Figuring out how to decorate a new home is a lot more difficult than many people think. Even those of us who devote plenty of time to HGTV can get easily flustered when faced with blank white walls and empty rooms, especially when we’re still reeling from the financial hit of buying a home. But those rooms and walls aren’t going to fill themselves, which is why it helps to get creative when it comes to stretching your decorating budget as far as it can possibly go.
If you’re wondering then how to decorate a new home on a budget, you have definitely come to the right place. Below, we’ll share ten of the best tips we have for making your space all yours without spending a ton of dough in the process.
Plan and Prioritize
With a task as overwhelming as decorating a new home, it helps to go in with a plan. And when you add budgetary constraints to the mix, that plan should clearly prioritize which decorating projects are on the top and which can wait.
It’s helpful to know that you don’t need to do everything at once. Many new homeowners tackle the process of decorating their new home piece by piece, starting with the items and rooms that they know they’ll use the most.
In addition to prioritizing based on need, your plan should also consider cost. A new couch or window treatments, for example, costs a lot more than things like new pendant lights in the kitchen or a print for the powder room wall. Spread out the high priced items so that you’re not going all in at once, and settle for cheaper alternatives in the meantime (more on that in tip #3). It will all get done eventually.
Repurpose What You Already Have
You don’t need to completely overhaul your existing décor stash in order to decorate a new home. It’s likely that many items you already own will work in the new space, even if they need a bit of sprucing up to get to that point. Don’t be afraid to work your DIY muscles and turn old items into new treasures. Something as simple as painting an old hand-me-down dresser can make it a perfect fit for your style without requiring that you spend a lot of money.
Start Cheap, Then Replace Later
There’s no reason that you have to have the best of the best right away. If you need to decorate a new home on a budget, consider buying the big ticket items on the cheap through secondhand stores and budget-friendly retailers like IKEA, and then update as you can. This is ideal for super expensive items like couches and dining room tables, and gives you the freedom and flexibility to really save and do your research. Use the same principle for items that aren’t furniture too, such as installing flimsy but functional paper blinds until you can get around to nicer blinds or curtains.
Shop Antiques and Estate Sales
Antique stores and estate sales are both excellent ways to snag a stellar deal on décor for your home, especially when it comes to things like art, vases, frames, and kitchenware. You can even find larger items like furniture and mirrors. To simplify the process and increase your chances of going home with a good haul, head in with a list of things you need and want—it can be overwhelming to be faced with so many options if you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for.
Pretty Up Rooms with Paint
A coat or two of paint can completely transform a room with very little expense. Whether you’re drawn to pleasant neutrals or bright and bold statement hues, painting is an opportunity for you to infuse your style into your new home and form a backdrop that you can then focus the rest of your decorating around. If you want to get extra creative, you can try out some more innovative interior painting ideas, like color blocking, stenciling, and sponging.
Plants are one of the most cost effective ways there is to decorate a new home. A little (or a lot!) of green instantly brightens up a space and makes it seem more put together, and as an added bonus, having plants around is also good for your health and happiness. Today, you can often find plants already plotted in stylish containers at places like Trader Joe’s and Target—which saves you the expense of having to buy a pot in addition to the plant. And faux plants are in style too, so even those who are lacking a green thumb can embrace a plant-friendly decorating scheme.
Get Creative with Wall Art
One of the trickiest parts of figuring out how to decorate a new home is deciding what to do with all of those walls, and it doesn’t help that art is often quite expensive. A good work around: buy cheap art at places like thrift stores and student gallery shows, and redefine your definition of what constitutes wall art. Stick a frame around a pretty postcard, greeting card, polaroid, or map and voila—you’ve got a nice piece of art ready to go wherever you want to hang it.
The secret to making cheap art work for your new home: only hang things that you love. Whether you’re spending a lot or a little on your artwork, it’s always important that it speaks to you in some way—even if it’s just that it makes you smile to look at.
Swap Out Old Light Fixtures
An outdated light fixture can bring down an entire room. Fortunately, you can find new and modern fixtures on the cheap through places like IKEA and Etsy, making this swap one of the easiest ways to make a dramatic decorative impact in a room. Think of your fixtures as being just as much art pieces as they are providers of light. With a good eye, you should have no trouble finding new fixtures that stand out in all the right ways.
Glam It Up
A touch of glam can make even cheap items look like a million bucks. So how do you do it? Think oversize. For example, hang curtain rods up closer to the ceiling and use larger than necessary matting and framing with your artwork. Simple strategies like these make things look a lot more expensive than they really are, and have the added benefit of optimizing your usage of space in a room.
Don’t Buy Something Just Because You Think You Should
One of the best pieces advice when it comes to figuring out how to decorate a new home on a budget is to listen to your gut. Decorating is an investment, not just in your home but in your personal space. It should be all you, and you should never waste a penny on something that doesn’t have a place in your life. So while your mom might swear by table runners and crystal vases, that doesn’t mean those things are necessary for your own put-together home. Go with the flow of your own taste and style, and remember that you’re the only one who has to love the look of your new home. Not only will it save you money, it will also help ensure you’re happy with the end result of your decorating efforts.
In need of more advice for decorating a home on a budget? Check out our articles on budget-friendly ways to update your kitchen and where to buy cheap furniture online.