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Decorate Your Home Beautifully on a Very Tight Budget.

Updated on March 7, 2018
GALAXY 59 profile image

Galaxy is a mother of three with thirty years of experience in making money go further.

Having Little or no Money Doesn't Mean you Can't Have a Beautiful Home.

If money is tight and let's face it, these days things are tough for the vast majority of us, but you are still trying to work within a strict budget, then you might have asked yourself this question - How do I decorate my home cheaply? It’s a question most of us have asked ourselves at some time. Being flat broke can really bring out the thrifty decorator in all of us, that old saying holds true - necessity is the mother of invention.

Everyone wants to live in a home that is comfortable and nicely decorated, the trouble is that home decorating can be very expensive but you can find ways to decorate your home on a budget and get a lot more than you imagined for a lot less money. Simple things, like if you find a wallpaper that is perfect for you but much too expensive to paper the whole room then why not just paper one wall and make it into a feature wall.

If the room in your home that you are decorating is very large this might still work out too expensive, so an even cheaper way is to buy one roll of paper and use it to make a panel in the middle of your feature wall. This can be very effective if you have a chimney breast that can be covered in a bold patterned paper. If the chimney stands out from the wall, then paint the alcoves a darker colour than the rest of the room to give depth.

Another good tip is to turn the roll of paper on its side and use it as an extra deep border. This can look very effective and unusual if the pattern is one that easily lends itself to this treatment. Use a spirit level to get the paper truly horizontal and mark the wall carefully before papering, as with a big border getting the thing dead straight is even more important than with a much smaller one. Even a slight difference will look huge when you get to the end of the wall.

Black Sticky Back Plastic Used to Make a Checkerboard Effect on my son's Bedroom Wall.

Black and white checkerboard wall covering.
Black and white checkerboard wall covering. | Source

Paint is Cheaper Than Wallpaper.

Simply painting the walls is always going to be cheaper than wallpapering, unless you use a very cheap paper such as woodchip, but this can be the devil to remove again, especially if it has been painted several times. If you must paper and really don't want to spend much money, then use lining paper. Many supermarkets have their own range of home decorating products that work out a lot cheaper than buying the exact same thing at a DIY store. If your walls are nice and even then paint can be applied with a roller but if the walls are a little rough and uneven then a textured paint might be the solution you are looking for. It can hide a multitude of sins.

Textured paint is expensive but there is a quick, effective and of course cheap way around this. Try adding a handful, or two, of fine sand to a pot of ordinary paint, give it a very good stir and hey presto! Textured paint. I have tried this myself and it works really well. A word of warning, though, don’t use course sand as you might end up taking the skin off of any body part that comes into contact with the walls!

Sticky backed plastic sheets can be used to good effect in children’s rooms to create a kind of mural on the walls. Plain white walls can look good if decorated with a black plastic paper checkerboard pattern. I used this in my son’s room when he was a teenager, he said it looked like the winner's flag at the Grand Prix.

If you want to quickly remove the smell of paint from a room just place a small bowl of vinegar in the corner. Shut the door and in no time at all the smell will be gone.

Artificial Flowers can Look Good in a Dull Corner That Doesn't get Enough Light for Real Ones.

Artificial flowers in a vase
Artificial flowers in a vase | Source

Give Your Room a Custom Made Look for Pennies.

If you want a custom-made look to your room, or you are trying to match a specific colour then DIY shops will, of course, match any shade for you - at a price. A much cheaper way to do it is to buy a large tin of shop own brand white emulsion and add paint from small tester pots, or any leftover bits and pieces of paint from previous decorating.

This is a great way to use up all of those last little bits of paint and you will end up with a unique colour that is just right for you. Keep adding more paint from the small tins to the large one until you find just the right shade, always stir in the new paint really well, an old wooden spoon is ideal for the job or use an electric drill if you have one.

Remember, that the most important thing is to make sure that you have enough paint mixed for the room you want to decorate. You won’t be able to pop out to the DIY store and buy more. If there is any doubt that you have enough paint then paint three walls first if you have enough paint left then carry on. If you are short of paint then make the remaining wall a feature wall and use a different, contrasting colour. Keep any unused paint in old coffee jars clearly marked as to which room the paint was used in just in case you need to touch up the walls at a later date.


If your budget simply won't stretch to a new carpet and the old one is dirty or worn then take it up and have a look underneath. You might find that you can paint the floor, if you are very lucky then you might even find some nice old floorboards that you can strip and stain. Even if the floor is of the tongue and groove variety, it can still be stained or painted, it won't look as good as nice floorboards but it can be very decorative. Make sure that there are no nails or staples sticking up to catch on bare feet.

Picture This.

A good way to provide interest and colour to a room is with pictures but these too can be very expensive. Postcards and birthday cards often have wonderful pictures on them and many don’t have any writing on the front, try putting these into simple frames, one at a time or in groups. I have even framed interesting wrapping paper, I once found one that had an old map motif that looked wonderful framed and hung on my daughter's bedroom wall.

Cinemas often have postcards for free and they are great for teenager's rooms, you can even frame interesting posters, it keeps them from getting frayed around the edges. And who knows, someday your teenager's poster for that obscure band that sounds like someone banging two tin cans together in a wind tunnel could be worth a small fortune if it's in good condition. I just wish I'd kept my Beatles one!

Red and Black Look Really Good Together.

Desk with red legs. Black and white wallpaper.
Desk with red legs. Black and white wallpaper. | Source
Red throw and a red plastic waste paper bin
Red throw and a red plastic waste paper bin | Source
Something as simple as a candle or a single flower in a vase can add drama to a room.
Something as simple as a candle or a single flower in a vase can add drama to a room. | Source
Large red and white rug
Large red and white rug | Source

Use Accent Colours to Liven up a Room.

If you want to liven up a room quickly and very cheaply try bringing in a bright accent colour. A few choice pieces in a contrasting colour can drastically change the look of a room. Some colours work particularly well together, such as red and black, blue and white, pink and white or purple and silver.

Black and red can make a room look very chic and dramatic. I used a red and black colour combination in my teenage daughter's room and I think it turned out really well. It looks clean and modern and didn't cost very much at all to achieve the look.

Cheap cushion covers throws or even buying tiny pots of paint and using them to paint plain wooden frames for pictures or plant pots.

Sometimes something as simple as a new light shade, a table lamp or a cheap rug can make a room look very different and freshen it up. Ikea is your friend in this case! Cheap and cheerful seem to be their watchwords.

Try buying a couple of large artificial flowers in a bright colour, they can look great against a plain cream background and really help to brighten up a dull corner, especially if you place them in an unusual vase or container.

If you are handy with a sewing machine then you can easily run up some simple cushion covers using any old material you have around the house.

Old woollen jumpers, in particular, make excellent cushion covers, they have a wonderful texture and warmth. Follow a simple envelope pattern to fit existing cushions and fasten the cover using an old button and a loop of leather or thick ribbon, or, even easier, sew on a couple of poppers.

Make your local charity shop your first port of call when thinking about redecorating, you can pick up some great pieces for next to no money. Car boot sales, jumble sales and yard sales are also very good hunting grounds.

Remember it doesn't have to cost a fortune to give your home a new look. Experiment and get creative, you'll have fun and save a small fortune and end up with a beautiful home. You can decorate your home cheaply and still make it look wonderful.

© 2010 Galaxy Harvey


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