Home Decorating on a Budget: Tips, Ideas and Inspiration

You don't have to have a masters in Interior Design or tons of money to achieve a fabulous home interior. This has always been a topic of interest for me because I've never really had a whole lot of money to spend for the purpose of decorating my home. I didn't want to be left out though so over the years I've learned a lot about it. My main learning tool has been the internet. Mainly through searches for DIY home decorating projects. Also, I love doing Google image searches which bring up images that inspire me and give me tons of ideas. There is a wealth of information on the internet about decorating on a budget. I've also learned a lot of helpful tips and tricks about decorating that just make good sense to me that have stuck with me through the years. The purpose of this hub is to share with others what I have learned through my own quest for knowledge and hopefully inspire others to have the beautiful home interior they want despite being on a tight budget. This hub covers some of the basics of decorating, budget decorating ideas, bargain shopping tips for home improvement supplies and how to get some great, high end home décor at a fraction of the price. We will start off with the shopping tips in case a shopping trip is in order.

Frugal Shopping Tips for Home Improvement Supplies

Home improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot usually have clearance racks in their stores. Lot's of time these are located in the center of the store, between the two sets of isles. You can find all kinds of marked down items on these racks. Just be cautious when you purchase an item on clearance because sometimes they put damaged items there (for quick sale) but many times the damage is minimal and can be easily overlooked considering the price. Also, they usually have a a clearance rack in their paint section. Lot's of time's it's paint that has been mixed to make a custom color for a customer which for whatever reason the customer never purchased it. Since it's been opened they have to mark it down significantly. Be sure to check these racks in the paint section when you go to home improvement stores and see what they have. You never know, you may find just the color you've been looking for.

Wal-Mart usually has a little clearance section within the home improvement section of the store. Find out where yours is and check it from time to time.

Bargain Shopping Tips for Home Décor

Clearance racks: Most stores have clearance sections. These sections are the place to look for some really awesome deals. Sometimes things are put there because there is slight damage so be sure to keep that in mind if you find something that is priced so low that it seems to good to be true. Hobby Lobby has gorgeous home décor and in my local store there is a huge section of the back wall just for items on clearance.

Scratch and Dent Sections
: Kirkland Home, Pottery Barn, Sears and many stores like this have scratch and dent sections. It's a section of the store or a rack where they put merchandise that has been slightly damaged- usually its just with a very small scratch or scuff that is barely even noticeable. You can get things sometimes as low as a quarter of the original price and I'm talking about some really awesome and beautiful pieces! I think I could handle a small scratch or scuff that no one is really going to notice for that kind of savings. Sometimes the merchandise may be a little bit more damaged than a small scratch, dent or scuff but lots of times it is something that can be fixed. This is a great way to get some high end decorative accents for your home at a fraction of the price. Call your local stores to see who has scratch and dent sections.. it varies store to store.

Shop Second Hand: Buying used is a great way to save money. Don't be discouraged from shopping second hand. Some of my favorite stores to shop at are Salvation Army and Good Will. You will be amazed at some of the beautiful and in some cases, practically brand new items you can find in stores like these. There are also tons of thrift stores, second hand stores and don't forget about flea markets and garage sales. Another thing to keep in mind when shopping at these places is to keep your mind open to the potential in things... For example, say you find some beautiful framed wall art but the greenish colored frame is hideous. If you really like it, purchase it. All you need to do is take it apart and paint the frame your color of choice. Once you're done you will have a gorgeous piece of art for your wall. Remember that painting is always an option. They have paint for everything now!

Home Décor/Furniture for Free

There is a wonderful online group called freecycle. With freecycle you can get stuff or give stuff away for free. Let's say you want a dresser. You post that you want a dresser and everyone in the group receives the email post. If someone has a dresser they want to get rid of they will reply to your post and you have a free dresser. It's just that easy. Just like with buying used, try to see the potential in things- if you get something and it doesn't quite strike your fancy yet it's great functionally, you can always give it a face lift. :0) Go to freecycle and sign up for a group near you.

Craigslist is a free to view online classified ads site for just about anything you can imagine. You don't have to register unless you decide to post something (registration and posting are both free) They have a FREE section where people just give stuff away they do not want or need anymore and a lot of the ads have photos. Just go to craigslist and click on the city closest to you. You might be amazed to see what people give away for free!


Give to me-- Just found out about a neat website called www.givetome.net. It is a site where you can go and get free things or give away things kind of like the freecycle exchange. The site advocates helping others in need and also helps the person giving by allowing them to clear the unneeded items from their home. It sounds great for everyone involved-whether you are giving things away you don't need or needing something someone is giving away. They list things according to your geographical area like freecycle and craigslist but it does specify things can be shipped from one person to the other depending on the arrangement between the person giving and getting.

The Basics of Decorating

Color coordinating:

Having a complimentary color scheme can make a huge difference when decorating your home. You don't have to use all the same colors. You can use a variety of different colors that compliment each other. If you are like me, it can be confusing to figure out what truly goes with what.. sometime it's surprising. That is why I was so happy to find this awesome online tool called Color Scheme Designer where you choose your colors and the chart shows you which colors compliment each other. Keep these colors in mind when considering what color of curtains to use, choosing paint colors, area rugs and things like that.


You would be surprised at how a new coat of paint in a different color can truly add that wow factor you so desperately want. It something easy and inexpensive that you can do that can change the entire atmosphere of a room and get you that much closer to the "feel" and look you are trying to achieve. If you don't want to paint all your walls, painting just one wall in a bold, complimentary color can make a huge difference as well. Never underestimate the power of paint! For an awesome online 'paint your house without paint' tool visit Colorjive. All you have to do is register (which takes literally about 5 seconds and they guarantee no spam) and you can use this tool to upload any photo of the interior of your home and color the walls any color you want. If you want to paint but you aren't quite sure which color you want, this is the tool for you!

Another great thing about paint is that there is paint for just about anything you have that you would like to change the color of. I'm talking about your bathtub, your counter tops, appliances- you name it, there is paint for it. Don't forget about spray paints.. you have tons of options with these. You can use spray paint to change the color of small pieces of furniture, picture frames, vases, lamps, wall sconces- any accessory that you would like to change the color of- even décor made from plastic. The most awesome paint I've seen comes in either a spray can or a bucket and it's called chalk board paint. You can paint anything and make it into a chalk board! Can you imagine the possibilites here? Wouldn't this be awesome for a kids room? Chalkboard paint is fairly inexpensive anyway but the price just got cheaper because I found this awesome tutorial on DIY chalkboard paint via Martha Stewart, of course!


Maybe you live in an apartment and despise that dingy brown carpeting or maybe you can't afford to re-carpet the home you own. Why not purchase a large area rug? This can make a huge difference in the look of your room! Area rugs can be expensive but just like anything else, you can find them on clearance sometimes and in second hand stores, garage sales, etc. It's always a good investment if you are renting because you can take it with you when you move out. Also be on the lookout on craigslist and freecycle for people giving away carpeting or area rugs. About carpeting-sometimes its carpeting that people have had replaced which is still in good condition (which of course would need to be cleaned and sanitized )or it's brand new carpet they have left over from re-carpeting their home.

I know a lot of people may not want used carpeting in their home but it is an option if you feel comfortable with it. If it's good quality, name brand carpeting, is still in good, usable condition and you are comfortable after talking with the previous owners, it might be worth the cost of having a professional come to clean and sanitize it for use in your home. After intensive cleaning and sanitizing, it will more than likely look and feel like brand new carpet. Just something to keep in mind for those of you out there that truly want to change your carpeting but have a very limited budget.

Budget Decorating Ideas

I don't know what the technical word for it is but it's when you group together many items of the same theme on your wall. You can do this with crosses, mirrors, black and white photos in black frames, mirrors, plates, hats, baskets or anything else. It can really change the look of a room. Whenever you have company it's probably the first thing they will notice when walking into your home because it can cover a large area and it is just so beautiful and bold. The way to achieve this is to start collecting and adding to your wall. It takes a bit of patience but be on the look out for whatever you are collecting whether it be crosses, etc. Before you know it you'll have beautiful collection covering your wall. See the examples that follow:

Black and White Photo Wall
Black and White Photo Wall

Black and White Framed Photos

Look at this awesome black and white photo wall found at Coastal Living. Frames are a dime a dozen at second hand and thrift stores and they have all sizes. Just buy them up, paint the frames black and put your black and white photos in them.. You could fill up a wall in no time! Sepia colored photos with brown frames look great too. Be sure to check out the Coastal Living blog for other great ideas!

Plate Arrangement
Plate Arrangement

Plates and Saucers

Plates are not only for eating. They are stunningly decorative, too! Look at this plate arrangement I found at Design For 4. All kinds of plates can be found at thrift stores and resale shops. A way to do it is by grouping them together in a matching color scheme or you could choose to use different colors and designs like in the photo. You can purchase plate hangers to hang up your plates or save even more money and make them yourself. See this very easy tutorial at Attempting to be Domestic on DIY plate hangers!

Beautiful Cross Wall
Beautiful Cross Wall

Wall Crosses

To the right is an example of a cross wall at Home Sweet Home. I absolutely LOVE this! Even though the crosses vary a bit in size and shape they all compliment each other so beautifully.   I've seen entire walls filled with crosses and some with a smaller arrangement but to me, they ALL look stunning!

picket fence headboard
picket fence headboard

DIY headboards: Looking for a dramatic change in the bedroom? Change up your headboard! Check out Tipnut for 18 budget friendly DIY headboard ideas and check out even more headboard ideas like the picket fence one to the right at Apartment Therapy.

DIY Pottery Barn Knock-Off Pillows
DIY Pottery Barn Knock-Off Pillows

Decorating With Throw Pillows

Who doesn't love decorative pillows.. They look great on couches and chairs. My favorite place to decorate with pillows is on my bed. They look great arranged on a bed and just make a room feel so cozy.. Shop for them on the clearance racks at home décor stores or better yet, make some of your own. They are quick and easy to make... and there are tons of tutorials online to make stunning look-a-likes of designer brands that are sold in stores. Check out this tutorial for these gorgeous Pottery Barn knock-off pillows at How Does She.

Home Fragrance

Having a lovely scent in the air intensifies the beauty of your home. There are many decorative ways to achieve this. Candles, effusion lamps, oil burners etc are all great elements of décor and can be purchased fairly inexpensive. Not only are candles, oil burners and other fragrance delivering products visually pleasing but the scent itself helps to set the overall mood and atmosphere in your home.. Scents have a subtle, yet amazing affect on our moods.

One tip I can give you about purchasing home fragrance is to visit your local Bath and Body Works store or check their website often. They have buy 1 get 1 free and buy 2 get 1 free sales all the time- not just on their candles but also on scented oils and accessories. These are good quality fragrances and well worth the investment! If you think about it, try Eucalyptus Spearment by Bath and Body Works sometime.. that is my favorite. Fragrance is just one of those things that if I'm going to do it, I have to do it right. Cheaper candles can be pretty to look at but they just don't scent a room the way I would like them to. I believe in bargain shopping for the quality stuff. That way you always get what you pay for and then some.

I hope you have found some good and useful information here about frugal decorating. I am grateful to HubPages for enabling me to share some of the things I have learned in order to help out others in their effort to decorate on a budget. I think everyone should be able to have a beautiful and comfortable home interior. I guess you could sum this whole thing up in two sentences- Let your creative side come to the surface and keep your eye open for great home decorating bargains.

And remember to have fun!!

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Comments 65 comments

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas Author

StephenCowry- You are welcome, Stephen. Yes, there are many ways to save when buying things to decorate the home. I have had to learn out of necessity so I figured why not share some of the things I have learned. I am glad that you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for stopping by!

StephenCowry profile image

StephenCowry 4 years ago

We all wanted a beautiful home with all the stuffs we need. But sometimes when the budget is tight we can't really do something which we wanted to do for our house. But thanks for sharing us some tips on how to spend less for a nice looking house to live in.

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Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

LinenTablecloth, Thank you..I'm glad you like the hub :)

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LinenTablecloth 5 years ago from New york

I like this is so beautiful is to good.

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Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

Natashalh, Wow! I knew the sample paints were great but I had no idea they would cover so much.. thanks for sharing the awesome tip!

Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 5 years ago from Hawaii

I have found those little sample jars of paint you can get mixed at the home improvement warehouse stores can go a long way. They typically cost less than $3, and are easily enough to paint a couple pieces of furniture. A couple of them are enough for an accent wall, but still cost less than even the small can of paint. It lets you get the high-quality paint and designer colors without the huge expense.

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

katherinethorell, Thank you.. I love doing round-up hubs. Thanks for stopping by :)

katherinethorell profile image

katherinethorell 5 years ago

Loved your hub!! Thank you for letting me know where I can find these great deals.

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

mariahbernt864, Thank you for stopping by.. glad you like :)

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mariahbernt864 5 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

I am an aspiring interior designer :) So I'm definitely going to be following you! Thanks for the wonderful advice!

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

MyFavoriteBedding: Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I love the idea of a group of plates too. I have some plates I've picked up from here and there that are just waiting to be hung up :)

MyFavoriteBedding profile image

MyFavoriteBedding 5 years ago from United States

I love the idea of the plates!! I always see glass plates that I love, but how many different plate designs do you really need to just eat on? You gave me a new brainstorm, thanks!

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

stayingalivemoma.. Thank you so much for the positive feedback and the vote! So happy that you will be trying some of these. They really are easy to do and easy on the wallet, too! God Bless :0)

stayingalivemoma profile image

stayingalivemoma 5 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

Very good hub with some great money-saving tips...I'll be using a few of these myself!! voted up and awesome!!

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

leann2800: Yep, you can do this stuff anywhere.. so many possibilities. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it :)

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Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

prairieprincess, Thank you! Yes, grouping the pics up all together in black frames is so easy. I've done it on one wall in my bedroom and it really looks very nice and it's so easy to do.

The clearance section is the best.. it's the first place I go to when I walk into a store.. you just never know what goodies you'll find!

Thanks so much for reading and for the nice comment :)

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leann2800 5 years ago

I love these ideas. These ideas are very versatile. You could use them at home, the office, a dorm. Thanks for sharing.

prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada

Wonderful hub! I love the idea of putting all the pictures together and painting the frames black. And the clearance section is a great idea, too.

I love trying to decorate our home with very little money. It's such a challenge!

Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas Author

RTalloni, Thank you, I appreciate it :) I've always loved trying to find ways to decorate without having to spend a lot of money.. its just too hard to come by these days. Take Care!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Really nice ideas--as usual. :) Thanks for these good decorating tips that anyone could take advantage of for their home or even office space

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