Decor on a Dime

Monochromatic Color Scheme
Budget finds and secondhand scores transform blogger Kate Riley's home into a pretty haven, decorated in soothing neutrals and plenty of chic style.

Budget Style Made Pretty

Take a peek into the home of blogger Kate Riley ( Her home is filled with budget-friendly finds and comes with a look that is family-friendly, but oh-so-pretty. Here, Kate uses gold frames to unite her collection of colorful oil paintings, accumulated during family travels. She painted the table and embellished it with an overlay that she also painted herself.


Check out Kate's posts on the BHG blog, Style Spotters.

Livable Living Room

The wainscoting adds a heap of character to their living room walls, which was a DIY project. Kate refreshed the console table and mirror with paint, and she sewed simple pillows and curtain panels from textiles of her own design.

Warm Welcome

To make a great first impression, Kate keeps fresh botanicals or flowers in the entryway. The entry table served as a sofa table in her childhood home. In typical Kate fashion, she gave it a coat of paint, which "makes it more at home for the next generation in our house," she says. A tray keeps keys, sunglasses, and other essentials organized.

Cooking in Style

After a little research, Kate tackled the task of painting her kitchen cabinets. Though she used a brush, she recommends renting a paint sprayer for large projects and for a quick, smooth application. To make the cherrywood-topped island a focal point, she painted it a deeper hue than surrounding cabinets. Large, modern pendant lights replaced the traditional lights and crown the room in a fresh style.

Dining and More

While the dining room has its formal moments, on a daily basis it's a multitasking space for homework, family meals, and card games.

Fresh Face

Snatched from an online shop, the once-black apothecary chest was too dark for Kate's liking, so she covered the mirrored drawer fronts while she coated the rest in a soothing linen paint color with a matte finish.

Paint is a key ingredient to Kate's decor. Here are her dos and donts for deciding what to paint:

1. DO paint anything mass-produced, especially if it's laminate, veneer, or metal.

2. DO paint hand-me-downs and inherited items, unless they meet the criteria of No. 5, below.

3. DO paint furniture that is damaged or has a dated or unappealing finish or wood grain. Fill dents or cracks with wood putty, and reinvent the piece with paint and perhaps new hardware.

4. DO paint kitchen or bathroom cabinets if they are builder-grade or have a dated finish. Dark wood wall paneling also gets the go-ahead.

5. DON'T paint unique, solid-wood pieces that have a quality finish and are in excellent condition, especially if they are antiques, a classic brand, or treasured family heirlooms.

Family-Friendly Decor

Bathed in warm neutrals and outfitted with comfy furniture, the family room is inviting and relaxed. Colorful accessories dress up the space and the rug is made for the outdoors, so its durability is perfect for the high-traffic family room. The only thing missing? Bountiful windows. Window pane-style mirrors remedy the problem. They mimic windows and bounce light around the room.

Study in Style

Packed with color and storage, the study also boasts multiple DIY projects: curtains sewn from Kate’s own fabric designs (available at, the table made from scratch, and a window seat fashioned from IKEA cabinets. The eye-catcher underfoot is another outdoor rug. A gallery of kid's creations serves as inexpensive art.

Chic Laundry

Because space was tight, Kate made a wall-mount drying rack for the laundry room. It continues to be one of the most popular projects on her blog. The pretty white cabinets were once honey oak and decorative touches, such as a Roman shade and chandelier transform the room from completely utilitarian to plush and pretty.

Sweet Dreams

Kate made the upholstered headboard -- nailhead trim and all -- for a mere $70. She scored the bedding on sale and mixed various textiles rather than buying a matching set. The bedside lamps weren't the right color for the space, but had a fabulous shape. Kate painted the once black lamps with glossy white paint, and now they look right at home.

Sitting Space

A pretty rug designates the master bedroom's seating area, which is outfitted with comfy chairs, glam accessories, and a cozy fireplace.

Glam on a Dime

Most people wouldn’t look twice at this metal-and-glass table Kate picked up at the local Goodwill store. But to make it pop she refinished it using liquid gold leaf -- glamour in a bottle for just five bucks!

Bath Panache

Powder rooms can wow without breaking the bank. Mix contrasting colors, glamorous accents, and charming wainscoting (you can't even tell it's wallpaper). "It's a medley of color, texture, and style," Kate says of the 20-square-foot space.

Work It

In her home office, Kate hung grass-cloth wallpaper and painted it a deep blue-gray. She added white to the same paint to create the color for the closet door and used white accents for a playful visual.

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