Designing A Room – Where To Invest Your Money

Designing A Room – Where To Invest Your Money

9th Jun 2020

Posted by Laura Rich on 9th Jun 2020

We all crave a home that looks like it’s been dressed by a professional, don’t we? But we can’t all afford to hire an interior designer. Knowing where to invest your money when designing a room is useful and important knowledge; especially if you’re decorating on a budget. Here we will give you tips on how to maximize your budget, however large or small. 

Interior design is big business on social media. We LOVE to see other people’s homes - social media is so great for that. Personally, I am registered on Rightmove as ‘looking for houses in my area worth up to £1,000,000’ (laughing emoji x 3). It’s purely so I can have a nosey at the images of any new properties that come on to the market in my area! HA! (Wow, that seems a bit weird now that I’ve written it down but also quite cathartic). 


Designing anything is about creative problem-solving. Designing a room is no different. There will be obstacles in your way. They might be a small budget, the size of the room, the shape of room, access to natural light, where doorways or windows are, what the room is used for, how often it will be used and so on. 



If you read my last post about decorating using the 60/30/10 method then you will have learnt about setting the feel of a space from the big stuff through to the small stuff. So, if you like a modern feel and the room you are designing has a 40 year old psychedelic carpet, it won’t matter how white you paint the walls or how much beautiful furniture you fill it with, your eye will always see the busy flooring first. This is a particular problem for tenants in rented properties. You’re often not permitted to make big changes to the decor. If you do, it’s at your cost and the landlords gain! 

The effect of a busy floor in a living room space
Photo credit: Laura-Elizabeth on Flickr

Flooring, walls and ceilings make up the 60% base of a room design so they’re pretty important. If you can’t change the flooring then big rugs are where to invest some of your money! 


On moving into a new build home, @diy_project_fawley needed a temporary solution for the concrete floor (1) until the dream flooring could be installed. The (temporary) carpet (2) was neutral but didn’t make the most of the space. It was great as a temporary solution until... Enter the gorgeous white tiled flooring (3 & 4). Just look how much it transforms the whole space! You can see how effective running the same flooring through to the hallway is too; it connects the space and makes it feel larger.

Similarly, if the flooring is fine but the ceiling is artex (and you prefer smooth) or the walls are in bad repair, a good tip for where to invest your money when designing a room is to hire a plasterer!


Think carefully about light fittings and switches - do you want to make a statement here or have them ‘disappear’ into the whole space? Radiators, skirting, coving, windows and doors are all items that will add to or detract from a room and should be considered as part of the whole. There are some fantastic radiators on the market at the moment. You could use modern radiators as part of the 30% of your colour design.

An example of how fixtures and fittings such as radiators can be used within the design of a room
Image credit: @bestheatinguk

If your budget won’t stretch to new radiators or internal doors and the existing ones have seen better days, consider painting them the same colour as the walls so that they ‘disappear’. Then your eye will then be drawn to other items in the room that you can control, such as the furniture and soft furnishings. Once you have a perfect blank canvas, then you can add the fun stuff like textiles, feature walls and niknaks.

An example of how painting the skirting and doors the same colour as the walls can unify a space.
Painting the doors and skirting the same colour as the walls creates a blank canvas and unifies the room. Image credit: Crown Paints on Pinterest.


Some of the larger items of furniture we tend to need in our homes are usually the next big investment. When looking for staple items like this, you can either shop with the trends or buy more neutral looks that will be timeless. If your budget won’t stretch to your dream sofa or dining set just yet then buying serviceable interim products until you have saved up is a good solution. In fact, when asked recently on an instagram poll, 56% of our audience said they would ‘fake it until they can make it’ with larger furniture items. 

An example of an effective use of furniture to create the feel of a space.
Invest in larger items of furniture once you’ve created a suitable base with the walls, flooring, ceiling, radiators and lighting.


If you are planning to splash out on those essential furniture pieces, think carefully about how long you expect them to last. If you don’t have a family yet but plan to in a few years then you would be wise to purchase furniture that can be easily cleaned - or easily replaced! (The same goes for flooring!). 

A Como Grey Velvet Upholstered Silver Stool.
Velvet adds a bit of luxury and is a forgiving material. | Como Grey Velvet Upholstered Silver Stool.

Velvet has seen a huge rise in popularity over the last year in interior design. I personally think this has been driven by the consumer need for a bit of luxury but with the practicality of surviving the family home! It’s very forgiving compared to other fabrics and can be brought back to life with a good hoovering. If you want to be really safe though, faux leather is easily cleaned and looks great. 


It’s amazing how lovely a simple glass or white dining table can look with a beautiful display of flowers on or dressed for dinner.

On that note, when you’re collecting images for inspiration, notice how many of them display either floral arrangements or plants. I bet it’s most of them. Smaller decor items like this can really make or break a room. But they can be changed easily (and inexpensively) for a fresh new look without having to change any of the more expensive items in the room.


Once you’ve settled on the colours of the walls, ceilings and floors and have purchased the larger items of furniture, it’s time to pull the room together with the smaller items. Create texture with a mix of soft furnishings and smaller decor items. Then sit back and enjoy the knowledge that you now know where to invest your money when designing a room! Don’t forget to share your images with us at @furniturebox_uk