I have a running list of posts I’d like to write and I add to it whenever inspiration strikes. The list was getting long so I decided to get busy and start checking some off. I shared an update on How To Restore Grout and a tutorial on How to Wash, Dry and Cut Burlap. (Finally.) Today I’m here with my top 10 Budget Decorating Tips. I have had this post outlined for months and am so happy to finally get it finished! I hope you find one or two tips that speak to you and that help you create a home you love.
1. Roll up your sleeves & DIY.
When I start a project, the first thing I do is figure out what I can do myself, and then what I have to hire out. If I can do the whole thing myself I am so happy. That rarely happens though especially with anything that’s labor intensive. Most big projects around here are a combination of DIY and paid labor. For example here’s how I accomplished my entry/stairway renovation. The walls were a mess and I knew I could not fix them so I hired out that portion. For the stairs, I knew I couldn’t stain them properly so I hired that part out as well. All by myself though I sanded, taped and painted the risers and banisters. Which took forever but was so worth it. Bottom line is by doing it (or at least some of it) yourself, projects that seem financially out of reach become attainable. The more DIY, the less money out of your pocket.
2. Figure out IKEA.
I know, I know. Not everyone has an IKEA around the corner. They are spread out and if you are like me, it takes a few hours to get there. Taking the time to shop at IKEA is not only really fun, but is such a budget-friendly way to decorate that you can’t afford not to make the trip. IKEA has come a long way in the past 10 years. It used to be where you went to get dorm room furniture. Now it is 2 gigantic floors of stylish and affordable furniture and accessories. I have purchased a sofa, chair, ottoman and all sorts of fabric and accessories. They have items to fit nearly every style. What I love about IKEA the most is that they set up actual rooms so you can see how everything looks. You are not shopping from a picture or stack of boxes. My one piece of advice for shopping IKEA would be to avoid it on the weekends if possible. It’s packed!
3. Shop second-hand and discount stores.
Nothing is really off-limits or out of reach if you are a good thrift store, Craigslist, eBay, discount or craft store shopper. My favorite ironstone tureen was a Goodwill find and cost a whopping $3. I rarely shop at the higher end stores because I know I can almost always find something similar for much less money. It takes patience because sometimes you can’t find exactly what you want. Hang in there though. Keep looking. It’s only a matter of time before you find exactly what you were looking for.
4. Make your own artwork.
Making your own artwork is a very simple and inexpensive way to fill your walls. Frames and mats can be purchased at just about any craft or discount store. You can personalize the colors too. Here are a few ways I make my own artwork:
~Find printables online, especially Pinterest. Download and print. Instant wall art.
~Search Etsy for graphics. There are an endless assortment of awesome images. Most can be downloaded for under $5.00.
~Take your own photos. Enlarge them at a photo center and frame. I like to do this and have the prints made in black and white. You can make a very cohesive gallery wall this way.
~Upload your photos to phone apps like Waterlogue. Email them to yourself, download and print. Original watercolors (sort of) for next to nothing.
5. Look past the ugly and buy some spray paint.
The one thing that you need to remember when shopping second hand is to look past the ugly. Take for example these yellow candlesticks. I knew I wanted yellow but finding them was impossible. I hit up my Goodwill and bought whatever they had. I didn’t care what color. I bought for shape and height. A coat of spray paint was all it took to transform that mismatched lot into something cohesive. Think outside the box and remember that paint is your friend.
6. Add inexpensive natural elements to EVERY ROOM.
I love natural elements. I love fresh flowers and greenery. They bring a room to life and you can use them in your decor without breaking the bank. Bring them in from your yard. Pick them up at the grocery store. It’s amazing how a $5 bunch of flowers can cheer you up and light up a room. Decorating with natural elements is inexpensive and easy. If you don’t do it, give it a try. I think you’ll like it.
7. Use fabric and pillows for color and style.
If you’ve followed my blog for even a little while, you know I am obsessed with pillows. I adore them. I also think they are an easy and budget friendly way to switch up the look of a room. Seasonally or just for fun. If you stick to a few main colors, any pattern or textured fabric will work together. For example my color palette is yellow and blue. I have 9 different fabric patterns in my pillow cover collection. The only reason they work together is because I kept the color palette the same. Try to mix geometric with floral, solid with a pattern.
I know not everyone sews. There are many ways to get the look of custom pillow covers without a big price tag. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s have started to carry ready made pillow covers. They are awesome too. I call them Pottery Barn knock offs. IKEA has several giant walls of nothing but pillow covers. Most are way under $10. You can also make pillow covers from kitchen towels. All you need are a few coordinating towels and some fusible tape.
8. Stay away from trends…buy what you love.
Nothing will eat into your budget faster than jumping on every style trend that goes by. Don’t do it! I admit that occasionally I am tempted to buy that trendy rug at Crate and Barrel or that fun vase at West Elm. I quickly talk myself out of it though. I know I would get tired of them quickly because they aren’t really “me.” Buy what makes you happy when you walk in a room…not what is on the cover of the latest catalog. Unless, of course, it makes you blissfully happy.
9. Connect the dots with paint.
Paint is cheap. Paint is easy. Paint is the quickest way to transform a room. The best way to make the rooms in your home flow is to keep everything in the same basic color family. In my case, that color is blue. For walls, I used different shades and kept some neutral. The easiest way to accomplish this is to pick colors from the same paint swatch. I picked my paint swatch 3 years ago when I updated my kitchen. I am still using it today. I’m not saying you have to stick with your choice for life…but it sure does make it easy!
10. Trade with your friends.
This is something you may not have thought of…but I have actually done it and it worked out great. A few years ago, I broke my third glass top deck table. Into a million pieces. I vowed to never buy another one again and found a replacement that sat six, instead of four. So I needed two more chairs but they were no where to be found. I looked everywhere. I had a 2-seated glider but that wasn’ t doing me any good. Enter my girlfriend, Mary Beth. She has the same furniture I do on the front porch of her house. I asked if I could swap my glider for two chairs and she said yes. Problem solved. If a friend has something you need or like, just ask. You may be able to work out a deal that benefits both of you.
Well…if you made it to the end, thank you for hanging in there! Like I said at the top of the post, I hope you found a tip or two that you hadn’t thought of before. The most important thing to remember when decorating your space is to surround yourself and your family with meaningful pieces. It doesn’t matter how much they cost or where you purchase them. All that matters is that YOU love them.
I’ll be back Monday as a stop on the Journey through Blogland. See you then.