"NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION"
... And the foundation of everything that exists in our home. We appreciate the value of our furniture because of the daily utility it provides. We can't imagine our living rooms without tables, and bedrooms without nightstands; but furniture can be pricey. So how do you create a space that's functional and beautiful, while on a budget? It's easy ... re-purpose what you already own. Your favourite Jamaican design gurus ( yes that's us) have compiled a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. The best part is, these projects require MINIMAL EFFORT and ZERO DOLLARS, not even a power tool.
1. "Chair" Up!
If you're looking for a quick solution to a bedside table, why not try a chair? A wooden chair is perfect for storing books, lamps and just about anything you would put on a table. There's even additional storage underneath. Try using an antique chair like a family heirloom, which will add a unique touch and tons of personality to your space.
2. Books & Ladders
A ladder is bound to come in handy one day, but how often do you really need it? Why not put it to good use by transforming your ladder into a bookshelf or magazine rack. Not only will you be creating a functional piece, you'll also be on trend since ladder shelves are a popular feature in home décor. Plus, the store bought shelves are more expensive and can't double as an actual ladder either. So who's the real winner here?
Bonus tip for the ladies - Convert your ladder into a shoe rack for your favourite pairs.
3. Luck of the Draw
Our client recently renovated her bathroom and replaced the vanity. Instead of throwing away the drawers, we recycled them into side tables for the living room. We styled the one here with books and accent pieces found around the house. This project requires a screw driver to remove the drawer slides at the side and the knob at the front; but we're sure you will agree that's minimal effort for such HUGE savings.
These ideas are just motivation to get you started on your next project. So we challenge you to repurpose at least one item you have at home. You never know, it may just be the next big "Invention".
Share some of your own projects with us below!
We were commissioned by a client to re-decorate their 3 bedroom model unit for a housing development in Trelawny, Jamaica a few years ago. As an Interior Decorator, managing your budget is critical. The guest room was already furnished with the bed, side tables and comforter set seen here, but we still had to revamp the space in order to make it more cohesive. There was no budget allocated towards the guest room, as there were other areas that needed much more work, so we did what any smart decorator would do: Shop at the only location everything is guaranteed to be free - The rest of the house!
We sourced these accent cushions in the living room, the wall art came from the dining room, and the curtains were formerly of the Master bedroom. We purchased the vase for another area, and realised that it complemented this space so much more. In just a few minutes, we were able to turn this guest room into a welcoming space without spending a dollar.
We know you're thinking that was a mere coincidence, but 'If Walls Could Talk' has made this practice one of the cornerstones of our operation. We create spaces that are not only beautiful, but also budget friendly. Here are a few examples of how we utilised pieces that our clients already owned to decorate a brand new space.
We transformed this bookcase into a TV console for a Master Bedroom Sitting Area by simply flipping it on its side.
We Shopped around this client's home and used items she curated from her travels, and even her own jewellery from her accessory business to transform her coffee table.
Finally, we turned this ottoman into a coffee table by moving around a few items in our client's living room, and re-purposed a mirror as a tray.
Decorating doesn't have to be expensive, but simply thinking outside the box can help you to transform your space on a $0 budget.
Black & White stripes are timeless, but most people shy away from incorporating this bold accent into their design. It's hard to imagine what could possibly complement this striking print, so we have a few suggestions that everyone, from the conservative decorator to the risqué 'stylista', would love.
1. Stripe on Stripe - Think this option is too overwhelming? Quite the contrary. If you're taking our advice on this one, our pick is yellow and white stripes. The yellow complements the black perfectly, while the white helps to blend the two stripes together. For an extra oomph, try mixing vertical and horizontal stripes to create some depth.
2. Polka Dots - Meet 'Stripes" beloved cousin. They don't always get along, but we dare you to show us the perfect family. Our advice is to use this accent sparingly, or the room could make you a little dizzy. For less drama, a small pop with a polka dot throw pillow goes a far way.
3. Prints - While we are still on the topic of patterns, why not add an interesting print like the geometric one here. The bold colours on a white background complement the stripes, without overwhelming the space. The Banana Leaf print not only adds a welcomed pop of green, it instantly turns your space into that Caribbean Villa you have been dreaming about. Add fluffy White sheets, and you may just hear waves crashing onto the shore.
4. Gold , White , Black - Looking to glam up your black and white stripes? Well look no further than this combo. Only thing missing from this sophisticated pairing will be a glass of wine and your favourite pearls.
5. Red - The natural choice to complement the black and white combo is often red. This trifecta is usually the safe route; and when used sparingly, can add well needed dimension to the space. While 'safe' is never our first suggestion, it is better to be the proverbial "safe than sorry'.
6. Think Pink - Black, white and Pink has sexy, chic, trendy female written all over it. Definitely not the colour combo for a gender neutral space, but perfect for a feminine touch. We warn you that this can quickly turn a chic adult space into a teenager's sanctuary if not done tastefully. Pink should therefore be used sparingly, try using richer hues, or blush and stay away from 'pepto ' and 'barbie' pink.
7. Touch of Teal - One of our favourites, because it appeals to both genders, and pretty much all style genres. Teal is a universally loved colour that blends blue and green perfectly. When paired with black and white, the end result is a room that has the right amount of flair, without going overboard.
Of course, there are tons of other colour combinations that we would still get excited about, but these 7 combos are bound to be a hit with any black and white enthusiast.
We've been asked this question too often to not dedicate an article to the topic - Do your bedside tables need to match? Short Answer is Definitely not. But what's the point of an article if we just stopped there? Let's explore.
Bedside tables are two very functional pieces of furniture in your bedroom and should not be overlooked. They store those items we are too lazy to move from our beds to retrieve, like our cel phones, current novel , Bible, anything we need to get our hands on quickly. They also provide a perfect platform for accessible lighting (so you don't bump your toe heading for the bathroom in the middle of the night). Visually, the side tables help to frame the bed, therefore highlighting it as the focal point of the bedroom.
The cardinal rule when selecting your bedside tables is that they are functional and blend in with your overall theme. The tables in this grey, teal and yellow bedroom (designed by If Walls Could Talk, Ja) aren't your typical matching tables, but they add a bit of unpredictability and interest to the space. The key is to remain consistent with the theme and style of the room. We chose to include clean lined bedside tables to update the space, since the existing bed was more traditional. We also wanted to include black and white accents into the room, and the side tables helped us to achieve that look. The styling is kept simple, so the tables do not distract you from the focal point of the room.
The takeaway is to have fun with your bedroom décor. If you like symmetry, then matching side tables like the ones in this Caribbean chic bedroom below, designed by If Walls Could Talk, Ja; are the perfect choice. Either way, you can't go wrong with tasteful styling and a touch of your personality.
Apartment living has its benefits, but lots of space is certainly not one of them.
The young professionals who start out in these sometimes cramped spaces, are forced to find creative ways to implement design that's both functional and aesthetically appealing. It's a daunting task, and is best tackled with an amazing Interior designer, who can interpret your vision for the space (cue 'If Walls Could Talk' ).
One area of particular challenge is that seemingly dead space in the corner of a room. Sure, you could insert a plant, a lamp, an oddly placed chair that no one will ever use (because 'nobody puts baby in the corner'- dirty dancing reference); but creating usable space is an even better solution.
Our client needed an area dedicated to studying/working from home; so we created the perfect home office nook without rearranging any of the furniture in her already small living room.
Here's what we used....
1. Floating shelf/desk - In our case, we made this custom desk to fit the space, and mounted it on the wall for additional support. Some store bought floating shelves may not be able to withstand the weight of laptops, books and overall constant use; so make sure you invest in a good quality piece.
2. Small Lamp - Task lighting is important, and we chose a sleek, modern desk lamp, that uses minimal space.
3. Storage - We implemented this in two ways. Storage Boxes are both decorative and functional, we snagged this set at Spaces Jamaica (www.spacesjamaica.com). These faux books can store smaller items that often create desk clutter, and add a pop of colour to the design. We also added floating bookshelves that utilised the wall instead, without crowding the space.
4. Comfy Desk chair - To complete the functionality of the space, we added this comfy desk chair that complemented the existing furniture in the living room, and included a throw pillow for some visual contrast.
There you have it. A functional space that's both easy on the pocket and on the eyes.
Walls can be intimidating to decorate. They are the first place you see when you enter a room; since they take up a large surface area, and they are naturally at eye level. Finding creative ways to dress up these structures can be somewhat daunting; and with the plethora of options available, wall décor can get pretty pricey.
So how do you get a bang for your buck? One method that we swear by is creating a Gallery Wall. Here's why we love them:
1. You can determine just how expensive your wall art will be - A gallery wall is a collection of framed photos/art. These can be family photos, kids drawings, photos taken with your personal camera, or professional photos purchased online or at a gallery. Based on that list, at least 3 of those options are already free, all you have to do is print your photos and you're half way there. Framing options can range from store bought frames (these will be more economical, but may not be available in the sizes that you need) , to custom frames at your local framing store.
2. They are excellent space fillers - Gallery walls can be configured to suit your space, whereas a single piece of art will only fill specific dimensions. You can be as creative as you like with Gallery wall art. The key is to ensure that there is a common theme, either in the content, or the frames. You can arrange them to fit any space, and keep adding to your wall as your photo or art collection grows.
3. They fit any design style - Whether your style is contemporary, modern, eclectic or traditional; gallery walls are guaranteed to fit in. With the wide selection of frames available, all you need to do is change the frame, and.. Voila! You have a new theme; even with the same art or photographs. For more traditional styles, a dark wood frame, or a classic metal frame works well. Contemporary spaces need clean lined frames with limited details or carvings. Eclectic Spaces allow you to experiment with a mixture of frames and colours, as long as you still maintain your theme.
4. After those three reasons, who needs a fourth? But let's just close by saying that this is one trend that is timeless. Gallery Walls have been around for centuries, and they never get old.