Three Tips for Decorating on a Budget

decorating on a budgetHome decorating can be extremely expensive, especially when you’re trying to pay off debt or save up for a down payment on your first home. It’s tough to decorate on a budget during that transition phase when you’re too old to still have plastic shelving like in your college dorm days but you’re too broke to afford the quality furniture your parents own.

You may be asking yourself if it’s worth it to splurge on high quality furniture even though it may cause you to defer some of your other goals, such as paying off credit cards or student loans. But at the same time, you’re fed up with settling for second-hand furniture.

This is the exact dilemma I found myself in when we recently moved from our one-room loft to a two-bedroom townhome. We suddenly found ourselves with more space and no furniture to fill itâ”we didn’t even have a dining table!

However, I didn’t let my desire to decorate our home negatively affect our bottom dollar budget. Here are my top three tips for decorating on a budget:

Decide what you can live without

We had a lot of furniture to buy when we moved, and there was no way on our limited budget that we could afford to buy everything brand spankin’ new.

We decided at the beginning to budget on the bigger items, such as a new couch, a dining table and a desk for the spare bedroom that we decided to turn into an office/man room.

We found all our large items on Craigslist after scouring for days. We paid $150 for a large sectional couch that easily would have cost several hundred brand new.

We also scored a seven-piece dining room set for $250 plus a large brown wall mirror for $100. And the large oak desk for the man room was $150.

In total, $650 was spent on four solid furniture and décor pieces that easily would have cost us thousands brand new. The trick with buying stuff on Craigslist is finding people who are moving either out of state or down-sizing and are in real need of selling their items.

All our pieces were purchased from people who were in the process of moving and needed to get rid of their stuff fast.

Splurge on a few key pieces

With the savings from our large furniture pieces, we decided to splurge on a few key pieces that would really shape our décor. It’s a big help to decide beforehand what’s worth a splurge when it comes to decorating and what you can live without.

For example, we currently use a dark cherry wood dresser as our entertainment stand rather than going out and buying a new media console. We scored the dresser for free from our old apartment building when someone moved and decided to leave behind the dresser.

For our splurge items, we decided to go with some key items that would really help transform our living area. We chose to splurge on a brand new rug and a metal chandelier for the dining room. We will also purchase some smaller items, such as throw pillows, a table lamp and some other items to help complete the look.â

Buy as you go

I know it may seem tempting to buy everything as soon as you move in, but give yourself some time to live in the new space before you make any drastic decorating decisions.

What you thought would look good when you did your first walk-through in the evening might not look so great with the sun glare on a Sunday afternoon.

Decorating on a budget takes time to find great deals as well as saving up for the perfect pieces. If you find something you like, but it’s completely out of your price range, search online for a coupon or wait for a sale. Even better, you can often search online for similar yet less expensive items.

Decorating on a budget takes a lot of patience. It’s okay to not have everything look like the spread of a home magazine and let it evolve over time.