I’m so excited! I was finally able to decorate a room in my house all by MYSELF! Prior to this, I’ve always had my friend Kimberly help me, but thanks to some really great mentoring, I was able to decorate my living room on a budget, and all on my own! Following are my suggestions for how to decorate a room on a budget!
But first the backstory. Twelve years ago we had a daughter who was very sick. She ended up in the NICU for six months at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital (we live in Knoxville TN, about three hours away). We had just moved into our house and my friends knew that I wanted the living room painted so badly. I had chosen (for reasons I may never know) a dark gold. So my friends went to work and surprised us by painting it! At the time I was so excited! But there isn’t a lot of natural light in this room, so the dark gold became very depressing after awhile!
I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out that I needed to paint it (and by “I”, I mean my husband. LOL) But I also knew if the paint was going to change, EVERYTHING needed to change! And that was going to take some cash! So I set out to decorate this room on a budget. Following are my top 7 tips for how to do it!
- Search magazines for inspiration photos or create a Pinterest board. I found the picture below in the HGTV magazine and knew right away that I wanted my color palette to be grey, brown, orange, and teal. Don’t skip this step. It will save you much time, frustration, and money in the long run!
2. Find an “inspiration pillow” that features your colors. I searched Amazon, Wayfair, Target, World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ikea, and Pier 1. I finally found this one at the At Home Store for $19.99. (Actually, my daughter found it. LOL.) Pillow searching is not for the faint of heart. Pillows are EXPENSIVE for some reason. Even pillow covers are expensive. But if you get a pillow cover, do NOT buy an insert. Instead, stuff that thing with old sheets, pillow cases, cloth napkins, whatever you’ve got…my mentor taught me this!
3. Once you’ve got your color inspiration and your inspiration pillow you’re ready to decorate! Start with painting. I highly recommend painting your room a nice, light, neutral color. That way if you want to change things later, you won’t have to paint again. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Sterling for one accent wall, and for the rest, I chose Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. Did I mention that paint is expensive too? To save a little, we took the Benjamin Moore color card to Lowes and they matched it perfectly with Glidden paint. I know, I know. My dad owned a paint store when I was growing up. So I KNOW that the more expensive paint is better paint, but I was doing this room on a BUDGET and we needed to save where we could! Please don’t judge! 🙂
4. Once the room is painted, the fun stuff begins! I started with just a few decorating pieces in my inspiration colors. Everything in this picture I got at the At Home Store. If you don’t have an At Home Store in your area, I would seriously recommend that you find one in the closest town. Their store is HUGE and the prices are GOOD! I also like Home Goods for great prices, but their selection isn’t anything near what the At Home Store has! Anyway, I digress. Find those inspiration pieces that you love and a “style” will start to develop. Mine was a mid-century modern vibe. By the way, don’t be afraid to grab too many things on this inspo seeking trip. You can always return what you decide you don’t want. (the check out girl at At Home may or may not know me by name. Ahem.)
FB Marketplace & Craigslist
5. Start looking for furniture. FB Marketplace and Craigslist are your friends! I prefer Marketplace because I can stalk the seller’s profile to see if they look like a serial killer or not. Just kidding … kinda. (It goes without saying, don’t go alone, let someone else know where you’re meeting, and always try to meet in a public place.). The first piece I bought was from a lovely family that was redecorating because their home was going to be on a historical homes tour. This chair had barely been sat in. And for 100 bucks it was perfect! Now, there are two schools of thought about negotiating prices. Mine is that if it appears to be a fair price, and it doesn’t look like it will take any work to spruce it up, I will pay the asking price. My husband’s thought is that you always, always, offer $25 – $45 less, so the seller can counter. (He negotiated for a living for 12 years. It’s in his blood. But it’s not in mine.). So do whatever you feel most comfortable with! In all fairness, I will say that his negotiating saved us quite a few bucks!
Sold, pending …
6. The next piece that I scored was this ORANGE leather chair for 80 bucks! No joke! The key here is patience while looking and being quick when you find something you want. Don’t just say “I’m interested.” Say “sold, pending a question….can I get measurements? Or can I get an additional photo to see the color better?” But whatever you do, start with “sold, pending ….”
7. And finally, don’t be afraid to take on a “project”! I bought this dresser for $50.
A few hours and a couple of cans of paint and it looks brand new!
On this particular project I used Black Dog Salvage paint which can be purchased at any Woodcraft Store. Black Dog paint is water-based and comes in 16 different colors, including a true white and true black, so you can mix them for endless color combinations. For this dresser I used 3 parts Keep it Teal to 1 part Black Dog and 1 part Blue Ridge. I finished it off with the brand’s satin Top Coat, that you simply brush on and let dry. I did use several coats of this, because I wanted it to have a nice sheen. In the past, I have always used Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax. And I do still love me some Annie Sloan. But Black Dog is SO much easier and SO much less expensive, that Annie and I have had to part ways. You can find Black Dog paint here.
So after all was said and done, we spent about $1500 and completely transformed our living room! (PS the couch is being shipped!)
Tell me what you think! Do you have money saving secrets when it comes to decorating? Share below! And I’d love it if you would head over to Facebook and like my page. You can find it here .
Have a magical day y’all!