28 August 2010

how-to decorate on a budget

by Faith Towers from Design Fixation

1. Paint is your best friend. Do you have an outdated piece of furniture with an ugly finish? Paint it! Are boring clear vases cluttering your cupboards? Paint the insides for a look similar to enamel. Need a colorful centerpiece? Buy a package of walnuts in their shells and paint them a bright color… put them in a pretty bowl, and voila – an imaginative centerpiece for your coffee table.

2. Shop in the patio department. Outdoor furniture is often less expensive than regular living room furniture – and also more durable. Coffee tables, end tables and even rugs can be good items to find in the patio section. See the photo of my living room for a couple of examples.

3. Visit discount stores. The key to visiting a discount store is patience. No, you won’t find exactly what you’re looking for immediately, but with a bit of persistence you’re bound to find something that fits the bill eventually. Can’t bear to go discount shopping? Try looking for coupons online before you go shopping. You’d be surprised at how many coupons are available! Check out the image of my kitchen to see a great light fixture I got from a discount store.

4. Use wallpaper, fabric and carpet remnants. Paste the end of a roll of wallpaper to the back of an open cabinet for some added interest. Make a throw pillow from a piece of leftover fabric. Use a small piece of carpeting as a front door mat. And don’t forget about tip #1; you could even try painting a pattern on it if it’s a low pile carpet!

5. Use things for unexpected purposes. Use a couple of wine crates to form a small shelving unit. Use a rock as a doorstop. Re-purpose a coffee can into a utensil holder. Put extra toilet paper rolls into a tall vase. Use a flower frog to display a couple of vintage photos. Pieces of driftwood assembled in a clear vase make an appealing centerpiece.

6. Tap your own creative resources. You don’t have to be an artist for this one; if you can get your hands on a Polaroid camera, create a photo wall using a collection of Polaroid images. Create abstract art using a worn piece of wood – try splattering the wood with a couple of different paint colors, or overlap straight brush strokes of varying shades of one color. Use decoupage to spruce up a dull serving piece or vase. Or try your hand at paper folding; make a wreath out of paper flowers.

7. Add some life to the room. Cut flowers or branches from your yard for an inexpensive decorative element. Find a friend who has houseplants and ask if you can take a cutting; put it in water until if forms roots, then plant it in a pot from the discount store you visited!

images via Faith Towers

the how-to series is here to encourage confidence in the creativity and skills you have to offer. i am excited to showcase your talents and unique ideas. if you have a specialty (and i know you do), please submit your how-to guest post by emailing me: marta at martawrites dot com. i will be delighted to feature your how-to in the future.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden


Travelin'Oma said...

These are great ideas. I love to see someone's creativity and personality showing in their house.

Eileen said...

I love these ideas. I am a big fan of finding cheap ways to decorate! Favorites include refinishing old furniture (am thinking of trying painting sometime soon, too!) and hanging framed photographs as wall art.

shopgirl said...

Awesome ideas Marta! Before I throw something away, I try and think if there could be an alternative purpose for it and sometimes I'm surprised by the results.

Have a lovely week!

s. said...

love this post! my apartment is so miss-matchy and so not put together...i've been wanting to redecorate but don't have the extra money for the things i want...BUT i probably could really fix it up with some of these tips :) Thanks!

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