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On a Budget: Home Decor

Insights & Ideas Team •  January 26, 2017 | On a Budget, Home and Family

Some people love to wield a paintbrush and drill for home decor updates, but not everyone is that handy or crafty. And those who are may not have the time or space to take on an involved project. If you don’t have room to spray-paint or set up a sawhorse, here are some inexpensive ways to spruce up your digs without making anything.

1. Shop your home. Browse through your cabinets, closets and other rooms to see what you own that you could reuse. The armchair in your living room might be the perfect focal piece for your new reading nook, or the crocheted throw from your aunt may give your couch a new look. If you come up empty, ask friends and family if you can “shop” their homes. Or find a few people in the same boat and host a decor swap party, where everyone brings a few things to trade.

2. Reuse and repurpose. Think outside the box when it comes to function. Turn a dresser into a television console or buffet. Set up a dining table as a desk. Stack books, wooden crates or hard-sided suitcases to create end tables or nightstands. You can also apply this philosophy to accessories—bowls, trays and vases can corral your jewelry, keys or office supplies in a unique way.

3. Take out your china. Instead of hiding it in boxes or cabinets, display your wedding china, crystal and silver so you see it more than once or twice a year. If you don’t have a china hutch, place stacks of plates under glass domes, and put silverware in mason jars. 

4. Put like with like. Your collections, no matter how small, can personalize your decor. Arrange small groups of items on a shelf or mantle to give your space character without becoming overwhelming. 

Books also make excellent decorations and show off your varied interests. Consider arranging them by color or size instead of by author’s name or subject. If you do categorize them in a traditional way, select a few of your favorites to stack together on a shelf or coffee table rather than filling an entire bookcase.

5. Frame anything. Wall art does not have to be handcrafted or expensive to be interesting. Frame tickets, magazine ads, pages of books, swatches of fabric, scrapbooking paper or even paint chips. Three-dimensional items like clothing and accessories can add a bit of whimsy to a gallery wall. Take the glass out of the frame and secure the items to cardboard or a mat with pins, staples, glue or other adhesive. If you’re a minimalist, put small items in large frames to create more blank space.

6. Go natural. Filling clear containers with natural items can add texture and color to your room. When you’re at the beach or on a hike, collect rocks, shells, pinecones or twigs to display. Real or fake fruit and vegetables can infuse a pop of color in a room. Line your counter with canisters of grains, beans, coffee and other bulk items for form and function.

7. Focus on an accessory. When it comes to home decor, less is often more. Transform a neutral room with one bright accessory. Select a fun pillow or a mirror with a colorful frame from the clearance bin or a garage sale to spice up your room. By keeping large items simple, you can mix and match accessories any time you get bored.

8. Save to splurge. While you can find a lot of ways to save, sometimes it pays to splurge. You may want to spend more on heavily used items, like couches and beds, or unique items, like an antique desk, to get quality pieces that will last a long time. By saving in other areas, you will feel better about spending on what’s most important to you.

When you’re ready to splurge, shop around, both in stores and online, and watch for sales to make the most of your investment. Furniture companies release new designs in February, so you’ll see a lot of sales in January and February to move out old inventory. Purchasing floor samples can also help you save – just be sure to inspect the item carefully for damage. If the damage is minimal enough that you’re still happy with the piece, ask for an additional discount. The worst they can do is say no.

You don’t need to put a lot of hard labor and money into decorating to make your house your home. By thinking outside the box and displaying some of your favorite treasures, you can freshen up your interior on a budget without the assistance of paint or power tools.

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