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Home Decorating on a Budget: Tips, Ideas and Inspiration

Updated on September 12, 2011

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!

**UPDATE**

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.

Painting:

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!

Carpet:

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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    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      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 5 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.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

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

    • profile image

      LinenTablecloth 5 years ago from New york

      I like this is so beautiful is to good.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      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

      Natasha 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
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      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      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
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      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

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

    • mariahbernt864 profile image

      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
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      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      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
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      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

      Valerie Washington 6 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
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

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

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      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 :)

    • profile image

      leann2800 6 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

      Sharilee Swaity 6 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
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      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 6 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

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Sinea Pies: Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the hub and have found it useful. Good luck with the new renovation!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Love this hub. We're just entering a renovation project in our home that requires me to select many colors from carpet, to paint to flooring. Working on a budget! This information will be useful. Voted up and useful and shared with my followers!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      MizzMoezzy: Thanks so much for reading.. Wow! I loved hearing how you made the light fixture from the metal drip pans!! That is awesome. I LOVE Goodwill.. such an awesome store. Thank you so much for sharing :)

    • MizzMoezzy profile image

      MizzMoezzy 6 years ago from Washington

      I LOVED your hub! I love it when people come up with cool cost efficient ideas for home decor. This one time I took those little metal discs you see on old stove tops under the coils (the drip pan), anyway I took 24 of those that i found in an old bin at goodwill. I ended up soldering the discs together in a unique oval shape, then spray painting them with a solid mat white paint, strung some wire through it from my old ceiling light. Now i have a great one of a kind hanging light over my dining table.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      jynelleybelly: Thank you so much for reading! I'm so glad you found this hub informative... I really tried to find some cool, inexpensive things to really help with the home interior....DIY stuff is my favorite, too!

    • jynelleybelly profile image

      jynelleybelly 6 years ago

      This is some great advice! I love the tips. I especially like the simple, easy format you have put all this information into. I love home decoration and diy projects!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      midnightbliss: Thank you for reading my hub.. glad you liked some of the ideas! Best of luck to you.

      asmaiftikhar: Thanks so much for reading..I really appreciate it. Please visit back soon!

      LittlePayday: Thank you for visiting and reading my hub! I love the plates idea, too... who would have thought that a group of random plates would look so cute?! Take Care :)

    • profile image

      asmaiftikhar 6 years ago

      oh really a nice hub.tips are great and especially the idea of plate decoration and cushion really worth praising.keep it up.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      you really have very creative solutions on budget decorating. you've given me so much idea on how to improve my home, thanks.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Bleigh11389: I'm so glad my hub inspired you! Thank you for reading.. I hope you have lots of fun decorating your new home :)

    • Bleigh11389 profile image

      Bleigh11389 6 years ago

      I love how creative you are. I am buying my first house with my boyfriend and of course he wants me to do all the decorating, and I am going to use some of your ideas!!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      janellelk, Wow you really can put some of this to good use.. So glad that I could inspire you some. Hope you have a smooth move this weeking. Take Care :)

    • profile image

      janellelk 6 years ago

      Really helpful information! I'm moving this weekend and I am so excited. Looking at this advice is definitely inspiring and exciting me even more. Thanks!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Sheena, thank you for reading! I agree.. people can get carried away and spend so much more money than they have to. Thanks for the comments :)

    • profile image

      Sheena 6 years ago

      some great decorating tips here. People can get to carries away when you can achive the same look for a fraction of the price

    • profile image

      sheena 6 years ago

      Great hub you really put some good work into all those tips.. great read thank you

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Under The Lamp, Thanks for visiting! Glad you found the hub useful :)

    • Under The Lamp profile image

      Under The Lamp 6 years ago

      This hub is so useful that even I can use it!

      I using it right now -No Joke.

      Awesome, just awesome.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Guanta, You are welcome and thank YOU for reading and for the nice comment :) Hope you find the sites helpful.

    • Guanta profile image

      Guanta 6 years ago from New York City

      Thank you for the great tips. I'm definately going to try the sites you suggested. Thanks much.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Paulina, I'm so glad this helped you get some ideas about displaying your photos in your apt.. Thank you for commenting :)

    • Paulina GV profile image

      Paulina GV 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips! I have been looking for cheap and different ways to put photos around my apt and this helped a bit!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Vishaaa... appreciate you stopping by!

    • Vishaaa profile image

      Vishaaa 6 years ago from Somewhere on this earth..

      Awesome ideas.... Really loved this hub.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for reading June McEwan, masaru and SUSANJK!

    • SUSANJK profile image

      SUSANJK 6 years ago from Florida

      Good hub. I really enjoyed reading it.

    • profile image

      masaru 6 years ago

      thank you

      ^_^

    • June McEwan profile image

      June McEwan 6 years ago from The Works 8 Mitchell Street Crieff Scotland PH7 3AG

      Great hub

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for reading Jennifer!

    • jennifercriston profile image

      jennifercriston 6 years ago from Oxford Road

      Smart ideas to decorate home in an innovative way.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
      Author

      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you KimberlyAnn,

      I have a wall in my bedroom with with nothing but the black and white frames and it's so pretty.. right above the pictures I have some vinyl wall letters that say "dream" and then I have all my black and white pics (printed right off my computer from my own photos) in black frames under it. Every single one of the frames I got at garage sales, thrift stores, etc and the ones that weren't black I painted black with spray paint. The wall isn't totally full but I keep adding and it looks so cool..

      Thanks for coming by and reading!!

    • KimberlyAnn26 profile image

      KimberlyAnn26 6 years ago

      Great Hub. I have always wanted to do the black and white framed wall as pictured. I love that idea!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you 4youreyes! I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

    • profile image

      4youreyes 6 years ago

      Always love to read others ideas on how to decorate without spending a fortune.Keeping on sharing one can never run out of new ideas.

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      CharmTheory and prasetio, Thank you too!

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Awww.. Thank you, vocalcoach! You've made my day.. what a nice comment. I'm so glad you've found this hub useful :0)

      P.S. I wish we were neighbors too!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good information, my friend. Thanks for share with us. We have to control our budget even for home decoration. Good work. Take care!

      Prasetio

    • CharmTheory profile image

      CharmTheory 6 years ago

      Great tips and ideas, thanks for sharing

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Oh My Gosh! I absolutely LOVE this hub. Bookmarking it. I adore decorating on a budget. You have given me so many great and fun, easy, affordable ideas. I wish you were my neighbor. :) Rated up and awesome! (like you).

      Thank you for my happiness moment. Vocalcoach

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Aww.. Thanks prasetio! Your comments really help boost my confidence and push me to keep on writing. Thank you!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good information. You are really creative woman. Very inspiring hub. I liked it. Thank you very much. Vote up. Keep on writing. Success for you.

      Love and peace,

    • Jamie Brock profile image
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      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Cassie Ann, Song-Bird and Karen, Thanks for reading and for the nice comments!

    • Karen Wodke profile image

      Karen Wodke 6 years ago from Midwest

      Lots of great ideas, thanks!

    • Song-Bird profile image

      Renee Hanlon 6 years ago from Michigan

      I have done a lot of the same things that you do. I love to decorate but hate to spend a fortune on it. You can really do some great things with all of the tips that you described. Great hub!

    • Cassie Ann profile image

      Cassie Ann 6 years ago

      Thanks Jamie. You have given us many great tips. I had never heard of freecycle before. I am interested in finding a group in my area. Thanks for the info.