Monday, January 12, 2015

Homemaking On A Dime: Decorating Your Home

Welcome to the first installment of the Homemaking on a Dime series! I am really excited to kick it off today, talking about decorating your home with a small budget. Even if your decorating budget isn't that small, who doesn't love saving money and finding things for a steal? 
I recently found out, when we moved and downsized, that moving is really stinkin' expensive. There are tons of hidden costs and unexpected things always come up, even when you've planned well. Not to mention that many of the items from your old home simply don't work in your new home. I made as much of my old decor work as I could, but there were several rooms in my home where I was pretty much starting from scratch. Curtains and pillows and frames and hooks all add up really fast! Here are some ways that I stretched my dollar. 
Go slow
This is obviously a really simple tip, but I feel like it needs to be said. When we bought our first house, I wanted everything done right away, so I went and bought a bunch of cheap stuff like $5 Wal-Mart curtains just to get stuff up and "done". Well, of course, within a year or two I hated everything and wanted to redecorate my entire house. This time, I made a vow to myself that I would go slow. I would really live in the space and get a feel for how I use it before I completely finish a room, and I will really think about my style and ONLY buy and place things in my home that fit within that vision! Yes, it can be frustrating to have bare windows or no rug in a room for months and months, but this also gives you a chance to really think about if that is the item you want, and also to save up for it! 
Bring out old items
One of my favorite things that I have been doing is re-using my own decor items. When I get sick of an item, I will put it in our storage area and then I don't see it for awhile. When I get sick of my new decor, I go down and look through things and come up with a totally new arrangement, and for free! This works well if you get sick of the same thing after awhile. I love swapping out things here and there on my big Ikea shelf to give it a completely new feel! It also works well to move things from room to room. Just because the owl has always lived in my living room, doesn't mean I couldn't move it to a bathroom shelf, or the girls' dresser. Most of the items I've brought from my old house into my new one aren't in the same rooms that they were there! 

DIY
This one goes without saying, and if you aren't a DIY'er, don't hate me for this! Hear me out. DIY'ing can be frustrating if you don't feel like you are good at it, but it doesn't have to be complicated. That yellow chalk board on my big shelf? Yeah that thing was like $2 at a craft store (either Joann's or Michael's, I can't remember) and had an unfinished frame, so I just painted it with yellow craft paint to match my curtains. DIY'ing can certainly save money sometimes, but sometimes you have to be careful. I have looked into making my own curtains several times, and it has never been cheaper to buy all of the fabric I would need than to buy curtains from Target. Ever! Doing it yourself is also a great way to get your home decorated in the "in between". I have this giant wall next to my kitchen table that I have had an idea for, but I don't currently have time or supplies for it, so the wall just sat blank for 6+ months. I finally decided one day on a whim to put this banner up that I had made for my daughter's birthday party! I have ended up liking it so much (it is huge so it takes up the whole wall), that I am going to make one for each season and then change them out. The banner template was just a few dollars at Hobby Lobby, plus the cost of scrapbook paper (next to nothing), and I can use both sides of it, so I only need 2 to do all 4 seasons! Score! Someday, I will get around to my big project, but for now, this easy DIY is filling in just fine. 

Gifts
This one can be tricky, but if you have family and/or friends who want specific gift ideas from you, this is a great way to get home decor! For my birthday last summer, my mom wanted to get me something for the new house, but wasn't sure what I needed or wanted. When she was here visiting, she noticed that we had no comforter or bed set and that was because I had been saving up to buy the one I wanted, so she got it for me for my birthday instead! If you have a birthday or holiday coming up within a few months, maybe you can hold out on a specific item of decor until then.

Functional decor
Sometimes, items you already need in your home are really cute. Use these as decor! I saw on instagram the other day, a lady posted a picture of her new fish and joked that it was doubling as decor, but it totally was! She had it in a super cute little apothecary jar, with colorful rocks that matched her decor, and on a pretty tray. Genius! Now she has a fish for her kids, and decor for that corner of her house! Honey, if you were ever going to actually convince me to get a fish, this is the way...
We got this little caddy system at Ikea {rail//basket//hooks//jars. In my kitchen it doubles as decor and a functional and necessary item. I need all of those things, and now it is all pretty to look at as well! 

Less is more
If you can't afford to completely decorate, or overhaul an entire room, think about what is going to make the biggest difference in the room. Personally, I always think window treatments make a huge difference and are such a statement. They change the whole feel of a room and make it look completely different. Not to mention, they make things feel a lot cozier and more homey! Maybe you don't have enough in your budget to buy all the pieces you want for your gallery wall, so while you are collecting them, hang something you already have instead. Then work on collecting your stuff over time. 
Other money saving decor ideas include:
::Thrift shopping:: Goodwill, local thrift shops, garage sales, Facebook sale pages, etc.
::Shopping sales:: Looking for Cartwheel deals, coupons, or waiting until things go on sale.
::"Cheap" stores:: Stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, etc. often have really inexpensive decor items. Ikea is another great place to go for things like lighting, plants, frames, and more. Some Ikea items will ship, if you don't have a store locally.
::Swap with friends:: If you are like me and get sick of the same thing, see if you have any friends who would want to swap some decor pieces with you! 
If you have any other tips or ideas for decorating your home on the cheap, please leave them in the comments below! I would love to read them!! 
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