Buvette Masthead

Home style on a budget: win an entire lounge room from Canberra Outlet Centre!

Sarah Nolen

You don’t need lots of money to have a beautiful home. Really, you don’t.

You can create a gorgeous living space within your financial means (whatever they are) with careful planning. In light of the rather dire 2014-15 Budget forecast, and Canberrans being particularly careful with their money, I was set the objective of styling an entire lounge room on an agreed upon budget (which shall remain undisclosed…read on to find out why). I headed out to the newly named Canberra Outlet Centre with my assistant designer in tow (aka Mum) to complete a mission Tom Cruise would be proud of.

Now for me the word ‘budget’ can mean two things: (1) guaranteed to break, difficult to put together, made in China; and (2) a specific figure in mind that you must not exceed.For some reason, the two meanings often end up hand in hand, but this doesn’t have to be the case. I’m here to show you that you can have a beautifully styled room on a set budget without having to scrape the bottom of the barrel for poor quality pieces.


First tip when it comes to sticking to your budget – before you rush out, make sure you’ve got a shopping list with you. I had to look at our list multiple times because it’s VERY easy to get distracted when you’re surrounded by beautiful items.

Tip two – think of all the elements that need to be included in your room. First of all, start with your large items: seating, coffee table, entertainment unit and floor rug. Next comes your smaller pieces, such as a floor lamp and artwork. And the final touches are your accessories – these little pieces help tie the whole picture together. We selected cushions, a woollen throw, large candle, tray with espresso cups and saucers, and a few other trinkets.


Once you have all of these items in place, you’ll need to think about the functional side of a lounge room – the electronics. Besides a TV, you’ll also need to accommodate your DVD players and – most importantly – some form of music outlet (which, if you look carefully, is included in our display).

This is the process we worked through…your large items are generally going to be the most expensive too. Once you have these worked out then you’ll know what’s left of your budget. Without exposing any figures, our main items took up about ¾ of our budget, which is what we anticipated.


If I can give you any advice, that would be to style in layers. If you go out and purchase everything at once, it’s very easy to end up with items that aren’t necessary or not on your list to begin with – good old impulse shopping.

When we first made our trip to each retail shop, we took photos and wrote down prices of multiple items that could have worked in the space. After we’d walked around and seen what was available, we sat down to have some lunch and went through the photos and notes of what we’d seen. It’s a great idea to step away from the shops when you’re working on creating full spaces like we were. The added pressure of being in the shop can sometimes cause you to make rash decisions. So take a break from it and sort through the pros and cons of each item you liked. This will definitely make the process easier.


Once we’d gone through and selected our final options, we set off to purchase the large furniture pieces. To start, we laid out the seating, rug and coffee table until we got the flow and symmetry of the space just right. Then we stepped back from it and thought ‘ok, what is missing?’

Next, we purchased the smaller furniture pieces and once again put them in place and stepped back from the whole setting to see what else was needed. Working with this process you are adding to the picture so it really gives you a visual perspective of how the space looks and where it’s missing particular items.


Our overall lounge room setup has a modern undertone with a hint of the 60’s which is evident in the stunning timber entertainment unit. We haven’t held back on colour because colour is what makes this space pop. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your selections, it just goes to show if you use clever placement and complementary pieces then an aqua coloured lounge and mustard armchair can work harmoniously next to each other.

Want to win this gorgeous lounge room suite for yourself? Here’s how!


This is a sponsored post.

Sarah Nolen

Growing up in Canberra, interior designer with BIRDBLACK Design, Sarah enjoys nothing more than having people put their trust in her to transform their homes from drab cluttered boxes into beautiful masterpieces. She is a true believer in what you get is what you pay for. Constantly on the lookout for new trends and innovations she could never get bored with what she does. Find her at http://birdblackdesign.com.au More about the Author

  • How long does the comp go for?

    • Hi Erin,

      The competition runs for the month of July


    • Amanda Whitley

      Voting closes at midnight on 3 August x

  • Jess

    Hi ladies,
    On the Canberra outlet page it says ‘first correct guess wins’, does it go to the next closest guess at the end of the comp if this doesn’t happen?

    • Sarah

      That’s right jess, so be sure you get your guess in quickly 🙂

  • Kate

    Would love to see a wrap-up post at the end of the competition detailing the items in your room and stockists. Love that sofa.

    • Amanda Whitley

      I want the sideboard!

    • Sounds great Kate, I’ve had a lot of people loving the sideboard!

  • Rana

    When will the winner be announced?

    • Amanda Whitley

      Canberra Outlet Centre advises the winner will be announced tomorrow 🙂

Focus Cosmetic Medicine Leaderboard