6 Tips for Decorating On a Budget

I have not done a lot of decorating but whenever I did, it always had to be done on a budget!!

Here are my top six tips for decorating on a budget. As you read through, please think of your favorites and leave it in the comments below.

  1. Decide on your budget. How much money do you have?  If you’re paying off debt, let’s face it, you probably shouldn’t be spending your money on decorating.  But sometimes we have to lighten up a little bit, and it is quite possible to make a room look nicer for a small amount of money.
  2. Be realistic. For whom are you decorating?  Will this be for your soon to arrive baby or toddler’s room? If so, the little one isn’t going to care a huge deal about how fancy you get.  Are you trying to keep up with the Jones?  Or are you just trying to spiff up your dining room or living room?  You can do a few things to brighten up a room and not spend a lot.
  3. Assess the room you’re decorating.  Take measurements of the room. Measure each wall individually.  Also get the measurements on any windows in the room.
  4. Decide what you’d like to do to brighten up the room.  Does it need a couple of pictures?  Could it use new curtains?  What about painting one wall of the room with a bright color (this will save money on paint!).
  5. Choose your colors.  What color scheme do you want for the room you are decorating?  When you decide on the main color, visit your local hardware store’s paint section and find your color in the swatch section.  Usually they will have the little samples with color and there will be a dark version of the color and then lighter versions.  Keep this with you while you are looking for your decorating items. If you’ve decided to paint one wall, have the square footage of that wall with you and go ahead and order your gallon of paint. Or maybe you can get by with only one quart of paint if the wall is small.
  6. Visit your local thrift stores, preferably on the sale days. With your color swatch in hand, and your room’s measurements, visit the local thrift stores. Did you decide that a picture or two will glam up the room?  If you don’t find any pictures that are suitable, maybe you’ll find a frame in the right color.  Or maybe you’ll find a picture you don’t like, but love the frame.  Or you could repaint the frame with your paint and put in your own photo.  Does the room need curtains?  You’ve got your color swatch and the window measurements in hand so you can find something that will work.  Do you like knick-knacks?  Visit the knick-knack section for items in the color your room is going to be.  Silk flowers can often brighten up a room and are very reasonably priced from thrift stores.

These are my favorite tips – what are yours?  Please leave a comment below of your favorite frugal decorating tip!

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16 comments to 6 Tips for Decorating On a Budget

  • Thanks for the link!

    Well… My decorating tip is to invest in one or two good pieces and then let the rest of the room (or the house!) take care of itself. Over the long run, it’s more economical to own one piece of furniture that will not wear out or fall apart than to be buying two Ikea or thrift store pieces every couple of years. Right now most of the furniture in my home was purchased by my mother, over 50 years ago — it’s still as serviceable as when it was new.

    I try to keep the decor as minimalist as I can without having it look stark (don’t like the ultramodern look, because I’m into comfort). To do this, I add DIY projects and estate-sale finds to the leather sofa and chairs and the quality casework acquired over many years. I make my own draperies, for example, and decorate with a lifetime’s collection of books.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Funny about Money, yes, but thrift stores are a great place to find really good pieces of furniture! I would be loathe to pay $1000 on a dining room set, say for example, if I could get it gently used at a thrift store for $100-$200. Maybe the thrift stores you’ve shopped at have not had good stuff, Funny. :-) I love your tip though! Thanks for adding it! :-)

    [Reply]

  • When selling our house this year we learned LESS is actually MORE when decorating. I am a real minimalist so we had to add a couple of splashes of color (like a nice rug on our tile floor) and a few other little things like a potted flower or two to spruce up the joint.

    I love thrift stores and agree you can find some really awesome things there. Also, clearance at most stores can yield some very nice treasures for a fraction of the cost!!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Journey To Our Home, yes, I have heard that when it comes to selling a home. Something like the prospective buyer likes to be able to visualize the home with his or her own things in place instead of the current owner. I like the idea of the colorful rug on a tile floor, I can just see that on a white tile floor. I love shopping the clearance section of stores too but I don’t shop often enough anymore to get anything good. I used to shop at Target at least once a month and I’d make the rounds on the end caps and find good stuff once in a while. Now my hubby does most of the shopping and I just don’t get into the stores very much. Ah well, probably a good thing for our getting out of debt goals. :-)

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  • These are good tips. It shows that just because people aren’t able to use their homes as ATM’s anymore, doesn’t mean they can’t be creative with decorating!

    Thanks for including my article!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Khaleef @ KNS Financial, you are welcome! That’s funny how you put that, people using their homes as ATMs. A friend of mine told me how they took money out of their equity to do some upgrading on their home before the bubble burst now they are terribly upside down. I’m sure glad we didn’t do anything like that! Our property was valued at four times what we paid for it at one time. It would have been so easy to pull out a bunch of money but we were good and didn’t. I’m so glad.

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  • I could write a book on this! Decorating is another of my hobbies. Sew pillows with remnant fabrics instead of buying (savings $40/pillow). Hit discount stores, Tuesday Morning, Target, Marshalls. Watch HGTV for low cost solutions. Have fun and please yourself!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Barb Friedberg, oh, I have done that, too! When I redecorated our living room about four years ago and Walmart still had fabric for $1 a yard, I bought enough fabric to make drapes and also there was enough left over to make covers for my couch cushions which I’d bought at Target on 90% off clearance after Christmas one year! Cute little snowmen, but didn’t really go with the time of the year. :-) It was really easy to make the pillow cushion covers, too. I have shopped at Tuesday morning a few times, that is a fun place to buy gifts for people who love to cook. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  • If I had a clone and another 20 hours per week a decorating blog would be my next endeavor!!! There are so many low cost ideas. I love painting accessories, jars, boxes etc. silver, they look so cool grouped together. I could go on forever :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Barb Friedberg, maybe this could be your “retirement” niche? :-) Or maybe a book? :-)

    [Reply]

  • Texmom

    Don’t forget garage sales! We sell collectibles and antiques, and have found some real treasures at garage sales, a few of which ended up in our house instead of the shop. Estate sales are great, too, especially on the last day when they mark things down.

    [Reply]

  • [...] 6 Tips for Decorating On a Budget via Out of Debt Again [...]

  • [...] 6 Tips for Decorating On a Budget Until you do make it big with that new idea or steadily work your way into wealth through your day job, life can be pretty drab while living within your means. Sprucing up your home can really make you feel wealthy. With these tips in mind, you can do just that while staying under budget. [Out Of Debt Again] [...]

  • [...] 6 Tips for Decorating On a Budget – Out of Debt Again [...]

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