Decorating your dream home on a budget: 10 tips

When you buy a new house or condominium unit first-hand, it will probably come unfurnished, except for the kitchen and bathroom and perhaps a few pieces of built-in furniture. If you buy a home second-hand, you'll probably want to redecorate it in a new style. Either way, visions of furnishings, layouts and color schemes will soon fill your dreams.  But do you have enough money and time to turn your vision into reality?


Here are ten guidelines to keep your home improvement project on track and on budget:

1. Forecast costs

A good plan starts with a good list. Itemize the furniture and accessories you want, together with prices and photos. Keep this roadmap handy on your smart phone. If the total cost exceeds your budget, it's better to revise the list before you start shopping. 

2. Shop step-by-step

Big-ticket items are hard to buy all at once. It's better to get them one by one,  starting with the most important, functional items. Decorations and accessories don't need to be bought in a hurry, and you'll make better selections if you take your time.  By avoiding sunk costs for unnecessary items, you'll free up budget for priority purchases.

3. Pay by credit card

Free up cash by using your credit card. Many furniture stores and appliance retailers let you pay by credit card at a 0% interest charge, based on a fixed schedule of monthly installments. This can add flexibility to your home improvement budget. But remember to limit your outstanding credit balance to no more than 20% of monthly income. If your monthly salary is 20,000 baht, keep the total monthly repayment burden of all your credit lines below 4,000 baht per month.

4. Save smarter with a mutual fund 

As you put away cash to spend on your home project, let your money work for you. Instead of a savings deposit account, keep your money where it can earn a higher return. One low-risk option is a short-term fixed income fund. Before investing, however, it's important to get a clear understanding of a fund's terms and conditions, risks and returns.

5. D.I.Y. 

You don't always need a pro to fix up your home. Save by doing it yourself when it comes to simple jobs like painting, wallpapering and assembling furniture. Enlist family members and friends to help, and the work could even turn into fun. 

6. Keep a future resale in mind

Condominium units often change hands these days, and you, too, might someday need to sell your residence on to a new owner, whether you change workplace, need quick cash or want more space as your family grows. To ensure that your home retains its resale value, avoid decorating in an unusual style. Stick to a popular color palette, especially neutrals and light tones. No weird furniture. If you want to decorate in a highly individual style, do it with furnishings that can be easily removed or replaced. Instead of covering a wall in decorative bricks, for example, try brick-pattern wallpaper.


7. Choose multi-function furniture

The average size of a condo unit is only about 30 square meters. If you think long and hard each time you shop for furniture, you can make better use of limited space. Some designs serve more than purpose, so you can reduce both clutter and cost. Examples are sofa beds, beds with drawers underneath and Japanese-style futon mattresses that can be rolled up and stored in a closet to free up floor space during the day. 

8. Quality often means value

You don't need to furnish a home very often, so there's less need to be stingy. Spend a bit extra and you can get things that last longer. The cheapest furnishings tend to be made of low-quality materials that begin to deteriorate after just a few months of use. Replacing a cheap item means paying for it twice.

9. Choose easy-care 

Some furnishings are difficult to clean and maintain, so choose wisely. You can save time and trouble by selecting, for example, a sofa that has a removable, washable covering.  Furniture covered in leather is less prone to dust and stains than fabric. When you shop for wall paint, keep in mind that certain formulations and colors last longer and are easy to wipe clean. Easy-care options don't necessarily cost more.

10. Use an SCB loan to redecorate

A personal loan or other special loan from SCB is one way to get quick money to expand your house or renovate your condo. Different types of loans offer different terms and conditions, so consult the Bank to find the deal that's best for you. You can reduce your interest cost by choosing a loan that is backed by collateral, such as your home. Keep in mind that your total monthly repayment burden should not exceed 40 % of your monthly income.

Tips like these can help keep your home renovation project feasible. Good financial planning is one key to making a dream come true.