5 easy interior design ideas for any budget

So you've bought your first home – congratulations! – and you're in love with every nook and cranny, from the original 1970s bright-orange kitchen to the less-than-polished floorboards and the dark-wood panelling on the bedroom ceiling.

Okay, so it needs some work… but you've maxed out your budget. Don't despair. You don't need to import expensive Italian tiles to achieve that luxe look. Try these easy design hacks to help you create the home you've always wanted, without the price-tag you don’t.

1. Give your kitchen a quick face lift

Instead of ripping it all out, paint cupboards with laminate paint and spruce up your splashback with a fresh coat. Instant makeover!

The cost? Specialised, tinted-to-order laminate paint costs from $50-60 per litre, so depending on the size of your kitchen, you’ll be looking at change from a couple of hundred bucks.

2. Lighten it up

Nothing updates a room faster than changing up the lighting.

Don't bother with imported, uber-expensive designer fittings – just invest in enough bulbs to illuminate your rooms and benchtops, giving some thought to where you want the focal point to be.

LED lights are a smart choice: they last a long time and will crunch your power bills into oblivion (well, nearly). For awkward dark corners, try stick-on, battery-powered lights. And whatever you do, don’t skimp on wattage – there’s nothing more infuriating than a light that’s just too dim to well, light.

3. Nab some knock-offs

Filling a new home with furniture can be fun, but it can leave your savings account bare – especially if you've got your oh-so-tasteful eyes on Eames lounge chairs or a Noguchi coffee table.

Luckily, you can find fantastic knock-offs – known more classily as ‘replicas’ – for a fraction of the price. Try Glicks Furniture or Matt Blatt for high-quality options.

Even better, start making a regular visit to your local second-hand stores. Used solid wood furniture can be exceptionally sturdy value – plus it’s better for the planet.

4. Pamper your bathroom

Not in love with your old-fashioned avocado bathtub? Don’t rip it out – repaint it in gleaming white.

Your whole bathroom will look brighter, and you'll save heaps on plumbing costs. The same goes for tiles: Ditch the sledgehammer and repaint them instead.

Tile paint costs from around $60 per litre, and don’t forget a coat of primer first.

5. Invest in a show stopper

Think you need to have stacks of cash to become an art investor? Nope.

There are amazing, original works of art to be had online – check out Etsy or Bluethumb – with options from around $100.

Not so much an art person? Pick a functional statement piece, like a framed mirror, stone benchtop or feature tile. That’ll become your room’s focal point, so the surrounding décor can be simpler (hello, chain store.)

Need some extra help to get the home renovation (wrecking) ball rolling? Take a look at Latitude home renovation loans.