If you are renting or have just moved house and are on a budget, you still need to have some nice things around you which will help you feel at home. This doesn’t mean you have to fill the place with endless knick knacks; a few well chosen items will soon have it looking more lived in and homely. When you first move in, you will probably tend to stick pretty much to one style or basic colourway, but as time goes on you will no doubt buy things which don’t absolutely follow the trend but never mind – living with stuff you like is all part of creating a home. The great designer William Morris once said something along the lines of make sure everything in your home is something you either believe to be beautiful or know to be useful – add to that makes you laugh or reminds you of great times and you have a perfect blueprint for a lovely interior.
Antiques and collectables
If you love rummaging in antique and junk shops you can get your hands on some great pieces to make your home look fabulous and often for very low prices. If you are a lover of a particular era, such as art nouveau or Deco, you can still find some original bits and bobs which won’t break the bank. If you can’t find originals, the reproduction pieces on the market look just as good – the main thing is to ensure that you are paying repro prices. For example traditional rugs of recent manufacture are clearly new, as they don’t have the wear of an old one, but when it comes to something like a piece of Clarice Cliff, for instance, it takes an expert sometimes to tell a real one from a fake. Look for wear and tear, especially on the bottom, ingrained dirt in a vase for instance is quite hard to fake. But the bottom line is, if you are not sure and the price tag is too high for you, even if you love it, leave it in the shop!
There is nothing wrong with fakes – in fact in some ways they are better because you don’t have to worry about them half so much. Also, many things that give the ‘look’ such as a designer rug based on a Klimt or Mondrian idea will not be original anyway, but they can be used to tie a room together to make the look coherent. If you decide to do this it has another nice impact on your budget, because signature pieces will do the trick best if you only use one or two. Mixing styles can be done and an example would be using traditional rugs with modern accent pieces – this can look very eclectic and stops a room looking too ‘styled’ and unnatural – don’t forget you want a home, not a hotel lobby!