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How to Decorate Like a Pro on a Budget

Updated: Aug 9, 2018

It's no secret that I love Home Design! You know how you longingly look through magazines, Instagram and Pinterest for all the beautiful things? The gorgeous before and afters...Design shows make having a home like that seem out of reach. How do you create a beautiful home on a tight budget?

I love making spaces come to life because it changes the atmosphere. It literally makes me happy when everything is in its place and looks pretty. I love when my husband, Tim, comments when he comes home on how peaceful and cozy an environment it is. We need some “Zen” with 3 busy, young adults still living at home! It tends to get a bit chaotic. I also love when my sons say how their friends (teen boys too) comment on how nice it is and that they don’t want to break anything!

Living simply on a tight budget for years has made me appreciate getting great bargains. I've learned how to make a cozy home obtainable. The key: DIY projects rule! One of my tricks is to get creative and find ways to up-cycle old items to refresh decor. My husband can’t understand why I keep stacks of storage totes in our basement and attic packed with what he calls junk or my knick knacks. I won’t mention the stuff he keeps...rusty tools, bits of wood and a ton of other items I have no idea what they are used for. They fill the same storage space as well (wink, wink). He thinks I’m a hoarder but really, I think it’s the other way around but we’ll leave that for another blog post.

I store away decor items that I love but am tired of. Occasionally I sort through them, up-cycle my decor and Voila! What’s old is new again! People come in and say, “Wow, you’ve changed things around in here, looks nice.” But all I’ve really done is up-cycle old items. This is my saving grace when money is tight and there’s nothing in the budget for decor.

I had been looking for some art for an empty wall for quite a while. One day while walking our dog, Zoe, I came across a metal birdcage that looked like it was cut in half from top to bottom out in someone’s garbage. I dragged it back home. It was almost as big as me but I’m tiny! My husband said, “What in the world is that?” I told him my idea was to spray paint it and mount it on a board made of wood planks that he was going to make for me. I'm pretty sure he thought I was crazy! After he finished it, I put some greenery in small, glass milk bottles behind the cage and it was so pretty! We hung on the wall in our living room and get compliments about it all the time. I love telling people that story. They say necessity is the mother of invention and what's one woman's trash is another woman's treasure!

5 years ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of our Island, our home and church included. We had to start all over again. We’d lived in our home for 10 years and it was overwhelming trying to envision it beautiful again. We were extremely blessed to have been helped by so many amazing people. I remember bargain hunting and comparing prices everywhere I went. My creative juices started flowing and it came together beautifully. What was a tragedy became a blessing. I was able to redecorate the entire first floor the way I’d always wanted it.

This weekend, we hosted our first women’s luncheon for our YouTube Channel Book Club, “Coffee Shop Conversations”. Above are some pics that my daughter took. She did a great job! The girls and I had fun putting it all together! We had almost all of the items shown (except the food and plates, etc.) and what we didn't, we bought at discounts. Coffee mug giveaways from Ikea were incredibly inexpensive. And of course, my artist daughter did the chalk drawings.

One of my favorite things: In this pic, I hung 3 metal envelopes on a wall with florals in them from Magnolia Home. Something so small can make a big impact. And changing out the florals freshens up the space every time. My 16 year-old son gave a great compliment. He came down from his man-cave and stopped at the bottom of the stairs, looking around. He said, "Did Dad paint in here or something?" I laughed and told him that I just changed a few things around. See how small changes can make a big impact?! I'd love to see some of your before and afters posted here in the comments below! Feel free to share!

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