When my husband and I moved into our house a little over two years ago, it became our chance to mold and define our style together – other than a bed, an armoire (which I hate, by the way!), a couch, a chair, and an entertainment unit, we were starting fresh. And while there has been plenty of compromise and concession (ehem, like that armoire…), our house is finally evolving into a home that reflects our life and lifestyle together.
It’s a never-ending process, of course. The fact that we try to do as much as we can ourselves and by hand has slowed us down drastically! But this is something that I can’t help but appreciate (although sometimes not until after the fact…) – a lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this home so far!
So as someone who very much cares about the look of her home, has made an attempt to decorate said home on a budget, and as a self-taught DIY’er, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned along the way:
1. Use what you already have.
Ever heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Well, it’s time to start shopping your own trash and rediscover those hidden treasures! This entertainment unit, for example, was such an eyesore in my home. I hated it, despised it, and very badly wanted to trash it. My frugal husband, on the other hand, could see no logical reason in getting rid of it and since it was only purchased a couple years prior, insisted on keeping it. That’s where a good ole can of paint and a paintbrush come in – if you can’t toss it, then paint it! In just a few hours, I was able to transform the entertainment unit to something that meshed with our home décor and didn’t offend my sense of style. Is it ideal? Not quite, but it works for now. Which leads me to…
2. Be patient! Transforming a house into a home doesn’t – and shouldn’t – happen overnight.
When we first moved into this house, I wanted everything to be perfect immediately. I wanted every single room to feel complete, with rugs and curtains, a full set of furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and all the comforting details of a room that has been lived in. Problem was, the rooms hadn’t yet been lived in, not by us at least, and by trying to create something that only time and patience and living can create actually created nothing more than a stressful and artificial atmosphere. Take the time to find the rug that really appeals to you, a paint color that makes you light up every time you walk into a room, artwork that truly reflects your personality, and a dining table that you can imagine sitting at with friends and family for many, many years to come. Until then, get creative and make what you have work. Believe me, it’s worth it. This patience is also much easier on the wallet!
3. If you can’t find what you want at a price that you want it, then build it.
My husband and I love the look of original, distressed wood but this kind of furniture often comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily, we had the fortune of discovering old pallets and naturally weathered wood behind our shed when we moved and over the years, have put it to good use. So far, we have built a giant chalkboard, a console table, a sofa table, and a patio table and still have wood to spare! Don’t have weathered wood sitting behind your shed? Craigslist is the perfect place to find some. If weathered wood isn’t your thing, your local Lowes or Home Depot should do the trick! You can find the plans to build practically anything online.
4. Flea Markets and yard sales are your friend!
Going right back to that phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”….it’s so true! I have found some amazing pieces for pennies simply by taking the time to scour thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. Sure, there are a lot of misses, but that one, perfect hit makes it all worthwhile.
(PS…crates are great for storing puppy or children’s toys!)
5. Paint your walls!
This is the first thing my husband and I did when we moved in – we painted our hallway and dining room in a color we love, and then we painted the living room, and the library, and then the kitchen; we painted an accent wall in the guest room and painted the nursery (once my office) twice. It’s amazing how something as simple as painting a wall can completely change a room, brighten it up, or add drama.
6. Create your own art.
Art is expensive and I am still in the process of finding the right pieces to fill my walls. However, one way I have managed to fill the empty space is simply by creating a hanging collection: a gallery of photos, a collection of hats and scarves, wall shelving filled with ironstone, even coats. Have a few old windows or empty frames laying around? Gather them together and layer them up! If you have scraps of pretty patterned material from your sewing supplies or old shirts, frame them and hang them. You can even collect a variety of leaves and flowers during your morning walk or afternoon hike, dry them for a few days between a phonebook, and again, frame them and hang them. Get creative!
In the end, a little creativity goes a long way and not only creates a home with a lot of personality, but also gives your wallet a little break. And believe me, I still have a long list of tips to share so stay tuned – I’ll be continuing the series next week!
Have some suggestions and home decorating tips to share? I’d LOVE to hear them!