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Decorating on a Budget

March 29th, 2019 - 3:43 PM

Use these cheap home decorating ideas to update your space 

A “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) home makeover doesn’t have to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Add a pop of color, reuse what you have and think creatively — you can spruce up your space without going into debt. Whether you’re moving to a new space or you’re ready for a change, we found some cheap decorating ideas that can take your home from bland to grand! Start by reading these tips on how to decorate on a budget. Then, get cheap decorating ideas for each room.  

Tips for decorating on a budget

It’s possible to create a look you love without breaking the bank. Here’s how: 

  • Set a budget. When shopping, search for bargains so you don’t overspend. Save up for the things you want but can’t afford right now, and don’t try to redo every room at once. The waiting can be tough, but your budget will thank you!   
  • Repurpose what you have. Do you have things like old vases, knickknacks and picture frames stashed away? Dig them out and reuse them in unique places throughout your home. It’s easy and free! Also, consider rearranging the furniture. Move the couch to an opposite wall. Use an entryway stand as a dining room buffet table. These kinds of changes can create a surprising transformation! 
  • Shop for bargains. Found a design you love but don’t have the items to recreate it? With a little searching, you can DIY the look for less. Find beautiful décor for cheap at second-hand shops, antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, and dollar stores. 
  • Choose color. Adding color to a room is one of the best things you can do. A little color here and there helps enhance a space and make it more inviting. Choose color when accessorizing or refurbish furniture with a coat of colorful paint. Quality paint typically costs between $15-40 depending on the size and brand. 
  • Declutter. A messy house is distracting, so take the time to declutter. This will help identify which areas need work.  

Room-by-room décor ideas 

Using the tips above, we compiled a list of decorating ideas that are simple and affordable. You can do many of the projects for free using things you already own. Other projects may cost a few dollars up to no more than $50. Look for bargains and use coupons when possible to save even more! Let’s get started.  

Living room 

Intimidated by the thought of redoing the living room? While it can be an expensive room to refresh, there are many budget-friendly ways to add style.  

Living room with grey couch, rug, pillows, candles, and lights OR 376843867 White couch with polka-dot throw pillows, yellow end table and artwork in the background

Give the furniture a facelift 

A fresh coat of paint turns a boring end table into something glamorous. Be bold and select a bright color that matches the accessories in the room. Consider painting other furniture like the coffee table, entertainment center and shelves, too. But, don’t go overboard. Painting one or two pieces helps them stand out against neutral colors — too many colors may disrupt the overall theme.  

Focus on accent pieces 

Accent pieces make living rooms interesting. Focus on adding decorations to the tables and furniture. For example, throw pillows dress up a couch and curtains on the windows make the room feel cozier. Adding an area rug creates a focal point in the living space, and replacing lampshades or enhancing existing ones is another clever idea. To DIY a lampshade, use stencils and acrylic paint to create designs on a cheap solid color shade. Again, add accents sparingly — too many clutter the room.   

Find decorative ways to store items

Using baskets is a fun way to store things while still adding a decorative element to the room. Shop your home for an unused basket or pick one up for cheap at a thrift store. Use different sizes to store blankets, pillows, toys, remotes, magazines and more. 

Kitchen 

A kitchen doesn’t need a full makeover to look brand new. Try some of the basic renovations below to transform the space and stay within budget. 

Kitchen with updated hardware and subway-tile backsplash OR 1289815666 kitchen with grey-brick backsplash, marble countertops, wood floor, and décor elements

Update the hardware 

Tired of the cabinets and drawers? Try updating the hardware. Find unique or elegant knobs at resale shops and antique stores, or refinish existing ones with cheap spray paint. Mix-and-match knobs for a quirky and cool vibe!  

Renovate the backsplash 

Peel and stick backsplash is a real thing, and it’s awesome. Find this material in a variety of styles at a home improvement store, or online, for an affordable cost. Save more money by sticking the backsplash on one area to create an eye-catching accent wall (e.g., on the wall behind the sink). 

Use old jars and bottles 

If you buy foods that come in glass jars, start saving them! Reuse jars from jelly, pasta sauce, spices, etc., to create a display on the kitchen windowsill. Use a variety of shapes and sizes for a unique look. Just wash and remove the labels, then fill with flowers, battery-powered lights, candles or anything that matches the kitchen’s theme. 

Dining room 

Don’t let a dull dining room drag down your dinner party! Spice things up with themed-wall designs and bright colors. 

Dining room table with different styles and colors of chairs

Mix-and-match the chairs  

Have wooden chairs that have more than a fair share of chipped paint and scratches? Paint them all different colors to add character and spunk to the room! If you’re willing to spend some extra money, consider buying a variety of chair styles! Collect them from resale shops or garage sales. Mixing-and-matching chairs is a fun way to turn a dull dining room into an area that’s fun and vibrant. 

Create a wall collage of plates 

Pull out that old chinaware; it’s finally time to use it! Create a collage of plates and hang them on the wall to construct a focal point everyone’s sure to love. Don’t have chinaware or old plates? Shop second-hand stores to find ones you like. Make the arrangement pop even more by painting the wall a darker shade. 

Add a centerpiece 

Adding a centerpiece to a bare table is a simple garnish that instantly enhances the room. A cheap centerpiece idea is to use a glass bowl or jar and fill it with different things throughout the year. For example, during the summer, fill it with plastic lemons or other bright-colored fruits. For Easter, put eggs and Easter grass in it, and for Christmas, add red, green and gold ornaments. The decorative options are endless! 

Bedroom 

Dreaming about ways to update your bedroom? Turn those dreams into reality using these cheap decorating ideas. 

Grey bedroom, with a bed and a plant, and wooden crates used for furniture

DIY headboard 

Buying a headboard can be pricey. Instead, custom-make one using a variety of materials. A couple of options include: 

  • Get two large frames and attach a printed fabric to them. 
  • Use peel-and-stick wallpaper to create a floor-to-ceiling headboard.   
  • Hang a vintage quilt behind the bed to give the illusion of a headboard. 

Make a picture collage 

Print a collection of your favorite photos and put them in frames (use old frames lying around or buy an assortment at a second-hand shop). Use different sizes and shapes to help the collage stand out.  

Use crates for furniture 

Build a unique and functional nightstand or shelf out of wooden crates. Find these cheap at a store or ask around to see if anyone’s getting rid of them for free. Use industrial-strength glue to bind the two crates together, or just use one. Complete the look by painting them. Now, you have a great place to store books and display accent pieces.  

Bathroom 

Though it’s typically a small space, it’s still one you want others to “Ooh” and “Aah” over when they visit. Here’s how to create luxury for less. 

Marble countertop in bathroom with a white-framed mirror

Revamp the countertops 

Want fancy bathroom countertops without spending a fortune? Peel-and-stick countertops for the win! Visit a home improvement store to choose from a variety of granite and marble look-alike options. Follow the directions and easily transform boring countertops into something elegant. Your bathroom has never looked so good.  

Frame the mirror 

Adding a frame to a mirror helps boost the bathroom’s appearance. Plus, it’s a simple DIY project that doesn’t cost a lot. First, measure the mirror. Then, buy some baseboard trim, (select the thickness that works for your design), sand it, paint it and let it dry. Next, install the trim, attaching it to the mirror or on the wall with liquid nails. Use caulk to fill in gaps and touch up with paint.   

Accessorize 

Another way to spiff up a bathroom is to add décor without creating clutter. It’s a small space, so a few accents are all you need. One idea is switching out the shower hooks for some that are modern or decorative. Use mason jars or small vases to hold toothbrushes, cotton balls and swabs. Refurbish a small mirror by attaching felt to the back and using it as a tray for things like perfumes and jewelry. A little bit in the bathroom goes a long way. 

Other rooms to decorate for cheap 

Home office 

A study or office is where you go to be productive, but that doesn’t mean the space has to be humdrum. Think of unique ways to stack books, organize writing utensils and embellish the walls. Here are three ideas we like: 

  • DIY bookshelf. Make a bookshelf using a vintage wooden ladder. Repurpose one you already have or scout one out at an antique shop or flea market. Distress and stain the wood as desired, and then stack books on each step. Adorn the top with a potted plant to complete the look. 
  • Use a vase for storage. Have old vases sitting around collecting dust? Use one or more to organize pens, pencils, rulers, scissors and other office utensils. Tie a piece of ribbon around it for extra glam. 
  • Frame a map. Framing maps is a neat way to embellish the walls of a study room. Use maps from an old atlas or find large ones at an antique shop for a reasonable price. 

Laundry room 

Make the laundry room a more appealing place to spend time with some personal touches:

  • Add design to something boring. Use washi tape (cheap at craft shops or dollar stores) to add a design to the washer and dryer — stripes and polka dots are easy to make! Want something uniform? Chevron is a good option.  
  • Hang the ironing board. Oh, the ironing board. It’s ugly and takes up space. But there’s a simple way to transform this eyesore into something neat. Buy a printed cover, put it on and hang the ironing board on the wall. You’ve created a fun wall piece that also saves space! 
  • Conceal the washer and dryer. If you’re in a living space where the washer and dryer can be  seen from the living room or kitchen, hide them! Use a curtain you already have or look for leftover fabric at a thrift store. Then, mount it with a shower rod and voilà — easy and elegant.  

What cheap decorating ideas do you have? 

Have other cheap home decorating ideas? We’d love to hear what you’re working on, so leave a comment below! 

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