10 Smart Tips for Decorating on a Budget

By Liz Lynch |

© Topher Scott / Domaine

This piece originally appeared on Domainehome.com.

Just because you have a small décor budget to work with doesn’t mean your home can’t be stylish, sophisticated, and polished. A little finesse and some savvy shopping will enable you to score the interior of your dreams. Read on for 10 tips on creating a stylish interior, without a lot of dough.

1. Embrace Classic Neutrals

PHOTO: DISC Interiors

Choosing classic pieces in neutral colors will enable your furniture to have a long and diverse life. Neutral items can be moved from room to room throughout the years, and by switching accessories, pillows, and accent pieces, they can easily be transformed when tastes change. Opting for versatile items in neutral colors and finishes means you’ll only have to incur a high cost once, rather than every few years.

2. Become One With a Paintbrush

PHOTO: Danielle Moss for The Everygirl

From painting your own abstract art to giving new life to a flea market furniture find, a paintbrush and a can of paint is a budget decorator’s dream. Read up on nine easy ways to transform furniture with paint and get inspired to roll up your sleeves.

3. Reserve Your Weekends

PHOTO: Topher Scott

To score treasures at bargain prices, get ready to hit up garage sales, estate sales, and flea markets. Start early on Saturdays to score the best treasures from your neighborhood yard sales and keep your Sundays open to explore weekend flea markets. Check resources like EstateSales.net to keep up to speed with local events, so you’re able to get there early before all the good stuff is gone.

4. Sign Up for Your Favorite Store’s Newsletter

PHOTO: Jennifer Kathryn Photography for The Everygirl

Daily e-blasts announcing sales and specials can be irritating when you’re not in the mood to shop, but if there are pieces you have your eye on, sign up to receive notifications from the store to alert you of any promotions or deals. Scoring a coveted piece at a fraction of full price will be worth the extra emails in your inbox.

5. Decide in Advance Where (If Anywhere) You Plan to Splurge

PHOTO: Max Kim-Bee via Domino

Once you’ve established your overall décor budget, decide from the beginning where any big chunks of that budget will be allotted. If you’d like to invest in a quality sofa or dining table, don’t allow yourself to be swayed by an area rug or chair that is out of your price range and will therefore prevent you from purchasing what you really want. 

6. Shop Like You’re a Kid

PHOTO: David A. Land for Better Homes and Gardensdesigned by Nicole Gibbons

7. Stores like Pottery Barn TeenLand of Nod, and Restoration Hardware Baby and Child are excellent resources for higher-end items at less expensive prices. Look to these sources for lamps, rugs, bedding (up to a queen size), side tables, and even lounge furniture that are reminiscent of their parent company’s styles, but at lower price points.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

PHOTO: Peter Dolkas

Some might say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but we prefer to refer to these curbside finds as second-hand furniture. Keep your eyes open for side tables, lamps, and decorative accessories your neighbors may have left outside, free to a good home. Our market editor has scored more than a few treasures—at no cost—using this method.

8. See Common Items in a New Way

PHOTO: Kristin Kerr

Get creative and look to pieces you already have to reimagine them in a new way. Here, a vintage fur coat was repurposed into a seat cushion, but could also have been made into beautiful throw pillows. Perhaps a favorite but unused vase would be perfect for storing kitchen utensils on your counter, or the images from a favorite wall calendar are fit for framing and hanging in your entry.

9. Get Acquainted With Apps

PHOTO: Topher Scott

Scour furniture sale apps like eBayChairish, and Reissued for vintage finds at reduced pricing. Download the cPro app to peruse Craigslist with ease. Functions like search by image, multi-city listings, and tailored category listings ensure you’ll be the first to respond when a coveted item is posted for sale.

10. Put Your Favorite Items on Rotation

PHOTO: Studio McGee

If you’ve fallen in love with a throw pillow but it’s beyond your budget, or you simply have to have a side table you weren’t planning on purchasing, think about how much use you’ll be able to get out of these items before passing on them. Extra-special pieces can be rotated from the bedroom to the living room, or the family room to a playroom, extending their use and justifying their price point.

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