how to get the space you want on a budget

*Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn commission. The opinions are completely my own, and I only refer to products that I absolutely love and have tested*


We all want to look like a million bucks..and a $100 budget. It’s not to different when it comes to ours homes. As an interior designer, I have clients who want the same thing; they come to me with a low (realistic in my opinion) budget and want a room that they see on Pinterest. Instead of saying “Yeah goodluck with that!” I say “challenge accepted”.
I grew up pretty humbly. Instead of buying new things, I would make something if I wanted it. I guess you could say i’ve been honing in on my DIY skills since I got my first hot glue gun and set of paints! So it’s no surprise that when I was 8, I painted the inside of my Barbie dream house, because I believed Barbie needed a blue bedroom wall instead of pink.

How does this help you? I’ve been making things look like a million bucks for pennies for years now, and I want to share my tips with y’all. If you want a space that’s stunning on dime, you must be open to putting in a little elbow grease, using your investigation and negotiation skills!


If you want a piece of furniture that is totally out of your budget, find something similar and create it. Put your own spin on it!


When I moved into my first apartment in North Carolina I really wanted a Mid-Century modern bedroom. Like I dreamed about. I was obsessed with the Acorn dresser from West Elm..but I have the budget for an IKEA dresser..which is when I realized, I could probably create the look from an IKEA dresser.

I’m sure your Pinterest feed is or was at some point flooded with IKEA hacks for your home. I used to be so annoyed by that, but I embrace it in all it’s glory now! IKEA hacks essentially are creating expensive looking furniture from the inexpensive IKEA pieces. I especially love the TARVA series from IKEA because it’s basic Pine, and is literally a blank canvas.

So here is my advice: If you find something you LOVE and need for your space, wether it’s a sofa, dresser, or light fixture, buy a basic item and create it into what you want. It’s so rewarding to do it this way, especially for your wallet..and you can put your own spin on it, which in the end makes it your own.

Buy that ONE expensive item that makes you happy, and cherish it!

This may sound a little counter intuitive, but it’s my favorite piece of advice when putting together your house or just a space together on a budget. Sometimes I feel restricted when I can’t buy everything I want at the can feel defeating at times, I get it. Truly. So instead of telling myself I CAN’T buy something I want, I decide what it is that I can’t substitute or recreate.

For instance, I am working on my bathroom facelift right now, and I can pretty much thrift the whole thing together on a reasonably small budget, but I couldn’t find a crocheted lace shower curtain for cheap anywhere. One day I was walking through Target and I found a stunning shower curtain. It was from Opal House, which I was hardcore crushing on, but it wasn’t on sale. It wasn’t expensive, it was only $25.00, but I’ve bought pieces of furniture and redid them for less than that, so it seemed like a lot. But it was exactly what I was looking for, I knew I couldn’t get it anywhere else, and it would be the one thing in my small bathroom that I bought flat out, and would love.

So if you are redoing your space, and there is that one item that just totally struck your fancy, and you can’t stop thinking about it. Buy it, love it, cherish it, and work your budget around it.


Upgrade the small stuff too – ’cause it’s all in the details.


When we are making over a room, sometimes we get so caught up in the decor and colors and vibe of the whole thing that we forget about the ugly yellow light switch cover place that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Maybe you have an older home that is dated in every sense [like mine!] or you have a newer builder-grade home that is were beige and boring go to die. Either way, don’t forget about these simple things.

Here are the little details you mustn’t forget. They cost barely anything to upgrade but they will make your space look expensive and new!

  • Light switch plate and outlet covers If they don’t all match, make em’. If they are yellowed, replace them, and if they don’t go with your new look, switch them. Details count y’all.
  • Air vents and returns:  Same rule of thumb – make them match. If they are rusty or bent, buy new ones. Promise it’s worth it!
  • Blinds or lack of: Sometimes we don’t realize the power of putting up window treatments, or removing them. Don’t abandon the windows when refreshing your space. Plastic blinds can easily be upgraded to faux wood 2″ blinds for the cheap. [my favorite inexpensive blinds here!] Add curtains, or repaint the window trim..just refresh it and you’ll thank yourself.
  • Light fixtures:  Now this can be expensive, or not. It’s how you go about it. Outdated light fixtures can be totally transformed with spray paint and some now glass covers. If you can afford to just buy a new (or new to you) light fixture, I always say go for it. It’s something that instantly updates your space and will make it look polished.


Take baby steps..and enjoy the process.


Wouldn’t it be marvelous to just be able to go to all the stores in one weekend, and buy everything and anything you want to complete your space? Then come home and just decorate and have a beautiful new space that’s completed in just a few days or even hours? Yeah, that’s not my reality either. It used to frustrate me to no end that I had rooms half put together..empty shelves, an unpainted thrift store find, bare floor…but then I started to enjoy this process.

Haste does not make waste folks! Piecing rooms together as my budget allowed actually made me appreciate the end result, find the best pieces, and truly make the room what I wanted. This little tid-bit may seem like a no-brainer; like duh you have to buy as your budget allows, but I also feel like it’s an important thing to reiterate, because creating a room of gold doesn’t happen overnight.


Last few tips from yours truly:

Shop for deals! This means flea markets, estate sales, online auctions, and waiting for sales at your favorite places!

Perfection isn’t the goal – having a space that”s 100% authentically you is. Make the space your own..anyone can copy an inspiration picture. Put your spin on it babe!

Think outside the box. Maybe you want a marble coffee table, but can only afford a plastic IKEA one. Buy some marble contact paper and DIY the hell out of it. Thrifty and tacky and not the same thing.



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