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How To Be Frugal When Decorating Your Home

Updated on March 9, 2014

My Thrifty Home Background

When my husband and I bought our first home, we were a long ways from having the money we needed to decorate it elegantly. Not only that, but we were a long ways from owning anything nice, period!

Sure, we'd gotten wedding gifts such as small appliances, pots and pans, and kitchen utensils. But what we really needed was furniture, end tables, bedroom night stands, kitchen chairs, bar stools - the list could have gone on and on.

We've lived in our home now for a year and a half and I have it all decorated except for our master bedroom (which is a work in progress!) So with this hub, I wanted to share my tips on how to decorate your home while being thrifty and frugal! Trust me, it's possible. And it can really be a lot of fun!


1. Check Out Thrift Stores

The places that I most frequently visit for home decor and accessories are thrift stores. Usually Goodwill, because I seem to have the most luck there. Here I can always count on finding usually some type of once-given gift baskets that have ended up just being a beautiful basket. These are wonderful for holding kids toys, books, and little odds and ends.

Thrift stores are also great places to find lamps that can be stained, painted or sometimes just cleaned. I bought my nightstands at Goodwill and stained them a dark mahogany, they turned out beautifully!

I've also found a large cheval floor mirror for $30, a brand new large, comfy Target chair for $35 and all kinds of tables or stands that you'll find throughout my home.

Keep your eyes peeled for seasonal decor (Christmas decor, Easter, Halloween, etc) as you will usually find it in abundance there and you will be able to use it year after year without paying retail for it!

Some of my thrift projects

How often do you visit thrift stores?

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2. Stop For Garage Sales

I once met a woman who told me she's 'past going to garage sales' and I couldn't believe it. How could you ever be past finding great deals? Every time that I go to a garage sale, I get excited about what new little treasure I will discover there. I've found so many great things at these sales, that I can't help but get my hopes up. Don't be afraid to dig, because anything worth finding is worth digging for!

Don't expect every yard sale to be extravagant and don't judge a sale by it's curb appeal. You never know what you will find inside!

Do you stop for garage sales?

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3. Make Your List to Scout For

Whenever I think of something that I want to find or work on, I add to my (always growing) note in my phone. It's a good reminder for myself when I get to stop somewhere on a whim and look around.

Need some ideas for what to search for? Hop on Pinterest. You'll find all kinds of ideas for home decor or furniture and much of it is upcycled or just cleaned up. There are so many great and unique home decor ideas on Pinterest, it's definitely my go-to for all things home.

Last but not least in making your list, share it with family or friends that frequent garage sales or thrift stores. Also jot down on your list things that they are looking for. You'd be surprised what extent this can pay off to!

Creative Decorating on a Budget


4. What to Buy New

Some things aren't worth buying second-hand. You don't want to bring bed bugs in, you don't want to be missing parts, and you don't want to inherit something dangerous. For this reason, it's best to buy the following items from a retail store:

  • Mattresses
  • Futon
  • Pillows or Bedding
  • Bunk Beds
  • Computer Components
  • Large Appliances

5. Keep on Craigslist

Naturally you need to be careful when you go to check out your items, but you can certainly find lots of great stuff on here! I found my office desk and some storage drawers on Craigslist for an unbeatable price. But I'm also one of those people who don't pay full price for anything. Why would you, if you could get it for half off if not more?

Just because it's not on there one day, doesn't mean you struck out. Check out Craigslist every couple days because you don't want to miss out on something when it's posted fresh! Other people are looking for great deals too, so don't give them the upper hand!

My Recent Entry Way Transformation

I have an entry way closet by my front door that has a large space above it that's been quite an eye sore for a while. Here is how I dressed it up!
I have an entry way closet by my front door that has a large space above it that's been quite an eye sore for a while. Here is how I dressed it up!

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    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 4 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      One of the things you didn't really mention was getting things from family members. Often there is something in an attic or in the garage that no longer "works" in their home, but that you can really use. A lot of our furnishings we got from my mother-in-law when she redecorated her home.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Some very sound ideas here. Whenever I visited the U.S., my brother and I would visit thrift stores or Goodwill every week and would find something of interest and value each time. It is amazing the range of things one can find at low prices.

      Voted up.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thrift stores and garage sales are a great place to frequent for decorating your home. It's amazing what you can find. I love what you did to your entryway. Up and beautiful.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      For a really lovely home, you can't beat the interior in your first photo. Wood floors are so beautiful and set the tone for the whole house. Whatever you use to furnish and decorate a home will look better with that backdrop of wood floors.

      I am an avid thrift shopper. You never know what you can find at Good Will!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think creativity is far more important than money when decorating a home. Thanks for the tips. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • jkvkdailey4 profile image

      jkvkdailey4 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Awesome ideas, thanks Pinkchic18! Love the transformation of the entryway, and I want that faux leather ottoman! We've been in our house for a while, but this would be a great (and inexpensive) way to change things up a bit.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @kthix10 - it is! And actually it was a fabric shower curtain that I found at Goodwill, I just cut it into the shape I needed it to be :)

    • kthix10 profile image

      kthix10 5 years ago from IL

      It that fabric on the ledge in the entry hall?