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Designing on a Shoestring: Home Décor on a Budget

Updated on February 10, 2016
Long-lasting floral arrangements and versatile center pieces provide a great way to change your home environment without spending a lot of money.
Long-lasting floral arrangements and versatile center pieces provide a great way to change your home environment without spending a lot of money. | Source
Versatile pieces like this Framework Lantern that can be displayed in multiple ways are great investments for decorating your home.
Versatile pieces like this Framework Lantern that can be displayed in multiple ways are great investments for decorating your home.

Affordable Decorating Options

When money is tight and you can't afford all the luxuries you want, how much must you truly give up? During a conversation with a friend who sells home fragrance collections and accessories, I learned that her sales have increased rather than decreased during recent economic downturns. Later, I spoke with another friend who mentioned that sales for designer beer labels increased in the neighborhood of 400 percent over a three-year period during which the economy experienced a significant downturn. Both discussions pointed me to the fact that when less money is available people still find ways to treat themselves to nice things. The difference lies in the type of nice things that are chosen.

This principle certainly applies to home décor. When money is abundant, you might consider re-papering or remodeling your basement, getting a new sofa, and updating your office with new shelving and artwork. If there isn't money in your budget for these types of changes, but you may still need a fresh perspective. Perhaps your family room is beginning to feel old fashioned. Maybe you're sick of staring at the walls of your home office. If you need a cure for the interior decorating blues, read on.

Refresh the look of your home frequently and affordably with changeable pieces like this Clearly Creative hurricane lamp from PartyLite, shown here with decorative rocks I purchased from the dollar store.
Refresh the look of your home frequently and affordably with changeable pieces like this Clearly Creative hurricane lamp from PartyLite, shown here with decorative rocks I purchased from the dollar store.

PartyLite Party

Hosting a party with a direct sales company is a great way to earn free and discounted home decor products.
Hosting a party with a direct sales company is a great way to earn free and discounted home decor products. | Source

Home Decor from Direct Sales Parties

There are many ways to spruce up the interior of your home without breaking the bank. Shopping with coupons or buying home décor at an overstock retailer are two ways to save some cash. One of my favorite ways to get the latest home décor without paying full price is by hosting a direct sales party. Several direct sales companies carry trendy looks for home interiors. PartyLite Candles and Gifts has an amazing host program that helps people get popular looks for free and half-price by simply getting together for a night in with friends. Celebrating Home, a younger direct sales company, has similar programs and products ranging from wall hangings to dinnerware. If you don't know a local consultant for one of these companies, do an online search to find someone near you with whom you can book a show.

One New Focal Point

If you want a new look and a fresh perspective, try adding a single new focal point to your room. Rather than replacing everything and starting from scratch with a fresh canvas or new color palette, you can change the look and feel of a room with a single statement item.

A good change during the winter might be a new window treatment. A new set of drapes or a new valance can change the whole look of a room.

Rather than replacing a sofa or loveseat, add or replace decorative throw pillows. Often during the winter months you can find good sales on pillows of all shapes and sizes at interior decorating stores or in the home interiors department of stores like J.C. Penney or Gordman’s. If you have furniture with a multi-colored pattern, change the look of your room by adding pillows in one of the secondary colors found within that pattern.

If the walls of your office are looking exceptionally drab but there is neither time nor money to paint or paper them, consider picking a single new piece of artwork to hang there. I particularly enjoy the look of a large clock with a world map on its face that hangs in my office. A framed poster or a cluster of smaller pictures might also refresh your workspace.

Instead of replacing that carpet that has a few stains on it, find a throw rug or runner that contrasts and compliments your current furnishings.

A new lamp or other light source can brighten any room. Many years ago I found and painted four plaster pillars that I still use to decorate my home. When it is time for a change, I often simply add a different candle holder, perhaps a tea light trio or large hurricane lamp, to one of the pillars. Using this technique combined with hosting a direct sales party where you can earn host credit to get a couple new pieces of décor will help you update your home's interior quickly and affordably.

This pillar positioned in one corner of my living room features a Tiffany lamp I found on clearance, a flip book with some of my own artwork, and a fragrance diffuser.
This pillar positioned in one corner of my living room features a Tiffany lamp I found on clearance, a flip book with some of my own artwork, and a fragrance diffuser.
One new focal point can change the look of an entire room. I put a tealight holder featuring a falling leaves pattern into a hurricane to get a fresh look for fall.
One new focal point can change the look of an entire room. I put a tealight holder featuring a falling leaves pattern into a hurricane to get a fresh look for fall.

Rearranging

I also put my pillars to good use by occasionally changing their placement. Two of them are shorter than the other two, so a simple change in their placement in a room can significantly change the feel of the place. Sometimes I clump them together in a group. Other times I set each of them in a separate corner. They have even been known to navigate from room to room, depending on my particular decorating plans and needs. Similar decorating effects can be incorporated using end tables or a set of nesting tables.

Rearranging large furniture is more work but can be an effective, cost-free method of redecorating. A home office can benefit from changes in desk placement. I like to be able to look out the window during late spring and into the fall, but during the winter it is cozier to set my desk facing a warmly decorated wall.

Versatile glass hurricanes such as this one provide a beautiful canvas for affordably decorating your home for each season. Just add seasonal fluff.
Versatile glass hurricanes such as this one provide a beautiful canvas for affordably decorating your home for each season. Just add seasonal fluff. | Source
Source
Fragrance warmers can add several dimensions of interest to a room. This one I got at a deep discount by hosting a PartyLite show.
Fragrance warmers can add several dimensions of interest to a room. This one I got at a deep discount by hosting a PartyLite show. | Source

Using Fragrances

Home fragrancing is another way to refresh your home. In addition to adding focal points such as a hurricane lamp or tealight holders, changing the scents you use in the home can provide a new ambience. You might consider hosting a party with your local Scentsy representative in order to get new fragrances and fragrance warmers to bring a fresh feel to your home.

During the winter months, I like to use warm scents for home fragrances. I keep various vanilla scents as well as spices and musks in stock for use as the weather gets colder. In the evenings I like to burn candles, but during the day I use a reed diffuser or wall plug-ins to keep things fresh.

As the weather grows warmer, I will turn toward more spring-like scents. Linen and other fresh scents are good springtime options. Lilac or other floral fragrances are also fitting for warm weather. As summer comes on, my home is renewed with citrus scents of orange, lime or lemon, perhaps mixed with coconut or verbena.

In addition to rotating the fragrances I use in my home, I also switch out my fragrance delivery devices. Reed diffusers are inexpensive and can be found in several attractive colors and shapes. It is simple to change from one diffuser to another while you are switching fragrance oils. I also have a small collection of seasonal fragrance warmers that I change out regularly to refresh the look and feel of the kitchen, bath or bedrooms.

What is your favorite, inexpensive way to give your home's interior a fresh look?

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Other Tips Under $100

Significant changes in your home’s scenery can be made at little expense to you. In addition to the ideas above, here is a list of decorating ideas that you can implement for $100 or less:

1. Get a new bedspread. Watch for sales, and you can often find washable “bed in a bag” sets that include a bed skirt and pillow shams for well under your $100 limit.

2. Get a new set of placemats, a reversible tablecloth, or a new centerpiece for your dining room table.

3. Keep and frame the pictures from last year’s calendar. You can frame several individually or put the pictures together in a collage to create a unique, affordable wall hanging.

4. Shop thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales for great finds that will work with your current home décor. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” My favorite corner shelf was found on the curb in a nearby neighborhood on large trash pickup day.

5. If you need a new wall treatment, remember that paint is more forgiving and less expensive than paper or plaster treatments. Refreshing a room by painting a single wall can be done quickly and inexpensively.

A Brighter Tomorrow

Even as the economy begins to improve, saving extra money is a good idea. Now that you have some ideas for inexpensive redecorating, it’s time to get busy. Enjoy the changing vistas. Your home may surprise you.

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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Whaaaaa? Have designer beer labels really increased that much? Yeesh. Redecorating certainly isn't cheap, though, and I appreciate the good tips!

    • Marie Gail profile image
      Author

      Marie Gail Stratford 5 years ago from Olathe, KS

      I know, right? What's up with that designer beer? I guess people can afford that when they can't afford fancy wines.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I am so broke! lol! This was very helpful for someone like me :)

    • Marie Gail profile image
      Author

      Marie Gail Stratford 5 years ago from Olathe, KS

      Oh, me too! Always happy to be of assistance.

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