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Budget interior design: Emily Rickard’s advice on deciding when to save and where to splurge

Image courtesy of @emilyrickardstyle photographed by Will Horner

Drawing inspiration from her travels across Europe, America and South-East Asia, interior designer Emily Rickard weaves elements from the most breath-taking pockets of the world into her work. Skillfully playing with light, colour and texture, she creates homes that reflect her client’s unique style, adding flavour and personality to any space. 

Emily’s motto is ‘take time with design’ – an idea explored in her blog 12 Months a Home. Guiding clients through her slower-paced approach to interior design, she encourages everyone to consider each choice carefully, from wall colours to forever furniture that serves multiple purposes. 

An expert at budget interior design, we chatted to Emily about her top tips for developing your style, how to add flair to a rental property, and creating cohesion between your indoor and outdoor spaces.

Can you tell us more about your approach to interior design and why you recommend taking your time?

I like to take a holistic approach to design. We always work closely with each client to consider how they use their home and how it makes them feel. We tend to take our time wherever possible to steer the client away from making rushed decisions.

How can you develop your interior design over the years without completely redoing everything?

I like to think about adding certain items to a room, moving the furniture around, and updating the paint colour without redoing everything.

I have a section in my online course about choosing forever pieces that serve multiple purposes. Can your dining table also work as a desk? Could you turn your dining console into hallway storage? It depends on where the piece sits in the home and whether you bring them with you when you move.

Image courtesy of @emilyrickardstyle photographed by Oliver Perrott

What are your top tips for budget interior design ideas? 

Again – take your time. This way, you avoid rushing into things you might regret later. Keep a keen eye on Facebook marketplace, Etsy and eBay. Be imaginative and bold. Look out for quality pieces, be mindful of the size you need and check the structure.

Try mixing high and low – for instance, you can splurge on a rug and save lots of money on other less expensive pieces to create an eclectic but complete look without breaking the bank. My go-to for excellent budget interior design inspiration is always flea markets and second-hand online retailers.

“Invest in furniture even if you don’t own your home. You can always bring them with you when you leave!”

How can you make a rental property feel like yours?

Whether I rent or own, I always put time and thought into making a place feel like mine. Landlords are often happy for you to paint the walls if you agree to paint them back, or you can show that you’re adding value with your improvements. 

Invest in furniture. You can still invest in pieces even if you don’t own your home. You can always bring them with you when you leave! Plug-in wall lights, plug-in pendants and hanging art are a great way to bring style to space, and if you know your way around a bit of Polyfilla, you can touch up any holes. 

Great non-permanent options can transform your space – vinyl flooring cut to shape and fitted with super double-sided tape and removable wallpapers are some fail-safe options.

Image courtesy of @emilyrickardstyle photographed by Oliver Perrott

How can you extend your home décor to your outdoor spaces?

When I moved into my home, there was a bridge connecting the kitchen to the garden, which was not only an eyesore but a complete waste of space.

I created a reclaimed tiled deck that now connects the kitchen to the garden space, and it feels like a direct extension of the house – but it’s simply a tiled area.

I also used reclaimed tiles in my hallway so the spaces speak to each other within the complete décor scheme. Use outdoor furniture and rugs to extend your home style into the garden.

There are some beautiful outdoor lighting and décor accessories available at the moment.

Eager to hear more from Emily? Follow @emilyrickardstyle and discover all her interior hints and tips.

For more secrets from some of the UK’s most notable interior designers, head over to our Interior Designer Secrets page.

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