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How to Save Money Decorating Your Home

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I’m home A LOT which means I need to enjoy the space. I work from home, and with services like Prime Now and three restaurants within walking distance of my apartment, I can go several days at a time without using my car.

Don’t worry though, I promise I’m not a complete hermit, my dog gets me outside upwards of 10 times a day (it’s how I hit my 10k steps and beat my sister in Fitbit challenges). I interact with lots of people everyday both virtually and IRL. 

Anyway, because I spend so much time at home and don’t have a ton of money to spend on decorating, I had to figure out how to frugally get my home looking lovely and calm (my prefered work environment). So here are some ways I managed to save on decorating so that I have a comfortable lovely home without ending up with a big bill

Upgrading Inexpensive Furniture

One my favorite ways to make my house homey without spending a ton is to upgrade inexpensive furniture. I’m one of the weirdos actually putting IKEA furniture together. I also like hacking it so doesn’t look like it came from IKEA.

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One of my favorite hacks was using this shelving unit:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40346924/

I went to home depot and got some feet, I spray painted the metal gold and stained the wood.

I then also bought some (the cheapest) strips of wood that I cut up using a mitre saw and stained them different colors. I glued them to the top and finished it with some resin. It made it look much nicer and not like it came straight from IKEA. Overall, upgrading probably cost me $20-$30.

Progress on my next #DIY project...

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Another example is a chair I got at the thrift store for $13 it’s a nice wing back chair. But the colors were awful. Now reupholstering is not really my favorite thing to do not to mention it can get pricey.

What I ended up doing is painting the fabric and then sanding the wood and staining it a color that matched the rest of my furniture. It went from being a ugly green chair with red tinted wood to a nice gray chair with an espresso finish wood.

Finally finished redoing my thrift store chair. #diy #diyproject

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Lastly, one of my other favorite upgrades wan an ottoman I bought off Craigslist for $40. It was leather but they had a puppy who had chewed on the fabric as well as the wooden feet.

I stripped the paint off of the wood and sanded the feet to get rid of the chew marks. I then stained the feet.

I then took some fabric I got on sale and put it over the leather, kind of like a cheating version of reupholstering.  With the top I actually did reupholster, it helped to make the rest of the “reupholstering” look legit. Now, I love it!

Shopping Clearance

Another way I like to save is by shopping the clearance items. Clearance paint especially, because there is nothing wrong with the paint, they just typically made the wrong color from what the customer wanted and now you get it for way cheaper. I also get discounted home DIY stuff from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. It’s like the thrift store version of Home Depot or Lowes.

Clearance Paint

Last year, I bought my desk off of craigslist for $50 and it was beautiful but it was kind of painted ugly, all off white, and it was pretty scuffed up, it needed a fresh coat of paint. I was thinking of doing a mustard yellow when I stumbled across this beautiful plum color in the clearance section of Home Depot.

A quarter gallon cost me $3 which was significantly less than me $15 it would’ve only cost me to get the mustard yellow paint. It also ended up being more than enough paint, I’ve since used the leftover paint for a shelf as well.

Shopping the Thrift Store Version of Home Depot

My apartment had the means to hook up a ceiling fan and light in the living room but it didn’t come with one. If you wanted you had to install it yourself. Now, if you go to Lowes or Home Depot a ceiling fan/light can cost a decent amount of money. I got mine at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for $30. I spray-painted the blades so that they better matched the rest of my apartment and then my dad was kind enough to install it for me.

My living room and eyes are much better off with the additional light, I don’t know how my neighbors don’t have one installed, it would get so dark.

Little Details can go a long way

Never forget that a little detail can go along way. For example, using the same colors on different projects throughout can bring together a room and make it look more stylish.

Having little touches of an accent color like a brushed gold on knobs or handles can make a big difference as well. You could even just replace the fixtures in your kitchen or bathroom to add that little extra flourish.

Wrapping it up with a bow on top

There are lots of ways to decorate your home without spending a fortune. While it may certainly be easier to just go to West Elm or Crate & Barrel or any of his other really nice stores to buy things ready made. It’s not always in the budget, especially when you’re working to pay off debt. With a bit of creativity and a little elbow grease together with a bit of time you can put together a lovely home for significantly less money.

Remember, before you go buying new furniture, see if you can update your old stuff or buy used. Shop the clearance sections, you could find just what you’re looking for for significantly less, you never know. Lastly, a little detail can make a big difference in making everything look a touch nicer and more put together.

Life tools & resources I recommend

The Skimm (for staying informed) I've been a loyal Skimmer for over three years. The Skimm is a news source that shows up in your email first thing in the morning M-F. It gives you a 5-minute rundown of what's happening in the world and links to legitimate news sources if you want to learn more about a topic. I start every day with my coffee and The Skimm. I <3 it so much.

Winc (for Wine Delivery) I like ordering a box of different wines to try from Winc every few months. The bottles average $13 a piece and delivery is free when you get at least 4 bottles (more wine please). If you want to check out Winc, you can get a free bottle of wine using my link. I'm very pro free wine.

Checkout 51 (to save on groceries) To save money on groceries, download the Checkout51 app and sign up for free. Each week on Thursday, "new deals" come out. Go through and star the items that are on your grocery shopping list. Do your shopping and at the end use your phone to snap a picture of receipt through the app and hit submit. Once you earn $20 in rewards you can cash out and Checkout51 will send you a check.

Liz

Liz is a blogger and podcaster helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

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