How to Decorate on a Budget

Decorating on a budget is a creative exercise and not one to be tackled half-heartedly. While it's harder to decorate when you're under severe financial constraints, it can also be a lot more rewarding and personal than having an open or extensive wallet. Following a tight decorating budget will force you to think in many creative and exciting ways to resolve decorating needs in a more hands-on and personalized fashion. Don't be put off by the thought; instead, see this as an exciting and very doable challenge.


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    Budget, budget, budget! Figure out how much money you have to spend. This creates your decorating budget baseline and it will need to be divided carefully amongst all the different ideas you have in mind. A good way to do this is to draw up columns on a page and go through each room that you want decorated and write down your ideas. Then assess those ideas against the budget you have and determine what is non-negotiable, negotiable so you can save money as much as possible, and who knows you might spend less than your budget and reward yourself while you transform your room into a brilliant place!
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    Begin bargain hunting. At this stage, your decorating budget needs to be spent as wisely and carefully as possible so that there might be dollars left over for splurges. There are a range of possible places where you might find your decorating needs but here are some of the key ones for the budget conscious:
    • Online auctions and trading posts: you will find all the things in the world in an online auction. Don't stick to the one well-known site either - look around for niche auction sites, for local sites, for competitor sites as well. Although shipping and delivery are considerations to keep in mind, it is likely you can find a wealth of incredible things online that will help your decorating endeavors. Also check out trading posts online, classifieds, freecycle, etc.
    • Store outlets: Outlets can provide you with a huge range of items reduced heavily. You'll need a car, or a friend with a car, and a fair bit of time to browse. Some outlets also have online storefronts.
    • Box stores: There can be interesting items in box stores at great prices. Be careful though - the cheap price may not be worth the short-term durability and classiness of the items bought.
    • Flea markets, craft markets, car boot sales (UK), yard sales, etc: You will be amazed what you can unearth in these types of markets. You can decorate solely on the finds from such places if you're clever and patient!
    • Live auctions: Spend some time looking over goods that interest you in auction houses and watch how the bidding goes. Set your limit and join in up to that amount! You will probably need a car or some form or transportation arranged to take home your items.
    • Decorate according to a theme. Decorating on a budget doesn't mean creating an eclectic mixture of anything goes unless that's the look you're after! Select a theme that is ideal for you and follow it through the best that you can. Keep this theme in mind whenever purchasing, including color matches, textures, patterns, era, etc.
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    Keep in mind the layout of the room. Whether it is rectangular in shape,or if it has windows etc.This is important if you rearrange furniture because you should know where you can put it to make it look organised. You also will find this important if you are to change the wallpaper etc.
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    Use some cute stuff. Curtains, posters, mobiles, and any stuff that makes your room cool!


  • Thrift shops are an excellent place for deals. Most of the larger chains will give you an even better deal after the item has been on the floor for a certain period of time. Ask to speak to the manager. They want the floor space so they can move more items out of the backroom.
  • If you're decorating for an event, such as a party, or a wedding, the same principles can apply, only you need to focus on relevant outlets/sales places that specialize in the items that you're after. Online can be a great place to start.
  • Good sites to check out include Craigslist, Yahoo Groups, eBay, Freecycle, vendor stores, specialized stores and online marketers. Use the search engine to its greatest advantage by selecting good research words to find the items you're seeking.

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Categories: Budget Decorating