Coastal-Hamptons renovation on a tight budget

Question: In terms of designing a space, how do you get a Rolls Royce finish on a Nissan budget? (no offence intended to all our Nissan driving friends!)…

Answer: Inspiration and some cost-effective resourcing.


Finding new inspiration

Although we loved the wallpaper that was already in the office, we felt that we needed to brighten things up and create a space that was crisp, clean and sophisticated (we’re not called Aspiring Walls for nothing folks!).

It’s all about that base (layer)…

Our wallpaper designer Dave showed us his new collection of Whites and Neutrals – with a nautical drift that featured some amazing faux grasscloth. Once we saw the collection, we knew we had the right wallpaper design to use for our project.

Starting with the walls and taking inspiration from the faux-grasscloth, it just seemed fitting that a coastal-Hamptons look ticked all the boxes of the aesthetic that we wanted to achieve.


Wallpaper Traditional grasscloth retails between $153.00-$305.00 per roll. What we’ve used on the walls (PN25715 available March 2017) is $76.99 per roll (that’s 50% cheaper than the cheapest grasscloth wallpaper available at rrp on the market!).

Adding another layer

Once we stripped off the old wallpaper and the new faux-grasscloth was up, the space dramatically felt different – light, textured and airy. Adding another layer of trim to the walls would help lift our schematic base to new heights of sophistication. We know It’s something extra, but definitely worth doing to create that coastal-Hamptons look and feel.

Trim – Simple trim is inexpensive and available from Mitre 10 in 1.2m, 1.8m and 2.4m lengths and retails for as little as $3.78. Once trim was mitred at the appropriate length and painted, it was then super easy to attach to the walls using panel pins. How easy? I had my 13 year old ‘nailing’ it!
torren nailing it

Paint We used a few test pots of Resene’s Quarter Black White to paint the trim to match the whiteness level of the existing architrave and scotia. Test pots cost as little as $4.00.


Now that the ‘bones’ of the space was looking fab, the final layer had to consist of artwork, flowers and nice little knick-knacky things.accenting

Frames – I was able to find some decent white frames to compliment the white trim from The Warehouse. A2 size frames range from $12.00-$25.00. There was a 30% sale which was a steal!

Glass – Personally, I consider glass, chrome as well as anything that’s shiny or reflects light as a tasteful version of bling – therefore adding some sparkle to the space without reverting to glitter and rhinestones (let’s not go there ok?).

The glass vase was $5.00 from The Warehouse and the Owl ornament or something like it can be picked up from a garage sale/budget store for around $2.00.

Fresh flowers and twigs make up our arrangement. Note: Hydrangeas are in season and neighbours with floral abundance are more than happy to cut you a fresh bunch if you ask them nicely.

Artwork can be expensive. Period. The artwork featured in the frames of our reno was created using free online images and manipulated with the help of a geometric photoshop tutorial on Youtube. In realising that you may not want to go down the same route, there are brilliant websites that offer royalty free images such as and where you can simply download stunning hi-res images that compliment your scheme which you can print at Harvey NormanImages2

OtherDesigner coffee table books can cost the earth. For the shoot, I brought some books in. As an alternative, you can achieve the same look by recovering some old books with paper that compliments your overall colour palette.

The geometric marble candle holder/paper weight was $4.00 from Kmart and fits in well to the scheme due to its neutral colour and geometric profile that ties nicely with the artwork.

All in all, we love working in our new space!

Now, the adjoining part of our office also needs renovating, so we’re having fun planning for that. Rather than carry our coastal-Hamptons theme right through, we’ll show you how to connect two different spaces that have opposite colour schemes and wallpaper… so watch this space, and yes, we’ll also be doing that reno on a dime (or two).