Decorating your home can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! With some creativity and smart shopping, you can transform any space on a budget. Here are 12 tips to help you decorate your home in style without spending a fortune.

Shop Discount and Thrift Stores

One of the best ways to save money on home decor is to shop discount and thrift stores. Stores like HomeGoods, Tuesday Morning, and Habitat for Humanity ReStores sell new and gently used furniture, accessories, and decor at a fraction of the retail price. Scout these stores often, as inventory is always changing. You never know what great finds you’ll discover for a steal.

The key is to have a vision in mind before you start shopping. Make a list of the specific items you need to complete a look. Keep an eye out for those items or similar substitutes. Avoid buying pieces just because they’re cheap. Stick to your decorating plan and you’ll create a pulled-together space on a dime.

Repurpose and Upcycle Items

Give tired furnishings and decor new life with some creativity. Refinishing, repainting, reupholstering, or simply using items in a different way can save you a bundle.

For example, you can transform an old dresser into a bathroom vanity or sideboard buffet in the dining room. Or revive an outdated nightstand or table with a fresh coat of paint or new hardware. Use mismatched chairs around a dining table to create an eclectic look. The possibilities are endless.

Sites like Pinterest offer tons of upcycling ideas and tutorials. With a little DIY work, you can make old items look like you paid top dollar.

Shop Your Own Home First

Before buying something new, take a look around your home to see what you already have that can be utilized. You likely have forgotten treasures stored away that could be perfect for a new purpose.

Raid your attic, basement, closets, and garage for possibilities. Moving furnishings to a different room or combining them in new ways will feel fresh. Try placing a bedroom chair in the living room or use kitchen stools around a console table. Use kitchen plates as wall decor above a sofa.

Shopping your current inventory first prevents overbuying and saves you cash. Discover what you have before determining what you need.

Buy Multipurpose Furniture

Invest in furnishings that serve more than one purpose to maximize your space. Daybeds do double duty as sofas and guest beds. Storage ottomans provide extra seating and hide clutter. Tables with drop leaves or expansions save space when not in use.

Multifunctional furniture lets you get more use out of each piece. For smaller homes, it’s an efficient and economical way to decorate. Look for items with multi-tasking abilities or ones you can easily repurpose in different rooms.

Mix High and Low Price Points

No need to spend big bucks on every single home furnishing. Save money by mixing higher priced items with more affordable accents. Splurge on a nice sofa or dining set, then supplement with lower cost side tables, lamps, rugs, and other decorative accessories.

Pair that luxury dining table with budget-friendly dining chairs. Top an inexpensive bookcase or console table with a pricy lamp or artful decor. Well-chosen accessories make all the difference in elevating a space.

Aim for 20% investment pieces and 80% bargain buys. This formula lets you build a fabulous looking home at a fraction of the cost.

Buy Versatile Neutral Furniture

Stick to neutral furnishings in versatile shapes and styles that won’t fall out of fashion. These flexible “background” pieces easily work with changing accent colors and trends.

Opt for off-white, beige, gray, or black sofas, chairs, and tables. Choose clean-lined coffee tables, end tables, consoles, and media cabinets for the long haul. Dress them up with inexpensive decorative objects you can swap out to refresh a room.

Focus your bigger investments on durable neutral items to minimize costs. Then layer in affordable pops of color and pattern.

Shop Your Fabric and Rug Stash

If you have extra fabric, rugs, or other textiles around the house, look for ways to reuse them before buying new. Vintage textiles add character and save cash.

Cut fabric into throw pillow covers or frame swatches as art. Use small rugs as layering tools over larger carpets. Cut sections of a damaged rug to make bath mats. Upholster a chair or headboard in an unused tapestry.

With a little creativity, you can give old linens, curtains, blankets and more new life. Don’t discard old textiles too quickly. See if they can be integrated into your decor first.

Mix and Match for Eclecticism

Avoid buying complete matching furniture sets. Instead, curate eclectic rooms filled with one-of-a-kind finds. Mix modern with antique, combine wood finishes and fabrics, and pair contrasting styles for lots of character.

Eclectic decor expresses your personal taste better than a rigid, matchy-matchy room. Fill your home with pieces you genuinely love rather than what “goes” together. The clash of colors, textures, and eras is what makes the look so interesting.

Thrift stores and yard sales are great places to hunt for unique items. Allow each room to tell its own style story.

Seek Out Consignment Shops

Shop high-end consignment and resale stores for big discounts on quality furniture and decor. These retailer sell gently used items from brands like Restoration Hardware, Ethan Allen, and Pottery Barn for a fraction of the original retail price. You can score nearly new name-brand furnishings for cheap.

Browse consignment shops in affluent areas for the best selection of luxury goods. Also check out apps and websites that connect you with stylish secondhand furniture in your region. With some deal-hunting, you can fake a million dollar look!

Buy Discounted Floor Models

Keep an eye out for floor model sales at furniture stores and big box retailers. Floor models are items on display that can’t be sold as new. Stores will often deeply discount these products just to move them out. Tactfully check for cosmetic damage, but if it’s minimal, the savings may be worth it.

At furniture warehouses, ask if there are any additional floor models in the back that haven’t even made it out yet. These are essentially new and can be negotiated at blowout prices. It takes persistence, but the rewards are worth it.

Use Mirrors to Visually Expand Small Spaces

Strategically placed mirrors magnify light and the sense of space in any size room. They’re an economical trick for making rooms feel larger and more open – especially small spaces.

Use mirrors across from windows to reflect natural light deeper into a room. Hang floor-to-ceiling mirrors near dark corners to brighten. Position leaning mirrors behind sofas, beds, and other furnishings to double visual space.

In entryways, a mirror hung behind an accent chair or console table makes the area feel more grand. Mirrors add the illusion of high ceilings when hung vertically. Get the mirror magic working in every room!

Stick to 2-3 Colors Per Room

Decorating with a color palette of just 2-3 complementary hues per room creates a peaceful, pulled-together space. Limiting your color choices helps prevent a disjointed, cluttered look.

Select one color as dominant, a second as secondary, and a third for accents. For example, use a neutral shade like gray as the main color, a vibrant blue for pops of color, and burnt orange as an occasional accent.

Repeat these core colors in furniture, artwork, pillows, mirrors, flowers, and other decorative elements. The color connection will make the room feel harmonious and complete.

Embrace DIY Projects

Don’t underestimate the power of DIY. With so many blogs and tutorials available, decorating projects are more accessible than ever. Small updates like painting, refinishing, faux finishing, or stenciling make a big impact.

Beyond furniture makeovers, DIY artwork is an inexpensive option. Start simple by framing scrapbook paper, kids’ art, or magazine pages. Make basic canvases special with paint, dimensional objects, or custom framing.

Even simpler, decorate walls with washi tape designs, patterned contact paper, removable wallpaper, or vinyl lettering. DIY décor allows you to display your own personal style.

Shop Mindfully and Patiently

The key to decorating beautifully on a budget is having patience. Building a home over time lets you seek out and take advantage of great sales and deals. Add pieces slowly until each room feels complete.

Shop thoughtfully for quality over quantity. Measure twice to ensure furnishings fit properly and scale with the space. Build your rooms around versatile foundational pieces that will stand the test of time.

Most importantly, don’t settle. Stick to your vision and decorator eye. Follow these principles, and you’ll love your stylishly thrifted home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Decorating for Less

Decorating on a budget takes some savvy, but it can be done! Here are answers to some of the most common questions on how to decorate your home for less money.

Where are the best places to shop for discounted home decor?

Some of the top places to shop for stylish home furnishings at discounted prices are:

  • Thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army
  • Consignment shops and resale stores
  • Discount chains like HomeGoods, Tuesday Morning, and Ollie’s
  • Warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Overstock retailers like Wayfair and Joss & Main
  • IKEA – Affordable prices with lots of style options
  • Floor model sales at furniture stores and big box retailers
  • Estate sales and flea markets – You have to hunt for deals but the finds are worth it

What are the best DIY projects for decorating on a budget?

Some of the easiest and most budget-friendly DIY home decor projects include:

  • Painting, refinishing, or repurposing existing furniture pieces
  • Making your own art – framed pages, basic canvases, string art, etc.
  • Stenciling or faux finishing walls, furniture, accessories
  • Using decorative contact paper or peel-and-stick wallpaper as an affordable backsplash alternative
  • Sewing curtains, pillow covers, slipcovers yourself rather than buying new
  • Creating an inexpensive gallery wall with a mix of frames and creative displays
  • Making basic shelves or floating shelves from reclaimed wood
  • Spray painting old lamps, vases, baskets, trays, and other accessories a fresh color

How can I decorate for free or very cheap?

Some ways to decorate your home for free or very little money are:

  • Rearranging and repurposing furniture and decor you already own
  • Asking friends and family if they have any unused furnishings or housewares to donate
  • Checking Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for free items being given away
  • Using spaces like walls, stairs, and windows as creative DIY art installations
  • Displaying collections of found objects from nature like leaves, rocks, shells, etc.
  • Hanging a large wall calendar, children’s art, or decorative textiles in place of art
  • Creating displays from books, baskets, vases, and other items you likely already own
  • Making the most of natural light and well-placed mirrors to enhance a space

The key is using what you have in clever, unexpected ways!

What are inexpensive ways to update a room?

Some budget-friendly ways to refresh a room include:

  • Adding a fresh coat of paint in a new color
  • Switching out dated light fixtures for new, stylish ones
  • Replacing old hardware on cabinets and drawers with modern handles and knobs
  • Getting creative with bargain textiles – new toss pillows, tablecloths as table skirts, tea towels as café curtains, etc.
  • Adding peel-and-stick wallpaper as an easy backsplash alternative
  • Updating windows with new, inexpensive curtain panels and stylish rods/rings
  • Laying down area rugs, runners, or doormats with colors and patterns that complement your existing furnishings
  • Editing and reorganizing decor – remove clutter, rearrange displays, highlight favorite pieces
  • Repositioning furniture to create new focal points and conversation areas

Small affordable updates make a big visual difference!

What are the best online sources for discounted home decor and furniture?

Here are some of the top online sources for scoring stylish home furnishings and decor at a discount:

  • AllModern – Affordable contemporary furniture and decor
  • One Kings Lane – Upscale designs at discounted prices
  • Joss & Main – Daily sales on stylish furniture and accessories
  • Overstock – Extremely discounted prices on a wide range of products
  • Chairish – New and used high-end furniture at bargain prices
  • Etsy – Handmade and vintage decor and furnishings
  • West Elm Outlet – Modern decor and furniture at reduced prices
  • World Market – Boho-chic imported style at affordable price points
  • Facebook Marketplace – Search locally for great secondhand deals
  • Amazon Warehouse – Open box and discounted home products
  • Walmart – Surprisingly chic and affordable furniture and decor

What questions should I ask before buying furnishings secondhand?

Key questions to ask when buying pre-owned furniture and decor:

  • What is the item’s condition? Check thoroughly for stains, damage, etc.
  • Is there any repair work needed to make the item fully functional?
  • Does it come from a smoke-free, pet-free home?
  • Why are you selling the piece? Make sure it’s a reason like redecorating, not problems with the item.
  • How old is the piece? Ensure it has several good years left.
  • Have there ever been any infestation issues – bedbugs, rodents, etc?
  • Can I see the piece in person before purchasing? Assess quality and size.
  • If ordering online, what is your return policy if I’m not satisfied?
  • Does the upholstery need to be cleaned or restored in any way?

Inspect secondhand items carefully and ask questions to determine if the quality and condition are worth the price. Look past superficial dirt and flaws to evaluate underlying soundness.

What are thrift store “rules of thumb” for scoring great deals?

Tips for finding the best bargains at thrift stores:

  • Shop often – New inventory comes out daily. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see what you want immediately.
  • Look everywhere – sometimes the real gems are in random spots, not just the furniture section.
  • Inspect carefully – Test function, check for damage, look inside drawers and under cushions.
  • Have a vision – Shop for styles and pieces that work with your decor, not just because they’re cheap.
  • Be open-minded – That chair missing a caster or dresser needing new knobs could be an easy DIY.
  • Go to the back – This is often where the new deliveries are rolled out.
  • Ask questions – Employees often know what new stock just hit the floor.
  • Don’t overbuy – Only purchase pieces you really love and have a place for.
  • Look up values – Search similar items online so you know when it’s a true steal.

With persistence and an eagle eye, you’ll score big at the thrift store!

What are the best budget tips for decorating a rental property?

Decorating a rental affordably comes down to choosing versatile, multi-purpose items. Follow these tips:

  • Opt for furniture styles and colors that appeal to a wide range of tastes vs. personal or trendy styles.
  • Invest in higher quality neutral basics like sofas, beds, and seating to withstand frequent use.
  • Choose furniture that can transition to future properties – like nesting tables vs. a large dining set.
  • Purchase items secondhand whenever possible for the discounts.
  • Repurpose what you have – use kitchen chairs in bedrooms, stools as nightstands, dressers as TV consoles etc.
  • Use accessories to inexpensively customize – decorative throws, accent pillows, wall art etc. can go with you.
  • Look for furniture that serves more than one function like an ottoman with storage or a Murphy bed.
  • Take advantage of multi-use spaces like utilizing the breakfast bar as a desk area.
  • Use peel-and-stick wallpaper vs. permanent finishes to protect walls when moving out.

With savvy choice-making, you can decorate cute rentals on a shoestring budget!

In Summary

Decorating with style doesn’t need to be expensive. Armed with creativity and smart shopping strategies, you can craft high-end looking rooms at bargain prices. Keep costs down by thrifting, refurbishing what you have, reusing textiles creatively, buying neutrals, and infusing affordable color with accessories. Pair key investment pieces with budget-friendly steals. Increase visual space with mirrors and go for eclectic mix and match style. Seek out sales and patiently build rooms over time. With these tips, you’ll get the designer look you love at a price you can afford!