Interior design masters Abi and Rochelle reveal their secret to sticking to a tight budget

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

    Rochelle and Abi were paired up in week three to transform the Lundy Lions common room. They transformed the space with diagonal gray stripes, light furniture, and a grass wall, but that wasn’t enough to save them from the couch.

    Over the past few episodes, Abi and Rochelle have wowed us and the other contestants with what they’re capable of pulling off on a shoestring budget. Renovate entire rooms and even apartments in just 16 hours with low budget decorating ideas.

    Image credit: Masters in Interior Design

    Talk to Ideal homeAbi and Rochelle revealed that thrift, second-hand shopping and upcycled furniture ideas were key for them 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 acumen for charity shopping allowed me to spend more budget on wallpaper, more budget on things that were more expensive.”

    women in blue clothes

    Image credit: Masters in Interior Design

    Rochelle revealed that in Episode 2, second-hand shopping was also what got her through. “In Episode 2, I went to a lot of vintage shipyards and bought a lot of stuff there and from French chateau clearances,” she explains.

    Making the most of second-hand shopping is something both designers apply to their own home design, not just on the show floor. Abi even has her own recycling business that returns unloved pieces to her Etsy shop Abi Ann Davis. “I think the two of us, it’s all about saving money and trying to get everything we can for as cheap as possible and then giving it a shine and making people want it again,” says Abi.

    “The philosophy we both agree on is that design is accessible to everyone,” Rochelle adds. “No matter how tight things are for you, there are ways to create things that mean you can have great things. Interior design can be accessible, you just have to be smart in how you do it.

    Abi and Rochelle’s advice for second-hand shopping

    So where do you start when buying used? The two creators swear by Facebook Marketplace. “Even if you have to drive to Timbuktu and back, you can buy some great second-hand items there,” Rochelle says.

    women in multicolored dress

    Image credit: Masters in Interior Design

    Before bringing an item home, Abi recommends checking four things first. “Always check he has all the legs, you’d be surprised, sometimes they have wonky legs,” she says. ‘Make sure it is wood and not flatpack. Check for woodworms because if you bring this home, oh my. Always just think when you see a room, think about it in your home, and think what color it might go. From there you will have the upcycling bug.

    ‘What’s the worst that can happen, you spent £50 on a piece of furniture you painted and you think it doesn’t look good, you sell it, put it on Facebook market and someone going to buy it for £50 because they’ll be like ‘I can do a better job of recycling that’.

    If you’re not ready to say goodbye to this season’s Thelma and Louise, you can find more interior design and thrifty shopping tips on Instagram @abianndavis and @rochelle_dalphinis.

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

    Betty K. Park