It’s that time of the year again when we talk about budget friendly decorating. You know us girls at Karen Fron Design believe that everyone deserves to live in a well functioning and pretty home. Yes it’s true that some of us have a larger budget to spend, but it’s really not about the amount of money one has to spend. It’s about how it’s pulled together and arranged. Unlimited budgets do make it easier, but not necessarily better. I can tell you design horror stories about big budgets and bad taste. Maybe that should be a blog one day…
Today, we’re going to spill some of our secrets. We know many of you right now are decorating dorms or moving into your first place. Or maybe you’ve got the end-of- summer-moving-back-inside blues. Whatever your reason, we’re sharing our budget friendly places to shop and what we like best.
There are so many treasures in these stores that it’s unbelievable. Sure, you’re not going to find exactly what you want exactly when you want it, but they have good stuff. And it’s priced really really well. Find a few good stores in your area and pop in often. Good buys are always dishes, silver trays, vintage books, vases and small artwork. Sometimes it’s nice to get something unique – something not currently in every store. I know that means a lot of navigating through broken alarm clocks, chipped cups and saucers and worn-out tupperware – but there are some gems.
Say budget decorating and Ikea comes to mind – and for good reason. They have some lovely items at good prices. They also have the best small space ideas. Ikea has a few items that we adore . Last year they started adding some higher end items that are really striking. The big thing to remember with Ikea is to subtly mix it in. Don’t go 100% Ikea – toss in a few vintage and high end items and you’re on your way. Here are our 6 favourite Ikea pieces.
1. Lack Tables – retails for $9.99
This little table comes in a few fun colours. Put 4 together for a larger coffee table that can be moved around easily. Style it up and you have a beautiful and functional piece. Even Elle Decor (one of my fav magazines) has featured the Lack Tables.
2.Vittsjo Series – single unit $59.99 double unit $99.99
This whole series is nice. It includes nesting tables, tv stands and coffee tables. Our favourite are the black shelving units. We have put the double unit in several homes, even a few high end homes. This unit is sleek, well made and stylish. The bottom image is from Ikea Hacks, a handy website that shows you how to dress up Ikea pieces and make them unique. Love the gold – so sophisticated.
3.KALLAX shelving unit – formerly the EXPEDIT
Oh the places we’ve used these units. There are so many ways to configure this series and so many wonderful hacks you can look up on-line. Great for the home office as it offers so many storage solutions.
4.DOCKSTA Table – $269.00
Yes it’s a knock off of the iconic Eero Saarinaan Tulip Table – and a really good knock off. When you place some cool chairs around it, the Docksta table looks stunning.
5.Ribba Picture Frames – favourite size 19.75 x 19.75 / cost $19.99
Framing is expensive. And yes some photos and art deserve to be framed professionally. Other times, there’s Ribba. We really like the square frame and we use this size often. It comes in a variety of colours. The black is classic, while the glossy white adds a modern touch.
6.Stockholm Sideboard – $499.00
This is a beautiful, and yes more expensive, piece made out of walnut veneer. The push openers give it a streamlined look. The entire Stockholm series is upscale and elegant . When placed in a room, I don’t think Ikea comes to mind.
Worth checking out. They are affiliated with The Bay and carry the Brian Gluckstein line. Home Outfitters has some nice things, but you have to have great visualization as the product is stacked on shelves and many times in just in boxes. If you use a critical eye and weed through their products, then you will find some beauties.
Okay I admit it, Bouclair’s rows and rows of colour matched decor items had my eyes rolling. Good news though, they’re changing. The stores still have a bit of that colour matching thing going on, but they’re getting in some really nice pieces. They have a great line called Atelier and it is GOOD. Downside is, you have to order items in. Upside is that shipping is free to the store nearest you. Plus, you return to the same store. Pretty easy with no risk or add on fees.
And…drum roll here…Bouclair is Canadian!!! Yay Canada.
Atelier has a great catalogue. You can access it on-line and the Bouclair store in Deerfoot Meadows has some of the items on display. One of our very favourite things is the 15 Globe Light. It’s big and it’s gorgeous and it’s well priced.
We also like the selection of wallpaper that Bouclair carries. They stock this in the store and you can just pick up a roll. Here’s a pic of a condo we consulted on. We suggested putting a graphic paper on the little wall between the foyer and the kitchen. It looked beautiful and was easy for the homeowner to put up.
Okay I will admit that I am a Canadian Tire fan. I love everything about the store – even that tire smell that grabs you when you walk through the door. Full disclosure – I worked there for 9 years during high school, college and university. Canadian Tire is more then just tires. They have a great housewares section, along with some really nice outdoor furniture. I saw this bench in the store this summer and thought it had nice lines and you got to love the extra storage. If you read the blog on the Cottage Refresh (here), you would have noticed the companion piece in the cottage.
Yes I know Michaels is a craft store, but they have some nice home decor items also. Regular prices can be high, so watch for the sales or print off their coupons. Like any big box store, sometimes their product can look overwhelming on the shelf. Focus in on each item and visualize it in a home setting.
Good old Walmart. They’re starting to get a few nice pieces, so you never know what beauties you might find. My mom wanted a bench for her kitchen. When the five of us come to visit, we need more sitting room. Because of course we don’t go into her big living room. No, we all cram into the kitchen. We liked the look of this one. Of course my mom is adding her special touch. She’s recovering the cushion pad and adding a few toss cushions. She’s a great seamstress and can sew anything. She was just working on it when we left town, so I don’t have a picture of her bench yet.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a town where they have a London Drugs, then this store should be on your radar for budget friendly furniture. They have some nice items. Again, you have to be able to see the big picture because the’re all crammed together on a table in the middle of the store.
Here are a few of our favourite pieces:
It really isn’t all about how much money you spend. Good design doesn’t have to be expensive. The most important thing is that a home should function well and your day-to-day life should run simply. Aim to create an atmosphere that’s comforting and functional. Life really is better when you live in a well functioning and pretty home.
If you feel like you need help and want us to come out to your home, give us a ring or send an email. We’re happy to rearrange your furniture, rehang your art, review your accessories and suggest what you need. We call it the Refresh Package. Designing for Real Life…that’s our passion.
To see last year’s Decorating on A Dime post, click here.
Karen Fron Design is a full-service Interior Design Firm located in Calgary, Alberta. We specialize in bespoke residential & commercial interiors, custom furniture & draperies, and whole home renovations.
“A well functioning and beautiful home makes life better.”