If you want some frugal and thrifty decorating ideas, you’re in the right place. We all want our homes to look beautiful, but not at a premium price. So if you’re on a budget and need some help, it’s easier than you think!
I get it – you go to Target for a few things. And you can’t help but look at all the gorgeous home decor. It’s hard to walk on by and not let something hop into your cart.
But, you’re on a budget.
And $24.99 for a basket isn’t part of that budget. Or you get an email from your favorite home store and they have tons of amazing items “on-sale”. But even “on-sale” isn’t in your budget right now.
Being on a budget or financial plan can feel like a real pain sometimes because it doesn’t allow those instant gratification feelings of buying something new and pretty right now. But, put it into the long term perspective.
Those instant feelings are often fleeting. And the feelings you’ll have when that credit card statement arrives are not fleeting. They suck. And you’ll often wonder why you bought all that stuff in the first place.
So what do you do? You want your house to look amazing. But you’re either broke as hell or limited on money. Get creative, DIY, and learn to live within your means and you can still have a gorgeous house with these thrifty and frugal decorating ideas.
Thrifty and Frugal Decorating Ideas
And no – you don’t have to become an expert in DIY or transform all your trash into treasure. And you certainly don’t have to go without just to be thrifty. There are incredible ways to decorate on a budget and your budget will thank you for it.
And the best part is, you won’t end up with feelings of guilt because you overspent on things you don’t even need.
Shop Your House For Decor
This might sound crazy but shop your own house first. Look in drawers, closets, those hidden bins under the beds. Where have you stashed things and forgotten all about them? I’m willing to bet you have more than you think. Do you have a random collection of vases or glass jars? Make that a focal point on your mantel or create a vignette on a buffet.
It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Do you have a collection of cool books? Wrap some twine around a few and make it decor. Or find a group of similar objects as I did with the green glass below and make them a collection. All of those items were already in my house when I redid the mantel. Free is the best kind of thrifty and frugal decorating!
Decluttering can make a huge difference in how your house looks and feels. If you look around and you literally have crap piled everywhere, then thrifty decorating isn’t your main concern right now.
If it’ll just get buried beneath piles of stuff, there’s no point in bringing in something else to “look pretty”. Start small – maybe one room at a time. Decluttering has more than one advantage:
- You get rid of the junk so you can actually enjoy your decor
- There may be items you can sell so you have money for different decor
- Your space will look cleaner and more organized (better for you to showcase all your pretties)
- You’ll know what you actually already own. No more buying stuff just to uncover that you already had 10 of whatever you just bought.
Decluttering Your House = Free Decorating
Even if you just do one room at a time, you’ll be amazed at how much calmer your house feels once there isn’t stuff everywhere.
DIY Your Own Thrifty Decor
You don’t have to become an arts and crafts master and you don’t have to possess major skills to DIY. There are so many simple DIY thrifty decorating ideas that won’t cost you much in supplies and won’t take up all of your time.
It can be something as simple as painting a pot like this terra-cotta pot makeover or making a super easy DIY floral hoop wreath. Both of these projects cost only a few bucks and about 30 minutes to make. You can find cheap craft supplies at the dollar store, hobby stores, or big box stores like Wal-Mart or Target.
Repurpose and Reuse
Maybe you have a few things that just aren’t your style anymore. Before you toss them to the trash or donation pile, decide if there is a way you can repurpose and reuse them. The term “upcycle” has gained a lot of popularity over the last several years. And it’s not by accident.
Repurposing an object keeps it out of the landfills, saves you money, and is one of the best ways to be a frugal decorator.
Old glass jars can become pretty bathroom storage for your toiletries or makeup products. Or use them for vases – I use spaghetti and taco sauce jars for vases. Wash them good, take the labels off (olive oil helps remove sticky residue), and boom – free vases in all sizes and shapes.
- Old jars can be used tons of different ways like vases, storage, change holders, and the list is endless
- Turn an old picture frame into a serving tray
- Wrap boxes in a decorative paper for drawer organizers
- Use old soup cans to make pretty storage jars for markers, pens, or other art supplies
Learn To Paint
Paint will become your new best friend when you’re decorating on a budget. It’s one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to completely transform the look of a room or piece of furniture.
Painting furniture or decor is a game-changer when it comes to your budget!
Spray paint is an easy way to start if you’re not comfortable with brushes yet. One of my favorite examples is a lamp. Check out any thrift or junk store and you’re likely to find some pretty hideous looking lamps. But. If the lamp functions properly, but it’s just ugly, you can fix that in no time with a $4 can of spray paint.
All of the lamps in my living room are thrifted and spray painted. Remove the shade, put painters tape on the cord so you don’t spray it, and cover any parts where the bulb screws in. If it’s a shiny metal finish, you can use a spray primer to make sure your paint adheres. When the primer dries, use two or three light coats of spray paint and you’ll have a brand new lamp for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
Helpful article – A Complete Beginners Guide to Painting Wood Furniture
Or if you feel comfortable with using a paintbrush, it won’t take much to completely change the look of a piece of furniture. You can certainly use spray paint on furniture, but if it’s a big piece, it may not be as cost-effective as brushing.
Rearrange A Room
Sometimes it’s not a matter of whether you need or want new decor. But maybe you just need a refresh or rearrangement of what you already own.
Rearranging furniture or swapping out decor can make a room look and feel new again.
A different arrangement makes it feel fresh. Rearrange your furniture, change up the art on the walls even if you just swap it out with different rooms in your house. No tools required and it’s 100% budget-friendly decorating.
Change the furniture placement, switch a rug from a different room, swap chairs, change the mantel decor, swap lamps, replace the pillows on the couch with pillows from another room, and on and on.
Maybe one of the best thrifty decorating ideas is to simplify your house. If you don’t like the look of a room, start by taking most of it out. Then only put back what you love. Just because you own 40 vases doesn’t mean you need to have them all on display.
Just because you loved it once, doesn’t mean you have to love it forever.
Or it could be that one time you mentioned that you loved clocks or lanterns or cat statues. And from here until eternity, someone is going to gift you a clock, lantern, or cat statue. So you end up with a thrift store full of cat statues. And maybe you don’t even like them anymore. Get rid of them. It’s ok. And make it known that your cat statue days are over.
Sometimes simple decor is the best. One large picture on the wall instead of a gallery of random things. Decorate with what you actually love, not with what you think you should love.
It’s hard to let go of things sometimes because they hold a special memory or they are sentimental because they belonged to a family member. And by all means, if you love it, keep it. But if it’s not your style and you don’t appreciate it anymore, it’s time to let it go. Go all Marie Kondo on it and tell it that it no longer sparks joy in you so it’s gone.
Organize a Decor Swap
I have a friend that was always my partner in crime when it came to shopping. Junk stores, thrift stores, estate sales, and yard sales were our favorite things. And sometimes we swapped out decor with each other. If she got tired of something, she might pass it on to me and vice versa. If a piece of furniture was no longer needed in one of our houses, we’d ask the other if they had a use for it.
You don’t always have to buy things. Check with your friends and family. Or host a decor swap party at your house. Invite a few friends and everyone brings things they no longer want. Then you can swap. Again – 100% free, thrifty, and frugal decorating. It doesn’t get much more frugal than free!
Find The Right Places to Shop for Thrifty Decorating
If you’re on a budget that doesn’t mean you don’t ever get to decorate. You just need to know how to shop strategically and find the right places to shop.
- Online yardsales
- Thrift stores
- Estate Sales
- Yard Sales
- After season clearance sales
- Amazon – seriously, what don’t they sell??
Yardsales and estate sales can be goldmines for decorating! Go towards the end of the sales and you might not have the best selection, but you’ll likely get a better price.
Use your local online yardsales – you often have to be quick about these and definitely be safe, but there’s no shortage of people selling stuff. Especially around the new year when people are in decluttering mode, after holidays when they unload decor they didn’t use, and if you live in a college town as I do – May and August are huge times to get great deals.
Hit up the local thrift stores on Mondays or Tuesdays after the donations have come pouring in over the weekend. Or check to see if they have 50% off days, discounts for students or military.
And of course, the retail giant Amazon. They sell literally everything. One of my favorite frugal decorating items is from Amazon – these faux flowers. They are marketed as wedding bouquet flowers, but I use them around my house in vases or for a pretty summer wreath. The quality is amazing and they’re less than $10!
Decide What’s Most Important
What is it that you want for your house? Of course, we want it to look amazing, but choose what’s most important to you at the moment. If you’re just starting out, don’t rush it. I’m the most impatient person ever, but I’ve learned a few lessons about this. Every time I’ve tried to do too much at once in my house, I end up overspending on things I don’t even like in three months.
You don’t have to decorate all at once. And you certainly don’t need to go in huge amounts of debt to make your house look nice.
Frugal doesn’t mean cheap. If you have a need for something like a new couch or table, decide how much you can spend, save the money, and get something of value that will last. It might mean that you have to skip out on a few other decor items for the time being, but it’s worth it.
Part of the secret of thrifty decorating is knowing what to spend your money on. Make sure you love it and it adds value to your home. If you go into Target and come out with a cart full of random stuff that you have no idea where you’ll even put it, is that really adding value to your home?
But if you can shop smart, be choosy about what you actually bring to your house, and stick to your budget, then that’s thrifty decorating at it’s finest.