Decorating on A Budget

how do I decorate on a budget

Moving is expensive. Furnishing and decorating a new place? That’s even more expensive. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to save money when decorating on a budget.

Before getting into this I want to add that I am NOT an interior designer, nor do I have any sense of design, but I am frugal. 🙂

How to Save Money Furnishing Your Home

Ask Your Friends

You can’t go wrong here. You’ve sat on their furniture, you’ve drunk from their glasses and you’ve admired their decorating. Ask around your friend groups, family, and most importantly… your coworkers.

People are always updating and upgrading their furniture and everyone wins when they can hand something down to someone they know versus throwing it away. My high school boss furnished 80% of my first apartment for stupid cheap because she wanted to update her living room – thanks, Krissy!

Buy All Cleaning Items at the Dollar Store

It’s more than likely that your new place will need a good clean and you can’t find cleaning supplies any cheaper than $1.

You can save a lot of money on all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, disinfecting wipes, brushes, sponges, paper towels, dish soap, brooms, mop bucket, and all other basic cleaning needs. here. If this is a short stay or you plan on moving around a lot, you might even consider their plates/bowls/mugs/ etc.

Goodwill Finds

I know buying secondhand has a weird, negative connotation, but you’d be amazed at the good finds at Goodwill and other secondhand stores. Think of all the valuable things you or your family donated because you outgrew it, found something newer, or just didn’t have use for any more that were in perfect condition.

This is a good place to do your shopping early on because it’s where you’ll find things you didn’t know you needed. You might find anything from an oil painting to lightly used pots and pans. I walked away with 4 large wine glasses and 4 coffee mugs for $8!

There’s nothing a good scrub can’t take care of, so don’t buy new if you don’t have to!

Take Advantage of Facebook Marketplace

Facebook marketplace is my favorite. It’s where I’ve purchased the majority of my apartment furniture and where I sold most of my belongings before moving. This is ideal if you’re living in a college town where people are constantly moving and selling their belongings.

Unlike Goodwill, it’s ideal for specific searches and the sellers are often willing to negotiate on the price. Unfortunately though, when buying secondhand you likely won’t get exactly what you’re looking for. For example, you might not find a turquoise 28″ x 28″ coffee table, but you’ll find something close enough to what you’re looking for or cheap enough to customize it how you’d like it.

My most recent Facebook Marketplace jackpot was when I stumbled into a real estate agent selling all of her showing furniture for dirt cheap! I had accumulated all major furniture (couch, chair, tv, tv stand, etc), but I didn’t really have anything on the walls. And because I have almost zero taste in interior design, I leaped at the opportunity to copy someone else’s style.

3 part canvas painting, 2 barstools, a 5 x 7 rug, and a decorative pillow for $90

I suggest going into your search with either an open mind or with a lot of patience.

Look Into Used Furniture Stores

This might work out for you, this might not. I was able to find a sturdy, wooden desk and an office chair, both in relatively good taste, for a total of $80. Used furniture stores are great when you’re decorating on a budget because you can find a lot of good quality items for way cheaper than you could if you wanted to buy new. Again, these weren’t my first choice in design, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and working from home didn’t leave a lot of opportunities to skip out on the office furniture.

I suggest looking at used furniture stores for desks, tv stands, nightstands, tables, etc. Anything you can clean off with one or two disinfecting wipes!

Shop Big

Alright, back to the big chains. Stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, and Big Lots are good places to look for things you’d like to buy unused such as rugs, pillows, throws, bedding, and bath mats… the finer things! I’ve also gotten really lucky with wall canvases and other decorations at these places.

Tips for Decorating on A Budget

  • Keep your options open! I never thought I would own a coral chair, but it adds a lot of color to my living room and I got it for a steal.
  • Set a budget. For example, set a max price of $30 for your coffee table – which is totally feasible – and consider negotiating with the seller.
  • To clean used furniture: sprinkle baking soda over it, leave overnight (or just a few hours), and vacuum it off in the morning. I’d also suggest spraying it with some sort of upholstery cleaner.
  • Get Crafty! Repurpose old items into fun decorations. For example, turning that old fishbowl that’s been collecting dust into a terrarium is the perfect way to add a little life into your new space.

Decorating on a budget doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it does require a lot of patience. I encourage you to explore all secondhand options when furnishing your new place – you’ll be surprised at what you can find!

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