Lately one of my favorite topics, decorating a home especially a new one on a budget, has come up a lot as quite a few of my friends have moved into new homes. A few years back I was in the same boat and went through all the excitement and clueless of how and where to start. You’re all of sudden presented with a blank canvas and all you want to do is go to town with it.
In our first home we inherited a lot of the previous owner’s 80’s tastes as in Brown shag carpeting, a crystal chandelier that did not fit in any decor genre, 90’s spot lights, Pink bathrooms, and the original bulky and totally dysfunctional stove & microwave combo. All we wanted to do was rip everything out and start afresh but alas who had the budget to tackle that many projects at once when we also had to buy furniture for the whole house! Our current home on the other hand posed a different set of decorating challenges. We moved into a new build where we had basically chosen many options to our liking, some we had to forgo due to budget constraints. On top the bigger mortgage that we were trying to adjust to as a family now we had to furnish more rooms, add blinds to every window possible, paint etc.
Yes, furnishing and decorating a new home can be both exciting and daunting to your psyche and budget. Here are some tips that have worked for us and will work for you too as you chip away at this seemingly Herculean task.
Take it Slow
Though your first instinct would be to furnish and decorate the whole house at one go taking the slow and steady wins the race approach has many advantages.
- Of course your wallet doesn’t take a big hit all at once.
- When you take your own time to research and decide on the style you not only have a better chance at getting a good deal but also end up buying things you’ll love now and forever. When you are trying to buy many things at once most often you’ll end up compromising quality and even style to fit them into your budget. I have first hand experience of this when we bought our first home. In a rush to get the home ready for guests among other pieces of furniture we also bought a pair of couches that we soon outgrew and were trying desperately to get rid of in a couple of years.
True to the saying Old is Gold, usually things from the past are made with much better quality materials and superior workmanship. This is especially true when it comes to furniture. You simply cannot find the precise skill level and workmanship in the present day workers or machinery. Websites like Craigslist, yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, even yard sale groups on Facebook (they are huge nowadays by the way, I find more stuff on there than on Craigslist) are all great places to scour for second hand stuff. Granted, the styles or condition might not be up to the mark but these gems can easily be updated with some creativity and elbow grease. I found this breakfast table on Craigslist for $80, a bargain considering the quality of the wood and size. Some refinishing and paint later, she is the limelight of our breakfast area.
Would you have guessed that this pretty lamp started out as a pair of $5 lamp bases from Craigslist? All I did to give it a new life was polished with Brasso, added shades, and some Gold gilding to jazz up the shade.
You hear these words used everywhere nowadays but how exactly do you re-purpose something when it comes to decor? Take this $15 vintage lard can I found at a flea market for example. Its original purpose was of course to store lard but in my home it is a side table!
Upcycling doesn’t have to stop with furniture. This beautiful candle holder was created with clam shells left over from lunch.
By choosing this alternative you are not only going green but also saving your hard earned moolah. As they say “Someone’s trash is another’s treasure”.
When I say DIY I’m not talking about hard core building and breaking down stuff rather Do-it-yourself art, throw pillows, or accessories. Take may word for it abstracts are the easiest painting you can do, even my kids have tried their hands at it successfully.
You could also frame some pretty fabric or gift wrap to create instant and cheap art.
If you are looking for an easy way to organize your jewelry you could create this simple tiered jewelry stand with 2 plates and a candle stick, all of which came from the thrift store and were under a dollar.
Shop Your House
This is my go to option when I want to update the look of room. Our eyes do get tired of seeing the same things in the same room so a little bit of mixing things up freshens up the ambiance. This Yellow felt circle pillow usually stays in our guest bedroom but when Spring came knocking this year it found a new home in our living room.
When I was setting up my plate wall it felt like the wall needed a bigger solid Red plate to balance the rest of the smaller plates. A quick look into my pantry was all it took to find the right candidate to fill the void, our Thanksgiving Turkey platter (the oval one). 🙂
As you can see, when you break things down decorating on a budget is not that nerve wracking. In fact it is fun and I guarantee you your home will be as unique as you. To me that is the best part, a home that is decorated on a budget will have loads of stories associated with each and every object and will have your stamp all over it. Isn’t that what we all want, our homes to tell our story?
Almost forgot, the winner of the $100 Lowes gift card is…………………
Congrats Higinio! You’ll receive an email shortly.