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So, my usual Target adventure goes like this. I walk into said store with a few things on my list and a clear idea on what it is that I’m wanting. 3 hours and a full red cart later, I’m chewing on my fingernails and debating what all I need to put back because I may have gone a bit overboard.
It’s so easy to get swept up in all the pretty things and all the latest trends. And I cannot be the only one whose mouth drops open at the price of some of these items. I mean, it’s a candle for crying out loud! Don’t even get me started on throw pillows.
That’s why I came up with this list of how you can save money decorating your home. Sometimes all it takes is a little effort and creativity and you can still have that beautiful home you want. And, dare I say, a much more unique home that speaks more to your family than any items from a box store ever could.
1.) Use baskets, cake stands, and decorative boxes to group objects.
One of my favorite tricks for pulling together a space is to use a nice woven basket to corral all the smaller scale decor objects. My console table in my living room has a oval textured basket on it that I filled with some cute items from Target’s spring dollar section. Those items looked cute enough on their own, but putting them all in that basket made them seem more substantial and special. I think I spent a total of like 12 bucks on those “filler” items but they don’t seem cheap when displayed like that. And you just cannot beat Target’s dollar aisle!
On the dresser in my bedroom, I used a cute wooden box to contain some little knickknacks that were driving me crazy. I have a couple of these little Willow Tree figurines with sentimental meaning that were given as gifts that seemed to just drift from place to place over the years. I just could never find a spot I liked for them. Once I put them in that box, however, they just seemed to fit there.
I put a few other decorative objects in there as well as our remote controls to our bedroom TV. It’s also the landing place for my favorite earrings. I usually just discard them here when I come home and grab them the next day for easy access. (The rest of my jewelry is located in a dresser drawer.)
I have several cake stands in my house. And I hardly ever actually use them the way they were intended. One is located in my china cabinet and was my grandmother’s. It holds my beloved ceramic bird I picked up on a thrift store excursion. Another is located on our kitchen table and serves as a centerpiece with some greenery and a candle. The other is located by my kitchen sink and holds our soap dispenser and cleaners.
2.) Think outside the box!
It’s hard trying to do things on a budget. I am not going to downplay that at all. And it definitely forces you to be creative which can be such a good thing! Some of the best ideas are born from a situation where what you really want to do is not affordable and you have to come up with your own unique way to make it happen.
I think that is the appeal that Joanna Gaines holds for so many people, myself included. Now, she has a much bigger budget than mine when working on a project, that is for sure. But I love the way she uses unique decor for each of her designs. Sometimes, it’s that little extra touch that really makes a room special.
Back when we were working on our laundry room earlier this year, I was struggling to find something to display on the wall opposite the washer and dryer. I knew I wanted a coastal feel to this room and it to house some of our favorite vacation memories. I have a collection of shot glasses that I have picked up over the years from different trips we have taken. I knew I wanted to display them on the wall in there, but I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it, except that I didn’t want to spend much.
That’s when I had the brilliant idea to use the shelf my father in law made my husband when he was a child for his home run baseballs. Jeremy had been hanging onto it, wanting to repurpose it for something. And it had literally been sitting under my nose for years before I realized that not only could it house my shot glasses, but that I could also display our seashells and beach sand from our trips. And I absolutely love the sentiment behind it.
Also, located in this same laundry room, is a map of the Bahamas that I bought and framed. We went to the Bahamas on our honeymoon and it was such a wonderful trip with such wonderful memories. I love that I get to be reminded of that every day while doing such a mundane task like laundry. I’ve got some plans to tweak this map a little bit. I’d like to distress it to make it seem a bit older and more original than it really is and switch out the white frame to a more rustic one.
Other ideas would be to frame sentimental cards, recipes, kids’ art work, or handwritten notes. You can even make enlargements at a print store or turn into an engineered print at Staples. What better way to decorate your home than surrounding your family with things that bring you joy?
3.) Hone your DIY Skills.
My husband is such a talented person. He amazes me daily by the things he has learned to do as we’ve been married. And one of those things is his DIY skills. That is most definitely one of the biggest plusses for having to be on a budget. What you can’t afford to buy, you have to learn to make yourself. Those skills you learn are absolutely invaluable.
He has now made our distressed fireplace mantel, our end tables in the living room, our farmhouse style headboard, and is currently working on a mudroom storage bench and entertainment center for the basement. Had we gone out to the “store” to buy these we easily would have spent $700 or more. Instead, all we were out was the money to buy the materials, and of course the time it took him to make, stain, or paint them.
You can find the instructions for this headboard at Ana White’s site here. If you’ve never checked her out before, you need to! She has step by step instructions for creating hundreds of different kinds of woodworking projects.
Once you have learned and mastered how to create the custom furniture you want for your particular space, the decorating world is your oyster, baby! You have so many more options for how to create the custom look you’re after for a lot less money!
4.) Buy Secondhand!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many more times…. buy secondhand! You can stretch your budget so much further visiting thrift stores, flea markets, Goodwill’s and such. Check out this post here on my favorite flea market finds that I have in my home.
Some particular things to keep an eye out for at thrift shops are frames that can be painted, old lamp bases (just make sure they work), wooden furniture, vases, glass pitchers, cake stands, baskets, trays, and candle holders. I tend to stay away from upholstered items and only bring things into my home that I can easily bleach and sanitize.
5.) The Power of Paint
And last, but certainly not least, never, ever underestimate the power of paint. Your walls, furniture, even flooring can be completely transformed by a few coats of paint. Even if it’s just an “interim” solution, painting that ugly tile or outdated furniture can make a space much more inviting for the time being. You can even paint countertops now!
One of our upcoming projects is going to be tackling the 1970’s tile in our hall bath. While it’s not in the budget to gut that room yet, I am tired of looking at the mauve tile on the floor and walls. We will write out a step by step tutorial on how we did it and post lots of pics!
Here’s a link to the product we are looking into. Let us know if you have ever tried it!
I’m sure nothing listed above is anything earth shattering or a huge new revelation. But they really are the tried and true ways I have been able to save money decorating my home. I challenge you to think about just one area of your home you would love to transform and how you could think outside the box to make it happen! Tell me your favorite tips for decorating on a budget down in the comments!