This is a post about home decor.
Having a visually pleasing home is important for homeowners that want to entertain guests, though establishing a relaxing, safe residence is important as well. Your home should reflect your goals and personality.
However, many homeowners do not have the funds when first starting out to create their idealized “dream home.” Knowing how to achieve the largest effects for the decorating dollar, when combined with the ability and willingness to perform fixes and enhancements themselves, can turn even a modest decorating budget into a decorating success.
Set a Budget, Then Stick to It
Having a beautiful, expressive home is nice, but expenses such as rent or mortgage and groceries are essential. Also, home decorating does not have a time limit, so waiting weeks or months for the next appliance or piece of furniture is acceptable.
You should honestly calculate your after-tax income, deduct non-negotiable expenses, set aside a small amount for entertainment and relaxation, then allocate a portion of the remaining funds to home decoration. Whenever possible, avoid paying for home decorations with credit cards, payday loans, and other debt-generating sources. It is better to wait than to make your current situation worse.
Become Familiar with Prices before Making a Purchase
There is a plethora of free resources for homeowners seeking to decorate their living quarters. Websites, blogs, catalogs, and online stores can present a variety of furniture, accessories, and materials. Scanning prices before making purchases will minimize the impact of “sticker shock.”
Also, the availability of information and vendors encourages comparing prices and services to maximize your decorating dollars. Make sure you are aware to include taxes, shipping costs, and any hidden fees; a portable calculator or a mathematically inclined friend can prevent you from overestimating or overspending.
Favor Do-It-Yourself Over Hiring Contractors
When budgets are a limiting factor, you can achieve more with your decorating budget by performing your own decorating tasks rather than hiring a contractor or an interior designer. Judicious selection of materials and tools is vital for both short-term and long-term savings; careless spending and selection can cost more than hiring someone.
Researching how to perform tasks, such as installing floors and painting interiors, will prevent costly mistakes as well as provide suggestions for materials and tools that combine value and quality.
Buy Secondhand Furniture When Possible
It is true that there are some pieces of furniture where spending more in exchange for quality and comfort is acceptable. However, for furniture pieces that are not beds or the main sofa, buying used or vintage furniture is a great cost-cutting method.
Thrift stores and reuse centers are great starting points for homeowners seeking cheap furniture. Many furniture stores have clearance items that include “scratch and dent” items that are still in operational, aesthetically pleasing condition. Online forums and marketplaces can also be considered, but you will need to be vigilant to prevent exposing yourself to online scams.
Add Cheap Flair to Bathrooms
Enhancing a bathroom’s aesthetics is a simple and inexpensive matter. Replacing off-color or used towels can have a dramatic effect on a bathroom’s appearance. There is plenty of acceptable middle ground between hand-me-down towels and luxury towels.
Most supermarkets and super-centers will have towels of acceptable color ranges, prices, and quality levels. Supplementary accessories, such as curtain rods, soap dispensers, and bathmats, are not much more expensive to upgrade from generic to eye-catching. A do-it-yourself paint job can set or enhance the bathroom’s color scheme.
Replace Bedroom Fabrics
When homeowners do not have funds to completely re-do their bedrooms, targeted substitutions can achieve visually pleasing effects. A new set of bedsheets paired with a budget-friendly duvet cover can enhance the bed’s appearance. New pillows paired with fresh pillowcases will also improve a bedroom’s appearance with the added benefit of assisting with a good night’s sleep.
Replacing the curtains in bedroom windows can make for an inexpensive way to make one area in the bedroom pop. If you want to show off who you are, this is one way of doing it for a very reasonable cost.
Touch up the Kitchen before Making Costly Replacements
Of course, vital components and accessories such as refrigerators and stoves should be replaced when they stop working or are rendered dangerous to use. For less vital issues, however, a bit of do-it-yourself touch-ups can restore the kitchen’s aesthetics. Careful use of paint or wallpaper can address scratches, dings, and other visually distracting damage.
Refacing cabinets is a cheap alternative to replacing them. Swapping out plumbing fixtures instead of completely replacing the sink is another method of cheaply altering the kitchen’s appearance. Placing accessories or applying paint can create visual divisions between open kitchens and other rooms; giving the kitchen a different theme from the other rooms subtly defines the separate spaces.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.