How to Decorate Your Home for Cheap

Getting creative with paint, throw pillows, and curtains can help make your home feel brand new for relatively little cost.

Here comes spring! The spring train is almost here, choo-choo! And while we’ve already delivered you some advice on affordable spring cleaning, we know you want even more. You don’t just want the space you live in to be cleaner. You want a whole new space!

No, we don’t mean finding a new apartment, though we’ve also got you covered on that front. We’re talking about interior decorating.

And while interior decorating projects can get notoriously costly, they don’t have to be! Once again we’ve climbed the mountain and sounded our “finance advice” horn to gather the experts. Get ready to get your decorating on!


A fresh coat of paint.

There’s nothing like a new coat of paint to give you a brand new outlook every time you walk through your home. And if you’re willing to learn how to do it yourself, it won’t even have to be that pricey.

“Painting is a nice way to add some interior design without breaking the bank,” suggested Jeff Neal, a project manager with Penn Coat Inc.

“Instead of buying new molding, you can paint it.  Or, instead of replacing the handrails, those can be painted. It’s much cheaper to paint cabinets than ripping out old ones and replacing them. And a person can even use epoxy paint on a counter to give it a faux marble finish.

“Painting does require some application skill. But if committed, and paying attention, the homeowner can make some drastic changes.”

Throw in some pillows.

Sometimes the classics are classic for a reason.

“Add throw pillows,” recommended Darla DeMorrow (@darlademorrow), certified professional organizer, founder of HeartWork Organizing, and author of Sort and Succeed. “It seems cliché, but always turns out to be true. Swap out your pillows for fresh, seasonal versions.

“To stay thrifty, take that idea one step further and just swap out the covers, using any pillow as a pillow form. You can find pillow covers online and in retail outlets, but you’ll still be limited to colors and patterns.

“Learn to sew your own, or even experiment with no-sew iron-on tape or fabric glue. You can often find designer fabric remnants in high-end home décor stores at a fraction of their original price.

“Or keep an eye out for beautiful fabric scarves in thrift stores, curtains, or even tablecloths in places like TJ Maxx, and repurpose the fabric.”

Use what you have.

You may already have various treasures around the home which you can use to redecorate.

“Redecorating can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be,” advised smart shopping expert Trae Bodge (@truetrae). “Based on the ideas that appeal to you, take a close look at the items you already own and see how those existing items can serve as foundation pieces for your new plan.”

And you can never underestimate the value of recycling.

“If you have decorative towels or some extra linen lying around, you can create cheap and interesting pillowcases,” offered Bryan Stoddard, director of Homewares Insider (@homewaresinside).

Embrace the curtains.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Instead, just take another look at the lovely curtain itself!

“You might have heard that hanging new curtains is an expensive decorating decision,” began Stephany Smith, part of the handyman crew at Fantastic Services (@Fantastic). “However, this is not really a general truth, and in most cases, has an impressive home decor effect.

“Here are our handyman tricks to dress up your windows and avoid wasting money on curtains:

Fix a curtain rod four to six inches above the window frame. Also, install a wider rod. You’ll be surprised at how much longer your windows will look. This will also allow more sunlight to come in.

“Opt for light and gauzy fabrics, gentle and natural tones. They have an inviting character and point to a refined taste. And don’t worry about the price! Shop with confidence as light and cotton curtains are amongst the cheapest ones you’ll find on the market.

“If you want to express your personal taste at a cheap price, consider painting your old curtains. Unlock your imagination and go for do-it-yourself splatter paint curtains, dotted, patterned, striped ones or whatever you like. Just select a distinct paint color, a paintbrush, or a sponge to achieve that one-of-a-kind look.”

Shop smart.

No matter what decoration choices you make, if you take a smart approach to shopping, you’ll be able to keep your costs under control.

Erin Fausel, a lifestyle blogger at American Freight Furniture & Mattress (@AmericanFreight), offered a list of techniques to take your interior decorating shopping trip to the next level:

“Do your homework. Once you find a piece you like, do yourself a favor and shop around at different retailers to pinpoint the best deal. You might be surprised to find your go-to interior decorating store might not offer the best prices.

“Hit your local flea market. It’s easy to find beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces for a great price at flea markets or even garage sales.

“Wait for sales. If you don’t have an immediate need, hold on to your catalog or keep an item in your shopping cart online to purchase at the right time. You’ll need to check back on the product often to watch the price fluctuate.

“Stick to a budget. You’ll naturally become a bargain hunter if you have a list of items and a firm budget. One easy way to accomplish this is to only shop with cash! Once you run out of it, you’re done shopping. Look for lower prices so you can get more for your money.

“Shop over time. Instead of furnishing an entire room at once, take your time and spread out the expenses over a few months. Purchase one new item every week so that your finances aren’t dramatically impacted by your new spending habit.”

And she wasn’t the only one who urged the importance of shopping smart.

“Be strategic about where you shop,” recommended Bodge. “After all, you could spend $250 per panel on curtains at Neiman Marcus or $30 per panel at Target or Wayfair. Other places I like for budget-friendly accent items are IKEA, Joss & Main, World Market, Home Depot, and Amazon.

Also, look for available discounted gift cards from a site like Gift Card Granny. As an example, there are discounted gift cards for 14 percent off for Target, which means that by shopping at Target with that card, you automatically save yourself 14 percent.”

Mirror, mirror.

Before we go, let’s take some time to reflect.

“If you have an older mirror that you just don’t use, convert it into an effective tray,” suggested Stoddard. “It will perfectly fit into bedrooms and living rooms. You can place fragrance bottles or candles on the mirror-tray.”

There’s no limit to options for updating your interiors. Hopefully, these suggestions have given you a good jumping off point! To learn more about saving money on home-related expenses, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:

Do you have a  personal finance question you’d like us to answer? Let us know! You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Contributors

American Freight Furniture & Mattress (@AmericanFreight) offers quality name brand furniture like mattresses, living room sets, dining room tables, and bedroom packages and discounted prices.
Trae Bodge (@truetrae) is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who specializes in smart shopping, personal finance, beauty, toys, parenting, and retail. In addition to monthly “Best Buys” segments on CBS2 NY, Fox 5 NY and ABC/WJLA in DC, she has appeared on dozens of TV shows, including Rachael Ray, Inside Edition, CNBC and network affiliates nationwide. Trae has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn and a top personal finance expert by GoBankingRates and FlexJobs. She is a contributing editor at Woman’s Day magazine and her writing and expert commentary have also appeared in Forbes, USNews.com, Kiplingers, Marketwatch, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, VICE Guide to Life and numerous others.
Darla DeMorrow’s (@darlademorrow) business and blog, HeartWork Organizing, helps people lead more peaceful lives. She is a Certified Professional Organizer ®, decorator, mom of two, and an international speaker. Her book series SORT and Succeed outlines five simple steps to help you organize stuff, time, information and photos. Get your free copy of 31 Simple Tips for Organizing Nearly Everything at HeartWorkOrg.com.
Jeff Neal has been a project manager for a commercial painting contractor for 6 years in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  He has overseen hundreds of projects from start to completion, ensuring quality, timeliness, and customer satisfaction.  His knowledge of surface preparation and coatings ensures the proper paint specifications are being applied in every situation.
Stephany Smith is part of the handymen crew at Fantastic Services (@Fantastic). With 25+ top-notch home improvement services in its portfolio, Fantastic Services is the “one-stop shop” for all home, garden, and office needs on 3 continents (Europe, USA and Australia). Starting its journey back in 2009, the company delivers 40,000+ services to over 35,000 customers each month in a much better way – through guaranteed workmanship, innovation and technology. Currently, about 15,000 UK clients connect with 2,000 fully trained and insured professionals every month. The company constantly expands its coverage, partnership networks and service portfolio to turn their homes or offices into something really special!
Bryan Stoddard runs a website called Homewares Insider (@homewaresinside) that explores all things related to homes, interior design, furniture, and gardening. I’m also a passionate home designer that loves to tinker with DIY and design schemes.