Do you know the biggest reason that people skip out on decorating? You guessed it, money! Whether it’s your first home or your a seasoned vet, when it comes to moving we’re all faced with the same situation after finally getting settled in, decorating!
Sometimes money isn’t an issue but more often than not you just sank every last penny into your home, moving, or some other crazy expense that seems to plague the housing market. So today I want to fill you in on how to decorate on a budget!
Once the dust settles and all of the cardboard boxes are gone you may be asking yourself how in the world are you supposed to make this place feel like home while on a budget? It can be done, trust me!
Decorating your home is one of the quickest ways to make those four walls feel like home and although I don’t think people choose to be budget decorating sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles, I’ve been there and I’m still there if I’m being honest!
We live in a totally visual world, with social media and all of the new ways to display our lives for others to see that it can be really easy to become caught up in the comparison trap that is (Pinterest, Instagram, etc) and when your decorating on a budget you can quickly begin to experience some bad feelings if you allow it.
Try to remember that no home is perfect regardless of how things may seem online and you are seeing a small portion of someone’s story, you aren’t getting how long it took them to get there or how long they saved to be able to afford that bathroom renovation you so wish you could have. You are seeing a small and very curated version of their home/life and I promise you there are dirty clothes on the floor, crumbs on the counter and junk piled up in a drawer somewhere!!
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By all means, use these small snippets for inspiration but remember at the end of the day we’re all human with human lives, human families and most of all human homes! So don’t allow anything you see to make you feel like its unattainable or just not in the cards for you because that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Use those gorgeous photos for inspiration, nothing more nothing less. Your home can be just as beautiful regardless of your financial situation, the budget just determines how creative you will need to get.
Before we get started there are some things I want you to know right off the bat.
- You do not have to spend tons of money to get a designer look. Get creative and search for look-alikes, I promise you won’t believe what’s out there if you’re just willing to hunt for it.
- Living in your home and discovering how you’ll use it before purchasing items will save you tons of time and money!
- Stay true to yourself. Don’t follow trends that don’t feel like “you”. You will only end up regretting it later, trust me.
- DIY is one of the easiest ways to save money. Even if you haven’t done it before the world is truly at your fingertips when it comes to research and learning new skills plus saving huge amounts of money is a huge motivator.
When we moved into our first home everything was new to us, we were doing things we had never done and it was right on the cusp of the “Fixer Upper” era. Seeing others create works of art out of absolute rubble sparked something on the inside of me and has truly forever changed my life.
But just like right now I didn’t have Joannas budget or skillset at the time so I knew I would have to improvise.
You may be wondering why even worry about decorating if you have to be budget conscious while you do it? My number one reason for choosing to decorate even when it was hard is because to me it goes so much deeper than decorating.
You are creating a haven for your family, you are creating a lifestyle and most of all a place where everyone feels free to be their true selves. I’m guessing that those drab curtains you’ve had since college do not express the person that you truly are, just imagine how much better you’d feel in a space that was meant just for you. The power of decorating is unmatched my friends and the amount of money we have or don’t have should never be the determining factor.
We are our surroundings and I want to let you in on some of the tricks I use to be able to create the home that I wanted without blowing the budget.
What do I already own: Ask yourself what you currently own that you could possibly use in the new space. Is there something in one room that doesn’t completely work that you could move to another? If you really take an inventory of what you already have you would be surprised how many items you could use without having to purchase something new. Once we use something in one space a lot of times it is easy to not consider it anywhere else but typically we all have something we could move or find a different use for.
Family & Friends: Make sure your family and friends know what you’re looking for so that they can also keep an eye out for you. They may even have decor or furniture pieces they are no longer using that they just might be willing to give you.
What can I sell: You guys have no idea how often I do this. When we made over our guest room I literally sold every single thing in our guest bedroom to be able to afford it. The items we had were dated and just didn’t work with the new look I was going for.
So I took photos of everything and listed it on Craigslist. (Facebook marketplace and garage sale groups are great for this also) Yes, you will probably have to get rid of several items to buy a new item but if it doesn’t work right now then why keep it?
What can I DIY: This is my number one go to when I am getting ready to make over any space. Once I have a design plan for the space I always go down the list and try to figure out what I can do myself. I am by no means an expert in half of the projects I do but I am always willing to give it a shot and out of all of the project’s I have done over the years only one of them has failed!
Yes, you may have to step out of your comfort zone a little bit and learn some new skills but in the end, it is worth it if you get the result you are after. We have done so many DIY projects around our home and the amount of money we’ve saved is unbelievable.
The possibilities are totally endless when it comes to the things you can DIY so be creative. Pinterest and Google are your homegirls, there are tutorials for almost everything you can think of and most can be done by the average person. (I do recommend you leave the more serious life-altering/ hair frying stuff to the professionals though.)
Birthday & Christmas: This may be surprising to some but every year for my birthday and Christmas I either ask for the piece I want or ask my family to pitch in on it. So twice a year I can count on being able to get a big ticket item.
No, my family doesn’t give me hundreds of dollars but they do give some and once I have the money from the pieces I’ve sold throughout the year, plus the money from family I usually only have to pitch in a small amount of my own money towards what I want.
DIY Artwork: Have you priced artwork these days? Its insanely expensive and using tons of mass-produced art prints in your home is a quick way straight to generic city! Instead of spending tons of money and ending up with a home that looks just like everyone else’s take the time and search for prints on sites like Etsy, doing this will not only save you money but it will help your home have a more personal curated feel. I’ve even gone as far as using a photo from my sisters trip to Isreal and had it enlarged at the local Walgreens, grab a poster frame and bam you have an original piece! A few of my favorite places for prints
Craigslist: Craigslist can be a goldmine of wonderful decor items. You just have to be patient and willing to hunt for what you want. I have seen some beautiful items on their site and most of the time you can bargain for a better price. If you have a certain piece you are looking for be willing to search Craigslist daily. Once you spot something that fits the look or piece you have in mind then jump on it! Sometimes you may have to change things a bit for it to work but that’s just part of the process sometimes.
Garage Sales: You wouldn’t believe the things that you can find at garage sales and just like Craigslist, you can usually bargain with them on price. Look for items you can repurpose. Maybe you see a cute kitchen table, could you possibly use it as a desk? Or you spotted a beautiful chandelier but it’s the wrong color, can you paint it and use it in your space?
Overstock As-Is Section: Some of you may not know this but overstock.com has an as-is section. It is full of items that have been returned sometimes the package has simply been opened or the person changed their mind for whatever reason.
The items are available for half the cost and a lot of the time it will list the exact reason the item was returned. These items are final sale so you are taking a chance but I say if the return reason is something you can deal with or possibly fix them why not. You can go to their site and type “as is” in the search bar and it will show you all of the items available. You can also check the sale and as- is section at your local furniture stores because they typically have a wide array of items available as well.
Sign up For Rewards Programs: Most large stores like World Market and Pottery Barn, for example, have great rewards programs that can save you a ton. Simply sign up for the program and they will periodically send coupons and offers towards certain purchases. If you follow the steps in my How To Decorate Like A Pro guide here you should have a running list of items you still need to purchase somewhere close so you can cross check against the sale!
Be Willing To Wait On A Sale:
Sometimes the item you’ve been dying for is just downright too expensive, so you try to make something similar work but your poor heart won’t let you be content. It has happened to me time and time again and one thing I can tell you is once I have my heart set on something there’s no going back.
Instead of wasting time and effort trying to force something to work that you know you don’t love just be willing to save up and wait for a sale. Most home decor stores have tons of sales throughout the year and if you sign up for their email list you’ll be the first to know. Plus sometimes you get special exclusive offers just for being on the list. I usually try to include major sales in my weekly emails if there is something special going on so if you haven’t signed up for my email list that is a great way to get that extra heads up.
Bonus Insider Tip: Okay so this doesn’t work all the time and not with every single store but a lot of the time if I head to a store and add something I love to my online cart then leave it there the store will send an email to remind me I left something in my bag and that usually includes an added discount code to tempt me further into buying said product. I’ve even received twenty percent off via the mail after doing this so although it is not a guarantee don’t count it out.
P.S this typically only works if you are signed in at the store otherwise they wouldn’t have your email address so if you don’t have a customer account then create one so you can see if this works with that particular store.
Even with all of these tricks sometimes there are things that are just completely unattainable for me. That is when my wheels start spinning and I try to figure out how I can get a similar item or look for a fraction of the cost. Usually, if you research enough there is something similar out there that will work. Sometimes you may have to wait until an item goes on sale or you have a coupon for that store. It is a numbers game and you have to be willing to hunt, and most of all you have to be willing to play!