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31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 13}:
It’s not about the money

by | Oct 13, 2010 | 31 Days of Autumn Bliss, Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration, Fall Decorating, Seasonal Decorating & Entertaining

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31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 13}: <br>It's not about the money

My dears, if you think that having a beautiful and cozy room requires a ton of cash, an extraordinary house or amazing design talent, you would be wrong.

Let’s break this down to one simple formula today, shall we?

To do a beautiful room on a budget with a few less zeroes than Sarah’s House budget, try this technique:

Layers of interest, not cash, create richness.

To help illustrate, go look at those bedroom images from our last post. Look at all the layers of interest!

Particularly in fall and winter, having layers makes things cozier and more interesting. Adding layers does not mean spending lots of money. Having more layers doesn’t mean having more clutter either! You can have a simple style with layers of texture and your room won’t be boring! You don’t need tons of stuff to make an interesting room, just well chosen layers.

An inexpensive but pretty flannel or chenille throw blanket, interesting shapes of bedside tables, pillows you make yourself from scraps of fabric, a simple ruffled top sheet, perhaps your grandma’s quilt or a unique (modern is fine!) garage sale coverlet (or HomeGoods or Target!) layered over a basic comforter, fun spray painted thrift store lamps lamps, a beat up or more rustic painted piece, woven baskets on the wall, and a wood tray or basket on an old garage sale bench at the end of your bed all create a more interesting, warmer layered look, without tons of cash.

You might not have the perfect design eye for combining colors and patterns, and that is OK. Even if you stick to the most simple decorating formula (neutrals with a pop of color), you can add more textures and layers with affordable pieces and paint to give your room more interest — and a much richer look without the fat bank account.

Do you forget to add layers? Go look at your room. Does it feel flat and one dimensional? If everything you have is smooth and plain and a solid color, I bet you need some more layers of interest and texture.

What are some other affordable ways to add layers to a room this fall?

For the entire series links, click the 31 Days Button below!

31 Days of Autumn Bliss {Day 13}: <br>It's not about the money

Find the rest of the 31 Day girls here.


  1. Jess

    I just wrapped a piece of burlap around a vase. Totally a Ballard knock off but simply adding that little extra piece of texture really added some more oomph to the vase. And made it more fall! :)

    • Jess

      Love this idea! Thank you.

  2. emily freeman

    Great post and great ideas, friend. I loved all those bedrooms you showed yesterday, and you’re right: layers of interest create richness. I love that!

  3. Sharon

    Love this series, such great tips! I love adding layers, but I definitely try to not let things start looking too cluttered.

  4. Astrid

    I loved all those photos of bedrooms you showed the other day. Right now I’m having to come up with inexpensive but still nice looking drapes/curtains. In my living room I’ve got five windows to cover on a shoe string budget. I’m not any good at sewing…so what options do I have? I’d like to have nice curtains in my bedroom to cozy it up but the options (and cost) has stalled me.

    • Melissa

      I found my curtain fabric for my kitchen dining nook for $30 and we sewed them but you could totally use that stitch witch stuff that you iron in a seam? And you might find flat sheets even cheaper!

      • Irma

        I made kitchen curtains using really adorable tea towels I found at the local dollar store. I bought 4 for $4.00,stitched a rod pocket and hung them. They’re just for the lower half of the window but just what was needed.

    • Shari

      My last bedroom “drapes” were patterned tablecloths I purchased on clearance for $10 each. Hung them with clip-on rings. Zero sewing!

    • Jeanna

      tablecloths work well , they come in great designs and long lenths and tend to be a bit wider than actual curtains for a fuller look. Use clip rings and you are ready. If you want to line them just sew button holes on both pieces of fabric(almost all machines do this with a button) and use rings instead of clips for your rod. I find really great priced tablecloths at TJMAXX and Tuesday Morning.

  5. Kelsey

    I look forward to each idea you have! It is fun to improve on our homes each day! I like fall because you can add in a fallish themed layer to our decor and it does look too busy. Instead pops of orange and brown looks cozy and warm!

  6. Deanna

    Yes, layers are key! I like to shop my house – I have shelves in our basement for my home decor stuff….not tons, and not expensive stuff, but allows me to rotate stuff and I try to use it differently every time.

  7. cathy

    I love the neutral with a pop of color. That is my whole design approach.

  8. Abbie

    Just yesterday I finished making a “duvet cover” for a thrifted down comforter I found this summer. I used two queen sheets – that I got for $1 each. I even made a ruffle and did top stitching around the edge. Now I just have to wait for the weather to get a little cooler … :)

    Oh, and how about this – I wanted a fall hanging for next to my front door, but didn’t want to spend money (reminder to myself that the goal of a minivan is worth it). I ended up using wood scraps I got for free at the lumberyard – they’ll let anybody take whatever they want, just ask! Then I used fabric scraps I already had! Can’t wait to put it up today!

    • Melissa

      Awesome thriftiness. I love it!

  9. Erin

    I’m all about neutral with pops of color! Adding a blanket, an extra pillow here and there, even just an inexpensive lit candle…you are absolutely right, those little things just add to the warmth of a room. :)

  10. Astrid

    Hmmm…one way to add texture to a room is through the use of plants (either alive or fake). I was just studying my living room and I think my houseplant collection (now inside for the winter) adds texture to my room.

    • Melissa

      Agreed, LOVE plants!

  11. Vee

    You’re making me think, but it hurts. Ha!

    • Melissa

      lol, Vee. It does hurt to think sometimes, doesn’t it?

  12. sarah howe

    thank you so much for the invaluable advice. I recently went to my mother-in-laws to decorate, and we had SO Much fun looking at different color combinations and textures.

  13. Patricia Torres

    Oh.. I love this post.. Some awesome inspirations.. I could do with a few layers.. around my house as well.. Only if I had 2 more hours in the day.. *wink*

  14. amy allen

    I believe 100% in decorating without spending a lot of money. I know that my entire budget for my master bedroom makeover (200 big ones) is the price of one pillow for someone else. And I’ve often wondered if I would change that if things were different for us financially. And I can honestly say no. I may splurge on a fantastic piece here or there, but there is something about the hunt for a good deal, or making something myself that could never be satisifed by just walking into a store and buying it.

    Now don’t get me wrong, if you have the cash, then use it however you want. This is not judgement on how people spend their money. I just know that for my sanity I need to create. While I appreciate other people’s creations and will occassionally buy them, I just wouldn’t know what to do with myself without the process of layering my home with things I did myself.

    And I love the wise words about layering a room, of adding richness to it. My master bedroom has needed one last thing to finish it. One last piece to tie it all together and keep it from being too uniform, too symmetrical. And this has given me some ideas.

    I have been loving all of the 31 days posts. You inspire me. Thank you so much.

  15. Jody

    First I have to comment about your post title, “It’s not about the money” because immediately I thought of a line from the movie, The Jerk: “It’s not about the money, it’s about the stuff.”

    Anyway, what I noticed about the bedrooms post concerning layering & texture is the layering of patterns of color. If red is the accent color, then pillows, throw, curtains, pictures are all different patterns — dot, plaid, paisley, etc. It looks like you are laying texture when actually it’s layering patterns with a similar color theme.

    I’m planning to go out and gather some cattails, branches, and seed pods for some vases today. There’s texture!


    • Melissa

      So many ways to add more interest and layers! If you love patterns, they add so much! But even solids can be helped with some texture!

  16. Karen

    You are always spot on with sound advice on decorating. I firmly believe it doesn’t take a ton of money to create a warm and inviting home. I love your advice of the past where you recommend shopping your own home or that of your parents—you find some treasures with history to ‘layer’ into your style.

    Thanks Melissa!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Karen! :-)

  17. debbie

    I like to ‘layer’ artwork on the mantel – some hung on the wall and some leaning on the mantel – not in a cluttered way though
    add a sprig of bittersweet and voila – autumn!

  18. Lauri Thomas

    Ugh…I struggle with the layering concept. I just can’t figure out what to put where. I get so frustrated! But, I’m learning…slowly. Thanks for your great blog :)

  19. jessica

    Loved this advice! I’m linking to this post tomorrow – if that’s not okay, please let me know. Love your blog!


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