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Cost Saving Tips On Decorating: How To Save Money On Home Decorating

Updated on March 29, 2011


Whether you live in an apartment or you own a 3,000 square foot home, home decorating can really get expensive.

If you have a huge budget for home decorating, that’s great, but for many of us, it’s all about being frugal and getting the most for your buck.

Let’s look at some super simple and very inexpensive ways to get your house to look the way you dreamed it would be and not go broke doing it!

Remember to always spend less than you earn and don’t go into debt to get your house the way you want it!

You can do many things yourself with a little ingenuity and you can save HUGE bucks doing it!

Think of the satisfaction when you look at it and say to yourself "I did that" or "we did that!"



Paint. Paint is the cheapest decorating tool in your decorative toolbox. It costs next to nothing compared to other decorating methods or additions and everyone can paint! It takes hardly any time to paint anything.....from walls to ceilings....from the exterior to the furniture to pots to tables.

You can make anything look brand new with a coat of paint. Don’t forget free paint sources or cheap paint sources such as returned or mistinted paints at the local paint store or hardware store, the local Habitat for Humanity or the waste recycling centers!

Scavenge. Whatever you decide to do in terms of decorating, become the supreme scavenger. Check Craigslist for freebies. Check your local paper and nickel ads or similar papers for freebies. Check out streets as you’re driving by – many times people put a bookcase or a table outside with a "free" sign on it.

You can find couches and chairs waiting to be picked up by the trash collectors. Just keep in mind you want something that’s salvageable if you lug it home. A couch that’s stained with pet urine is probably not going to be the sofa you want in your living room! A table missing a leg might not be fixable unless you know a carpenter or someone who can fix it on the cheap. There are total treasures out there though so keep your eyes peeled!

Sales. I don’t buy anything unless it’s on sale----period. I also price compare and shop around, whether it’s on the Internet or it’s in bricks and mortar stores. I just simply will not pay full price for anything as it doesn’t make sense to me. That said, if it’s paint you’re buying, it’s material you’re buying for curtains, get it on sale, too.....and don’t forget the value of the coupon!!

Check online always when looking for anything new or even used on eBay or Amazon because you can get some incredible buys. Look for materials in obvious places but look also in less obvious places. You’d be surprised what you can find. If you do find something online and you want to get it locally, don’t hesitate to print out the price you’ve found and take it to that chain’s brick and mortar equivalent or even another store. Ask them to match the price because most times, they will!

Elbow grease. There is no dollar value on elbow grease. You can make almost anything new again with paint but you can also make it new with elbow grease. Shine it up, clean it up, polish it up. Those junk pieces that you thought you had or even that flooring that looked like it was ready to be ripped up might just surprise you!

I’ve refinished wood floors before that I thought were doomed, only to find a beautiful floor waiting to be healed. Replacing tiles can be a cheap way to redo a floor especially if you get tiles on clearance. Flooring can sometimes be deceptive also. Someone might have carpeted over a wood floor and if you take the time to pry up a bit of the carpeting, you might find a completely beautiful floor underneath that will turn your home into "ah" from "blah"!

Garage sales. Don’t count out garage sales, estate sales, or swap meets. You can find all kinds of decorating items at these venues and for little money. You can find accent pieces; you can find beautiful dining room sets. You can find vases, swags, curtains, artwork and more!

You can find craft materials for your decorating projects for mere pennies that people are basically giving away. Check local newspapers for garage sales and make sure you’re one of the first ones there for the best buys. You can pick up enough stuff to decorate an entire house at garage sales, swap meets and the like!



Thrift stores. One of the best places to pick up frames is the thrift store. You can pick up artwork for super cheap, pop the picture out and repaint or use the frame as is. Investing in a mat cutter is also a great investment. If you know how to cut mats for pictures or artwork, you’ll have a professional looking part of your décor for very little money.

Also wall hangings can be found at most thrift stores. If they’re metal, a simple paint job might suffice of if they’re fabric or something else, they can be steamed or cleaned. You just might find pieces that you actually like in a thrift store, too.....that don’t need anything but maybe a good cleaning or dusting! It’s amazing what people give away. You can find dishes, household items like vases, blankets, sheets, etc. all at your local thrift stores...sometimes brand new and in the original package!

Internet. Don’t forget places like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon for acquiring art supplies, decorative pieces, or even furniture. You can save a bundle by getting used furniture and even if you have to repaint or refinish, it’s way cheaper than buying new.

Unfinished furniture and refinished furniture. You can pick up unfinished furniture and stain and finish it yourself and save bundles of dollars. You can find it new or used but again, price compare and then find the furniture that suits your tastes as well as your pocketbook. Make sure you get the right stain for the furniture to ensure an end result you'll be pleased with. There are many stains in lots of colors. They require usually 1 coat and give a super durable finish. These are great stains for a refinishing project and most times, you don't even have to strip the original finish!

Word of mouth. If you’re planning on redecorating anything, put the word out that you need "stuff" and what kind of stuff you need! Maybe people have things in their garage that they are dying to get rid old breakfront.....or paint.....or curtains and tablecloths.

Clearance. Check the clearance racks and tables at every store that might have something you want. You can find fabric for incredible prices on the clearance table. You can find artwork, dishes, curtains, draperies, rugs, etc. in major department stores on the clearance tables. Many even have an additional percentage off their already low prices! Check out Ross and TJ Maxx or stores like Marshall’s regularly if you’re decorating. They have incredible savings on everything from pieces of furniture to bathroom fixtures and supplies. You can save a bundle of money shopping at these stores.

Clutter factor. Whatever you do when you’re decorating, keep it simple. Sometimes less is more. Go for clean looks, uncluttered, bright and airy rooms. Combine colors to be the most visually pleasing and also choose colors that will be attractive to other people should you be planning on a move sometime in the near future. Make the pieces in each room work by making sure that they’re visible and that they "flow: with the room in general. Take one room at a time and make that work or add to it as time goes by and you find the right pieces or colors.



In short, decorating on a budget can be challenging but in today’s world, it’s totally doable.

You don’t have to buy everything that matches.  

You don’t have to buy everything that’s new. 

Moreover, you can do so many things yourself these days at a fraction of the cost that it makes it lucrative to be a do-it-yourselfer in terms of decorating on your own. 

Blend colors together as shown on the 2 photos above with the color squares.  It's amazing what color combinations work!

Check out books and videos from the library or look on line for up-to-date information on color schemes, dramatic versus comfy looks….the sky’s really the limit when it comes to decorating yourself because you have only yourself (and maybe your spouse or family) to please!  There is no grade at the end of it!

Mostly, look at the value of everything you pick out to decorate with.  Look at what it is but then see what it can become with a little ingenuity and work!

One of the best parts of decorating and using used or recycled things is that you get to use something old and make it something new.  That’s a green thumbs up right there!

Do you have suggestions and tips on how to decorate on a shoestring?  If you do, please leave comments here to further enhance this hub!


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