I don’t know about you, but I don’t have thousands of extra dollars in my budget to hire an interior designer or buy upscale home decor pieces. While I love a great piece of furniture or wall art, I can’t seem to justify spending a large sum of money on one single item. Especially since I have 2 dogs and a cat. I don’t want to have to worry about things getting damaged. Plus, I have a really bad habit of wanting to change up my style often.
Through research and a lot of trial and error, I have been able to gather a few tricks that can turn budget home decor ideas into looking expensive when I really haven’t spent much at all.
Two key home decor tips that can save you a ton of money are:
1. Don’t shop without a plan!
You really don’t need an interior designer but you do need to have an over-all concept. Look at lots of magazines or images online and decide which style you would like to mimic. Inventory what you do have, then make a list of what items you need. This prevents you from “shiny object syndrome” and making purchases just because they caught your eye. Be strict and only buy what is on your list!
2. Shop second hand and consignment shops.
I have been able to find amazing pieces in excellent condition from thrift stores and other clearance places. I only buy quality pieces that are well made. No one would ever guess that I paid a fraction of the regular retail price. The only downside is that it does take time and leg work to score a great deal. You have to regularly visit the second hand stores to take advantage of their rotating inventory. Always ask staff if there is a particular day that new items are processed and placed for sale. If they do, make a point to visit on that day.
10 Home Decor Ideas On A Budget
1. Light up dark spaces
When you go through a new model home or look at pictures in a magazine, you may not realize how much lighting has contributed to the decor.
Start to pay attention and you will notice that rooms that look expensive have layers of lighting. They combine both natural and source lighting to make the room look bright, open and spacious.
Take a look at your rooms and make a plan to bring light into every corner. Pot lights, ceiling fixtures and under the counter strip lights are a few of the ways you can do that.
If you are on a very tight budget, consider adding floor or table lamps and keep window treatments to a minimum to let in more natural light. You can find fantastic thrift store lamps and light fixtures for really cheap, and they will instantly add more light to your space. If you already have lamps, maybe a new shade in a translucent fabric is all you need.
2. Group items in odd multiples
Home decor that looks expensive, looks seamless with the decor around it. You can make a bold statement with throw pillows or a great centrepiece. But what will give the illusion of a well-thought-out design is having multiples of the same item.
For example, candles, florals, and throw pillows that match in colour, texture or pattern, will tie in a space and make it look more upscale. Odd numbers rule when it comes to creating focal points, so try to group items in 3’s or 5’s.
3. Mix high-end and low-end pieces
You don’t have to buy all the high-end decor for your space to look beautiful. Let’s say that you have a nice couch. Your high-end piece would be the couch, but your low-end pieces could be accent chairs.
Place matching throw pillows on all and drape a blanket over an arm to bring the space together. The throw pillows will give a beautiful pop of colour, and the blanket will add a cozy look, giving your whole living area the illusion of being more elegant.
4. Give your thrift decor a little refresh
There are very few home decor pieces that can’t be fixed with a fresh coat of paint! If you find a lovely vase, but it’s starting to look a little faded, consider adding a new coat of paint! This will make the whole vase look brand new, even though you bought it at a steep discount!
You can also use silk florals or bamboo sticks to upgrade an old vase to make it look more high end than it is!
For those of you that are more adventurous, try to upgrade a piece of furniture using chalk paint for that shabby chic look everyone is into now. You can watch tutorials on You-Tube or take a DIY class at your local hardware store to learn how to do it properly. If you are going to tackle this type of project all on your own, start with small projects before trying to paint grandma’s antique hutch.
5. Stick with neutral colours
The reason why minimalist homes look so elegant is because of the neutral palette that is often used as the foundation of a space. Using white or beige on the walls makes any room look bigger and thus more high end. Use blacks, grays, and browns as accents and you have a design that is easy on the eyes and restful to the soul. When you are trying to make a thrifted decor piece look expensive, apply the same approach. Stick with a neutral colour, and it will stand out against the other pieces but still blend in.
Paint is expensive. And many people are really bad at choosing colours for their walls. Save yourself money and frustration and just go with white. It looks crisp and clean and very chic.
6. Add Textiles
Soft surfaces are a huge part of any good room design. But pillows and curtains can be really expensive. If you already have pillows and you love the size of them, take a trip to the local fabric store and make your own pillow covers or you can buy ready made pillow covers online. That will fancy up your room for a fraction of the cost.
Consider making your own window sheers and make sure they skim the floor for a real luxurious look. Or buy one inch slat vertical blinds, which are super cheap, for a clean, minimalist look.
7. Less is More
Even the most expensive room decor can look cheap and gaudy when it is over-done. Keep your room decluttered and lots of floor space visible. When creating a new room decor, it is so easy to get over-enthusiastic. Always add only one main piece at a time and re-asses the space. Live with it for awhile before you add more. Sometimes taking away pieces of furniture or downsizing decor makes everything left stand out more and feel more classy.
8. Add Mouldings
Crown moulding, door and window casings and wainscoting are easy ways to upgrade any room and make it feel luxurious. And they aren’t as expensive as you think they are. You can get them in a fibreboard composite and already primed. You will be amazed at the difference of swapping out builder’s grade moulding for something slightly wider. It will add elegance to your room instantly!
9. Add texture
Matchy matchy doesn’t always present as high end. Try incorporating a variety of woods, glass, metals, and wicker to create a home with flair. If you’re on a budget, a faux-fur blanket or sheepskin throw on your couch and fun pillows in chunky knit cases add variety while brushed metal accent pieces or a reclaimed wood coffee table add class. Wicker baskets add warmth and you can find them at second hand shops at a fraction of the cost of new. While you are there, check for other pieces you can spray paint in a nice metal finish.
10. Large Wall Art
One focal point in a room is a great way to make your home decor look polished. A large piece of wall art can do that for you with very little effort. If you can’t find something you love, consider enlarging a photo that you took while on vacation or why not buy a large blank canvas at a craft shop and make your own! Resist the urge to buy a ton of small pictures that look cluttered and mean nothing to you and opt for one large piece that invokes conversation.
Just because you are on a budget, doesn’t mean your home has to look like it. It does take a little more mental work to pull it altogether on the cheap, but it can be done. You can have a home that looks upscale without spending a ton.