My 3 Monsters: Decorating on a Budget

Recent Posts


Decorating on a Budget

My friend, Alina, asked me to teach a class about decorating on a budget for her ward's Relief Society meeting last night.  I agreed because I'm kind of passionate about that topic, but I'm no expert.  OK, maybe I have a degree in interior design and I've certainly had to decorate on a budget, but I'm really just a big ole' copy cat.  So, here's the information I shared last night -- a collection of inspiration from talented ladies on the web with a few of my own ideas mixed in.  I've linked to all the sources {I hope}. 

{inspired by The Nester}
1.     Quiet the Room
a.      Remove everything smaller than a football and anything that is easy to move.  Remove art from the walls.  Leave yourself with a blank canvas for a few hours or a few days.
2.      Furniture Placement
a.      Switch it up!  You can always move it back if you hate it, but you’ll never know unless you try.  (Click the link above and watch the videos -- they're great!)
b.      Graph it out to save time and energy.  
{I'd be lost without my handy graphs!}
3.      Lighting
b.      Natural light improves mood.  Lamps soften a room and add warmth.
c.       Don’t rely on overhead lighting alone.  Layer the light.
4.      Fix Broken Things.
a.      Replace light bulbs, tighten loose doorknobs, fix leaky faucets, patch holes in walls, touch up paint.  Little things can wear on you and create negative feelings for your home.
b.      Be a good steward of what the Lord has given you.
5.       Create a Focal Point.  What's the first thing you see when you enter the room?  Is it the first thing you want to see when you enter the room?
a.      EVERY room has one whether it’s intentional or not. Don’t let yours be a pile of laundry!
b.      If you don’t have a natural focal point {window, fireplace, etc.} CREATE ONE with art, a grouping of eye-catching items or architectural detail.
{Source unknown -- it's lovely though, isn't it?  If anyone knows where this came from, please let me know so I can give credit.}
6.      Shop Your House for Accessories.
a.      See if you can use what you already have in a new room or in a new way.
b.      Be Creative!  Just try it - most of us have more time than money so we can afford to experiment.
c.       Group things together for bigger impact.
{the Nesting Place}
d.      Layer!!  Put pretty stuff in front of other pretty stuff to enhance it and make your home cozy.
e.      Pay attention to Scale and Proportion.  A bunch of tiny pretty things will look like clutter. 
f.       Introduce your favorite color with cheap accessories or paint something you already own a trendy color.
{My lived-in living room -- I painted my coffee table turquoise knowing that I could/can easily change it when/if I get tired of that color.}
g.      Incorporate fabric.  Lamp shades, window treatments, rugs, towels, blankets, pillows, table runners - all soften the room.
{designed by Sarah Richardson}
h.     Fill in the blanks.  Use overlooked spaces for little things you love.
7.       Get Advice.
a.      Sometimes living with stuff can blind us to the possibilities.  Find a pair of fresh eyes.
8.      Use Plants.
a.      Live greenery or flowers make a room feel finished.
9.       Rescue and Repurpose.
a.      Goodwill/Savers/DI:  daily and weekly specials
b.      Craigslist
c.       Free-Cycle or Roadkill.
d.      Trade with your friends.

We bought our home, in all its 1980's glory, 8 years ago as a fixer-upper.  Believe me, there was plenty to fix up!!  In fact we had more to be fixed than we had money to fix so we had to get really creative.  Here are some of the challenges we were up against and our solutions -- maybe you have some of the same dilemmas. 

1.        Mirrored Closet Doors: 
a.      Spray with glass frosting spray or use glass etching cream.  You can go for a solid frosted look or use contact paper and exacto knife to create a stenciled design.  
b.      Antique mirror.  {I haven't tried this technique, but it looks really cool and not too difficult.}

2.      Dated Brass Chandelier:
a.       Remove the glass “circus tent” - instantly more modern.
b.       Spray paint and embellish.  
{Nikki's Nacs}
3.      No Architectural Detail:
a.      Paintable Wallpaper   (brick OR beadboard -- lots of other styles available.)
b.      Create an interesting collage of empty frames on a wall.
c.    Faux Paneling -- easy and affordable!
{House of Smiths}
4.      Ugly Old Carpet:
a.      Rip out yucky carpet and paint the plywood sub-floor.   Go with a solid color or stencil a cool pattern!
{My boys' room.}
5.       Bare Walls:
a.      Photoshop it!  (Click on “favorite projects” tab at the top of the page to see lots of examples of things I've done in my house.)
b.      Make it! Lots of fun ideas online.
c.       Cheap 8x10 photo canvases 
{Have an image you create or a favorite photo printed on a canvas.}
d.      Children’s art gallery wall.
e.      Print vintage images on old book pages.
{Create cool artwork right from your home printer!}
f.       Hang pretty plates, old keys, or other unusual items.

6.      Need Curtains or Slipcovers:
a.      Use painting drop cloths.   Bleach them to use plain or stencil them to match your room.  
b.  Flat bed sheets  -- lots of fabric for a little money!

And there you have it.  I hope this helps to inspire someone to create a home they love without breaking the bank.  Many, many thanks to all my mentors on the web who have done the same for me!


  1. I heard about this class and totally wanted to go but had to be at a meeting (stinkin' school stuff)>
    So glad you shared these ideas with us. I am feeling the need to spruce things up. Maybe it's the unseasonably spring like weather we are having!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing these great tips and pictures! Decorating on a budget can be a challenge, but your tips make it seem much easier and fun! Looking forward to more posts.

  3. You have so many fantastic ideas! I absolutely LOVE the mirror and will be trying out this idea very soon on a mirror I have had cluttering up my garage for ages! Thank you for sharing!

  4. WOnderful! Thank you so much, I have shared you with all my friends! ~trish

    1. Thanks! I'm so glad you found it helpful.



Thanks for leaving a comment. I try to respond to every one, even if it takes me a little while!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...