If you’re looking for ways to decorate your home on a budget (which I suspect you are, since you’re reading my blog), then you have to know where to spend your money and where to save it. Throughout the years, I’ve found there are some places that I’ve wasted money buying things that don’t really matter much at the end of the day. I’ve also wasted money trying to save on things that I should have spent more on (but we’ll talk more about that next week.)
For our home, I believe that the closer it is to my body, and the more I use it, then the better quality I should buy. In reverse, if it’s purely for decorating, even if used occasionally, then I can probably find a cheaper alternative to designer grade goods that will serve the purpose.
1) Curtains: From using cheap big box store curtains (like my Ikea ones above), to using cheap twin flat sheets, or even making your own drapes – there’s really no good reason to spend tons of money on window coverings. There are so many cheap options out there that I’d rather find a budget solution here and save my money for elsewhere.
2) Seasonal Decor: If I’m only going to use something a few weeks out of the year, I definitely don’t want to spend a ton of money on it. I tend to make a lot of it myself or scope out after season sales (like our artificial tree that I got for 90% off a few years ago.) Other than the basics that can be used year after year, I find myself making things that inspire me that particular year – most of which gets recycled into something else later. Think seasonal chalkboard art, bringing in leaves in the fall and wildflowers in the summer. You don’t have to spend a fortune to reflect seasonal changes inside your home.
3) Decorative Pillows: I have a strict $20 limit for pillows that I buy – and trust me I’d better be drooling over it to actually spend that much. I invest in good down forms – typically found inside ugly clearance rack pillows for a song. Then, I spend my money on great fabric to make my own pillow covers. The trick is, you only need 1 yard or so to get a couple of great throw pillows. I don’t feel so bad about buying $20 a yard fabric if I know it’s going to cover two pillows – that’s like $10 each, right?
4) Plain white plates: Although I do splurge on a few cooking essentials, plates aren’t one of them. I buy mine from the Dollar Tree, which look way more expensive than they really are. I’ve also bought some great ones from Target and Walmart, most of which can be found for a song. I am an advocate of great silverware because it actually goes into my mouth. However the plate? Those $1 beauties work just fine in my book. I feel the same way about large white serving platters – there are some great options at Target for around $10.
5) Filler Furniture: All of the small side tables, cabinets and even most of the chairs in my home were all dirt cheap purchases (or even free!) Tables and small cabinets are easily found at thrift stores, yard sales, and even the side of the road. The table above was found for only $10 at a yard sale – in the exact same condition you see it in. I didn’t even change the knobs. It takes a while to find the pieces, but I’d rather have an empty space than overspend on something that will eventually turn up.
6) Lamps: With the plethora of them always available in any thrift store and the rainbow of spray paint available, I never pay much for lamps. I have bought new ones, however I try to stay under $25 per lamp (including the shade). As long as the look and scale of them are great, they work well and serve the purpose, I don’t see the point in spending $500+ for a simple lamp.
7) Wall Art: I never spend a lot on wall art – 90% of what you see on my walls is a result of a DIY art project. First, I kinda hate the thought that my house has the same Walmart art that are in a million other homes. Second, I change my mind too much to be committed to a piece that I probably overpaid for. Third, I’m weird. I’ve never liked mass produced wall stuff. As a child, I remember every home I went to had the same Home Interiors stuff on the walls. I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now. (Please don’t send me Home Interior hate mail. I recycle their frames all the time, so I’m spreading the love.)
8) Accessories: Just like art, I don’t want the same accessories that everyone else has – even if I love them. (Hello, gorgeous disco ball… I yearn for you.) But the thought of spending that much makes me cringe. I’d rather spend it on good food – or a great rug. Not accessories. We make most of our own accessories, but we also re-purpose a lot to make do. If I do buy them, I tend to lean towards Target or Ikea, because the style of those stores lures me in and hypnotizes me into buying things like crushed can vases. I will go with mass produced, but only if I walk away from it and I feel deep regret. (I contemplated the crushed can vase for a MONTH before buying. For $13. Have mercy.)
So that’s the eight things I scrimp on to save money on decorating. I may not do every one, every time – but it’s always where I start.
What do you scrimp on?