Decorating on a Budget

Inexpensive decorating ideas for any room in your home

Decorating can be one of the most exciting things to do in a new home — but it doesn’t have to break the bank. With budget-friendly tips to help add color, texture and personality to rooms, you can revamp, repurpose and revitalize your home without spending a lot of money.

Finding free and cheap home décor

When you don’t have a lot of money to spend, decorating might seem impossible — but it’s not. There are many ways to find cheap décor even if your budget is small. Here are some places to start:

Repurpose what you already have

Before spending any money, walk around your home to see if anything can be used differently.

Have a vase you’re not using? Try using it to store kitchen utensils or toiletries. Need more storage? Use a filing cabinet as a nightstand or swap in a dresser for an entertainment center! Giving items another function is a perfect way to stretch a decorating budget.

Host an item swap with friends

Gather unwanted décor and have friends do the same. Host a fun swap event where everyone can trade things to use in their homes. This is a great way to get something new (to you) without a high price tag.

Look for items on social media

Many people use social media marketplaces to sell or give away stuff they no longer want. Join groups or search for specific items to find great deals in your area. What doesn’t work for someone else could be perfect for your home.

Shelf of green glassware at a thrift store.


Shop the sales

Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find unique furniture, decorative pieces, vintage glassware and wall art. While shopping, don’t let the item’s current state take away from a good deal —  you can usually change finishes on furniture, add new art to a nice picture frame or repair minor damage.

When shopping at retail stores, search multiple places to get the best prices, ask about coupons and loyalty programs and check sale racks. It can also be smart to wait for a major holiday for any larger purchases — many furniture stores have sales during those times.

15 ways to decorate like a pro (without spending a ton)

Now that you have your items, it’s time to start decorating! These low-cost changes can make a huge impact on the look and feel of your home:

Creatively hide clutter

A tidy space makes it easier to focus on architectural details in the room. Hide odds and ends in decorative pieces such as a trunk or storage ottoman in place of a coffee table. Baskets can add texture and storage to any room, and they can often be inexpensive.

Man painting an accent wall with a geometric pattern.


Refresh with paint

Paint can be an inexpensive and easy way to freshen up a space or a piece of furniture. Try painting a whole room or creating an accent wall with a solid color or geometric shapes. Or get creative with a stenciled pattern to create a faux wallpaper look.

You can also update the color of doors, trim or ceilings or give furniture a fresh coat (or two) for a new color or pattern.

An inexpensive artwork gallery to decorate a living room wall.


Change your artwork

Switching out pictures or repainting frames can add some fun and color to a room. If you have different types of art, creating a gallery wall can add a unique focal point that adds personality.

Feature natural elements

Decorate with plants to bring natural elements inside. Purchase plants from a nursery or check with gardening friends who might be willing to share a start of their plants for free. Add cheap flowerpots (you can always spray paint them) to hold the collection.

As a bonus, an herb garden or an aloe vera plant can be both beautiful and useful. Of course, fake plants can add just as much style without the upkeep!

Decorating a dining room on a budget with an elegant centerpiece and tablecloth.


Dress the table

The table is the main focal point in your dining room. Adding a tablecloth helps create an elegant look and can hide a table that doesn’t match your style. Make one if you’re handy at sewing or find something already made.

Once the table’s covered, add decorative elements with a centerpiece that can be changed to celebrate the seasons if you wish. Find the perfect centerpiece premade or try creating one. From florals to sculptures to glassware, there are no limits to this fun project!

Re-cover furniture

If replacing furniture isn’t in the budget, think about reupholstering it for a fresh look. Find a DIY tutorial or hire someone to tackle this task. Slipcovers can also give a coordinated and stylish look to outdated or mismatched furniture.

Large mirror propped against a wall.


Add mirrors to brighten a space

Mirrors are great ways to brighten a room. They reflect light to make small spaces look larger, and the glass can be decorated with vinyl stickers, paint or ribbon for a high-end look. Don’t forget you can spray paint the frame!

Update throw pillows

Change pillow covers to different patterns. To make covers, sew any fabric you like or try no-sew methods such as safety pins or hot glue to give those pillows a facelift.

Blue and white patterned area rug in a home office.


Warm up with a rug

The right rug can enhance and warm up any area in your home. Don’t let wall-to-wall carpeting stop you from adding an awesome rug — just put it right on top for a trendy layered look. Placing a rug at the front entrance can be an inexpensive upgrade for the space to add style and function.

Change hardware

Updating cabinet hardware is an easy fix to give kitchens and bathrooms a different look. You can try mismatching the hardware for an artsy statement with thrift store finds or new pieces. Or consider painting the existing hardware if replacing it isn’t an option. Just scuff up the hardware with fine grit sandpaper and use spray paint that’s made for metal for an update that’s quick and cheap.

Create open shelving

Add floating shelves or remove some cabinet doors for a more open look. Display dishes, books or other decorative items on the shelves for designer style.

Modern kitchen with a mosaic tile backsplash.


Install a backsplash

Updating or adding a backsplash can make a big difference in a kitchen or bath. And with so many materials available, it should be easy to find something within your budget.

Refinish cabinets or countertops

Refinishing cabinets or countertops is significantly less costly than replacing them. Brands like Rustoleum® make kits specifically for refinishing cabinets and countertops. Buy them online or in home improvement stores for a DIY project that can be completed over a weekend.

Update the floors

You can replace the flooring in a room for an immediate update to the space. For small areas, you might be able to save money by buying a discontinued product from a home improvement store. Just make sure to have enough extra flooring for replacement pieces later in case of damage!

Peel-and-stick for a new look

There are many peel-and-stick options available for easily updating flat surfaces. From contact paper to tiles, these products can cover existing linoleum or tile flooring, furniture, walls and countertops for a renewed look without having to paint or replace them.

Some of these products (like tile stickers) are removable to make other changes later. Just read the instructions before buying to make sure the selection is right for you.

A designer home without the price tag

Making just a few inexpensive updates to a room can make it look like a magazine photo, can be a good way to invest in your home.

What decorating idea are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments. Want more ideas? Check out these DIY projects that are great for a new house.