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Budget Decorating

Last post Thu, Feb 13 2014 1:49 AM by Ashleylee. 9 replies.
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  • Thu, Jun 13 2013 8:05 AM

    Budget Decorating

    We don't have to sacrifice enjoying our lives and homes. We do have to be smart in our choices. Knowing how to repurpose or use free items can be a great way to decorate our homes without spending much. But how can you pull it together to look good? Share your best tips on decorating with free, cheap and repurposed items.
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  • Thu, Jun 13 2013 3:05 PM In reply to

    • map578
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Oct 25 2011
    • Posts 462

    Re: Budget Decorating

    I lived with hand me downs for years and my married daughter has a mother in law that likes to tag sale. The problem is she buys stuff that has nothing to do with my daughters taste or style.

    My advice is to never, ever, take in anything you don't really like. I also would never take in anything that is is worse shape than what I already own. It may look chic in all those magazines with homes that have some wonderful architecture. But in my home chances are it will look like junk off the side of the road.

    Buy or take in solid wood furniture only. You can paint it, refinish it, change out the hardware, clean it, or add molding to it to make it fit your style.  At this point in time I would like a very small chest of drawers for my kitchen. I have a very nice microwave cart/cabinet that I bought to match my cabinets but I have it in the back of mind so when I do find one I will grab it. And no I do not want my microwave over my stove. My son in law the electrician keeps wanting me to put it up there.

    Fabric does wonders for just about anything. Its easy to sew your own pillows or curtains and it ties everything together. If you don't know how to there are tutorials all over the internet from curtains and drapes to roman shades. As far as the fabric goes, I once made kitchen curtains out of tablecloths. They were custom made so they looked better on the windows than any store bought curtains that I could have bought and I really liked the fabric. Not a freebie but 1/3 of the price of store bought and I shutter to think of the cost of custom draperies. Take some time doing this, and make some quality curtains. Hand stitch the hems if you don't have a machine to do so. It all makes such a huge difference in the end.

    Pictures or prints. I have picture frames that I will change out the print when I would like a change. So the next time you find a nice frame but you don't like the print just change it. Look for standard sizes in frames and the prints can be bought online for not a lot of money. I also like to keep the frames pretty much the same style and color unless that is the look your going for. Spray paint or some kind of painting technique doesn't cost much. I like Monet but the chances of me owning one is nadda. But I can enjoy the colors in a print. And keep your mats they can make all the difference when framing some of those prints.




  • Thu, Jun 13 2013 3:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Budget Decorating

    Ditto on everything Map said. And then my favourite way to pull everything together after all is said and done is with a fresh coat of paint on the walls. From Walmart, to keep it really budget friendly, although I know Lowe's and Home Depot have sales now and again on better quality paint. I'm not fussy, though; to me paint is paint--it's the care with which you apply it that makes all the difference, and I'm a fanatic about perfect application. LOL.
    "The business of life is the acquisition of memories." --Mr. Carson
  • Tue, Jun 18 2013 7:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Budget Decorating

    not following trends too much. neutrals when upgrading kitchens and bathrooms.  we all remember pink toilets!   paint is always easy too.  

    Not to be in a rush and follow sales.  decide on colour theme and that makes it easier.   like my dining room/living room is basically brown tones, burgundy, greens and some blue touches in the drapes and carpet .

    slipcovers are great too.

  • Wed, Jun 19 2013 12:04 AM In reply to

    Re: Budget Decorating

    One of the things we did early on was to buy some nice bookcases.  They were on sale, & unfinished, & I did the finishing myself. We bought 3 sets, two with doors, & when we opened the boxes, one of the "fixed" shelves in the middle, with the molding, was damaged.  I phoned the company & they sent out a replacement piece.  I asked if they wanted me to send the damaged part back, & they told me to just throw it away.  Instead, I took off the rest of the molding (since that was the part that was damaged) then sanded the edge.  I drilled some extra holes at the top of the bookcase without doors, & added an extra shelf. I swapped out the "plain" edge shelf for one with a lip, & put the "plain" one behind the doors on one set of shelves. 

    Those shelves have held several sets of encyclopedias, the textbooks we kept, plus many of our books, (we are both readers) and at the same time, they look wonderful grouped together along one wall.  They have been in different rooms & two different houses over the years, but wherever they are is "the library".  Right now, the library is the room where our front door is located.  We group family pics on top, & reserve one shelf in the middle bookcase for more pics of the family.Many of the books they hold came from yard sales, but those bookcases are the single favorite "decorative" item in our house.We have a family room, but everyone likes the "library" better.

    The end table by the piano in the same room was $5 at a yard sale, & happens to match the bookcases. A doily crocheted by my daughter sits on top, with a bud vase containing a few yellow roses from my climbing vine in it. Over the piano hangs a picture taken by our youngest daughter, & the frame from the thrift store cost me $2.  I spent another $2 on black gloss paint to change the color.  One of the chairs in the room was rescued from the curb at our first apt, & I refinished it, then recovered it.

    All those bookcases cost less than most people spend on a couch, but they have been great for decorating.
  • Tue, Feb 4 2014 1:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Budget Decorating

    I have some ideas for budget decoration in the home. First thing is always use lower-wattage bulbs in the room. Second thing is don’t forget greenery in the room that is always makes you feel more alive and use small herb garden in the kitchen. Instead of Hiring others for Painting and sewing certain panels do it yourself for money saving.
  • Tue, Feb 4 2014 2:04 AM In reply to

    Re: Budget Decorating


    Share your best tips on decorating with free, cheap and repurposed items.

    From the time DH & I first set up housekeeping as poor college students, we have had a bowl or a vase filled with pine cones in the house.  Pine cones are a classic. They go with formal decor just as well as country decor; the container just "upgrades"  Most places, theya re free for the gathering.  In the fall, a small pumpkin beside the bowl or vase looks "fall seasonal".  Add a red ribbon or a small snowflake ornament, & the same pinecones suddenly look like winter.  I have some pine cones & nuts piled in a heart shaped coeur de la creme mold for Valentines.

    Nuts in the shell work the same way.  They are cute in a basket, or a bowl or a small tin. They cost little to gather, if you are near any nut trees.  Buckeyes look great, so do the seed pods from linden plane trees, even a few maple seeds on top.

    Recently I ran across a blog post talking about 60/30/10 rule for decorating.  The "main" color in a room should be about 60% of the room,  Usually this is the wall color.  The "secondary" color should be about 30%.  This would normally include carpet, flooring, drapes, etc.  The "accent" color shoudl be about 10%, like the funriture or pillows, etc.  Our master bedroom looked "busy" & not pulled together at all.  The walls are off white, the headboard, dressers, 2 chairs,& 2 bookcases are brown, along with 2 large picture frames.  The bedding, curtains & a quilt on the wall are blue. The frame around the mirror was gold, and one of the picture frames was gold, & the curtain rod is gold. The carpet is grey, and a light/fan combo above the bed is stark white.  I sat on the bed for a while, trying to decide what should change. Too many colors competing for attention. I have an antique picture of my great-grandmother, in a dark blue/dark grey frame on the wall.  I realized that if I changed the frame around the mirror & the one picture to a dark blue/dark grey, that would eliminate most of the gold.  I already had dark blue & dark grey paint, so I painted the frames.  Took me maybe 2 hours.  Both turned out very well, & now coordinate with the frame on my great-grandmother's picture. I could not believe the HUGE difference just those 2 items made in making the room feel more pulled together. 

    I still need to paint the curtain rod & holdbacks, & when the weather warms up, they will get a spray of oil-rubbed bronze (which I already have). We are planning to replace & light/fan fixture, & will look for something in either brown or grey, or a combo of the two.

    Looking back, I realized that the free items I have used to decorate our home often needed a little paint to fit in, so I think one good tip is to keep your leftover paint, to make it easier to coordinate items with the rest of the room.I have painted many thrift store frames.

    When we moved into this home, I needed some candle holders & wanted them to have a western look to them.  I found some wrought iron boxes, with glass box inserts, made for votive candles, on a wicked good clearance - they were less than $1 each, and had a 5 pointed star on each side, over the wrought iron.  I bought 3 sets.  Each set came with 1 each in 3 different colored stars. The 3 maroon star candle holders sit on the ledge above the stairs.  The 3 blue star candleholders are in the master bedroom.  I painted the over the 3 light green stars on the last 3 candleholders with black gloss paint, & they are in the library & kitchen.
  • Tue, Feb 4 2014 12:46 PM In reply to

    • pmburk
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 16 2013
    • DFW, Texas
    • Posts 109

    Re: Budget Decorating

    For décor ideas, I first look at what I want. Pottery Barn catalogs, decorating websites or blogs. I get the idea of the look I want, colors, theme etc. Then I just keep my eyes out for similar items on my budget. 99% of our décor is from yard sales & estate sales, as well as a few free curb picks, and our house looks very nice. Craigslist is another nice way to find things, especially larger items like furniture.

    I have learned a LOT of budget decorating tricks from various decorating blogs. For the boring plain mirrors in our bathrooms, rather than replace them, we added some decorative trim "glued" directly onto the mirror to make them look like custom wood-framed mirrors. Super easy and inexpensive! I actually did that one myself on a morning off work. Our chandelier was a $5 Craigslist purchase in awful shiny 1980s brass that we spray painted dark bronze. Now it looks like an expensive one from Lowe's, and it has held up incredibly well. :)

    When we redid our kitchen, we didn't have the money to replace our awful white MDF cabinets - but the cabinet "backings" (frames, whatever) were wood. I painted those a dark red, swapped out the cabinet hardware, and left the doors white. It ended up looking great! There are definitely ways to update & decorate your home without spending a fortune, if you're willing to do some DIY.

    I keep a "décor closet" in my house where I store items I'm not currently using, or things I may find at sales but not have a spot for just yet. That way when I want to change things up, instead of spending money, I can go "shop the closet" and find something I like. I like to move things around to keep it fresh & interesting. I also like to decorate with other items from inside my home. I can, and I use mason jars in my bathroom to hold my q-tips & cotton balls. I have several white ironstone pitchers from my dining room out on a table in my living room. I took several vintage white platters (again from my dining room) and hung them in an arrangement on a wall in my living room with plate hangers. I use table runners on top of my buffets and side tables to add interest & color.

    For "decorating candles" (ones that go in holders but I typically would not actually burn) I buy them all at Dollar Tree. They have nice pillar, taper & votive candles for just $1. Trader Joe's also has good prices on taper candles. For jar candles that I do burn for fragrance, I buy all of mine at yard sales. I frequently find big Yankee jars or other nice candles for $1-$3, so there's no point in me paying retail on those.

    Look for "found" objects that are free. A bowl of "picked up" pecans or nuts on your dining table or bar area. Pine cones, found tree branches spray painted gold or white in a tall vase or umbrella stand. A mason jar or vase full of flowers or greens from your yard.

    Throw pillows are a very inexpensive way to update a room or a sofa. Re-cover your existing pillows. You can often find inexpensive covers at stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, or even sew them yourself if you're handy. I also like inexpensive colored throws (Target, Wal-Mart, yard sales) on a sofa or chair to add some color.

    Area rugs, I never purchase brand new. They are insanely cheap on Craigslist, I've gotten 8x10 wool rugs for $10 or less there, and after a cleaning or vacuuming they're good as new. Just be sure to check for stains or pet damage/odors. Easy and quick way to give a room a new look.

    For paint, always check the "oops!" paint section at Home Depot & Lowe's. You can often find gallons of custom colors there for cheap.

  • Tue, Feb 4 2014 1:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Budget Decorating

    Somehow, find an idea to spark the new theme. Mine recently has required lots of white accent pieces. I've found more than I can use by shopping thrifts. Lots of ceramic ware and crocheted doilies are available. I've also found alabaster and enamel ware pieces. Do be aware that color and line are significant. For example, a straight-sided hexagonal vase may not look great grouped with a round, ornate pitcher. Am
  • Thu, Feb 13 2014 1:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Budget Decorating

    DIY is one of smart choice for budget decorating. There are plenty of creative home decor ideas spread on the Internet. And I just stumbled upon an awesome thinking of hanging baskets to design hanging succulent garden. With these plans in baskets, you could live in a room with a unique scenery of hanging succulent garden. Very low expense to gain an excellent decoration.


    Let us share beauty around together!
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