For most of us with a rampant Pinterest addiction, we all suffer from the same problem: We so desperately want to decorate our homes to look like the stylish cribs we see on modern design blogs, but we don’t have the extra money.
Essentially, that’s what Pinterest is for. That’s also why Pinterest is a cruel task-master for the design-obsessed. It’s kind of like watching the cooking channel when you don’t have any food in the fridge. Or driving past McDonald’s just to smell the delicious wafting scent of stale french fries when you’re on a diet.
Pinning design ideas on Pinterest is torture if you don’t have any money. Thankfully, if you’re just a little inventive, there’s always more than one way to skin a cat, as they say in my part of Texas. What that simply means is — you can get around these price barriers with a few cheap, and possibly free, design hacks from the pros.
Here’s how to redecorate your house without dipping into your kids’ college fund:
1. Add one pop of color
— Decoist (@decoist) February 21, 2014
This idea is first on the list because it is so darn effective and so darn easy. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate CEO Sherry Chris, who just happens to be the most followed real estate CEO on Twitter, believes that one bright burst of color is all you need to revive an outdated room. “Add a tactful pop of color. It’s easy and remarkably inexpensive,” says Chris. If you’re looking for fresh and fun color ideas, here are 11 inventive ways to integrate a splash of sunny yellow into your home.
2. Create your own art
— Sami Skow (@SamiSkow) October 14, 2014
Turns out you don’t have to be a talented artist to create art worthy of being hung on the wall. Amy Bell, owner of Red Chair Home Interiors, says that “the internet abounds with free printables.” Bell tells SheKnows, “The Graphics Fairy is one great website — which can be printed out at home (or at an office supply store, if you need a larger size) and popped into frames for instant art.”
Julie Jamison of RedoYourRoomOnline.com offers another easy take on custom art: “Grab a few magazines or books with some cool artwork, then go ahead and start ripping out the pages. If you don’t have any magazines lying around, then head on over to the dollar store and pick up a couple of rolls of wrapping paper. Yup, you read right! Gone are the days of tacky wrapping paper. They now come in pretty patterns. What you’re going to do is grab an inexpensive frame — Ikea is my go-to place for frames, or a thrift shop is even better. Pop the paper into a frame, and voilà, you’ve got instant art! Group a few together and create a pretty gallery wall to create a focal wall in your room.”
3. DIY everything
— Delighted. (@MelissaDelight) March 23, 2013
Using your own two hands is your best bet if you want to redecorate your home on a budget. For starters, you can completely revamp your dining area for an upcoming dinner party with an old piece of fabric and a box of dye. Dani Perea at BrightNest.com calls this one of her top DIY decor projects for under $20. Perea explains the simple process of dyeing fabric for a like-new table runner or wall hanging, “All you need is a box of Rit Dye (about $5) and an unloved piece of fabric.”
If you truly suck at crafting, there’s no need to run up the white flag — just run up the white curtains instead. Bell recommends, “Hang a pair of flat, white, twin sheets on a rod with black clip rings for an affordable, no-sew window treatment that says ‘Pottery Barn,’ even if your budget just says ‘barn!'”
4. Get coupon crazy
Everyone knows you should never step foot in Bed Bath & Beyond without a coupon in hand. And if you are primarily an internet shopper, that’s what Groupon and Amazon Lightning Deals are for. Sonja Fisher attributes her beautifully decorated home to her coupon-mindedness. Fisher recommends using coupons and rewards to save at all the home goods stores you normally frequent, saying, “I decorated my house beautifully on a cheaper budget. Everyone thinks it has been professionally done!”
5. Rearrange your furniture
This tip may seem obvious, but that’s what makes it so ingenious. You can flip almost any room in your house by paying attention to how furniture is arranged. Even better, if a room is crowded with old and outdated furniture, this is your opportunity to trim the fat and get rid of pieces that are just taking up space. David Bakke, money-saving expert at Money Crashers, says, “Just rearranging the furniture into a different setup is a great way to decorate your home if you are completely broke.” Get started with our helpful room-by-room feng shui infographic.
Liz Toombs, owner of Polka Dots & Rosebuds Interiors, adds, “Pull furniture away from walls. When furniture is pushed back against the walls, it makes the space feel uninviting and disoriented. Floating furniture in the room allows you to have conversation groupings and give the space a more intimate feel.”
6. Rely on Mother Nature
If there’s any bit of greenery outside, you’re in luck. Mother Nature has just given you an absolutely free gift that you need to take advantage of posthaste. Anita Joyce, the founding editor of Cedar Hill Farmhouse, calls this tip a “surefire way to add wow to a room.” Fun, fast and free, cuttings from the yard can be placed in vases, glass jars or bottles to add height and presence to a table. Now you finally have something interesting to do with those old bottles in your recycling bin.
7. Stencil the wall
Pricing the cost of a professional paint or wallpaper job may be enough to make you go weak in the knees if you are on a limited budget. The other alternative is setting aside several weekends to repaint your home’s interior, and we can all imagine how well that will turn out. Jamison proudly presents us with a brilliant option number three: stenciling instead of painting or wallpapering a room.
“Create some drama in your room by stenciling your wall instead of painting an entire room. Pick a pretty color or go with a metallic paint for a chic look and start stenciling away. Stencils are a great alternative to expensive wallpaper, so if you’ve got a few hours to spare, then you’ve got time to create a dramatic look for your room,” says Jamison.
8. Turn a profit
— Casi Peters (@mrspeters) May 11, 2013
If you’re really serious about redecorating your home, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. More specifically, it’s time to clean out your house Hoarders-style so you can sell everything you no longer want or need on Craigslist or at a garage sale. According to Joan Fradella, Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, this reduce, reuse and recycle approach can yield enough extra cash to fund your “dream home” renovation budget. Fradella also recommends, “Ask if family members are planning to get rid of something. If you can use it, take it!”