Decorate Your Home for Less

Just because the economy is swooning doesn’t mean that you don’t crave to have a home haven that suits your personality, calms your nerves, and is easy on your pocketbook, too. Switching from an interior design ethic that was driven on getting the best and most expensive materials, to one based on thrift and ingenuity may seem difficult, but in reality, all it takes to make cheap and tasteful changes to your home décor is a good eye, an open mind, and a nose for a bargain.

Here are just a few ways to get a great interior look, for less:

1. Shop with an open mind. Some of the best buys for your home come when you’re least expecting it, so taking the time to run the perimeters of a store (where the clearance racks and sales tables usually are) can be a great way to scoop up on something that would fit your design perfectly. Just remember that unless you plan to put an item to use, it’s not a great buy: it’s clutter.

2. Go beyond retail outlets. Some of the best places in which to find elements for interior designs include thrift stores, discount outlets, consignment shops, and yes, even the free piles on the side of the road. While most of these items will probably require some work to truly shine (reupholstery, repair or cleaning), as long as the items have good bones and nice lines, they can likely be repurposed or rehabilitated into something divine.

3. Take on the walls. Paint has long been recommended as a cheap and incredibly easy way to bring style into a room, and that still holds true. Today’s best looks, however, are incorporating an old standard that is new again: wallpaper. Used on accent walls, running around rooms as a border, or even cut out into interesting wall art, wallpaper is another easy and cheap way to give a tired décor a new feel. And don’t worry: today’s wallpaper is often removeable and can be repositioned after application, making it as easy to work with as it is to pay for.

4. Look to the light. Replacing or refurbishing light fixtures is something many people fail to consider when doing a simple refresh or style renovation in a room. However, replacing outdated fixtures, or even painting/shining up existing ones, can make a huge difference in the feel of your room. Second-hand stores are a great place to find new lighting fixtures, lamps, floor lights and even chandeliers.

5. Swap accessories. When you live with something long enough, you often fail to truly see it any more. You can make a room stand out for you and your household by just changing out the artwork on the walls, replacing accessories on a seasonal basis, or rotating pillows and throws from room to room (as color schemes permit). The subtle changes make an old room look new again, and are an easy and cheap way to extend the use of what you already own.

6. Swap furniture. The same concept extends to furniture. If you have an old table or chair in one room that’s sitting unused, consider if it can be repurposed in another area of the home. An old nightstand (with a new coat of paint) can hold cookbooks in a kitchen nook, an old mirror can become an office corkboard, or an old buffet table can become an organizing station in a hallway or mudroom. Using what you already own to address the needs you have can be a fun challenge, and the best part is that it will cost you absolutely nothing!