Advice for the Budget Decorator

tips for decorating on a budget

Before we start, you must face reality.

An HGTV decorating crew is not going to descend upon your home and transform it overnight. Got it? Good. Let's let this budget decorating party started!

7 Tips for Decorating on a Budget


Be a Copycat

Collect pictures of rooms you love. This can be as simple as clipping magazine pictures and saving them in a folder or do it digitally by making a Pinterest board. If you see a room you love or an idea you love…let it be your inspiration and your challenge. Challenge yourself to duplicate the look for less. You know, like when you see a fab designer outfit in a magazine, and they show you how to get the look for less.

Think Multi-Purpose

Opt for furniture pieces that can be swapped from room to room. Instead of buying pint-sized bedroom pieces for your toddler, choose furniture that can be multi-purpose. Why don't you add a changing pad to the top of a low-dresser – changing table today, dresser tomorrow. Could you add a piece of glass to the top of a ceramic planter to make a one-of-a-kind side table? We have a small drop-leaf table that's had “3 lives” over the past 20 years…it began as a kitchen table, and then it became a bathroom table and today it proudly serves as my kitchen island.

Get Shoppping

With your list and pictures in hand, start shopping garage sales, thrift stores and craigslist…regularly. Remember, this is not a “done in a day” project. Tip #1 – Your money will be better spent on a piece of good quality used furniture than a brand new super-cheap item that may last a few years. Tip #2 – Don't judge furniture on looks alone…sit on it, open the drawers. Is it sturdy? Does it feel solid? You can always change the look with a little imagination, and we'll deal with that next!

Use Your Imagination

Creativity is a budget decorators friend! Try to imagine a new look for those old pieces of furniture…think paint, knobs and upholstery. Could you paint the table legs a fun color or reupholster that comfy $10 chair? I've seen a set of dated ladderback chairs painted red…WOW, what a transformation! How would that dresser look with new knobs? Ever thought about cutting the legs down on an old table to give it a new life as a coffee table? The possibilities are endless.

Shop Your House

Remember the fun of re-arranging your room when your were little? Bring back the fun, and do a little re-arranging! There are no rules, anything goes…just because it's in the living room, doesn't mean it has to stay there.

Pick Up a Paintbrush

It's the most inexpensive way to change the look of a room, and you can easily do this in a day.

Go Neutral

To avoid looking dated in a few years, keep your large upholstered pieces neutral and use colorful pillows for accents. It's much cheaper to change up your sofa with new pillows from Homegoods than it is to reupholster an entire sofa.

Please leave a comment to share any tips you have for decorating on a budget.


image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn,

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