Decorating on a Shoestring Budget
Right now one of the most popular shows on television is, “Trading Spaces.” If you haven’t gotten an opportunity to watch this show, the object of the game is to decorate one room in someone else’s house with a budget of a $1,000. The decorator’s truly struggle to accomplish this so you know it is hard when even they, trained professionals, are having problems creating the room of the homeowner’s dreams. Do not despair just because your money is limited- you can still create a warm and inviting home frugally. When people come into our home and see our front room (the only room we have decorated since we are relatively new homeowners) they always comment on how beautiful our drapes, furniture, and whole look of this room is. Do you think I disclose that we put the furniture together ourselves and that the whole décor came compliments of Target? No way! Never divulge the sordid details, just simply bask in the glory and let them try to recreate your look. Here are a few tips for creating an inviting home on a budget.
- Watch television shows, read books, and look through magazines to gather inspiration for creating a stylish home. Although many of the things you look at are completely out of your budget, you can try to recreate it with lower costing materials and a little creativity. Some great looks can be found on www.potterybarn.com, www.pierone.com, www.ikea.com, and www.marthastewart.com.
- Paint is the cheapest way to really change a room. One thing I have learned is to never be afraid of color- bright colors can really liven up a room. Be wary though with small rooms because this can make the rooms look smaller and closed off. In smaller rooms use softer and lighter colors- yellows, light green, lavenders, and white/off-white.
- Getting your home organized will make your house look well-kept. To find out some great ways to get your home as well as yourself organized, go to www.organizedhome.com. This site is wonderful for learning how and what you need to do to clear out the rubbish in your home. With different styles of baskets to organize your items it not only makes the room look cleaner, but it also adds to the décor.
- Target, Kmart, and Walmart all offer great items for your home at a much lower cost. Target has fantastic drapes, tableware, towels, pillows, and furniture for your home. Kmart offers incredible linens, drapes, and sheets from the Martha Stewart line. Walmart offers great fabrics for those do-it-yourself projects in making pillows, drapes, and linens.
- To add pictures to your walls, look through old art books or photograph books. Buy a cheap frame to put it in and you will have beautiful artwork for a fraction of the cost.
- Rearrange your furniture in your home. Try to find new ways to break up a room or to make the room more open and inviting.
- Light a candle and put potpourri in a bowl. This really warms up a room, not to mention adding a beautiful smell to the air.
- Find slipcovers for your couches. Doing this is a lot cheaper then buying a new sofa and when you get tired of it you can take the covers off. These are especially nice if you have little children because it is a great way to preserve the quality of your furniture. The slipcovers are easier to clean because you can throw them in the wash, unlike your couch. A couple of great places to look for nice slipcovers are www.kohls.com and www.surefit.com.
- Want something in particular in your home, but can’t afford it? Hit www.ebay.com and bid on it. Ebay always has great things for your house not to mention beautiful antiques and collectibles which make your home more unique.
- Buy large pillows to use as extra seating. These are great for when you have a large group over and not enough seating. Don’t invest in more seating; just buy big beautiful pillows for your guests to sit on.
- Go to the garage sales, but go early. Those who wait do not get the deals that the early risers get. Don’t underestimate the Salvation Army and Goodwill either because you can find some interesting and beautiful things for your house.
- Learn one craft that will aid you in decorating your home. Several of the fabric and craft stores offer wonderful classes for learning crafts such as sewing and floral for a very low cost. By learning crafts you can make things yourself at a lower cost or you may be able to make money off of this to afford you more luxuries in your home- you just never know.
- Hit your local Dollar Tree for some great buys on things to make your home more inviting. You might laugh at this one, but you would be surprised what ends up at that store. I have bought beautiful mugs, baskets, and stationary for a buck a piece and no one knows that I spent so little money. Try to think outside the box and go to the stores that are normally not known for quality houseware. This is where you get the real deals.
- Purchase all different types of blankets and put them under your end tables or drape one on your sofa. They make your guests feel cozy and invited especially on those cold winter nights.
- Put a book or two on your coffee table that can be a conversation piece, but don't overdo it. People tend to get carried away with this and then you lose the beauty of the furniture underneath. One or two books are nice, but four or five looks like clutter.
- If you buy the do-it-yourself furniture or have a piece that looks like it needs a face-lift try replacing the knobs on those cabinets and drawers. A beautiful brushed silver knob or ornate gold knob can make the item look entirely different.
- Replace your old plastic curtain rods with sterling silver or gold rods. Target and Kmart have some really beautiful ones with different styles of ends (leaves, fruit, glass) that really add that special touch.
- Try a theme room, but don’t get carried away. Remember that whatever theme you chose you will have to live with it for a long time. Go for classic themes that seem to withstand the ages. If you choose to pick a theme for the room do hints of it throughout rooms, but don’t make the entire room one big theme. Just give your guest’s hints of it.
I hope these tips will offer you some insight on decorating your own home. My advice to you is that you start small and with one room at a time. Do not get carried away with redoing your whole home or you will feel overwhelmed. Concentrate your efforts on one project until you are completely satisfied and then begin thinking about another project.
About The Author
© 2003-2004 Amy Allen Clark. All rights reserved.
Amy Allen Clark is a stay-at-home mother of a two year old son. She is founder and creator of http://www.momadvice.com. Her web site is geared towards mothers who are seeking advice on staying organized, living on a budget, and for those seeking work-at-home employment. Please visit her site to sign up for her free monthly newsletter filled with more great tips to help simplify your life.
Amy Allen Clark