Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Decorating on a Budget

Decorating seems to be a favorite topic among us bloggers!
And showing how we do it on a budget is the best part!!
So, I'm going to give some basic tips for Decorating on a Budget to add to our "Dollars and Sense" series. Today I'll start with the very basics of beginning to decorate, and during the next few days I'll show you some spaces in my home where we'll go over how I have decorated (or am in the process of decorating) a room on a budget!
I'm going to start at the beginning, since I believe there are some young readers who are just starting to feather their nest!
  • 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!! :)


Sandy Toes said...

Great posting and ideas!

I completely say YES with buying and decorating will take you farther and keep it longer!!!
-Sandy Toes

Blue Castle said...

Excellent post. I've never been shy about taking freebie furniture, and as a result, we've only actually bought 3 pieces of furniture new. The rest are from garage sales or freebies. :)

Looking forward to more of your posts on this.

Heather said...

great tips! It is so true about alot of young couples going straight into debt.

Stacey said...

The best part about letting decorating and fluffing your home be a process is that we make less mistakes. We end up with more of what we love. After being married for 20 years I can honestly say that it needs to be a process because your needs and ability to pay change over time. What is your guest room today might be an office some day.

Plus, I'm a big mouth and it's just too much fun to say, "I got it for only..."

Jenny S said...

Great post! I love how descriptive you are! Wonder where you might come up with some good cheap ideas for a sunroom.....I have an idea!!! hehehe

blessed mama said...

I just found your blog and I love it! You are a kindred spirit!
Many blessings!

Kelly said...

These are great! Especially determining the needs vs wants. My biggest struggle.

Sandy Toes said...

Where can I begin with Nantucket? Yes, I have walked the beaches and town of Nantucket...played golf on the sand dunes...ate at the Lobster Trap...rode bikes on the stony paths...I love it there...

I honeymooned there 13 years ago and we keep going back!!!!
It has a special place in my heart!
My parents love it there too!
I like it much more than Martha Vineyard!

Where do you stay????

Pennies In My Pocket said...

I'm all about the neutral. I am always getting bored with things and wanting to switch it up.

Love this post! I so need to finish decorating. We've been in this house a few months now and so many of my rooms are totally undecorated! lol


ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage said...

Great post, Stacey! I keep an inspiration file as well. It's a great way to organize. It also helps you define your style as you start to notice patterns in the colors, textures, etc. The best part about it is that it eliminates the need to keep stack after stack of old magazines, etc.

Lisa said...

Hi Stacy! New reader here & I am LOVING YOUR BLOG. Wonderful ideas...keep them coming. I agree with all your decorating tips. We too have taken lots of hand me down furniture & worked with it. We've been married for 5 yrs. and still don't have a headboard either!!! ;>)

Glitter and Bliss said...

I completely agree with buying neutral things. My home is plain but comfortable. I love soft colors. Also garage sales are the best!!! Such wonderful tips. Thanks!!

Stacey said...

Hi Stacey-
In reference to a dream folder, I keep a dream notebook. Remember how we're both big magazine addicts? Well, I tear out articles, pictures, and things I like. Then I put them in a book categorized by subject... I also have a notebook for my antique articles ... That way, all the money I spend on magazines doesn't go to waste:)
I saw the ad for Fireproof on your sidebar. Have you seen it yet? I heard about it on NPR this week and it was the 4th biggest blockbuster in the nation this past weekend ... What an encouraging thought:)

salmagundi said...

Enjoyed this post!! I'm very experienced at this type of thing - I've been married 50 years and still don't have a headboard for our bed. Sally

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

I love the photo you included with this pretty with the black frames and black pillow. Great ideas! I wish I read this years ago when I first started my decorating!

Daffernia said...

Your home decoration ideas are superb & within the reach of my budget too.

Sweet Simplicity said...

Thanks for sharing your tips! I can't wait to see more!

Lady Dorothy said...

Great post! I put you on my bloglines, so that I can be sure to catch the rest of your decorating tips!

Thank you for visiting me last Thursday on our BATW tour!

If you like vintage and chippy, come by and see the project I posted about yesterday!

Nancy said...

Great Tips, Stacey!

Melissa Lester said...

What a pretty bedroom! I have similar botanical prints framed from a book I found in a junk store. For less than $10, I have tons of roses to choose from!

Sometimes I just want to get what I want when I want, but often the creativity required to bring something lovely out of a small budget makes the room turn out better than if I had spent a lot of money. That's what my husband says, anyway. ;)

Kim said...

Love your site! I am rereading the Hiding Place.