Jessie Kok’s 5 Helpful Tips on Decorating on a Budget

June 11, 2012
Jessie Kok's Coffee Table

Jessie Kok and I share the same belief that one does not need a big budget to make a space beautiful and stylish.

She is the author behind Mix and Chic Interiors, and here she talks about interior decorating, giving 5 extremely helpful tips on decorating on a budget.

Born and raised in Malaysia, she is an interior decorator in Illinois, offering online decorating services.


Q: Where do you find inspiration to beautify a space?

A: From studying other designers’ works and reading decor magazines and design blogs. I also enjoy browsing through fashion magazines, checking out paper goods, and just about anything for color inspiration.

Online Decorating

Q: What are some common styling challenges you have encountered in your past projects?

A: Scale. Currently, I am offering e-design/online decorating for clients, so I have to source for every product online. It’s not easy to get a feel of the size of a room or an object and I need to use my measurement tape for every item I suggest to my clients to ensure that the scale is right. It’s quite time-consuming. Decorating -wise, it is not as intuitive as seeing the actual product in an actual space.

Small Spaces

Q: How do you decorate a small space?

A: Avoid using dark colors and large patterns on the walls. Darker colors have a cocoon-like effect and large patterns will look too busy and too enclosed for a small space in general. For the walls, lighter paint color and smaller patterns work well and give off a more spacious feeling. Use large mirrors to reflect light and to double a space visually. Opt for lucite/clear acrylic pieces for minimal “visual weight”. Select pieces that serve double-duty, for instance a sofa bed or ottoman with storage. Remember to always pick small-scale furniture for a small space.

Q: Are there particular colors you suggest for small spaces?

A: For walls, white is the best color for tiny spaces, but any color in the lighter/ lightest shade in paint chip would work equally well.

Jessie Kok’s 5 Helpful Tips on Decorating on a Budget

To decorate on a budget, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Always shop around to compare prices and try to find coupon codes online for extra savings. Don’t buy items for your home simply because they are on sale. Keep an eye on your favorite item and wait for a sale instead.

  2. I always believe that decorating on a budget should also mean decorating around the things you loveso it’s a good idea to find out when a store will be having a sale. Sign up for your favorite store’s newsletter and follow them on social media for the sales announcement. Don’t forget to apply for your favorite store’s credit card to reap the rewards at the end of the day! Plan your purchases wisely. Stores will be having major sales during seasonal change or during national holidays.

  3. Remember to think outside the box. Try looking for items in unexpected places.

    Previously, I was looking for a pair of inexpensive night stands for my guest bedroom. Affordable nightstands are not easy to find in your average furniture store, so I shop for dorm furniture. I found two night stands for $30 each and they came with drawers and a large storage space (underneath the drawers).

  4. And if you are good at DIY projects, you can replicate a lot of things that you like. You can reupholster a chair, sew your own drapes and pillows, etc. The list is endless. Don’t forget to shop at flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales. Sometimes you will find the unexpected too.

  5. Buy versatile furniture pieces which you can relocate from room to room and from house to house.

    Buying furniture such as a bench is a great investment because they can be used in the entryway when you wear/ take off your shoes, at the foot of the bed or extra seating for your living room.

Jessie Kok, I appreciate you setting aside time to answer my questions. Thank you!


  • Reply designchic June 15, 2012 at 6:07 am

    What wonderful tips for decorating on a budget – love Mix and Chic and so happy to find your blog now!!

    • Reply jencederstam June 15, 2012 at 9:19 am

      Thank you, designchic! 🙂

  • Reply Naqipink September 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I like the way you carry yourself as a designer. I feel inspired just by reading your blog 🙂

    • Reply jencederstam September 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you. I really appreciate it! 🙂

    Leave a Reply