- Begin by having the very basics: 1) a comfortable, supportive mattress set, 2) a dining table and chairs, and 3) well-constructed, comfortable couch. If you are going to spend money on anything in the beginning, spend it well on these items. Especially the mattress set -- this is one item you won't want to be cheap on. This doesn't mean you can't find a fabulous mattress on sale, but get the best you can afford. Your back will thank you, and you'll actually get a better night's rest!
- Make a list of what you NEED, and what you WANT!! Determine what you need first, and SAVE YOUR $$ to get it! So many people get sucked into thinking that they must have everything immediately decorated and done, and they gain debt by doing so! Young people, remember that your parents didn't have all that they have right away! They worked hard for it, and bought things a piece at a time!! I'm seeing a trend of young couples going straight for the large house, nice cars, etc., and they are struggling to make payments with 2 incomes. Take your time, work hard, save your $$, and spend it wisely!
- Cheerfully take freebies! I have lots of furniture that was given to me by family members and friends!! You can make things over creatively if desired :). Free = Great for the Budget!! (You can see my freebies over the next few days!)
- Re-use what you have in new ways! Nothing like a new look for free!
- Buy items only when you can use that item several ways or in several places in your home.
- Don't spend much on accessories!
- Buy neutral! When you have saved $ to buy a couch or upholstered piece of furniture, buy a well-constructed piece that is meant to last! Also, have the upholstery done in a neutral , solid color. ( Trust me! Neutral does not have to equal beige. White, cream, cafe', chocolate, black, even greens, blues, or a red if you're daring, can be neutrals! ) Choose a color that pairs well with most every other color out there. Then pair this main piece with colorful, patterned accents throughout the space. For example: a cream chair would look fabulous with a grey-blue throw draped over the back and a floral-patterned pillow with grey-blue, cream, and sage in it. Tired of the blue? Now, picture that same cream chair with a red throw and red, yellow, and green plaid pillow! How about a blue sofa? Pair it with blue toile and yellow accents. Or reds. Or a great floral fabric with lots of color. Pillows & accessories are cheap, my friends! Upholstered pieces are not. Choose wisely!! This will give you the most flexibility to change your mind about accent colors and patterns over the years, and also for decorating with the seasons!
- Begin a "Dream File Folder" system! This is really fun to do! Just clip pictures from magazines that catch your eye, and start a pile. After a bit, you may start to notice that you are drawn to certain things over & over! This could help you make some decorating decisions! Finding yourself clipping rooms with pretty blue walls? Maybe you should paint one of your rooms blue! After you have a nice little pile of pictures, separate them by where in your home you might like to use that particular idea. Then file them accordingly. I have file folders for each room in the house, plus ones for porch and garden, plus entertaining ideas, gift ideas, & crafts. This will help when you have saved to start decorating a certain room. Pull your file for that room and see what you have been dreaming about. Come up with a plan using some of these ideas! You can even pin them on a bulletin board to see how the elements in the pictures work together. Add paint swatch cards, fabric samples, and more as you go, and you'll see your "room" take shape!
These are just a few things to consider when starting out!! I'll give more tips and tours of my rooms over the next few days!!! Maybe we'll do a room re-do in my house together over the next few months! I think the sunroom is on my list -- let's do that! We'll walk through start to finish, okay?!
ps--like the room in the pic above? It's my guest room (will be daughter #2's room when she & sissy decide to stop sharing a room), and was definitely decorated on a budget! Notice there's still no headboard?! It's a process, my friends, decorating is a fun process!! :)