Whether you’re decorating your home to make the space more welcoming and comfortable or because you fancy a change, there’s no denying that these projects can quickly get expensive. In fact, a recent study found that it could cost between $1,500 and $31,000 per room, depending on your location and the scope of your project. But being money-savvy doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice home. Here’s how to decorate on a budget.
According to the decor experts, having a more neutral palette with key decor items makes a house look expensive. You’ll also want to keep things minimal to avoid clutter and too much “clashing” between items.
But keep in mind that these recommendations change based on the times. What makes a home look expensive in the 2020s may look cheap (or even grandma-ish) in 20 years. So go with your gut and what you like, and just keep it simple! You can also follow the 60-30-10 rule to upgrade your home without extra work.
What is the 60-30-10 decorating rule?
It’s a classic decor rule that helps you create your own color palette for your home.
Basically, each room follows a simple room:
- 60% of the room should be the dominant color
- 30% should be the secondary color
- and the last 10% should be an accent.
As an example, maybe you choose neutrals and a pale yellow. Your dominant color would be a taupe color, the second could be off-white, and the third (and pop of color) would be pale yellow. Super easy to remember!
How can I decorate my home on a low budget?
The best way to decorate on a low budget is to use what you already have!
A little paint, sanding, and some vision can go a long way. And, should you need a few pieces of decor, don’t forget to thrift! It’s much easier to refresh and update older items on the cheap than it is to buy brand new.
Of course, we have more tips below, so keep reading!
Funnily enough, experts say no, because it can come across as “boring.” Your place can follow a palette, but they don’t recommend just painting it one color overall.
But again, do what works for you.
If you’re renting, it may be harder to paint your home in different colors. But you could update your color palette with the decor you use.
If you want to refresh your home but don’t have any extra cash, that’s okay too.
A simple (and free) way to decorate is to rearrange your furniture! It’s amazing how new a space can feel just by moving around your furniture.
Related: 8 Money-Saving Home Decorating Ideas
What should you not do when decorating?
The main three tips on what not to do when decorating include…
- be timeless and don’t choose trends
- don’t be super matchy
- and keep your furniture away from the walls when possible.
Of course, some rules are meant to be broken!
If you love a specific trend, it’s okay to add it to your home if YOU love it. Just remember that if you make permanent type changes (like shiplap) and try to sell your home in the future, buyers may not like it.
How do I start decorating?
Now that you’re ready to start decorating, here are some simple ways to decorate on a budget.
Whether decorating the living room or bedroom, adding a fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to transform a room without spending hundreds of dollars. This is because the walls serve as a backdrop for the rest of your furniture and belongings, and you can use them to make the space appear brighter.
If you’re unsure what color to paint your room, look into color psychology. For example, if you want to create a calm, relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom, you may want to grab some blue or pale purple paint.
Be Prepared To DIY
The biggest cost associated with redecorating your home is not the materials and furniture but the labor costs associated with decorating (hiring painters, builders, etc.)
You can reduce your spending significantly by trying your hand at DIY.
For example, you could build your own furniture or apply wallpaper yourself. One of the other benefits of DIY projects is that they allow you to take your time when decorating your home — you can do a little bit each day.
Use Reclaimed Materials For Your Projects
Buying reclaimed wood (i.e, wood that has been used for different projects in the past, such as construction) is a great way to gain access to quality materials for a fraction of their traditional price. It also means you’re playing your part in helping the environment because you’re giving these products a second life.
Furthermore, they’ll also look great in your home and give you a chance to put your DIY skills to the test. For example, you could turn reclaimed timber-style wood into scaffold board shelves!
While staying within budget is crucial, you should be willing to pay for upgrades that increase home value or make your daily life a little easier. These investments will be well worth their initial expense and may even help you save money in the long run.
For example, you could use this as an opportunity to make your home more energy-efficient by replacing your old windows with new, double-glazed ones. This means that your resultant energy bills will be much lower.
Make Small But Impactful Changes
Decorating your home does not mean you have to change every feature or piece of furniture — in fact, you’ll probably only need to make a few small changes here and there to make a difference.
For example, if you are renovating your living room and want to source up your sofas and chairs without buying brand new ones, why not change the cushion covers?
This gives you the chance to introduce new colors, patterns, and even textures into your living room, creating a space that not only feels stylish but also new feeling.
Buying second-hand furniture is perhaps the easiest way to decorate your home on a budget. You should be sure to pop by any local thrift stores to see what they offer.
However, the best place to find quality second-hand furniture is often on reselling groups such as Facebook Marketplace.
Here you can find everything from dining tables to artwork to display in your home, often at a fraction of their original price. This also allows you to sell some of your old furniture for a profit, which you can then use to increase or supplement your budget.
This is a far better option than simply throwing something away!
Sometimes, you don’t really need to put a lot of work in when it comes to ‘redecorating’ a space. You can simply move some furniture around. Re-organizing the room can make everything feel new once again while also changing the atmosphere considerably.
For example, you could make your bedroom appear much more spacious than it actually is by moving furniture to create as much ‘empty’ or open space in the middle of the room as possible.
Or you may want to utilize the principles of feng shui in your bedroom layout to create a space where you can truly relax and unwind, no matter how stressful your day at work has been. This could also be a great option for those seeking a little more sleep.
Get Rid Of Clutter
Clutter is the enemy of good interior design. No matter how stylish your home is, once clutter starts to build up in every room of the house, it’s all you (and any guest) will be able to look at.
Any clever design choices you’ve made will go unnoticed (or may even not be visible beneath the clutter). Clutter leads to disorganization, which can cost you greatly. Clutter also hurts your mind, body, and health — all the more reason to banish it sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, decluttering can also become a money-making opportunity. If you come across items still in good condition but know you no longer need them, you can resell them instead of letting them gather dust within your home.
Embrace Natural Light
Decorating your home doesn’t always have to cost you any money. If you’re looking to make each room in your house appear bigger, brighter, and more spacious, the only thing you need to do is embrace natural light.
This could mean ditching old, heavy curtains for something more lightweight or simply ensuring that you open them daily. Using natural light to your advantage will work to the maximum effect if you paint your walls a light shade such as white. Light and bright walls are more reflective, making a space open and airy.
Related: How to Build a Green Home For Less
If you’re a keen gardener (or at least know somebody who is), you could use plants, flowers, and other greenery to brighten up your home on a budget. They look great in just about every room in the house, whether you’re using them to create a centerpiece for your dining table or to add a splash of color to the bedroom.
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that introducing plants into your home is good for your mental and physical health.
For example, caring for a plant is often shown to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety. They’re also known to improve air quality within homes, which means those with allergies may find them particularly fantastic house guests (or roommates).
How To Decorate On A Budget And Transform Your Home
It’s easier than ever to decorate on a budget and transform your home, you just have to keep your style and budget in mind and stay patient! Nothing is done in a day, and your home will change as you do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nicely decorated home and save money.
Are you ready to decorate on a budget? What’s your favorite idea from this article? What other ideas do you have?
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.