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10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating

by | May 22, 2019 | Decorating Inspiration

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Do you want to update your home, but feel limited by a tight budget? Check out these ten inspiring tricks for budget-friendly decorating!

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating

1. Buy Ugly Pillows

Say what? If you shop at designer stores for beautiful new pillows, you’ll likely spend a fortune. You can save so much money by covering simple pillow forms, boring pillows or even ugly pillows with fresh new fabric. Look for sales on last season’s pillows, sew covers yourself or buy premade pillow covers for your existing pillow forms.

2. Find Inspiration in Fancy Rooms

If you’ve ever looked through a magazine or blog and felt discouraged by all the picture perfect stylish rooms that would cost a fortune to duplicate, here’s a little trick. Scan your favorite inspiration room for several realistic things that could be incorporated into your own space. Focus on duplicable ideas like a color scheme, an arrangement of furniture or types of accessories. How could you substitute an affordable solution to an expensive item? Get the look for less!

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10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating
Easy DIY Map Wallpaper

3. Think Outside the Boring Box

A room void of stunning architecture can feel like a boring box. Any room can be improved dramatically with simple character-building tricks. Add a large mirror with a rustic frame to add texture and interest to a wall. Use self-adhesive faux wood planks (like we used in our hallway makeover here), brick paper, wallpaper or heavy duty gift wrap to create a charming feature wall. Install a chair rail to add character and dimension to a boring room or expanse of drywall. Remove cabinet doors to give your standard kitchen some open shelves!

Easy DIY Art and “Wallpaper” for Your Home

4. Remove or Improve Dated Pieces

When you’re in the mood to redecorate, start by improving what you already have. Don’t live with dated things you don’t love. Either remove it or improve it! Pair old with new to give almost any feature a fresher look on a budget. Ugly carpet? Layer a pretty area rug under your coffee table. Dated counters or cabinets? Adorable kitchen accessories can update the feel. Boring sofa? New throw pillows can inspire you.

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating

New matching frames can be expensive, so don’t hesitate to mix and match frames you already have (or can find second hand). A gallery wall is simply a collection of artwork grouped together on a wall. Start by hanging your largest frame where you want it and then add smaller ones around it. If you don’t have art, make your own or use family photos!

Here are 10 Helpful Guidelines for Decorating Walls!

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating
My Painted Nightstand Makeover

6. Get Your DIY On

Paint is a budget decorating favorite. If you fear making a mistake, start by painting something you dislike right now. If you already hate your table or fireplace or a room right now, will you hate it any more if you paint it? Probably not. We feared painting our stone fireplace but we did it anyway and it looks so much better! If you want to start small and safe, update ugly accessories or old frames with spray paint in your favorite color or even a metallic sheen.

Find the paint colors I’ve use in my homes here.

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating
Polish Pottery

7. Showcase What You Have

You can often find interesting decor items by hunting around your attic, closet, basement or grandma’s house. Shopping in your own home can seem futile if you don’t think you have anything worth shopping for! But in all likelihood, you already have unique or sentimental pieces that could be repurposed as wall art.

Maybe you have a throw rug like this one we repurposed into a work of art!

Dig through your cupboards, maybe you have some pretty salad plates you don’t use often that you could hang on the wall and enjoy every day!

How to Hang Plates, Platters, or Bowls on the Wall (video)

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating

8. Elevate and Group Collections

Here’s a great budget-friendly trick for your existing accessories. You can make just about any piece or collection feel more important and stylish if you elevate it or group collections together in some way. Ceramic pitchers will look extra special on a display shelf. Hand soaps and lotions look more stylish on a porcelain tray. Books and a vase feel designer-worthy in a shallow basket set on a coffee table. Bring small accessories together to give them greater impact.

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating
How to hang plates and platters on a wall (video)

9. Yes, You Can.

The biggest hindrance many people have in decorating on a budget is the belief that something can’t (or shouldn’t) be done. Sometimes it is the notion that what you can do on your budget won’t be “good enough” or your options for decorating with young children isn’t practical. If you think a stylish house is not within reach for whatever reason, think again. Stop overthinking and go for the look you want!

Follow me on Instagram for home decorating encouragement and tips.

10. If you put your heart into creating your home, it can’t help but become beautiful!

Learn about creating a home you love from my best-selling books!

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating

10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating
10 Tricks for Budget-Friendly Decorating
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  1. Michele M.

    Well said!

    You truly have a gift to inspire every single kind of decorator.

  2. Francesca Gunn

    I wish you could help me “shop my house” and put things together….sigh

    • Robin Drake

      You probably have a friend that could help you do that!! It would be fun to do together!

  3. Deanna Rabe

    I say, “Yes!” to all you have mentioned! Use what you have, paint it, recover it, rearrange it!

  4. vicki bucy

    I have been following you for years. I just love your design ideas, books, etc. You continue to keep the traditional while updating with something new. For those of us who are older that 25, we have lots of “things” we have accumulated over the years and learning to “reuse and change what we have” is a great talent.

    Thanks for all the ideas over the years.

  5. Sandy Mcallister

    Best article ever To the point and usefull with lots of encouragment

  6. Susan Lamb

    Love your blog and books:). But these “10 tricks” are the essence of what you do so well!!! Solid, practical, compassionate guidance to embrace the space we live in and make it a “home”; without spending a ton of money, especially if we don’t have it! Many thanks for years of heart-centered inspiration.
    Your fan, Susan

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Susan, what a kind and encouraging comment! I so love having the opportunity to connect with such amazing women over our common love of homes! Receiving encouragement back from lovely friends such as yourself is what keeps me inspired and excited to continue share year after year, thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3

  7. Kim-Pacific Northwest

    I have these two little camp stools that I bought years ago when my son was young for him to use in his tree fort. I brought them out and spruced them up for my daughter’s garden wedding about 8 years ago. I just recently found some fabric I loved (grey and yellow large flowers on cream background) so I bought 1 yard and recovered the camp stools. They look good as new and really brighten up my patio. When you find things you love, keep them and re-use in different ways. I think I paid less than $5 for both of those camp stools years ago and will keep them forever. I know I am showing my age but I wanted to point out that re-doing and re-using can go along way.

  8. Ann C

    I have usually had to use my imagination rather than money to make my home what I wanted it to be. Very early in our marriage I saw closets with two rods! Oh how I wanted that for our small closet. I found an old wand from an old canister vacuum and a long length of chain from the previous owners dog tie up. I looped the chain over the top rod and thru the metal tube (from vacuum) and up and over the top rod at the other end. I wrapped the vertical chain in black garbage bags so it wouldn’t snag my clothing. Doubled the storage in my closet in one afternoon!

  9. Judy Jorczak

    I love following you! I so wish you could find the blog where someone updated their bathroom in a less expensive way than they truly wanted. She used a blue and white vinyl that looked a lot like ceramic tile flooring. Thanks!

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