I love to look at decorating magazines – until I see the price tag of all those decorator items! Custom-made furniture? Hand-woven oriental rugs? Marble countertops? Not on my budget. Here are ten cheap ways to make your home look great.
1. Paint: A new color on the walls can give you a dramatic new look, or a subtle change. Most rooms will only need one or two gallons, and at about $20 per gallon for affordable paint, that’s a real decorating bargain.
2. Art: Of course, real art costs real money. But you can save by scouring garage sales and flea markets. Or buy some budget frames and use them with an interesting poster or photograph. Or make a fabric wall hanging: buy four ‘stretcher bars’ (wood frame pieces), assemble them into a frame, then staple-gun the fabric onto it.
3. Accents: Small accents in lively colors will add a whole new look to your room. Try new pillows, vases or candles.
4. Lighting: Some lighting can be costly, but not all. Ikea is one good source of interesting and affordable lamps and fixtures. Try your local shops, too. I picked up some really cool looking lamps for only $10 each from a store in my town.
5. Refinish: Strip and refinish wood pieces in a different stain. Or paint them a new color.
6. Replace hardware: I added brass handles to my previously handle-less oak kitchen cabinets for about $30 and the kitchen looks way more elegant and expensive.
7. Rugs: Find an interesting, small accent rug. Ikea and West Elm are two good sources for these, but there are many others.
8. Curtains and blinds: Who needs pricey drapes? Get a great look with curtains or blinds in interesting colors and textures. Try Linens ‘n Things or Bed Bath & Beyond for some good selections.
9. Furniture clearance centers: If you do plan to buy furniture, stretch your dollars with a clearance center. Most large furniture stores and chains have a clearance center or possibly a clearance room where you can buy floor samples and discontinued items. If you don’t mind a few scratches you can score some amazing deals.
10. De-clutter: This tip costs zero dollars but the results are priceless! Go through your rooms and really clear out the stuff you don’t need – the ugly knick knacks, piles of papers and random junk. Throw things out ruthlessly. If you have anything a little more valuable, sell it or donate to a thrift shop and take a tax deduction – so you’ll actually make money by following this tip! Your clean, uncluttered house will look dramatically better too.
Photo courtesy of Flickr