My Best Tips to Decorate on a Budget

It’s kind of hard to believe, but last week was the three year anniversary of moving into our little 1980’s fixer upper. It was actually mid July 2015 when we moved in (you can read more about the story of how we got here in this post) and since then we’ve done a LOT of work to make this place feel like home. It’s been a busy three years and I can’t believe how much has changed around here in that short amount of time. We’ve done so many cool projects, but I’ve had to be really resourceful and creative in order to decorate our home in a way that I love without spending a fortune. I feel like I’ve learned a lot over these past few years, so today I thought it would be fun to share my very best tips to decorate on a budget. These are things I honestly do every single day and they help save us a lot of money, so I hope these little tips and tricks help if you’re on a tight budget or just looking to save some moolah!

Tips to Decorate on a Budget

Tips to Decorate on a Budget

Tips to Decorate on a Budget

Shop Your Home

One of the easiest and best ways to freshen up any room without spending a dime is to shop your home. And what I mean by that is borrow décor (and sometimes even furniture!) from one room to style a new way in another room. For example, take the décor you’ve had in your living room for a few months and find a new way to use it in your dining room or your bedroom. Swapping those things out will give both rooms a new look without costing you anything.

Make Craigslist Your BFF

One thing I always do is search Craigslist for décor and furniture. In fact, if there’s a piece of furniture I want to buy from Pier 1 for example, I’ll search the exact name of that product on Craigslist to see what comes up. I did this when I bought the table in our breakfast nook and I found the exact table and chairs for $100. And it was in practically new condition! It’s also a great place to find unique vintage decor at a fraction of the price you’d find it at an antique store. I like to search these keywords: primitive, farmhouse, cottage, shabby chic, vintage, antique.

Tips to Decorate on a Budget

Sell Things You Don’t Use or Love

Take a few minutes to walk around your home and gather up anything you don’t use or love. Then sell those things on either Craigslist, consign them at a local thrift shop, or even have a yard sale. I actually do this ALL the time and it’s one of the ways I’m able to make frequent changes in our home without spending a lot of money. For example, I recently sold the light fixture in our breakfast nook and used the money to buy this replacement. And because I did that when the light was on sale, I actually made an extra $20 in the process. SCORE.

Tips to Decorate on a Budget

Paint Old Furniture AND Decor

I know I say this all the time, but if you’re looking to freshen up your home without spending a ton of money you should definitely consider painting your old furniture. Or even your old décor pieces. You guys see me rave all the time about the power of paint (and spray paint!), so don’t be afraid to get creative and make those changes. It’s really SO easy and it costs you very little money. Paint is much less expensive than new furniture!

Buy Timeless Pieces that Could Work in Any Room

One thing I started doing a few years ago was buying décor that could work in any room of our home. Instead of having rooms with set styles, like a western theme or an ocean theme for example, I’ve adopted more of a universal theme for our home that applies to basically every room. You guys know I love my cottage/farmhouse vibes, so that’s where I’m drawn to the most when I’m shopping for décor. And that means 95% of the time I’m buying things that could work in almost any room, which makes it’s super easy to refresh any space and give it a new look just by moving a few things around. Obviously you can decorate with themed rooms if that’s what you love, but it will just be more tricky to shop your home that way.

Tips to Decorate on a Budget

Keep Track of Big Sales

This one is HUGE and it’s been something that’s allowed me to get some really great stuff for our home without spending a fortune. I always, always keep my eye on big sales happening at my favorite stores. And I always sign up for any rewards programs as well because they often send out extra coupons that you can use during sales. For example, I recently bought this desk for my office when it was on a major sale. Then I had a coupon on top of that, so I got it for almost 65% off the normal price. WINNING.

Don’t Waste Money

This is another thing I’ve had to learn the hard way, but it’s so important to not waste money on things you don’t really love if you’re on a tight budget. Don’t buy things that are simply cute OR because they’re cheap. Buy things you truly LOVE. Buy things you can easily style in various rooms in your home and things you know you’ll hold on to for years. This is especially helpful when you’re on a budget because you won’t waste money on things you don’t love.

DIY What You Can

I’ve shared countless DIY projects here on the blog that are super easy and very affordable. And many of them are things I still use every single day in our home. Check out this post to see a few of my favorite DIY décor projects that are simple and very budget friendly. You can save yourself a lot of money with a few little DIY projects!

Tips to Decorate on a Budget

One thing I’ve learned over these past few years is that you don’t need a lot of super expensive things to create a home you are proud of. It’s really about being creative, learning how to shop smart, and sticking to what you LOVE. It also really helps to know your style so you can slowly build a collection of decor that will do double duty in your home by working in more than one space.

Well I hope you enjoyed reading through my money saving tips! Let me know if you have any other great tips to decorate on a budget, I’d love to hear it. xo

More posts you might want to check out:

DIY Television Cover with Old Doors

DIY Towel Bar from Vintage Bed Frame

How to Get Farmhouse Style In Your Home: Part Two

Leave a Comment


  1. Becky wrote:

    Dear sarah, you are so right! I’ve been dragging furniture from room to room for years. It gives me such a lift a whole new outlook on a room.I’ve been changing over from prim to farmhouse. At first I was confused, but when I started removing furniture that did not work it became more clear. Selling a piece of two is a great help in buying some of the extra pretties you need. Also that can of spray paint, chalk paint and thrift finds make it so much easier on budget which I definitely have. Thanks again Sarah. ps Finding out from friends of they are getting rid of things is a big help too!! xoxo💕💞💕

    Posted 7.23.18 Reply
    • Marilyn wrote:

      Becky, Your P.S. made me laugh, because i had a friend who had a piece of furniture I loved. I told her if she ever got rid of it, I’d like to get it from her, and she responded enthusiastically. When she moved a few years later and got rid of that piece, it turns out that there were about 7 people she’d promised it to! I didn’t get the piece, but I still loved my friend! 🙂

      Posted 7.23.18 Reply
      • Sarah wrote:

        lol that’s too funny Marilyn. But what a bummer!

        Posted 7.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Yes! I should have mentioned that tip. I have been the happy recipient of many handy-down pieces of furniture and decor that I ended up LOVING and it didn’t cost me anything!

      Posted 7.24.18 Reply
  2. Marty Oravetz wrote:

    Great tips and ideas, I keep moving furniture and accessories around here all the time.

    Posted 7.23.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      ALLLLL the time. Right there with you Marty! xo

      Posted 7.24.18 Reply
  3. Sandy wrote:

    Love your tips! Do you have any recommendation on how to make a room look lighter with dark furniture? I have a leather sofa with two light chairs and a cowhide rug. I have no budget for a new rug and no other place for the furniture, trying to make more cottage/modern farmhouse. I’ve went through my house and have nothing that would work in this area 🙁

    Posted 7.23.18 Reply
  4. Sandy bennington wrote:

    Dear Sarah,

    Thank your for your tips. Do you have any suggestions for when you don’t have any other place to move your furniture to. I have a darker leather couch with two lighter chairs and a darker cow hide rug. I have no other place
    in the house for these and have no budget for a new rug, these all came from my other home. I’m trying to accomplish a look like your home. Thank you! Love your blog and I follow you on Instagram 🙂

    Posted 7.23.18 Reply
    • Vicki wrote:

      I’m not Sarah, hope ypu don’t mind, but I love to decorate and have some ideas for you! Maybe you could start by selling your cowhide rug on Craigslist, Facebook, etc. and use the money to get a lighter colored rug. You might even find a good used rug. I once found a beautiful wool oriental rug at a second hand store for $25! Also, you can soften the look of your dark leather couch with light colored throws and pillows. A few vintage/farmhouse accessories would go a long way, and you can probably find some items like Sarah has in thrift or antique stores or at retail stores like Home Goods, Marshall’s, Hobby Lobby (always great sales!), etc. Good luck!

      Posted 7.23.18 Reply
      • Sarah wrote:

        That’s pretty much exactly what I would have said!! Thank you Vicki. These are great suggestion!

        Posted 7.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Sandy! I think Vicki gave you some great suggestions, but I’d also emphasis to focus on the accessories. Throw pillows and throw blankets can do a LOT to cozy up a space and lighten it up. That’s always my suggestion for dark couches/furniture. You can also look into getting a slipcover made. Etsy has lots of great options for both couches and armchairs! And for your rug, I’d probably try to sell it and replace it with something lighter. Good luck and thanks for dropping in!! xo

      Posted 7.24.18 Reply
  5. Vicki wrote:

    Super great suggestions, Sarah! I am all about the thrift shopping and moving things around to get a fresh new look! Your home is beautiful!

    Posted 7.23.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Amen to that. I’m right there with you Vicki!

      Posted 7.24.18 Reply
  6. Michele wrote:

    I did this very thing yesterday. I wanted a different look on both my antique sewing table stand and bookshelf, so I moved a few items from one place to another and I couldn’t be happier with my choices. Thanks for always having great ideas and being inspiring.

    Posted 7.23.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Isn’t it so nice to make a few changes like that?! It makes a space feel brand new and it didn’t cost a dime.

      Posted 7.24.18 Reply
  7. Brenda Johnson wrote:

    Lots of great advice Sarah! I think shopping your own home is such a smart way to freshen up a room and my other favorite is painting what you have, it makes me feel like I did get something completely new. Have a wonderful week!

    Posted 7.23.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I totally agree! I am a huge fan of using what you have and painting old furniture. It saves so much money!

      Posted 7.24.18 Reply

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