While finding the right house is important, the way you furnish and decorate a space is what really makes it home. But when you’re on a tight budget, it can be difficult to create the vibe you’re looking for.
The good news is, you can drastically drive down the cost of furnishing and decorating with a little creativity. Here are some of our best tips.
How to Decorate Your Home on a Budget
Decorating a new house can be more expensive than you realize. Read below for ideas on how to find furniture, decor and accessories without busting your budget.
Shop at consignment stores
Many high-end consignment stores carry furniture and decor for half off of their original cost. You can find a West Elm dining room table for hundreds of dollars less than the retail price.
Do a Google search for the best consignment stores in your area and visit their websites to see if they sell furniture and decor. If they do, plan to visit or follow them on social media to see what they post.
Local liquidation stores often carry furniture and decor from name brands and designers. One liquidation store near me only carries items from Target, so you can find cute throw pillows, candles, mirrors and home accessories at clearance prices.
Some furniture stores may also have outlets near you where they sell last season items for a huge discount.
Visit flea markets
While antique stores carry expensive furniture pieces, flea markets can have hidden gems for much lower prices. Flea markets can be a fun place to find decor and furniture items like chairs, coffee tables and dressers.
Flea markets usually don’t help with delivery, so you’ll need to bring a large car, rent a van or ask a friend for help. Make sure to include the cost of renting a car or truck when deciding if the price is fair.
Flea markets and thrift stores can also be a fun place to find knickknacks and tchotchkes. Also, look through old boxes of childhood items and family heirlooms for things to display around the house.
Find frugal picture frames
Custom framing can cost hundreds of dollars. Instead of getting your art or pictures custom framed, scour through your nearby thrift stores for a suitable frame. Make sure to measure the art beforehand. If you can’t find a perfect-sized frame, find one that’s slightly bigger and buy a mat that fits the picture online.
You could also visit a framing store and pay them to add a mat. You’ll still be saving hundreds of dollars compared to the cost of custom framing.
Find second-hand furniture and decor
Every day, homeowners post furniture and decor for sale on sites like OfferUp, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You can also find special Facebook groups devoted to selling furniture and other items within your neighborhood. Your neighborhood NextDoor community is another place to find cheap or free items.
Freecycle is a site where you can find free items that people are donating. You can subscribe to get daily emails to see what people are giving away.
Sometimes you can find people who will deliver the furniture to you for free or for a small fee. The fee may be less than what you’d pay buying new furniture.
Look for plants and planters that people are donating. These are another easy way to spruce up a place without spending a bunch of money.
Bring out your crafty side
You can save a lot of money on home furnishings by getting a little crafty. Try spray painting furniture or frames a different color. If you have more time, you can also sand wooden furniture and stain it a different shade.
Find ways to update old furniture that you already own. For example, your grandma’s dresser may look frumpy now, but with some new knobs or handles, it can look like a completely different piece of furniture.
If you have high-resolution photos of beautiful locales, consider printing and framing them. Printing large pictures can cost less than $10, and if you print a standard frame size, you can buy a regular picture frame instead of needing a custom frame.
Use sites like Shutterfly or the Costco photo center, which offer low prices for printing services. Choose a matte finish, which will look more refined and high-end than a glossy finish.
Don’t underestimate the power of paint
Decorating a white wall with art and pictures can be expensive and time-consuming. Instead, consider painting the wall a bold color, which can have a huge visual impact.
When you paint a wall, you don’t have to hang as much art. If you already have art or pictures in mind that you want to hang, make sure to pick a paint color that will match those frames.
Use social media
Before you visit a furniture store, post on social media what you’re looking for. You never know who might be getting rid of the exact item you need. People may also have suggestions on where to get a good deal on what you want.
If social media doesn’t work, you can also make a post on your local Freecycle.org group or on your neighborhood’s Facebook or NextDoor page.
Don’t Feel the Pressure to Decorate Quickly
When you buy a new house, you’re likely spending a lot of money on moving expenses, minor upgrades and basic necessities. You may feel pressure to put the house together quickly, but this can result in you buying cheap furniture instead of quality pieces you’ll have for years to come.
Instead, take your time to save up and invest in items that you’ll enjoy for a while. Don’t worry if a room or wall is blank for several months.