Decorating my home is one of my favorite things in the world (that and wine…and traveling…and maybe pizza?). Some girls love spending their money on makeup or clothes, but for me, I’d rather wear drugstore makeup and spend that cash money on some pillows or an oversized throw. There’s just something about seeing a well decorated home that makes my heart happy.
When we were first married, I had just turned twenty and my husband and I were both working two minimum wage jobs with no money to spend on frivolous things like decorations. After a few months though, I scraped things together and found a way to make our first home cute and cozy on the cheap. Even now, when our budget is higher and our home is larger, I still cringe when I see people spending $4-5k on a sofa or even $100 on a wall hanging from Target.
Ten Tips for Decorating on a Budget
1. Shop around and keep your receipts. When I’m looking for something specific to decorate my home, I’m the type of person that goes to every. single. store. to make sure I’m not only getting the best deal, but exactly what I want. It drives my husband crazy but most of the time, I’ll find the best deals or something I like better at the third or fourth store! Sometimes I will even buy decor at one store just to return it a few weeks later after finding something better.
2. Never buy something at full price. I find if you just keep an eye out, generally you can find what you’re looking for (or something similar) on sale within a few weeks. The only place I’ll pay full price are stores like TJ Maxx or Home Goods (cause everything is already on sale! Whoop whoop!).
3. Shop at local flea markets and thrift stores. Some of the best steals I’ve found have been at my local flea market. You know my white tufted sofa? $200 at a flea market! Some flea markets will even get shipments from stores like Macy’s of brand new, heavily discounted furniture with minor imperfections that are fairly easy to fix or work around. All those floor models have to go somewhere!
4. DIY that sh*t. Some of my favorite pieces of furniture or wall art are things I’ve refurbished or made myself. With the internet and Pinterest, there’s no excuse for not doing a simple diy project, if possible. In fact, the piano bench below was an outdated bench I got for free and refurbished!
5. Use what you have and keep simple decorations on hand. I frequent the dollar bins at target and always walk away with at least one thing from that section each time I go! Sometimes I don’t have the place for it yet, but if I really like the item, I’ll buy it and put it away until I find a place for it. I also keep a few IKEA plants, candles, and dollar tree glass containers on hand to decorate with when I need a filler.
6. Splurge on your statement pieces. It’s okay to splurge on something you really love even if you’re on a budget. In fact, in the long run it will probably save you money buying something you love instead of having to eventually upgrade something you just settled on.
7. Frequent stores. The best way to find what you are looking for on a budget is to frequent stores like TJ Maxx or Home Goods weekly. When I’m looking for something specific, I will visit my local TJ Maxx and flea market multiple times a week. Find out when they receive their new inventory (TJ Maxx gets new shipments at least 3 times a week…during certain seasons they’ll get new shipments every day!) and visit on those days!
8. Get pillow inserts and covers. This is one of the simplest ways you can cut your decorating costs in half. Even if you buy some cheap pillows from TJ Maxx or Target, you’re still looking at $20-30 per pillow that will need to be replaced when it gets dirty or you decide you want new ones. If you invest in some pillow inserts like these and a few pillow covers like these, they cost about the same amount but you can wash them or buy new covers (which are much cheaper than buying whole new pillows) when you want to switch things up!
9. Ask family or friends for free decorations or keep an eye on Craigslist. There are so many people who would rather just give their old decorations away for free than sell them if it means they’ll have to put little to no effort into getting rid of it. You’d be surprised what treasures you can find for free on Craigslist! I’ve inherited a lot of my furniture from family members who have gotten new decor and are looking for someone to pass on their old stuff! When I got the table below, it was a plain oak table my parents gave me after they got new furniture. It wasn’t my style, so I painted the legs white and stenciled it to make it my own and now it’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house!
10. Remember it’s a process. Decorating your home is a process and there will always be something you want to change or upgrade. Sometimes all it takes is time to find the right pieces to pull a room together. Don’t rush and buy something just because you need something for a space, take your time and wait for exactly what you want. I know from experience that the times I have settled and bought a piece just to fill space, I’ve ended up spending more money replacing it once I found something I love later on!