How To Decorate Your Home On A Tight Budget
Have you ever wondered how to decorate your home on a tight budget? Or…if that was even possible?
One of my favorite pastimes is decorating my home. I have been a budget decorator for most of my married life, but I’ve never thought of decorating my house on a tight budget as being restrictive. I’ve always thought of it as fun and somewhat of a challenge.
I do realize, though, that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for a DIY or is crafty. Also, lack of money can dampen your spirits when it comes to decorating, but I want to tell you…there are so many things you can do to have a beautiful home without spending a fortune.
So, today I thought I’d share some of my best tips for how to decorate your home on a tight budget and just maybe they might help you create the home that you love to come home to, no matter what your budget is.
*This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure page.
how to decorate your home on a tight budget
This is my number one tip for how to decorate on a tight budget, for a reason. Before you begin organizing and cleaning, declutter first. Let’s face it…if you’re living in clutter, it’s very hard to clean and decorate around it. It doesn’t matter whether you embark on a declutter marathon for thirty days in your entire home, or you randomly pick a room or an area to clean. If you have an abundant amount of “stuff”, you need to find a place for it. Here is a good article by Organize My House on “How to declutter when you’re overwhelmed.”
Related Post: Foolproof Tips For A Clean and Organized House
Clean your house
Once you’ve decluttered, now it’s time to get after it and give it a polish and shine! There’s just something wonderful about a clean house that just makes you proud! When the floors are shining and you get that wonderful clean smell when you come inside…well, it just don’t get any better! lol. Dust, vacuum, mop, organize and put things away that don’t belong out in the open.
Rearrange the furniture
This is a simple AND CHEAP way to update a room when you want to decorate your home but you’re on a tight budget. If you’ve had the furniture arranged the same way for years, you’ll be amazed at how just changing up the placement can give your room and furniture a facelift…so to speak.
Shop your home, first
Always, always, always shop your home BEFORE you head out to buy anything. You will be amazed at what you can find or maybe what you forgot you already have. Go from room to room and see what items you have that you can move to another room. This may be what-nots, throws, pillows, furniture or whatever. This leads to my next point…
Repurpose unused items you already have
This is another one of my favorite tips when you need to decorate on a super tight budget.
Before you get rid of something, try to looking at it through a different set of eyes. When you want a change in your home decor, get creative and crafty instead of buying new décor. Do you have an outdated lamp that could be refreshed by a paint job or maybe a new lampshade? Do you have a piece of furniture that could be transformed with a coat of paint? Try moving artwork to a different spot. Use an old ladder as a blanket rack. Use an old door as a headboard. You get the idea. Sometimes, just changing the location of something is all you need to do.
I know this isn’t for everyone because you may want to see the items before buying but, this is probably the only way I shop, these days.
My favorite is Amazon, because I have found (most of the time, but not always) it to be more convenient, better prices and they make it extremely easy to return most items if you’re not completely satisfied.
The one tip that I highly recommend doing is ALWAYS read the reviews before purchasing. There’s always a few negative reviews on just about every item, but I expect that. What I don’t want, though, are several negative comments. If an item has too many, I usually steer away from that item and keep looking. Also, if you frequently buy from Amazon, it may be worth it to become a Prime member. Your subscription will pay for itself quickly and you’ll have free shipping on everything.
Paint is probably one of the cheapest ways to update and change the look of a room. Whether it’s house paint or chalk paint, paint can transform just about anything from shabby to chic.
You can refresh a room by simply applying a fresh coat of paint and/or changing the color. You can turn a tired, old piece of furniture into a masterpiece and make it look brand new! If you have home accessories that are looking out of date or they just don’t fit your style or color scheme, paint them! I’m telling you my friend, there are paints for every color & surface and the best part is, most paint is very forgiving! If you don’t like what you have, paint over it!
Here’s the before on some of my accessories:
Here’s the after! An amazing transformation that’s cheap & easy! I used Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic spray paint to make my accessories match with my fixtures & hardware and they turned out beautiful!
This is probably my favorite way to change the look of a room and a top tip for how to decorate on a tight budget. Decorative throw pillows can have a big impact on the style or theme of your room. But…I don’t buy new pillows for every season. I buy pillow covers! They’re inexpensive, they take up hardly any space when not in use and they’re easy to change out! Amazon is my favorite place to find them as the selections are endless!
Hit the thrift stores!
This is another favorite tip of mine! You can get fabulous bargains at thrift stores & garage sales. From furniture to decorative items, this is a great way to find unique (and sometimes) high end pieces for a fraction of the retail cost.
Shop Facebook Marketplace
You can find almost anything on Marketplace. If you’re looking for something in particular, just put it into search and … The best thing about it is everything is usually negotiable. The prices listed are generally the starting point. I’m a believer that if you don’t ask, you won’t get, so make an offer. All they can do is say no.
Below is our entertainment center that we found on Marketplace for $600. We priced them new (this size) and they retailed between $3,00-$4,000. The lady was asking $800 and we offered $600 and she took it!! It was made by Ashley Furniture and was in mint condition.
Use mason jars
Whether you need a super cute storage container, a homemade candle holder, or a cute container to plant your succulents…Mason Jars are my go-to items to use in my home decor projects. I use them all over my home and office. Beside using them for canning, you can also use the for bathroom accessories like toothbrush holders, soap dispensers, to hold your Q-Tips and cotton balls. They also make beautiful sconces, desk organizers and beautiful centerpieces. The sky’s the limit on what you can do with these wonderful inexpensive decorative accessories.
You can find mason jars on Amazon, but Walmart is generally cheaper.
Take your own photos & frame yourself
If you have an Iphone, you can take wonderful photos and send them to Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Shutterfly, Snapfish and so many more! Google “where to get pictures printed” and you’ll have a ton of choices.
If you need frames, check thrift stores, Amazon or Hobby Lobby for beautiful frames at a pretty low cost.
My daughters’ have created beautiful gallery walls by doing this and the results are extremely high end but at a minimal cost.
The above photos are of each one of my daughters’ gallery walls. These are huge statement walls for very little money. The frames on the left are from IKEA and she had the photos developed at Costco.
The frames on the right are from Amazon and she had the photos developed at Walgreens.
Update hardware/light fixtures
A quick and affordable way to add flair and ambiance to a room is by updating the light fixtures & cabinet hardware. If there’s no room in the budget for brand new ones, get a can of spray paint and repaint what you have. You can turn an old outdated, brass chandelier into a high end looking one for under $5 with a can of oil rubbed bronze paint. Do the same thing with bathroom fixtures that have seen better days.
The same goes for cabinet hardware. If you have some wiggle room in your budget, there are so many styles and colors to choose from. Depending on where you purchase them, you can give your kitchen, bathroom or a piece of furniture a little face lift by changing up the handles & knobs. Lowes & Home Depot have a great selection but make sure to check out Hobby Lobby, as well. They have a ton of interesting and unique pull & knobs to fit just about any decor style.
Of course, if there isn’t any wiggle room in your budget, a can of spray paint will do just a well!
Hang curtains high
When you hang your curtains high and wide, it can make a significant impact on a room. A rule of thumb (from Architectural Digest) is that curtains should be hung between four to six inches above the window frame, so install your curtain rod accordingly. When you hang the curtain rod high, it will make the window appear taller and will visually adds height to your room. Even in a room with lower ceilings, you can still add height by hanging the rods a least half way between the molding and the ceiling and it will make your ceilings appear taller.
As far as hanging wide, extend your rod & bracket out further than the window moulding.The rod itself should be 8 to 12 inches longer than the width of the window, which allows for 4 to 6 inches on either side.
*Tip* – Most curtains in the stores are 84″. This length is really too short, even for 8′ ceilings. You will want to look for curtains that are at least 95″.
Spring for a new rug
Nothing can give a room a facelift like a new rug. A rug gives structure to a space wherever you put it. In addition to softening footfall and adding warmth and texture to the floor, an area rug helps ground a room and the furniture in it.
I’ve bought almost all of my rugs from Amazon or Esalerugs.com. The quality has been exceptional from both retailers and they have all stood up to the test of time, grandchildren and pets.
I read the reviews first before I order and I always make sure that there are FREE RETURNS, before purchasing. I’ve never had to return any of my large room rugs, but I have returned several smaller ones that I purchase for the kitchen or bath. Usually, this is because the color wasn’t just right. But, the process is extremely easy both through Amazon and Esalerugs.com.
The rug above is from Esalerugs.com and is the Classic Agra, size 5’x8′ and was $89. They have free shipping and offer 30 day free returns.
Artwork can be super expensive. If you like abstract art, you may be surprised at how easy it is to do it yourself. Go on Pinterest and Youtube and do a search on diy canvas art and check out tons of easy tutorials. This goes for just about anything you may be wanting.
Don’t underestimate what you can find at the Dollar Tree
This is one of my favorite go-to place for home decor. There are so many tips & tricks for taking inexpensive items from the Dollar Tree & turning them into awesome decor. You can easily take mirrors, candle holders & vases and embellish them with so many things to make them unique and one of a kind.
One of my favorite decor pieces is the tiered tray that I made for $5 with items from the Dollar Tree. I decorate this tray for every season and I mostly use items from DT to decorate it with.
If you’d like to make one yourself, check out Dollar Tree Tiered Tray – An Easy & Fun DIY.
Go neutral with the furniture & walls
If you’ve ever thumbed through a decorating magazine, more often than not, you see designers opting for neutral colors on walls & furniture. When I say neutral, I mean beige, taupe, gray, cream, brown, black, and white. Alone, these colors may seem boring but they don’t have to be. Neutral colors aren’t trendy. They’re classic and can stand the test of time.
Instead of opting for a red couch, accessorize your beige or brown couch with colorful pillows. It’s much easier, more aesthetic and way cheaper to bring in color with the accessories.
Same with wall color. Neutral colors on the walls tend to be more calming and we won’t tire of them as quickly as we would if they are painted in brighter, bolder colors. Instead of painting your walls a trendy bright color, opt instead for a beautiful beige (like Sherwin William’s Latte) and bring color in with artwork or architectural pieces.
Shop for furniture in the kids section
Shopping for furniture in the children section of the furniture store can possibly save you hundreds. Kid furniture may be slightly smaller, but it’s also less expensive. This may not always be the case, but it’s worth checking out.
Stay away from trends
They’re too expensive to keep up with. If you go with timeless pieces, they never go out of style.
decorate with scents
There’s just something about wonderful smells and aromas that make your home feel cozy & inviting. Identify your favorite scents and make your whole house smell good! There are several ways to achieve this with
- Candles, Wax Melt Warmers & Scented Wax Melts– Walmart’s Better Homes & Gardens are very inexpensive and have a variety of scents. You can also get a wax burner for around $10. You can also find a huge selection through Amazon.
- Fabric sprays – Spray your pillows, carpets, rugs, pet beds or anything fabric to refresh. My favorite, also from Walmart, is Great Value’s Pet Odor Eliminator. It smells amazing!
- Plug-ins – Glade & Airwick make plug-ins and have a number of scents to choose from. The plug-in itself is less that $2 and the refills come in either a 2 pack or a 5 pack. Each refill last about 3-4 weeks and they even have seasonal scents.
- Essential oils & diffusers
- Make a stove simmer with cinnamon sticks, cloves & orange & apple rinds –Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the ingredients, continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so. This is a heavenly scent for Fall.
A wonderfully scented home will feel cozy and lower your stress levels, which is so worth it, to me.
Use old books
When I go thrifting, I’m always on the hunt for old books because there are so many ways to use them.
My favorite way is to use a couple of old, hard cover books as risers to elevate and display items at various heights. I like to use them to elevate lamps, picture frames or whatnots. They add texture, dimension and interest to what would otherwise be a boring space.
They can also be used in all kinds of pretty vignettes, centerpieces on dining room or coffee tables, fireplace mantles, etc.
Just recently, I found 4 very old books at the thrift store, that were printed in 1909. They were in great condition and only cost .25 cents each! I couldn’t believe it! They were vintage, beautiful and added so much interest to the space that I used them. The subject matter really doesn’t matter, either, when you’re looking for old books. I look for color, thickness & price.
Add greenery & florals
The smallest little bit of green life in your space can make the aesthetics’s of your rooms so inviting.
If you prefer living plants, choose ones that thrive inside like airplane plants, closet plants or snake plants…aka Mother In Law tongue.
Artificial florals also beautiful and can add so much life to your space.
You won’t believe the difference a simple couch slipcover can make! If you have a couch that’s seen better days and you can’t afford to replace it right now, just stretch one of these puppies over it and BOOM!! It’s like a brand new couch, but for much so much less!
I did this many years ago, when my kids were small. We had a green, early American style couch that I wasn’t too fond of and I slipcovered it with a neutral, khaki colored slipcover and totally changed the look of the room.
An added perk for slipcovers is that they are machine washable. If you have children or pets, this is great!
Mirrors can open up a space, making it seem larger. They can also bring in so much light. You can find beautiful mirrors at Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, Amazon or even Walmart for very reasonable prices and if you wait for them to go on sale, that’s even better!
Be sure to check thrift stores & garage sales, too! I have found a couple of gorgeous, one of a kind mirrors for practically nothing.
Research purchase BEFORE you buy
Sometimes and little patience and research goes a long way. Comparing prices from store to store can save a bundle. I have gotten into the habit of doing this and am amazed at how much prices can differ from store to store.
Recently, I was looking for 2 matching throw blankets for our sunroom. I’ve been checking stores like Walmart & Target (both in store and online) as well as Home Goods and found some beautiful choices, but with prices all over the place. I also got on Amazon and did extensive research with prices AND reviews and finally found (after a couple of weeks of searching) exactly what I was looking for. It was the Lunarose throw blanket that is lightweight, was the right price, the right color and was perfect for the two recliners.
I’m glad I waited and did my research because it saved me $25-$40 and I was so pleased with the quality.
Always check the clearance aisle
One of my favorite places in Hobby Lobby is the clearance aisle. You can often find damaged merchandise marked down 90% and many times, the damage is minimal and can be repaired.
Ask for gift cards to your favorite stores
When birthdays & Christmas roll around, gift cards to my favorite stores seem to always be on the top of my list. I love gift cards because there are things that I won’t buy or can’t justify buying on a normal basis. With a gift card, I can purchase items that might be a little extravagant for me and I don’t have to feel guilty about spending the money.
Use money saving apps to get gift cards
FETCH is my favorite money saving app that turns your receipts into gift cards. It’s completely free to use and you earn points/rewards to tons of retailers (including Amazon) and restaurants. Just snap your grocery receipt, and get rewarded!
This will come in handy if your on a tight budget and you want to earn gift cards to buy those pieces to decorate with that you would normally pass by.
If you’d like to try it, you can click on the link here and receive 2,000 points, just for signing up.
Watch youtube & Pinterest for great ideas
This kind of goes without saying. If you want to learn how to make or do something, YouTube is the place! If you need decorating ideas, Pinterest is a gold mine! There’s literally something for everyone on both of these platforms.
If you don’t love it, dont buy it!
Buy items you really love instead of settling for something because it’s cheap. It’s better to wait and save up for what you really want. If you buy something now that your not really fond of, you’ll end up spending more in the long run, because chances are, you’re going to want to replace it. Be patient and get what you really want.
You absolutely can decorate your home on a tight budget!
If you’re really on a tight budget, don’t think that it’s impossible to decorate your home, my friend. Making your home cozy and inviting doesn’t have to cost a fortune. By surrounding yourself with things you love, you can create a warm and inviting place that you will love to come home to or never want to leave.
I would love to know how you decorate when the budget has been tight. If you have any tips or tricks that I didn’t mention, please share them in the comments below.
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