Abi and Rochelle from the masters of interior design reveal their secret to staying on a budget

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  • Fans of Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr on BBC1 would have been sad to wave goodbye to Rochelle Dalphinis and Abi Davis in a double eviction on Wednesday night’s episode.

    Rochelle and Abi were brought together in week three to makeover the Lundy Lions common room. They transformed the space with diagonal gray stripes, light-colored furniture, and an eye-catching turf wall, but it wasn’t enough to save them from the sofa.

    In recent episodes, Abi and Rochelle, along with the other contestants, have amazed us with what they can accomplish on a tight budget. Makeover entire rooms and even apartments in just 16 hours with smart, budget-friendly decorating ideas.

    Photo credit: Interior Design Masters

    Speak with ideal homeAbi and Rochelle revealed that thrift, buying second-hand and upcycling furniture ideas were key to being able to work on such a tight budget.

    “I’m such an avid charity shopper that I think you should always go to charity shops before you go anywhere to buy anything,” Abi said ideal home. “I think my keen eye for charity shopping got me through it so I can spend more budget on wallpaper, more budget on things that were more expensive.”

    women in blue clothes

    Photo credit: Interior Design Masters

    Rochelle revealed that in Episode 2 it was also second-hand purchases that got her through. “In episode 2 I went to a lot of vintage yards and bought a lot of stuff there and at French château clearances,” she explains.

    Making the most of second-hand purchases is something both designers apply to their own home design, not just on show. Abi even has her own upcycling business, turning over unloved pieces at her Etsy shop, Abi Ann Davis. “I think for both of us it’s all about thrift and trying to get whatever we can as cheaply as possible, then making it shine and getting people to want it again,” explains Abi.

    “We both agree that design is accessible to everyone,” adds Rochelle. “It doesn’t matter how tight things are for you, there are ways to create things that mean you can have beautiful things. Interior design can be accessible, you just have to be smart about how to do it.”

    Abi and Rochelle’s second-hand shopping tips

    So where should you start when sourcing second hand? Both designers swear by Facebook Marketplace. “Even if you have to drive to Timbuktu and back, you can get great second-hand stuff there,” says Rochelle.

    women in colorful dresses

    Photo credit: Interior Design Masters

    Before you take an item home, however, Abi recommends checking four things first. “Always check if all the legs are there, you’d be surprised sometimes they have shaky legs,” she says. “Make sure it’s real wood and not flat pack. Look for woodworms because if you take this home – oh my. Just think about it whenever you see a piece in your home and think what color it might be. From there you get the upcycling bug.”

    “What’s the worst that can happen, you’ve spent £50 on a piece of furniture that you’ve painted and you think it doesn’t look right, you just resell it, put it on Facebook Marketplace and someone will buy it for £50 because they will say “I can upcycle this better”.

    If you’re not ready to say goodbye to this season’s Thelma and Louise, check out the couple’s Instagram pages @abianndavis and @rochelle_dalphinis for more decorating tips and economical shopping tips.

    Are we just hoping for a frugal home podcast from the pair?

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