We wanted to know if it was possible to decorate and furnish a room on the cheap, so we asked an interior designer and a young San Franciscan to participate in a little experiment.
A large bed, small desk and vanity is all that adorns a half empty studio apartment in San Francisco.
Tiffany Hsu has been here just a few days. It was a good time to introduce her to interior designer Rachelle Goodfriend from the Goodfriend Design Group.
"Tell me about it. Any ideas that you have here?" asked Goodfriend.
"I'm hoping to do some type of living space here. I love having guests over all the time," said Hsu.
"Oh, you do," said Goodfriend.
This is Tiffany's first time living by herself. Her goal is to do it as cheaply as possible.
"Most of my money is going to rent. So I'm budgeting myself right now, and it's just if I can save money right now, especially the way the economy is right now, the better," said Hsu.
So we asked Rachelle for a little advice.
"It's going to be a challenge, but I don't mind that," said Goodfriend. "You can paint. You can change a window covering. You can move around your furniture in a different way and then add pieces that pop."
The room may be small, but Tiffany wanted separation in the room -- something that showed off her personality and screamed Tiffany.
The first thing Rachelle had Tiffany do was paint. Our interior designer is a big believer that colors can really make a huge difference.
Three weeks later, the two transformed a bare and somewhat cold studio apartment into a warm, eclectic, fun living space reflecting a young woman's personality and experiences.
"She wanted the home to really be hers. She wanted to really own the space and she nailed it. She absolutely nailed it. It is gorgeous," said Goodfriend.
To compliment the blue wall, Tiffany chose a light blue for one wall and a high gloss gold paint that really brought out the texture for the other wall.
Tiffany kept the existing color on the top half of her walls to give the room continuity and pull everything together.
She added a futon, coffee table, dresser, jewelry table and various knick knacks and it didn't cost her a lot either.
"The futon right here and the table here, they were both free from Craigslist," said Hsu.
Free things are on Craigslist for the taking if you're willing to move quickly to pick up something you like.
Other items were practically free. She found the dresser and the jewelry case also on Craigslist. Together they were $50.
The side table together with the two other pieces were purchased at a garage sale for $45.
Tiffany says you have to know how to bargain.
"Just go in there knowing what you want to pay ahead of time, and if you don't get it at that price, its not a big deal. There's plenty of furniture on Craigslist," said Hsu.
The lanterns over the bed were $2 to $4 each at Cost Plus. The vase and mirror were both from Ross. The vase is $14.99 and the mirror is $24.99.
The stencil-like designs on the wall are actually decals. Prices ranged from $1 to $19.99.
"She hit all the right spots. Craigslist, garage sales, going to all the lower cost affordable stores," said Goodfriend
And it all worked.
"And the biggest compliment I had was when I had a housewarming party last week, everyone who came here said Tiffany, this room screams you. It's your personality," said Hsu.
The total cost for everything: $420 dollars. The largest cost was $106 for the decals. One other important note, when buying off Craigslist, remember you're dealing with strangers.
Tiffany says she interviews everyone she buys from first and never meets them alone. That's some good advice.