Decorate with What You Have
Are you staring at a fireplace that doesn't work and a pile of tomes you're no longer interested in reading? Tackle both by turning your library into an interesting fireplace filler. For a streamlined look, wrap the volumes in white paper.
Quirky Is in
Eclectic is the style of the moment. Embrace this highly personalized design movement by bringing a few family treasures out of the attic. Thoughtfully select one or two pieces, rather than an entire curio cabinet. Enmasse, these collectibles can read as clutter, but a prized piece integrated into your existing decor will come off as charming.
Budget Decor Tips
Watch and learn more ways to decorate on a dime.
Display a collection of bottles, vessels, and vases in a similar colorway for eye-catching appeal. Instead of sending glass bottles straight to the recycling bin, check to see if they have an interesting shape or color. Clean them out and save them until you have enough to create a pretty ensemble for a centerpiece or mantelscape.
Skip the frame and use a wooden pants hanger to display a poster instead. This technique works well with smaller posters, just slightly wider than the hanger itself. Wider posters may flop over at the corners.
Fold a colorful blanket and use it as a bench seat cushion. Use belts to hold the blanket in place.
Display favorite memories and photos in a vignette that is personal and welcoming. Get a streamlined look by using fewer photos printed at larger sizes. Use frames you have and paint them the same color for a unified display. Or invest in inexpensive, basic black frames for a polished look.
Remove Cabinet Doors
Sometimes decorating is just as much about subtraction as it is addition. Examine the inside of your cabinet boxes to determine if they are display-worthy. The insides may need a fresh coat of paint or just a good cleaning. Remove doors and fill any holes with putty and paint or stain to match the cabinet box. Display favorite dishes, utensils, and cookware or large jars filled with pantry staples, such as flour, pasta, and rice, inside the newly exposed cabinet.
Add Height with Curtains
If your drapes have enough length, consider moving the curtain rod to the ceiling, which will give the room a greater sense of height. Before you make the move, measure your curtains to make sure they will still graze the floor if you move the rod. If you need a little extra length and your drapes currently hang by a rod pocket, invest in drapery clips, which will make the drapes hang a little bit closer to the floor.
Pillows can be pricey, and if you are getting weary of yours, consider pillow covers in the same size as your existing pillows. The old pillow can act as an insert, and when zipped or buttoned into a fresh cover, no one will know that your new green pillow was once red. If you're handy with a needle and thread, make your own pillow covers.
Bring hardcover books off the shelf for an interesting tablescape or mantel arrangement. Removing dust jackets can reveal a beautiful cover with eye-catching colors or designs.
All Dressed Up
Even decorating basics can look extraordinary with a little embellishment. Wrap rickrack around a lampshade, hang picture frames with ribbon, or attach decorative veneers or gingerbread to plain bookcases.
Display Your Finds
Incorporate mementos from vacations or special occasions into your decor. The move will integrate your personality and life experiences into the spaces, where they can be admired by guests and family. Whether it's a collection of shells from a beach vacation or a framed wedding invitation or birth announcement, even the simplest of items become display-worthy when they recall a special memory.
Wallpaper, fabric, and wrapping paper remnants are all perfect fodder for lining the backs of boring bookcases or built-ins. Score a discounted material and start lining for an easy, instant update.
Jazz Up Office Supplies
Use smaller wallpaper scraps to wrap boxes or magazine holders, and turn the office staple into something with a little more pizzazz.
Kids bring home a plethora of finger paintings, construction paper creations, and carefully colored drawings. Instead of stowing away these masterpieces, put them on display in pretty frames. Plus, with the ongoing influx of artwork, you have a constant resource for changing up the gallery.
Take your baubles out of hiding and hang them along a bedroom wall on simple hooks. The colorful jewelry will add visual interest to your walls and keep items from becoming tangled.
Turn a hodgepodge of plates into a fun display. Use items from your own collection and scope out inexpensive companion pieces at thrift stores. Plan out your arrangement before you start hanging to avoid making unnecessary holes in the wall.
Budget Decor Essential
Paint is a must-have tool for budget decorating. But this versatile medium is not restricted only to walls. It can also be used to give dated furniture and accessories a much-needed lift.
Draped in Style
Bring a blanket out of storage to add an extra layer of color to a living room or bedroom. Fold a throw over the back of a sofa or the edge of a bed, allowing any pretty edge detailing, such as trim or fringe, to be visible.
For another way to wake up your bookcases, incorporate objects from throughout your house into the display. That serving platter you love, but never use? A horse figurine from your daughter's past fascination with all things equine? Anything with an interesting shape or design can be a candidate. Look for objects that have commonalities, such as white finishes, to create a more unified display. And resist the urge to add "just one more" item. If you have a large collection, rotate objects in and out from time to time, rather than displaying everything all at once, to ensure the vignette strays from cluttered territory.