Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! Looking to save a little money this spring? You’re not alone, which is why we’re sharing some surprisingly simple ways to cut costs when it comes to home decor — without compromising style.
Be a savvy saver
Buy second hand
One of the best and easiest ways to save money on your home decor is by buying secondhand furniture. “Sometimes when people think of secondhand furniture, they think of the old smelly couch they got from the thrift store while in college. I’m talking about searching Craigslist or garage sales for secondhand Pottery Barn coffee tables or kids’ furniture or for antique items that stand the test of time,” says Crystal Clark, decor blogger at The Weekend Homemaker. “Don’t let chipped paint, dated oak or ugly hardware deter you. You can always paint, stain and replace elements you don’t like. Just be sure the piece is sturdy and has no odor or water damage.”
Want some proof? Clark found a nightstand for $4 at a garage sale and added a little paint and a cute Anthropologie knob to totally transform the look. “Finding the right item may take a little longer than buying retail, but I find that the longer I take to build and layer a room, the more I tend to like the end result,” she tells us.
Save on accessories
With retailers like HomeGoods, Target and World Market, there is no reason to pay a lot of money anymore for designer accessories from vases to side tables to bath towels and art, says Diane Henkler, budget-savvy decorator and design blogger at In My Own Style. “Don’t forget, thrift stores and flea markets are where you can find one-of-a-kind pieces to mix in with mass-merchandised pieces to create your own unique decor.”
Be trend savvy
Trends come and go, so it’s never a good idea to spend too much on them. Clark suggests using fabric as a way to embrace trends in a cost-effective way. “Chevron has been pretty prominent in the past year or so. Instead of investing a large sum of money on a big item like a chevron rug or piece of furniture, I would incorporate it with fabric through pillows, curtains, upholstered seat covers, etc.” she explains.
Henkler keeps a stash of decorative accessories in her basement that she’s grown tired of in case they can be useful later. “When I find I like something trendy, I shop my basement. I may find a brass box I used to covet, but with a few passes with a can of emerald spray paint the box goes from outdated to updated in less than 10 minutes.”
Clark was able to design her home office for only $105 out of pocket by doing everything herself. “For accessories, I just shopped the house, pulling in lamps from our bedroom and books, pictures and knickknacks from around the house. I had completely different chairs in mind for our desks, but keeping an open mind and shopping the Internet, I stumbled on a great deal on two modern chairs on Lampsplus.com,” she says. “In my opinion, they ended up being a much better choice than the original chairs I had in mind.”
When Henkler decided she wanted an upholstered headboard but didn’t want to spend too much, she got creative. “I used a tension rod, inexpensive fabric and some batting to make my traditional wood headboard look like an upholstered headboard,” she says. “Plus, since I used a different fabric on the back of the cover, it’s reversible. I can switch out the look of the room in an instant. One side is black and white, the other solid purple.”
She was also able to pull off an entire room makeover for about $350. “I used MDF and moldings to create new mirror frames and a decorative front for an ugly bathtub. I added a board and batten treatment on all the walls, a no-sew valance, and rugs and a shower curtain from HomeGoods, and instead of replacing the green-and-white tile floor, I cut sticky-back black vinyl into squares to cover the green squares so I would have a classic black-and-white pattern floor.”
Budget decorator must-haves
Henkler shares a few items every budget decorator should have on hand to keep their home looking stylish for less.
- Spray paint: Spray paint transforms anything instantly.
- Books: They can fill a wall with color, can be used to raise a too-short table lamp or can be stacked on a coffee table to add color and interest. Plus, the ones on the coffee table make great conversation starters when entertaining at home.
- Things you love: Souvenirs from your travels, mementos that hold special meaning to you when displayed, will give your home character and uniqueness that will give it style.
- A bowl of fresh fruit.
- Flowers from the garden.
- An open mind: Remember that decorating is not about money. It is about your choices and editing. It is how you pull your things together that will make it look stylish.