Hello readers! We've just updated our house look and yeay, so many people are lovin' it! We have several people calling up to view our rental house after advertising this on Mudah.my and many queries of - 'is this the actual unit?' like they can't believe our ad LOL.

Let's have a look at after vs before photos:

Scandinavian home deco
After re-decoration - Scandinavian minimalist concept

Scandinavian home deco
Before - bulky furniture and heavy drapes made our house look small and cluttered

At first, we wanted to hire ID people to re-decorate our house but when the quotation reached us, the numbers made my eyes bulge. Since the reason we are re-decorating is to rent the house out and there rental rate at our area is not exactly premium, we decided to wing it and re-decorate the house ourselves. The best part about DIY decorating is we can actually do it all under RM5000! 

Scandinavian home deco
Dining area

Scandinavian home deco
Guest bedroom

Scandinavian home deco

So here are step-by-step how to decorate with a shoestring budget for beginners:

#1: Have an ID sense (like, fashion sense for the house)

It's not necessarily be you yourself. Heck, I don't even have much ID sense as seen on the before picture (like I can't even budget how big is the sofa compared to the living room and ended up with the sofa taking most of the living room space!). So what I did is I consulted my close childhood friend because I know she has better eye than me :)

It's important because someone who has good ID sense can already picture in their mind the finished look and know the right concept for the space and layout in your house. I took my friend for a tour of the house and she immediately suggested we went for Scandinavian minimalist concept because 'it just blended so well with the greeneries outside' (her quote).

If you don't have such friend, then ask yourself what kind of style you want? Knowing the concept/style is good because you can search furniture by the style keyword so you will end up with a 'put together' look for your house.

If you are as clueless as me and don't have a point of reference, there's always a good apps around to help - mine is Houzz apps which has thousands of photos I can filtered by room, style, room size etc.

So many photos to browse by the concept that I like

#2: Have a realistic budget and stick to it
What I lack in ID sense, I made up in budget department. I'm a budget person. I'm not a people person but I love numbers. Drawing up a budget is not hard, guys. All you need to do is list all the things you want to get for the house style that you picked and then put a price tag to it. Next, decide how much you want to spend for the entire project. For me, since I plan to furnish and update my house look, I decided that I only want to spend not more than RM5000 on the project. The lesser the number, the more creative you have to be and I'm not that creative. Or maybe I can but I don't have Finance people to challenge my number. Anyways, I think I can pull it with RM5000 budget and here's the snippet to prove it:

Scandinavian home deco
We ended up only spending RM4.8k for the house furnishing / re-decorating

Important note - I don't list it here but in my mind I have divided the list into 'essential' items vs. 'nice to have' items. We bought the essentials first and then updated our budget (Actual column). Anything that exceeded the budget means we have to slash our 'nice to have' items i.e. either we get something cheaper or we remove from the budget list. For example, initially I wanted to get a nice armchair for the living room but since some of the essentials are under-budgeted, we removed the armchair from our list.

#3: Scout for best price

Thank God we live in the era of online shopping! I must admit that a large chunk of the budget went to Shopee because Shopee has the best price that we know of. We bought bed frames, wardrobes, coffee table, carpet, dining table set, wallpaper, bedside table and mattresses from Shopee and they arrived within 1-2 weeks.

Apart from Shopee, we also shopped at Kaison for some home decor items. We bought the Queen bed frame and mattress, as well as the sofa from a small furniture shop (note: we should've checked SSF first, because they apparently had huge discounts on beddings and sofa that matched the price we spent but SSF had better quality furniture sobsss).

#4: Set a project timeline

This is optional of course. Some people with constraint budget may put on hold / buy in batches whenever there's a good deal. Since our goal was to let the house by end of this year, we had only 2 months to plan and execute our project. Project timeline helped me to plan shipping lead time, installation time and lastly when to finish the touch-ups for photo-shoot session to start advertising our house.

There you have it. So let's recap:

What - is your dream style & budget?
Who - is someone you know with good eye for home decorating? If none, go to Houzz apps/Pinterest for inspiration
Why - reason to re-decorate e.g. to rent it out at best rate
When - draw a project timeline
Where - Shopee, Kaison, SSF are a good start to look for best price items
How - Refer above steps of decorating and furnishing a home under RM5000

Happy decorating!