If asked, most of us would say that having our home look its best is at least somewhat important to us. While that may be true, very few people have unlimited funds when it comes to designing their living space attractively. If you find yourself living in new digs, or moving in to your first apartment ever, here are several savvy strategies that will have you decorating with style.

Consider the source.

Heading straight to the home design showroom is a sure route to overspending. Many of the items you need can be purchased from other sources. For example, if you’re sprucing up your bathroom, you may be better off at your nearest box hardware store. Towel warmers and tilt-out-drawer kits are much less expensive at locations like this, provided you’re comfortable using a screwdriver. You can also find ways to decorate your kitchen at the hardware store, provided you’re willing to install your own cabinet hardware and hang a few s-hooks by yourself. Scratch and dent sales and store closings are other ways I’ve scored designer furniture items for less.

Minimalism makes great budget decorating sense.

Obviously, you’re not going to want to spend all your time in an empty home with no aesthetic elements on site. That’s not what I’m suggesting. What I am suggesting however, is that embracing a more minimalistic or Zen style of home decorating will enable you to live stylishly while skipping the cost of extra trinkets and doodads other people may deem necessary. Also, by living with fewer items, you have the option to indulge in a handful of furniture and decorative items that might otherwise be out of financial reach if you had gone with another design theme.

Loft decorating is one of the most flexible and affordable design choices available to you.

Because it’s suitable for raw, unfinished spaces, embracing loft-style decorating allows you to say yes to affordable rentals others might turn their noses up at accepting. So if you can get groovy with living in one large open area with the bathroom being your only walled-in space, you might find you’re able to live affordably in some of the more conveniently-located parts of town. While lofts will sink you lots of cash in cities like New York, there are plenty of smaller towns where the owner of that two-bay car repair garage would be thrilled to have a paying tenant living over his business. Extra cash flow and the security of someone on the premises are worth a great deal to struggling entrepreneurs, so skipping the condo just might net you the deal you’re hoping for.

Hit the road for affordable, stylish decorating supplies.

If you love to travel, then hitting the road may be the answer to your budget decorating dreams. Many of those items you have your eye on at places like Pier One, World Market and even Macy’s can be purchased for a song on your next adventure vacation. The truth is travel decorating brings depth and diversity to an otherwise run-of-the-mill decorating palette. Large scarves can be used as decorative linens for smaller tables you may be using to hold other pieces of artwork such as statues or treasured family photos. Woven tribal runners make great dining table accent linens or a decorative addition to an unused breakfast bar. China, pottery and even crystal serving dishes can all be purchased affordably around the world in places like Sri Lanka, Prague and even Poland.

Decorating on a budget doesn’t have to spell aesthetic disaster. A little flexibility and planning with regards to supply sources and design choices will take you a long way.

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.