How to Decorate Your Home on a Budget

By Ellen Gefen

We’re all used to seeing gorgeously designed spaces in magazines and on television, but few of us have the budget to do whole-house makeovers. It’s hard not to feel a bit envious when you see people with big budgets transforming their homes into masterpieces—and you naturally might feel that yours fails in comparison. The good news is that you can have a beautiful home design on an evolving budget. All you need is practice, patience, and an eye for design.

Make the Investment

Covet an expensive sofa? If your budget can allow it, you can purchase the item. However, instead of buying the matching armchairs, slipcover the chairs you already own to use in the same room. Or, if your sofa isn’t crumbling, simply buy a slipcover for it (and the additional chairs), so that everything matches.

Look for Design That Has A Big Impact

If you thought that a big beautiful sofa would be the most eye-catching item in the room, think again. In fact, it can be the smaller, more subtle details that can totally transform your space. For example, paint packs a powerful punch. It can add drama or make a room look cleaner and brighter with just a coat or two. Even freshly potted plants can add an eco-friendly vibe (and purify your air, too), and neither costs that much.

Search for Substitutions

Love the look of a blue room with a white upholstered chair you saw in a design magazine? Paint your walls the same blue, then paint a wooden chair white and use it in the room until you can afford the upholstered piece you want. Again, it’s amazing what paint can do for a room’s mood. You might find that you’re happy with the new look and can wait until later to get the pieces that you really want.

Prioritize What’s Important

Of course, once you get started designing one room, other spaces in your home might pale in comparison. So, determine which room will get your energy, your focus, and yes, your money. If cooking is important to you, invest in great pots and pans. Then, you can serve your guests a Moroccan-themed meal while they sit on attractive floor pillows. The idea is to build up your space little by little, and eventually, you’ll be able to buy your dining room table and chairs when you can afford them.

Be Creative

If you thought that you had to buy every piece of furniture to update your bedroom, think again. Go through your possessions and pick out pieces that can be repurposed for your space. You might find throws that could complement an armchair, or you may discover that you have pillows up in your attic that would look beautiful on your bed. Before you go out and spend big bucks on accessories, check your inventory to see what you already have. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you uncover.

Achieving a sensational home design on an evolving budget isn’t easy. It’s hard when you want everything right now. Give yourself permission to take baby steps. Figure out what your mojo is and work step-by-step toward making your home truly representative of your life.