Redux on Hold: Finishing Decor During the Recession


If I’ve heard it from one client, I’ve heard it from 10. “We can’t spend any more money.” Well, that ain’t no fun. Woefully, my plans to do that Far East theme took a bad turn when the economy went south. Now what?

Here are a few tips from your resident EcoSalon designer on how to squeeze the remaining juice from your bruised budget.

-Prioritize Adequate Lighting


Highlight the items you can’t live without and can still afford with your new budget constraints. If you can’t read without good lighting in the family room, purchase floor lights to flank that sofa you splurged on. There are many good green options, like the Brookfield┞¢Deluxe Full Spectrum Floor Lamp from Verilux, which has the profile of a turn-of-the-century design with 21st Century efficiency. For $150, you might as well buy a pair. We can’t go blind just because corporate greed messed up our investments.

-Paint Works Wonders


Table your plans for new dining furniture for now and paint, instead, using natural milk paint. Most clients have decent breakfast room and dining room furniture but seek replacements as part of their stylish redux. Good dining furniture can be quite costly. Instead, why not paint existing kitchen wooden tables a mod or warm shade to color you happy until things pick up and you can splurge? Chairs can be great accent pieces with fun shades.

-No Beddy Buy

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New headboards and beds may be a luxury right now. If you have one on your to-get list, save it for when you’re feeling flush and focus on the bedding for now. I cannot live without nice sheets and duvets and there are super chic organic choices that won’t set you back too much. You might as well be swathed in soft cotton to shelter the storm. See Purists Give a Sheet for a glimpse of what’s out there.

-Pricey Art Not Smart. Do Photos, instead


I’d have art over furniture any day, but I began acquiring pieces years ago as an art writer. Now isn’t the time to invest in large, expensive works. Sure, you can always pick up great finds at various sales and auctions, but for now, why not do a photo wall to cover that wonderful space? I do photo walls all of the time for families. You can have vintage shots enlarged at Kinko’s or other office supply stores, and pick up frames at discount frame stores or even good thrift shops. I often shop at Photograph, a new source that offers affordable, high-quality, do-it-yourself frames and matting.

-Opt for Xeriscape Landscaping


Usually, the landscaping comes last in a home remodel or redesign and can sap whatever cash you have left. Bids for large jobs can come in at $50,000 to $100,000 for elaborate lawns, plantings, fountains, swimming pools and trees. Go for the green option, choosing low water use grasses and herbs. You can plant a veggie garden with your kids or neighbors to cover a healthy plot. I also love cactus and other desert blooms as design elements in the creative garden. You can pot great shrubs to maximize volume outdoors. You’ll be saving water and helping the planet stay more beautiful at the same time. Check out ideas at for low water use plants at Laspilitas.

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.