We’ve all heard it: A house doesn’t become a home unless you make it so. And one of the biggest things you can do to make your house a home is to decorate it. There are a lot of strategies out there that will teach you how to decorate, but not all of them are budget conscious. These five tips will give you room to be creative without robbing money from other parts of your life.
A Tactic for Large Wall Space
Large walls are hard to decorate. It seems like you either need to purchase a large piece of artwork or hang a zillion family pictures. You can do those things, but there’s another approach: wall quilts. A wall quilt hangs from a curtain rod (which is easy to put up yourself) via clips. The quilt can establish your main color scheme (such as dark colors versus light), set the them or set the tone (conversation-oriented versus kids playroom-oriented).
Additionally, quilts don’t cost a lot of money if you buy from eBay. Many people sell antique and used quilts. You can get them in a variety of sizes (including small “crib quilts”) and colors. Depending upon the size and quality of the quilt you’ll pay from about $40 up to $300.
Get Some Help
You can enlist your family’s help in two ways. The first is the obvious way: Ask those who are artistic to lend their advice. Invite them over for lunch or dinner followed by a brainstorming session.
The second way is what you might call a “decoration swap.” We all have those items that don’t mean much to us but that someone else would love to use. Schedule a day where your family gets together and everybody brings decoration items they don’t need or want. This includes wall hangings, left over paint and trim, fake plants, trinkets and anything else you can think of. Then barter away.
Put up Shelves or Bookshelves
Shelves add a lot of value to a room beyond being a place to put stuff. They are, perhaps, one of the biggest chances you have to be creative. For example, you can use shelves to build an entire wall display. Then you can paste wall paper behind the shelves (so it’s in the background of your display) and/or set the shelves off with a different color of paint. Imagine it as your personal art display. Additionally, this will make your room appear more organized and even give it that cozy feel. Since you can hang (and even build) the shelves yourself this approach is great on the pocket book.
Use bookshelves to break up a large room to make it more manageable. Many houses have a living room and dining room with no clear separation. For example, my front door opens with the dining room on the right and living room on the left. We used a book shelf on our right to help break the rooms apart (we also put a couch on the left).
Shop Around for Furniture
Furniture is a little like technology: Even the used stuff is expensive if you get it in the wrong place. Similarly, a lot of people are selling furniture simply because they don’t want it anymore – not because there’s anything wrong with it. So pay attention to third-party service (like Craigslist and thrift stores). I’ve found that the best way to find furniture I like at the price I want is to use an application on my phone (I use Craigslist). I check the application several times a day. Many times I find something a like but not at the price I want to pay, only to see it later at a reduced price that fits my budget.
Paint One Wall or Section
Yes, you can do that. There’s no social norm that say you must paint the entire room. Pick one or two walls to paint it a different color. If done correctly this can add contrast to your room (such as a vibrant red next to a cream white) and even change the tone of your room. For example, you might paint one wall a light blue (or another color that helps you relax), and then build a reading or napping station next to that wall.
Decorating should be fun – after all, you have to live with whatever memories you create during the process. So help make it fun by keeping the budget under control. This will leave you free to focus on turning your house into your home.
Tim Richmond is a writer, amateur historian and blogger who writes about the economy, finance, sustainable living and home ownership. He currently writes for the Native American home loan specialists 1st Tribal Lending.