Decorating a house is expensive. But a house without a personal touch just doesn’t seem like a home! I love decorating, so when we move (which is somewhat often since we are renters), I just don’t feel like it’s our place until I’ve decorated. With furniture and decor priced the way it is, it seems decorating your house can stay on your to do list forever, since having enough extra money to really make a difference never happens. When we moved into our current home at the beginning of this year, I decided I was done waiting for extra money to come in and took matters into my own hands. Here are my tips for decorating a house on a shoestring budget. This is assuming you’ve already got the basics (a sofa, an area rug, dining table, etc.) and are wanting to start adding touches of decor and accent furniture.
How to Decorate Your Home When You Can’t Afford It:
Hold out for a great deal. I love thrifting, but don’t always have the time or opportunity with three kids. Sometimes I just need to shop at a store I’m already at grabbing cough medicine and Q-tips- it’s much easier! I’ve gotten lots of great accent decor at regular stores like Target for super cheap. If I see something I love, but it’s out of my price range (and my price range is low, my friends), I’ll wait. A lot of the time, the item is still in the store and marked way down a month or so later. Good things come to those who wait . . . like this throw pillow I got a few weeks ago marked down to more than 40% off. Score!
While on a solo trip to Target, I was browsing the decor section and saw a bunch of cork letters on sale for $1.29 each (marked down from $9.99 each!!). They were out of almost every letter, and I couldn’t find our last initial or any of the initials of our kids, but I did find an X and an O, and that completed my simple little mantle.
Take other people’s junk and make it new. This one may be obvious, but it’s worth another mention. Whenever I have a space in my home that needs filling, I’ll check Craigslist or drive by some garage sales looking for the perfect something to fill it. I got this legit vintage military trunk for $20 off Craigslist, and it looks great in my living room as a surprising alternative to the traditional end table. Bonus: I can use it to store blankets or toys too.
I swapped a friend of mine an extra coffee table I had in my garage for this unique end table to go on the other end of my sofa set. It’s the perfect piece to bring a pop of color into the room, and technically didn’t cost me a dime!
An Instagram friend of mine posted that she no longer had room for this cute little chair. It was the perfect solution for this awkward empty cubby by our sliding door (and it makes for a cute timeout spot too). I scored it for $15 already painted, and she threw in a cute throw pillow too!
This vintage suitcase was only $5 and came with a neat story told to me by the granddaughter of the original owner. Every time I glance at it, it’s history and cuteness make me smile.
Our coffee table was a $20 Craigslist find, originally from Ethan Allen. It was all wood, but I painted the legs and my hubby stained the top with a dark oak, waterproof stain. We now have a very kid-and-spill-proof table for the busiest room in the house.
Take your own junk and make it new. I took an ugly black TV stand with glass doors that a family member handed down to us (that just didn’t go with the feel of our home), took the doors off, and painted it white with paint I already had in the garage. Voila! It now goes with the rest of our decor, didn’t cost me anything, and I skipped out on having to buy one of the more expensive pieces of furniture that complete a living room. Something you’ve had forever that you want to get rid of can almost always carry potential. Learn to look at things another way and get creative (if that’s not your natural talent, that’s why there’s Pinterest!).
I took some old wood that was sitting in our garage, a pack of dresser knobs that was going unused, a sign I found at a thrift store for $1, and a globe a friend of mine gave me from her much-too-large collection; and created a happy little space in our front entryway.
I also took a dinky little table that only seats four (we have a family that’s about to grow to six) and painted the legs, then had my handy hubby built a wood top onto it out of pallets. I got a great deal on some red chairs at IKEA and made a perfect little breakfast nook in the kitchen. It works great for when the kids are eating a snack or breakfast while I do something else, since our dining area doubles as our homeschool spot, and I don’t always want to have food there.
There are lots of ways to save money, and personally, I really don’t see a need to ever buy full price for home decor and furniture! In the age of Pinterest and crazy creativity, there’s always another way. I encourage you to fill that empty space in your living room, go ahead and decorate the master bedroom, and feel good when you’re at home! It can be done on a tiny budget- just take it one little corner at a time.
“[She] looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
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