HOW TO DECORATE YOUR HOME INEXPENSIVELY

LIVING ROOM

Here’s something every home decorator should know… how to decorate your home inexpensively! This is so so important! Why spend money needlessly! Today I have lots of tips and ways to save money when you decorate! Here are 17 ways to decorate your home inexpensively!

Budget decorating is always in style! We don’t need to spend a fortune to have a comfortable, beautiful and welcoming home.

So today I have a H-U-G-E post with tons of ideas and tips for decorating your home without going broke!

Friend, I can give you you really smart and proven ideas for decorating inexpensively but YOU have to put these tips into practice!

Part of the disconnect sometimes when we read blogs is we enjoy the pictures and skim the text but miss the true decor gold!

The best ideas and techniques are in the text and then in the doing!

Be about the doing!!!!

Start by implementing one or three or more in your home today!

SHOP YOUR HOME

This is huge! We often forget we have a goldmine of decor right under our roof! And if you have a garage, basement or attic with decor in it, WOW!

Why go shopping for new things before you look in your home!

If a room in your home could use a bit of refreshing, start by looking at what you already have. Move a chair or a group of pillows or change out a picture for a mirror!

Do you have an old bench that is kicking around? Try it as the foot of a bed with a pillow and a throw folded on it. What a difference!

This works, my friend! And how! And if your home has a cohesive color palette and style throughout you are golden! Seriously!

Need a little hint on how to begin?

I sit in a room that I think could use a little help and look around with a critical eye. Not a critical eye because that is defeating, but an eye that assesses everything in the room.

And when I come upon something that I decide needs to be changed I walk around my house (and basement) looking in all the rooms to spy things I could use in place of the item I want to change.

Then I try the decor candidates, one at a time, until I find the perfect fit for my room.

Works every time!

I move chairs, and pillows and lamps and baskets and signs and more around our home! And I think it keeps me excited to keep on decorating!

DISPLAY ITEMS IN THREES

I’ve said this so often, but it will really help you to decorate inexpensively if you group decor in three’s.

Three is a magic decorating number! It’s so important to decorate using three items! One of my favorite examples is the large white buffet in the great room.

I like to keep three larger things on this buffet. A lamp, a pair of stacking baskets, and some sort of big arrangement or pottery.

Nothing more and nothing less. I know three items look the best. Oh, I made a little rhyme!

Along with the rule of three I also like the “less is best rule”. Cutting down on clutter and lots of little decor will also help you decorate inexpensively!

You might like to read THE RULE OF THREE and LESS IS BEST DECORATING.

ADD PILLOWS

You probably knew I would talk about pillows!

Change up your pillows!!!! And do it often. I know I might sound like a broken record but pillows can change the look of a room and give it a fresh new look!

If you are not so excited about a room in your home try using pillows from other areas of your home or find a few new ones!

Just recently I felt my spindle chairs looked a little “bare”. I had a small lumbar pillow in each one so I started to experiment with other pillows I shopped from my house (again). I used an indoor/outdoor pillow I use on our patio with fun pom-poms and a cheetah pillow used in our Master bedroom for a new look!

The duo of pillows made such a pretty change not only for the spindle chairs but for the whole great room.

Another great idea, when it comes to pillows, is to try a new pillow arrangement on a sofa, chair or bed! A fun new arrangement will make a big difference in how a room looks too!

I have quite a few very informative post about pillows you should read. These posts will give you a ton of creative pillow ideas for your home!

5 NO-FAIL TIPS FOR ARRANGING PILLOWS ON A SOFA

8 BED PILLOW ARRANGEMENTS YOU WILL LOVE

A CASUAL PILLOW ARRANGEMENT YOU SHOULD TRY

5 PRETTY NO-SEW DIY PILLOWS TO MAKE FOR YOUR HOME

FOLD A THROW

Fold a throw, scrunch a throw, drape a throw… use a throw!

Throws are so inexpensive and they can add interest, texture and pattern to a room. Don’t underestimate the power or the humble throw!

Adding a seasonal throw adds a hint of the season in a room.

Here are a few more ways to add throws to a room to decorate it inexpensively…

Keep throws at the end of beds to add an extra layer of pretty and they sure come in handy if you want to take a little nap!

A throw can be draped across a table and used as a fun tablecloth too!

Add a couple of chunky throws to a basket for lots of layered texture. Or toss a throw on a window seat.

Fold throws or blankets and stack them. Display them on a shelf in an armoire with the door open!

ADD REAL OR FAUX FLOWERS

Ask me how to decorate a home inexpensively and I’ll always say FLOWERS!

Flowers give an instant lift to a home! Oh, what a great rate of return on your decorating investment!

I find fresh flowers in grocery stores, farmer’s markets, in my backyard and even forage them on walks!

And and with just a little care, cut flowers will last longer!

Here are two posts that will help you care for your cut flowers. They bring such beauty to our homes so let’s take care of them too!

CARING FOR CUT FLOWERS

HOW TO CARE FOR CUT FLOWERS SO THEY LAST LONGER

Now let’s talk about faux flowers.

I think one of the best things you can collect over time are faux flowers!

I buy the best I can, and almost always on sale. I’ve used some of my pretty flowers for over a decade. And if you take good care of them they last forever!!!! Well, almost forever!

They end up being a very inexpensive way to bring a fresh look to a room!

I tend to like seasonal flowers! The salmon and white poppies above are brought out in early summer! They are fakes but don’t they look real?

However there is one faux flower I’ll use anytime of year… tulips! And white tulips in particular!

It’s so important to know to take a stem or branch of faux flowers and arrange them to look as real as possible!

Here is a post HOW TO MAKE FAUX FLOWER LOOK MORE REAL. In this post there are lots of ideas and designer tips for making those blooms look like their real cousins!

And here is a post CREATIVE WAYS TO DECORATE WITH FAUX FLOWERS that will give you lots of ideas for using faux bloom so they look beautiful in a room!

ADD A BIT OF BLACK

I have heard for decades, “add a bit of black to every room”. And really I just pooh-poohed it for a long time!

I don’t know about every room but one way to add drama and visual weight and sophistication to a room is by adding just a little something black in it!

This really works! Choose just one, two or three little black accents to a room and the difference is stunning! Instant and inexpensive chic!

Black is a hugely popular color right now! And no wonder! It goes with any color and any style! People say black “grounds a room” but it is really about visual weight! Black looks weighty and feels inportant!

Do you know about VISUAL WEIGHT?

Visual weight is an important design concept for a beautiful home! I’ve broken down this secret into easy to understand, doable actions. Just wait till you see the difference it can make in your home. And it’s free! See VISUAL WEIGHT AND DECORATING.

I recently decorated our home for spring and found two handsome faux soapstone rabbits in the basement (shop your house!!!!!!).

Adding them to the Curlacue chest in the living room made that whole areal look so much prettier! Believe me, I’m looking for a way to add a bit of black there after Easter too!

Did you notice how that little bit of black also brings our the ORB knobs in the chest.

Spray paint something you already have black like I did with this super old garden stool! Well, it’s not black but it is dark enough to do the same thing black does!

This garden stool has been part of my decor for probably 20 years. It has been painted numerous times and has lived outside and in! A very inexpensive home decor accent.

PAINT OR COVER BOOKS WITH FABRIC

I LOVE to use books when I decorate. They are just so versatile! And if you paint them or cover them in a material that works with your decor they are elevated to a very important decor item!

I use books as risers and in vignettes and to fill in gaps here and there when I’m decorating! This is a very, very inexpensive decorating item. And one you should have several of to decorate your home!

I find books at Thrift shops and book sales and often if friends know I am looking for book they give them to me! What an inexpensive and effective way to decorate!

Here are two pretty and economical ways to make books work with your decor…

HOW TO COVER A BOOK WITH BURLAP (OR OTHER MATERIAL)

HOW TO PAINT BOOKS COVERS

The great thing about these diy’s is the books can still be read after you have covered or painted them.

PAINT SOMETHING

This is probably my free or almost free decorating tip! Paint is like magic! It can transform and give new life to so many things in your home!

I’ve painted furniture, pillows, clocks, mirrors, vases, and other decor accent decor for years!

Like the garden stool above and the clock over the white buffet, paint has worked it’s magic in my home time and time again!

Paint is the ultimate cheap solution for tired decor!

There are loads of videos on YouTube that will teach you easy painting techniques. Peruse them how to paint! Then hone your painting skills on a few smaller items!

Anyone can spray paint!

It really does not take a lot of talent and very little know-how to spray paint something!

I’m adding a few pictures to my living room and I have 4 wooden frames. I’m going to be spray painting them black and using them on either side of the buffet!

What do you have in your home that you can transform for the price of a can of paint?

USE BASKETS

I have a special affinity for baskets! They are great, inexpensive decor!

When we remodeled our kitchen and added a banquette. Underneath we built spaces for baskets!

Because our kitchen is white it needed lots of texture to give it interest and texture. And that is exactly what baskets do like no other decor!

Especially in our neutral colored open concept home where texture is really the main way to bring the decor to life, baskets are a must!

Even our cat Hobbes loves baskets!

One of the huge advantages of decorating with baskets is the way I can stash things in them, many times in plain sight!

The baskets in the banquette store my exercise weights and balls and my grandbabies coloring books, crayons, stickers and more!

Baskets are inexpensive because they rarely go out of style! I’m still using baskets I have had for over 10 years!

If I’m not sure what decor to put in a spot I try adding a basket! Most of the time a well placed basket looks better than just about anything else!

You might like to read 5 BEAUTIFUL WAYS TO DECORATE WITH BASKETS.

USE TRAYS

A cousin of baskets are trays, at least in my mind! I also have a thing for trays, decoratively speaking!

Trays are the perfect combination of function and fabulous! They are workhorses and can be so so pretty!

I love trays that add a bit of texture or bling or detail to the spot they are placed in!

When it comes to trays it’s about layering!

Did you know there is something called visual clutter? Well, of course, you did!!! But have you thought about it?

Trays are masters at cutting down pesky visual clutter and a genius at organizing things!

Even a vignette looks neater in a pretty tray! That’s why I’m always talking about corralling things in a tray!

Another way to use trays is as a make-shift bed tray! Seriously, so pretty and a nice place to put your morning coffee when you read magazines in bed on Saturday morning! Sorry, that’s not you… that’s me!

But a tray will work as a bed tray no matter what you put on it!

And let’s not forget that trays are wonderful to serve food on!

One other thing I use as a tray is large platters. They work wonderfully well in my kitchen!

Right now a large rimmed white platter acts as a tray to “corral” my coffee supplies!

We like to use a tray as a pop-up bar on our kitchen counter! Isn’t that a fun idea?

What makes trays to absolutely inexpensive is their versatility! They can be used over and over in so many different ways in your decor!

PUT CUTTINGS IN A BOTTLE OR JAR

A humble jar can make a pretty and super inexpensive home decor accessory!

Save bottles or buy a few (cheap) and line them up to put seasonal clipping from around your home or from a walk in the wood or countryside!

And notice the tray that corrals them?

Collect bottles in pretty shapes and sizes and group them together.

The bottles in the image above have clipping from a walk about our gardens.

You can see how I put together this QUICK AND EASY SUMMER CENTERPIECE HERE.

I love the look of a mantel with various size bottles clustered on it with a palm frond or two artfully placed in them.

I have a bottle I found at HomeGoods sitting on the vanity in our Master bedroom with some faux spring branches in it.

ADD A MIRROR

A mirror is a nice accent to add to a room that needs a little decor shot in the arm! I never get rid of a mirror! So I have a small stockpile of them in our basement

I love to move them and repaint them and try mirrors in different rooms in our home!

A mirror adds style and light and drama to a room.

A mirror does not need to hang on a wall. It can lean against the wall or floor if it is tall enough. Or it it can lean on a shelf or mantel

And if it is small enough it can be tucked into a small space and look so sweet!

You can find tons of mirrors at thrift stores! And they are downright dirt cheap!

Get a little creative with mirrors. Hang small mirrors in groupings! What a designer look!

There are just so many decorating looks I’m wild about that use mirrors!

How about hanging a pair of mirrors on either side of your bed above the nightstands. This is a killer designer look. A big punch of pretty for not a lot of $$!

Hang a framed mirror in another larger empty frame! Oh, swoon!

Just don’t underestimate the power of even the most inexpensive mirror!

USE A RUNNER

A runner can change the look of a table! It’s that simple!!!!

Just like most of these inexpensive home decor ideas, a runner has a lot of panache and pretty!

I have an old burlap table runner that I literally can’t part with. I would give up all my cloth napkins and silver before I gave away this plain little table runner!

Maybe you never thought about table runners that way before. But here’s what they do…

The add a layer of color and or texture to a long boring surface! Really think about it!

Most tables although pretty in design have rather boring tops!

And a table has a lot of hard surface area too! Honestly, not that awe-inspiring!

So a table top just begs for a little bit of softening up! That’s where a table runner saves the day!

It adds a pretty and soft area you can don with a centerpiece and a runner helps to ground the centerpiece so it does not look like it gets lost on a big swath of wood! Pretty cool for a piece of fabric, right?

Next time you walk by your pretty table, thank your inexpensive table runner!

You can see how to make a simple NO-SEW BURLAP TABLE RUNNER WITH TASSELS HERE.

GET NEW LAMP

Lamps are decor gold! And here’s the truth, you can find quite inexpensive lamps!

A lamp is worth its weight in decor gold! Try a floor lamp if you don’t have one. I was amazed at how this floor lamp added so much style to my sunroom!

I think a lamp is like getting a manicure or having highlights put in my hair. It’s a little luxury that will change my outlook! A lamp is one of those little things you should do to change the outlook of a room!

Most of us don’t use enough or the right kind of lighting in a room anyway! Yes, it costs more than a table runner but really you can find a great lamp for under $100.00!

CHANGE HARDWARE OR DOORKNOBS

Have you ever changed the hardware on a piece of furniture? Or a cabinet? Or closet?

Oh, you should! This is one easy fix that will not break the bank but will change the look of a piece of home furnishing!

And if you are not keen on changing our the hardware, how about painting it? You can very successfully paint hardware! Remember, painting something was on our list earlier!

We recently remodeled our kitchen and changed out our hardware. It was much more inexpensive than buying new cabinets!

However, what I hope you will do is look around your home at those pieces of furniture that have knobs or pulls on them and then imagine them with new hardware! Wow, right?

Pair this tips with the paint something tip and you can have a new piece of furniture for a song!

ADD A HOUSEPLANT

I used to consider houseplants long-living cut flowers! But when we moved to Tanglewood I turned over a new leaf. Pun intended!

I started to really care if my few plants lived or died! I even watered them and gave them food. And they started to look pretty and thrive.

And the rooms I put them in looked prettier for having them there.

A houseplant like flowers, bring life, real life, to a room!

No other thing can replace a beautiful houseplant!

But one or two plants go a long way! Just keep in mind you may be one plant away from the Jungle look!

I put a few herbs on our kitchen counter and I’m just loving them! They smell good and I have used them in a few recipes!

GROWING HERBS INDOORS- THE ULTIMATE GUIDE will help you with everything you need to know about growing herbs!

If real living plants are not for you, then go faux! I LOVE little pots of faux plants!

If I feel a spot in my home needs “something” I usually try putting a plant there.

Over the years I have collected little plants and lots of pots they can go in!

Small faux plants tuck so wonderfully into the decor you have.

One rule I have for these little green gems is they must be lifelike! I would hope they would fool the eye but I at least want them to look like the plant they represent!

CREATE A VIGNETTE

Vignette means a “a brief incident or scene”. And decoratively speaking that is just what it is!

A vignette should tell a story! A loose story! So when someone looks at a vignette they might be able to tell something about the creator! Or discern the season, or tell what flowers you like!

A vignette is most probably put together with what you already have in your home which makes a vignette uber economical!

Use what you have decor usually costs zero dollars!

Here’s what I love about a vignette beside it being so inexpensive. A vignette creates a focal point, is often made with three items or an odd number of items, tells a little personal story about its creator, is often in a tray and that tray is often a basket, may have a plant or flowers in it and creates synergistic beauty!

That is a whole lot for putting decor stuff together! LOL!

A vignette may be a very personal thing. But there are a few guidelines that will help you create something special!

Make sure you check out 10 ELEMENTS OF A DESIGNER VIGNETTE.

I usually create a vignette for most of the rooms in our home at the beginning of a new season.

So at the beginning of a season, I may just give a nod to the season with something small. But as the season wears on I trade out the contents of the vignette for things that carry a much more seasonal feel.

That way my vignettes feel fresh and updated!

Here’s one of my favorite spring vignettes…

This is one of the easiest and most satisfying things you can make for your home!

I hope you have lots and lots of inexpensive decorating ideas you can use in your home!

Now, choose one of these ideas and run with it in your home!

Similar Posts

35 Comments

  1. Love all your ideas, but I especially love the living room rug and new lamp. Can you provide info as where to buy?

  2. What did you paint your garden stool with? I’ve tried painting mine several times, using different primers and paints, and it always peels.

  3. Morning Yvonne, I’m forwarding this post to my 3 daughters. Meg just purchased her first house. I am invited to decorate it along with Amy. Amy graduates in May so we’ll see what her living situation will be. Nancy is always up for tips! I do nearly all of the tips already but it is nocce to have a list to refer to when stuck!

  4. Love all your blogs and thus one in particular! I have used these ideas and shop my home constantly. I also move furniture around often. Can you give advice? I have a large mostly black oriental rug with touched of light grey/blue and deep red . I have a grey sofa with one black leather side chair and husband had a deep blue leather recliner (ugh, but he loves). Want to get a comfortable but pretty chair for me! What color would you recommend? We’ve been married fir 65 years, so have a lot of furniture, many antiques, so not interested in buying a lot!

  5. Hi Yvonne, very good tips! My next personal goal will be to embrace spray painting! I’ve found this year, that it is difficult to find turquoise vases/items that I typically use for Spring/Summer decor, so next step is to find things I can paint and the right color!

    Another inexpensive thing I’ve found is to get out my sewing machine. I don’t particularly like to sew (it makes me curse like a sailor), but I’ve been making simple things like table runners (love that blue and white one you have), simple curtains, napkins, pillow covers, etc. My machine is as old as my 35 year old daughter. Recently, I had to change the belt, the needle and the tension gauge. I have to hand wind the bobbin, because that mechanism no longer works! However, I find for small little projects, I can buy remnants and fabric on clearance, as I don’t need much. The end result is a unique and high quality piece!

  6. Yvonne, I have a question about the rule of three. In the first picture about pillows, you have two lamps and two other items on your Curlique cabinet. Do the lamps work as one item? Same thing about rabbits? I think it totals 5 but if rabbits. Perhaps rabbits work as one and so do the lamps? It looks very good but need some clarification. Love your blog. Yes I do shop my home. Love decorating.

  7. I love your blog, and thank you for always putting out such great content. I am keeping this one bookmarked!

  8. Everything looks so festive for Spring and Summer. Would you consider adding links to your blog posts for purchasing some of your items? I’m guessing you could make money off of our click through purchases.

  9. I read and reread all your articles, use a lot of your tips in my home. I am constantly tweaking. But the best picture ever is that of Hobbes sitting in your basket. What a beautiful kitty and sweet face!

  10. Wow! Did I need that shot in the arm! I actually have been in a general slump lately and I decided to take the day off (I have the luxury of being retired/a homemaker) from fussing around the house picking up and vacuuming. I pulled up your post (my fav) and was thrilled to see this ‘list’! I decided to write a list of everything that inspired me. Now I am so anxious to get my vacuuming done – no ‘play’ until my ‘work’ is done/yes- I am hard on myself! I will then do a few of the things I have here at home to welcome spring, less import here in south FL, with the many supplies I have here. I’ll then revise my list and carry it with me out shopping when I see something that speaks to me! Thanks for all this inspiration Yvonne!

  11. Adore your style! Could you provide the source for the rug in your great room? It is perfect! Thank you.

  12. I love everything in your living room, rug, sofa, tables ,etc. can you tell where you purchased everything. material on the couch. I would really appreciate it! maybe you can help me with it I’m redoing my living room

  13. Yvonne,
    Thank you for this boost of inspiration….
    Thought i would share one idea- years ago i was in Pottery Barn and looking at the clearance Linens. There were some beautiful runners deeply discounted. I bought 3 ones of the same design for under $50. When i took them home, i realized the runner went beautifully with my kitchen paint color, and ended up using it as a valance across my large kitchen window. I used the second runner as a runner on the kitchen table, and the 3rd i cut into matching placemats- i have bought many runners since and have repurposed them into Pillows, placements~ so many things. Beautiful runners are not hard to find.

  14. Such a wonderful and encouraging post, Yvonne. Your beautiful home illustrates how we can implement these decor ideas in our own spaces. Having been a fan for years, I am learning that these tips work, especially shopping one’s own home. Recently decorated a shelving unit in our daughter’s former bedroom, repurposed into a neutral guest room, using in home finds. I finally chalk painted a small antique oak washstand and old oak mirror. Both pieces are solid wood and sturdily constructed, but too much warm wood tone for one bedroom. The result is so much brighter, fresher and prettier. I often use a natural fabric placemat on smaller furniture tops, like linen and burlap, placing my vignette on it. Any thoughts? Furniture is protected, but not a doily look. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Where did you get your coffee table and I really like the rug in the same room?
    I love your wood floors too I never would have thought of painting the ceramic stool

  16. I have several flower arrangemenys I put out seasonally, but I’m stsrting to wonder how I should be mixing them as well as storing them all to keep them looklng fresh and lifelike–and not all smooshed up. Any suggestions? I have a tiny home–les than 1000 sq feet, so storage is an issue as well (thinking pillows, throws, etc). Thank you.

  17. I love it! I think you are right about threes and so much you pointed out. I only have little items if I can group them corralled and if I mainly have medium or large things. I. think over decorating is expensive, so aiming to get it just right in the first place is the way to go. If I did little things everywhere, my home would look so small and I think knicknacks usually make a cheaper effect of the feeling of the home. And it can sometimes be cheaper to buy the statement item that would look special than a bunch of knicknacks that can end up costing more than one might think.

    I want “heirloom” type cherished pieces. I would rather save up and have nothing in the spot than to fill it with small knicknacks. Just because I maybe can’t afford the dream version yet, it doesn’t mean buy “filler” today. Those filler pieces will not look prettier than the dream item, so maybe it is worth saving up or even you may wait and come across the really nice item on a sale day or at a thrift store or someone may gift it to you who has it in mind to surprise you. I don’t want to buy “filler.”. I would meet my goal of saving slower if I do that just to have SOMETHING that makes me kinda feel better about not having the thing I really want. And I have found great things at thrift stores and gotten deals!

    I saved up and waited about 6 paychecks to splurge on an item I wanted. It was $50, and I thought it was going to be double. I could have gotten it before, but I waited with other priorities first. I love it, and it is this big gorgeous vase. There were certainly other vases in the world, but this was so beautiful. I used something else I already had on my dining table until I got the vase. I am happy with it.

    I do know that there are great throws, pillows, dishes, vases, and all types of things at thrift stores. I have found the very special things there, too. I think thinking outside the box, I made my own paintings, use very practical things as ” the pretty” in the room, like attractive rolling pins, wooden spoons, milk glass as vases, a pretty vintage glass cake platter as where I put things to serve cake or pie or cookies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.