How to Decorate Your House on a Budget

How to Decorate Your House on a Budget

One thing I like to do is save money. Which works out because spending it is my husband’s favorite thing to do. I learned early on in our marriage how to stretch a dollar and I think it helped that my mom was that way as well. Growing up we didn’t spend money frivolously. We only bought the essentials. Then when I got married, as most newlyweds, we received hand me down furniture so I was always looking for ways to make it still look nice. It was always hard learning how to decorate your house on a budget.

Thank goodness that upcycling came into style around that time and I had a dear friend who was amazing at decorating and upcycling. She helped me out so much! But I am very excited to introduce to you another friend of mine who is just as great! She is a fellow blogger and wrote this awesome guest post for me to share with you! I hope you enjoy!

How to Decorate Your House on a Budget - Mom Blog From Home


Hi, I’m Emily! I’m stopping by from The Modest Cottage where I blog about cooking, baking, cleaning, sewing, DIY and holidays. Everything that makes a house a home.

One of the things I love is DIY home décor. I’m a pretty crafty and creative person, so creating my own home décor gives me a creative outlet. I also have 4 kids and I’m a stay at home mom, so there isn’t exactly a big budget for home décor. That’s ok because I can find ways to create the things that I want.

Home Decor on a budget

Have you ever seen something in a magazine or catalog, maybe a cool lamp or a piece of art and thought “I can make that myself”? I think that all the time. Have you ever set out to create said item only to spend much time and more money than the original would’ve cost? I’ve done that too. Just because you make something your self-doesn’t guarantee that you will save money.

Lucky for you I have found ways to keep the cost of DIY home décor to a minimum and I’m here to share them with you today.

First things first, I love old stuff. If something is rusty, faded or has chipping paint I want it for my house. This aesthetic can be a blessing and a curse. Sometimes these types of items are considered antiques, which means they can carry a hefty price tag. If you shop for antiques at an antique shop you will pay antique shop prices.

Flea Markets

I, however, have purchased many antiques at Flea Markets. Church Flea Markets are pretty big where I live and in the summer there is a flea market every other week. Every once in awhile you will find antiques that are priced as antiques, but usually, everything is priced to sell. The Flea Market is a fundraiser for the Church, so they want to move items.

If vintage or antique is your design choice a flea market is a great place to shop. Obviously, the selection will be a bit limited, but the price per item is crazy low. I have bought so many things at Church Flea Markets over the years and found a lot of nice things, saved myself some money and kept a few things out of the landfill. Win-win-win!

Yard Sales

Another great option is shopping yard sales. Yard sale season is also in the summer, so plan accordingly. Last summer we were shopping at a neighborhood yard sale and saw a sign for a Church flea market that was happening that same day. We went home to drop off our yard sale purchases and then headed over to the flea market. We scored a few great items there too, but it was a lot for our kids. They did pretty well, but after awhile they were bored.


budget decorating

Bought this milk can at a yard sale for about $10 and I use it as a side table

Yard sales are great because you can negotiate on price. Most people having a yard sale are trying to clean out and make a little money, so most sellers are willing to negotiate the price. Another option at yard sales is bundling items. If you find several items that you want offer a price for the whole lot instead of paying individual prices for each. As long as you offer a reasonable amount most sellers will take your offer.

Garbage Picking

This next one may be a bit controversial. Garbage picking/dumpster diving. I have saved many items that were tossed to the curb, but I have never retrieved anything from a dumpster. That being said it’s basically the same idea. Someone else’s trash is now your treasure.

budget decorating

I have a cabinet in my kitchen, probably from the ‘40s or ‘50s that I pulled from the curb in my neighborhood. An old wooden toolbox from another neighbors garbage and a bookshelf from neighbors that were moving. My son found an old cabinet on the side of the road in our neighborhood and suggested that I use it to store my sewing supplies that I keep in our dining room. It is destined to be re-done to look like a pie safe.

I found this toolbox in my neighbor’s trash and bought this oxidized copper tub at the same yard sale where I bought the milk can.

My daughter’s headboard and footboard were also rescued from the garbage. After sanding and a few layers of pink spray paint, it looks fantastic in her bedroom. I even garbage picked a headboard and footboard that we ended up not using and then I sold it on Facebook for $20. That’s a whole other blog post right there.

Shop Your House

If you look around your house you probably have things lying around that could be repurposed into something else. I created a piece of artwork for above our fireplace with a piece of plywood I found in the garage, baseboard/door trim and leftover paint. I didn’t spend a dime on the project, because I already had everything I needed on hand.

budget decorating

Most homeowners have leftover paint in their garage and perhaps some scrap wood or leftover tiles. Even if you aren’t that handy you probably have a few leftover home improvement materials that you can use for another project. The same goes for craft supplies. Before you go to the craft store to buy something for a project check through your leftovers for necessary supplies. There is a good chance you already have what you need or something that will work for your project.

I have so many fabric scraps, yarn, buttons and craft paints that I usually have some or all the supplies I need for any project. The key is checking before you go to the store, which I am guilty of forgetting. Then I get home and find that I already had what I needed, so then I either have to make a return or save the newly purchased supply for another project. If you are organized you can avoid buying unnecessary items. I’m still working on this.

Second-Hand Shops

Second-hand shops such as Goodwill or thrift stores are great resources when decorating on a budget. My best advice is to shop often to find what you are looking for and shop the stores in well to do areas. The second-hand items will be higher quality and higher end. You may not even have to do anything to those second-hand items other than a thorough cleaning.

If the pieces you find are in good shape, but not your taste consider painting, tiling or re-upholstering to make the piece work with your style. Also, think outside the box. Just because a piece of furniture is intended for one type of use doesn’t mean it can’t be used for another. A dresser could be a media console, a coffee table could be turned into an ottoman and a buffet could be a dresser. Look past the color, scratches and past life to see the full potential. Just don’t buy crap. If something was made cheaply and falling apart you will have to put far too much time and money into it to make it work.


I have also inherited a few items from my late Grandmother. A sewing table with a sewing machine that I use as a table in my entryway. I also got a French Provincial chair that was my Grandmother’s. It was also painted gold with periwinkle blue crushed velvet upholstery, not exactly my taste. I painted it with white paint that I had on hand and purchased new fabric with a 50% off coupon. I have a brand new piece for a fraction of the cost to buy brand new or in an antique shop.

budget decorating

Sales, Clearance, and Coupons

It is rare that I pay full price for brand new items. It’s also rare that I buy brand new in general. Remember that I said that I like things that are old, so I prefer for things to be authentically old rather than a mass-produced, brand new made to look old item.

That being said, sometimes I will find something brand new that I really like and want to buy. I wait for it to go on sale and make a point of checking the clearance aisle. I just make sure that I love whatever the clearance item is or that someone else that I know will love it. Clearance items can’t be returned, so if I end up not loving a clearance item I will give it to someone as a gift.

I also shop at Joann Fabrics, a lot. If you are paying full price at Joann Fabrics you are missing a major opportunity. They always have hundreds of items on sale and crazy good coupons, plus they take competitors coupons.

The only time I pay full price at Joann Fabrics is if I really need an item right now and I have already used all the available coupons on other items in my order. Joann Fabrics always uses coupons on the most expensive items in your order, so rest assured that if you are paying full price for something and using coupons you are still getting the best deal.

Hand Me Downs

Last but not least, let people know that you take unwanted items. Some people don’t want to go through the hassle of yard sales or Craig’s List. If they know that you take unwanted or leftover items they will gladly offer them to you for free just to easily get them out of their house.

budget decorating
My kitchen table, stove and a dresser that I use as an entertainment console was given to me by the same family. They knew that I took hand me downs, so they offered those items to me for free and I gladly took them off their hands. The table and dresser are slated to be re-done this summer. I also have another two dressers, an end table, a mirror and leftover paint given to me by my parents. They almost always offer their unwanted items to me first. They know that if something isn’t exactly what I want that I will change it to work for me.

budget decorating

Two hand me down dressers and the tv was a hand me down from one of my husband’s coworkers.

There are a lot of great ways to decorate on a budget though they may not be as easy as walking into a furniture store and pointing at the items you want and then paying for them. If you like DIY projects then this is definitely a great way to save money on your hobby.

What if you aren’t very good at DIY projects or you don’t have the time? Perhaps you have many Pinterest fails under your belt or you have a crazy busy schedule. Don’t worry this method of decorating can work for you too. Think about your family and friends. I’m sure you know someone that could help you with your projects. If you work side by side you’ll learn so much and have the confidence to tackle some projects on your own.

If you don’t have the time you may know someone who can do it for you. You could offer to pay especially if this person does this as a side job or main job. You could also offer to make them some brownies or maybe swap services. Think of what you have the time to offer in return for someone painting a dresser or tiling a table top. Babysitting, grocery shopping, do their taxes whatever you feel is a fair swap. You are trying to save money, so do whatever you can to keep the cost down.

Do you use some of these techniques to decorate on a budget? What other ways do you save money on home décor? Let me know in the comments.

For more DIY home décor ideas visit

That is some awesome tips and advice on how to decorate your house on a budget! There is always more to learn and that is why I love blogging so much! So many wonderful people out there are willing to share with everyone their tips and secrets to success!

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