Inspiring interiors needn’t cost the earth, with a host of new shopping options in the UAE ensuring desirable décor is more affordable than ever before…

As life returns to normal after the long, hot summer, now is the perfect time to turn your attention to your home. Whether you have spent time away travelling or are new to the UAE, the place we live is our sanctuary from the world outside and it is so important that it both makes us feel happy and reflects who we are. This is particularly the case for those of us living in another country, out of our usual environment and away from friends and family.

However, with so many people living in rented accommodation, adding our personal stamp might feel like something that is easier said than done. When deciding whether or not to decorate, people are naturally conscious of the cost and effort involved, especially if they may only end up living there for a short time. Tenants will also generally be keen to avoid making changes that might result in the loss of their damage deposit. Even items that you can take with you may not fit in future accommodation so it is entirely sensible not to spend a fortune on furnishings that you may not own for very long.

The good news is that while money may buy you more choice, style can definitely be achieved on a budget – and with an increasing number of reasonably priced interiors brands opening up across the UAE, it’s relatively easily done. Of course, IKEA, the long reigning champion of affordable, stylish homeware, remains a one stop shop for everything from entire kitchens to decorative accessories, and continues to update its Scandi-inspired range all the time. But, as if that wasn’t enough, the Swedes have given us another couple of budget-friendly options in the form of the fabulous H&M Home, which opened recently in Mall of the Emirates, and Clas Ohlsen, a home and hardware store in Mirdif City Centre, which is bursting with bargains. French brand Maisons du Monde has also just launched in the UAE with a beautifully laid out store, also located in MCC, which is organised by trend, making it easy to create a look that is as cohesive as it is affordable. Other stores where you get a lot of bang for your …er… dirham include Home Centre, Ace Hardware, Pan Emirates, Homes R Us and Home Box.

Bear in mind, however, that there’s really no need to always buy new. Dubai’s transient population ensures that there is a roaring trade in pre-loved furniture, and there is much that can be done to repurpose and refresh existing items in your home. Wooden furniture can be given a new lease of life with a coat of paint – and if that sounds like too much work then you can always call on the lovely ladies at The Imperfect Parlour to do it for you. A trip to Satwa’s tailoring district is not only a Dubai ‘must do’ but offers a great opportunity to be inspired by the incredible range of fabrics that can be used to re-upholster sofas, chairs and headboards, leaving them as good as new.

Accessories, meanwhile, provide the finishing touch to any home and do not need to cost a fortune. Faux plants are a cost-effective way to add a lively splash of green and are guaranteed not to die on you. Hanging art is one of the best ways to add personality to your space and using adhesive strips means you won’t damage the walls. ‘Art’ doesn’t need to mean expensive original pieces from a gallery either. Post cards, family photos, poster art and even magazine pages and scraps of wallpaper or fabric can be framed to create inexpensive displays, so don’t be disheartened if your budget is limited. With a bit of effort and imagination, you can absolutely make your home as welcoming and stylish as any on Instagram.