and add an extra element of fun.”
The bedroom is the ultimate sanctuary in the home; a place of deep personalization, peace, and (let’s be honest here), fun. So investing in a bedroom item that truly reflects your vibe should be high on the priority list.
Feng shui expert and author of The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space, Laura Benko, recommends clearing the clutter, applying a fresh coat of paint, and shopping for a statement piece. But you don’t have to limit yourself to big box stores to find your new favorite item – it’s okay to do a little bargain hunting.
“Shop for a statement piece on Craigslist,” she says. “An oversized mirror, a cool light fixture, or a one-of-a kind chair can be found for $100.” And just because you’re purchasing it outside of a store, doesn’t necessary mean it’s been used or isn’t brand new, Laura pointed out. The item could’ve been used for a staging, or perhaps it didn’t fit the room, or maybe the seller recently purchased the item and had to move — this is New York City, after all. Just “be prepared to negotiate and pay cash.”
Designer Elana Kilkenny (whom I previously interviewed on her intuitive psychic design work), suggests refreshing your decorative elements, like pillows, curtains, and bedding. “Pick one room to focus on to derive the biggest impact on your budget. If you have a lot of neutral furniture, but are longing for some color, this is a great way to boost the energy and color quotient in your home.”
Similarly to Laura, Elana suggests keeping an eye out for bargain and sale items. “You’d be surprised what kind of deals you can get at places like Anthropologie, West Elm, Home Good, World Market, and Target,” she says. “Also, spend some time looking through Etsy. You might find some unique finds there through its bevy of artisans.”
Alternatively, for a “less ‘sexy’ but very impactful revamping of your space, never underestimate the energy-enhancing effects of good and intentional lighting,” Elana points out. Regularly switching out your light bulbs and bringing light to areas you want brightened in the room can really affect your entire space. But also stay conscious of where you want more mood lighting, because that also makes a difference. “Pay attention to what type of hue the light bulb is casting and choose according to what would work best in your space.”
Let’s just say you’re not in the market for any new stuff, but want to reinvigorate your existing décor in a big way. Sarah Zames, from General Assembly, recommends an action, rather than an item. “Declutter,” she says. “It’s free. Then invest in a cleaning service for a deep clean.” But she also suggests investing in good interior lighting by either adding a skylight or updating your windows, if you can.
Whether you decide to declutter, bargain shop, or invest in that perfect bedroom statement piece, your design choices should reflect you and your individual needs. Get creative, get inspired, and remember that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to create a truly unique interior space.
For more ways to enhance your home, check out these three easy house plants for city life (and how to keep them alive).