Decorating on a budget 101

Decorating on a budget is quite popular these days, especially with thrifting and vintage decor becoming more and more trendy. I started decorating on a budget out of necessity as a broke college student, but now as a homeowner in my mid 20’s I still decorate on a shoe string budget!

Maybe you’ve followed my blog or are just reading this for the first time. Maybe you’ve seen all my thrifty hacks and ideas come to life through my Instagram. Either way, if you want the 101 on the basics of decorating on a budget, I’m going to lay it out for you!

decorating on a budget

My favorite part about decorating on a budget is flexing those creative muscles – it can be so fun and rewarding. Spending just a little money on changing the basics can go a long way. Such as window treatments, pillows, lighting and decor. Obviously doing as much DIY as you can keeps the costs down. Keeping your eyes peeled for deals, sales and furniture you can refinish is essential when decorating on a small budget! Best advice – enjoy the journey and slow may end up with something you truly don’t like if you rush through.

The Basics.

Ask yourself..does your stuff look defeated? Frayed? Faded?

If you answered yes, then it is TIME to give them new life or find new items all together!

Start with decluttering + cleaning.

I can’t tell you how many times I just removed all the clutter from my surfaces, polished them up a bit and it felt like I went on a shopping spree! Move items from room to room. I like to call this musical decor (like musical chairs ha!) If items don’t fit somewhere – don’t force it; declutter and get rid of it or repurpose it.

Pillows + Throws + Curtains oh my!

One of my favorite ways to inexpensively and effectively brighten up almost any space is adding new pillows, throws and window treatments! This doesn’t have to cost a fortune. My best tip: Use your existing pillows and buy pillow covers. They are half the price of a new throw pillow and you can change them out seasonally!

Accessorize always.

If your budget is super low, simply decorate one space at a time. Finishing a room or even a nook will make you feel like you made progress – decorating your home is a marathon, not a sprint!
One of my favorite and practical decorating objects is plants. I have a mixture of faux and real plants, both which boost the space and add a fresh look no matter what your style is.

Lighting is everything!

The reason there are interior designers who specialize completely in lighting is because it’s so important in creating an environment. Adding a new lamp, changing out your light bulbs or even adding string lights can instantly give a space a facelift. If you only have the budget for candles, even that will create a mood in your space!

DIY it up.

When I bought my house a year ago, I had almost zero DIY skills. I had a huge list of to-do’s in my fixer upper home however.  Hiring a skilled professional to do the work for me was out of the question and typically is if you’re on a budget. If you have a few skills, use them. If there is something you want to do but don’t know how to, Google it! There are so many resources out there, there is no reason to ever be afraid to try a DIY. Completing the task yourself will give you a new sense of appreciation, confidence, and leave the change in your pocket.

Furniture Bargains.

If you need to furnish the space you’re decorating, this can eat up a big chunk of your budget, however there are ways to save here! Buy unfinished furniture – this is furniture that needs completed by the buyer (upholstered, stained, painted, etc). You can find used furniture at yard sales, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and thrift stores. I own 4 pieces of furniture total that are new, the rest were bought second hand. If you don’t find what you’re looking for when you start decorating, wait it out. New furniture is popping up everyday! You may even find a bargain new piece with sales happening.

Decorate your walls.

Don’t leave the walls blank! You could wallpaper, faux wallpaper, paint, do a gallery wall, basket wall, etc, the list goes on and on. Doing something on your walls is the easiest way to decorate a space. They are the largest real estate in the room if you think about it. Do not forget about them!

A simple way to do this on a budget is by buying second hand art. You can always buy inexpensive frames and do a gallery wall with family photos, collected art, digital prints, or even your kid’s artwork.

Paint is a miracle worker.

If you haven’t seen it yet – you need to see this blog post about my last bathroom makeover. You’ll be blown away at what $17 worth of white paint can do to a space. Painting and refreshing a room can bring life into it and drastically (and quickly) change the vibe of a space. If you’re stretched on time and resources, you can just do an accent wall which will have a tremendous effect still!

There isn’t a limit.

Don’t ever feel limited by a small budget. As soon as I embraced my financial reality and had fun creating budget makeovers, I loved decorating on a budget. If you need inspiration or ideas make sure to check out my blog posts below.

*This article was adapted in partnership with wikiHow, the world’s largest “how to” site, and also featured here on the wikiHow website.*

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