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How To Decorate A House On A Low Budget

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First off, let me reassure you that if you are wondering can you, or how to decorate a house on a low budget, despite how you feel right now, I want you to know that it is NOT an impossible task.

Why can I say this with full confidence?

We purchased our first fixer-up property when I was 23 years old, and like most young married couples, we were in love and broke!

Sure, it probably would have been wiser for us not to spend the last five thousand dollars in savings to purchase a termite-infested house, but what can I say we’re risk-takers!

While our friends canceled their bid on that very home, we rushed in and paid the full asking price. You see, the dump had potential, a great floor plan, and I’m a sucker for a wood-burning fireplace.

Throughout the years of owning that home, we renovated every nook and cranny. Roof, siding, windows, sidewalks, oil tanks, electrical, and that was just the small stuff! I’m afraid to admit my husband had to replace the sill plates on the foundation and the plumbing too – yikes!

Decorating a house when broke

Did our gamble pay off? Yep, sure did. However, in the beginning, it was all about replenishing our savings account and getting creative to make our house feel like a home.

If you’re on a low budget, here are some key things to keep in mind.

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How To Decorate A House With No Money?

Decorate with a plan that includes the entire house. 

If you take away any piece of advice from this post, let it be this. Your goal in decorating is not to create a beautiful space, room, or wall – it’s to create a COHESIVE HOME.

Creating a cohesive home decor does more than show your visitors time and effort was taken to create your space. It allows your rooms to flow and provides you with an inviting place to come home to.

Now, this does not mean you are not able to experiment with a few wild cards here or there. It means your house should have an overall theme and style.

Most people “try” to accomplish this by choosing a specific décor style such as farmhouse or boho and sticking to it.  Although each individual choice may fit a particular style of décor, their end results could be…well…ugly!

Here’s what to do instead.

Stick To A Color Palette Instead When On A Low Budget

Over the years and MANY projects later, I have come to appreciate that working with a neutral color palette has too many advantages that can not be ignored.

First, it’s budget-friendly. Therefore, for your walls and staple furniture pieces, make your life easier, and choose a neutral tone to help give you the perfect blank canvas to create your masterpiece.

Second, you will find you will be less likely to grow weary of it quickly. When you do start getting tired of your current décor and you will, changing out a few accessories will be a lot less expensive than repainting a room.

We enjoy using a “hint or pop of color” in accents throughout a home to create an overall scheme. 

Instead of choosing or creating your own color palette, find one piece of art that sets the tone for your entire house. In my opinion, this method is foolproof since all your colors are contained within the art piece.

The Artist has already done the hard part for you, which is to make sure the colors work well together.  You are already attracted to the piece, and you will be able to reference it as a guide for future purchases. 

To do so, use your cell phone to take a photo of the piece which can be saved as a sample when you are shopping for your home.

Pro Tip: Before making any purchases, make sure to review your photo to confirm the color and style will blend well together with your existing decor.

Now let’s break it down:
Decor tricks to stay on a low budget

Personally, I like to change accents in a room with the seasons. I would use a bright yellow for spring and deep red for winter.

For emphasis, most people decorate room by room so they can complete a project before moving on to the next. Tackling one room at a time works well for your budget butttt…. 

It encourages you to think of your décor on a room by room basis. Impulse buys like something that grabs your eyes in the stores will more than likely make their way back home with you. Having a limited color palette or style for your entire home will limit your purchases and force you to make sure your items will blend.

To further clarify, this doesn’t mean you need to decorate the entire home at once. It merely means you will have a critical eye while curating and editing your décor.  

Decorate A House On A Low Budget With Inexpensive Wall Art

Okay, so I could go on for days on this subject, but instead, I’ll provide you with one of my favorite hacks! Purchase a large book with photographic prints and carefully remove several of the pages and framed them to your heart desires.

I credit this idea to one of my husband’s clients who gifted me with a beautiful artistic book of Cuba. She hired my husband to install custom lighting in her brownstone apartment overlooking the New York Skyline. Alison and husband were house poor and saved money by displaying artwork from ONE book.

decorate on a low budget

The trick is to use framing mats to make the images torn from the books appear more “expensive” and display them as artwork. Since it still contained tons of “Art” to be framed, she let me in on her dirty little secret by gifting my husband the book for our first fixer-upper home since he was in awe of the inspiring artistic images of Cuba.

Of course, a few carefully placed highlights over the art pieces helped a bit as well. In the property above, I used a poster to save money.

If you need additional ideas for your blank living room walls review, Ways To Decorate A Large Living Room Wall. Lastly, you could also review some of the topography and digital prints from our shop, which begins for the price of a latte coffee.

Decorate A House By Properly Working With Your Floorplan

Let’s start with the obvious, measure the space you are working with to plan accordingly. Consider the scale of your furniture pieces with the size of the area you are working with. A large sectional may look right-at-home in a spacious room; however, it will overcrowd a smaller space.

If you want to take things to extremes, you can use my friend Nancy’s method. She uses a large piece of cardboard as her floor plan.  Then draws and cuts out her furniture pieces to help her visualize her space. Nancy has lived in NYC apartments, which range from 350-400 square feet and has made fantastic use of her spaces. 

Yes, her methods are time-consuming, but it’s your home! Her organizational skills and flow of her furniture allow her family to feel like they have a home, not just a space.

cohesive home planning

Ways To Make Floors Work On A Low Budget

Having matching flooring in the entire house will be more visually pleasing.  Your home will feel less choppy, even if you have many interior walls.

If you are unable to update mismatch flooring due to budget or renting here are a few options:

One room of the house that usually does not match the rest of the home is the kitchen, which is why I included the photo below.  

The designers used inexpensive tile in this small gallery kitchen and installed the tile in a herringbone pattern to give it a more luxurious feel.

Other details to note are the backsplash. The subway backsplash used can be purchased in pre-made sheets and installed as a DIY home project. For extra cost savings, the designer chose not to carry the tile to meet the upper cabinets.

Photo credit @ Stayloom

Create A Mood Board To Decorate Your House

A mood board can be a handy tool to use. It can be hard to visualize how furniture, color, or texture will come together. Begin by gathering inspiration from websites, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Feel free to follow my Pinterest so you could see what is currently trending and what I find inspiring.

While introducing ideas onto your mood board, please keep in mind the constraints of your space. You may need to work with existing furniture or an awkward room layout.

While you’re out and about, don’t be shy about taking photos of items that catch your eyes.  My friend Milly has impeccable taste, and when asked how she blends everything so flawlessly, her answer is always the same.

“Our creator already did it for us; I just observe nature and copy the color palette.”

cohesive home colors

When Decorating A House Remember That Less Is More

You may think of decluttering as a chore and save it only when tackling big cleaning jobs like spring cleaning. Let’s face it, during our day to day routines; we tend to become a bit lazy and messy.  Mail begins to mount, recent issues of your favorite magazines become old issues and your junk drawer overflows.

With the right techniques, you will be able to give your house a mini facelift by merely decluttering. Here’s my method, I grab a large garbage bag and walk around the house, tossing out items. You’ll be surprised how quickly that bag becomes filled. 

The living room picture below is straightforward yet very stylish

Photo credit @ Stayloom

In Conclusion

When decorating a house on a low budget try viewing your home décor as an entire project similar to a wall gallery. Each piece of art represents a room, and all the pieces together create a home. Although they are all individual images, they compliment each other and create a visually pleasing display. 

Lastly, if you’re still in need of some guidance, you may find it helpful to read my post, How To Make Your Home Look Expensive or Best Home Improvements To Raise Your Home Value. 

In the meantime, enjoy our Free Home Styling Email Series below which will help you create a better home decor in a week. For more home styling tips and tricks drop by anytime. Hey, we’re always up for company. 

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Die-hard DIYer, home enthusiast and sometimes I cook :-)

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