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How To Redecorate Your House On a Budget

Published July 22, 2021

7 minute read

David Ning

By David Ning

I’m not sure if it’s because everyone has been stuck inside due to the pandemic or just a coincidence. Whatever the reason, it seems like everyone I know has recently been updating their homes. Whether it’s a minor or major redecoration, all this time indoors has spawned a bunch of amateur interior designers.

If you’ve been to a few get-togethers recently, you too might feel the urge to redecorate your home. But unless you still have money left over from the stimulus checks or an income tax refund from a few months ago, spending money on re-decorating your home is probably not a budget priority for you right now. You might just accept that you’re stuck with what you have. Or are you? Here are some ways you can save money on redecorating your space.

Spruce Up What You Already Have

Try to pick one item you are bored with. Say, your dresser. You could refinish it or give it a bright new coat of paint. You could even spend a few bucks on new knobs. Voila! You have a “new to you” dresser, for the fraction of the cost of buying a new one. The best part is you get to use your creativity. The changes you made are personal creative expressions, which can give more meaning to an otherwise ordinary piece of furniture.

The craftier you are, the more freedom you will have. By doing it yourself, you not only get to enjoy the process of renewing your furniture but it’ll definitely become a conversation piece when your friends come over. If you can’t come up with ideas on your own, browse home improvement magazines or websites. It’s easy to find plenty of great examples (and even tutorials too).

Keep It Personal

Rather than buying expensive wall art from a store, consider making your own. Not only will it save you money, but it adds a personal touch to your home. If you’re not a great artist, you can sign up for one of those guided paint nights. (They are surprisingly easy.) Other options include framing scrapbook pages, putting up picture collages, shadowboxes of collectible or heirloom items, or prints of your own poetry and other inspiring sayings.

If you enjoy landscape scenery, consider enlarging that sunset or mountain range photo from your last vacation. Isn’t it time to start actually using all those photos, anyway? There’s no need to keep them on your phone’s camera roll or on a memory card somewhere!

Rearrange and Rediscover

Rearranging you furniture is a must if you’ve lived in a house for any length of time. You may think you’ve re-arranged your present furniture in every possible combination. Surely there’s no way to improve the layout any further, right? Sometimes it’s worth another look.

Do you have a piece of furniture that no longer fit its intended purpose? Try to find a new purpose for it. Move it to a different room. Put books or a vase on it. Spend some time to find a new use that fits it. You might be surprised at what you come up with if you don’t limit yourself by what something is “supposed” to be used for.

Simplify

Modern décor is trending toward simplicity. So ironically, you can actually update a room by merely taking stuff away from it. Not every renovation needs to include additions. Take a look around your house. Are some of your rooms just too busy? By sticking to one theme and a few well-chosen focus points, you’ll be amazed at how fresh a room can feel by minimalism.

The other benefit of simplifying a room is that it’s bound to give you more space. I have a friend who recently threw away a big media cabinet. It was actually blocking the light coming in from one of the windows. Getting rid of it completely changed the feel of her living room. It felt more open, less cluttered, and actually bigger than before. Sometimes you just need to declutter your space to get that redecoration feel.

Young couple redecorating their house

Shutterstock

If You Must Buy, Shop for Deals

Garage sales are great places to find furniture or other home décor in good condition for dirt cheap. What someone else is bored with may be just what you’re looking for. Check your local newspaper regularly for sale notifications.

Estate sales have especially good deals. Many items will be in great condition but bargain-priced because of the need to liquidate. I once bought a faux floral arrangement for $15 that retailed for $150. There are definitely deals to be had if you look hard enough.

If you’re too busy to stroll through garage sales, there are also plenty of online sites like Facebook Marketplace or the Let Go app. They are filled with postings of people trying to sell their home goods too. We’re not saying you should just start buying other people’s old junk. However, you can sometimes snag a real diamond in the rough from these sites.

Sell Off (So You Can Change Out)

Speaking of liquidating, don’t just pack up everything up that you don’t want and put the boxes in storage. In fact, don’t pay for storage at all. Ever. You are just going to keep paying to store goods you’ll likely never use again. That’s a waste of money.

Gather up everything you plan to get rid of and post it for sale. It doesn’t matter when you post it online or have a yard sale. Convert as much of this unneeded stuff into cash you can. Then donate or throw out the rest. Use the cash to help the rest of your redecoration efforts. And if you truly end up needing to re-buy one of those items a few years down the road, you can use the money you saved NOT paying for storage to fund the purchase. You’ll come out ahead, trust us.

One Room at a Time

It may be tempting to update everything all at once. However, the reality is that redecorating one room at a time is much easier to manage — both mentally and economically.

That’s not to say that you have to stop after you’re done with the first room, though. All I’m saying is that you should concentrate your energy (and financial resources) on one room to start. Then move on to the next room when you’re happy with the results (and if you still have any money left). Start with the space you use the most — probably your bedroom, kitchen, or living room. Then move on to the next one, until you’re satisfied.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good Cleaning

Sometimes all your house need is a good cleaning. So rent a commercial grade carpet cleaner, dust off every corner, and pick up all the loose Legos on the floor. We recently got a spray that cleans the grout in the shower of our master bathroom. The white grout now looks as good as new. We couldn’t believe the difference once we used the right tool (along with some elbow grease).

We plan to wash all the exterior windows next and can’t wait to see the results. You may find that you don’t even have to make any changes to the house once you clean the whole place. We know that spending your free time doing a deep clean isn’t exactly appealing. But think of the money you’ll save my not having to replace items or repaint walls that only needed some TLC.

Consider Changing Out the Appliances

I know those older appliances are still working great. However, they definitely give off a dated vibe. I’m talking about the TV, fridge, and even the stove and range hood in some cases. These upgrades are more costly than my other suggestions, but new appliances definitely have some advantages. For starters, they are more energy efficient, so they will save you some money on your utility bills. Sometimes you can even get a rebate from your local power company (or government) for upgrading. It literally pays to do your research here.

If you want a quick and easy way to update your home, then consider changing out the appliances. Just make sure everything matches, especially if you don’t plan to update them all at once. The last thing you want to do is to buy a retro looking fridge and then stainless-steel cooktop with a brass range hood.

Focus on the Little Things

It’s amazing what a difference changing a few simple things can have on the entire appearance of your home. Small improvements such as changing out doorknobs, installing new light fixtures, or painting doors (or just a fresh coat of paint on the walls) can make a huge impact. Best of all, these things cost a fraction of a complete house renovation.

If you don’t have the skill or time to do these kinds of small projects yourself, consider finding an affordable and dependable handyman. Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations and call around to get the best bang for your handyman buck. Many of these independent contractors are affordable, fast, and can complete several projects for you in a single day.

Young couple shopping for renovation deals

Shutterstock

Don’t Forget the Outside of Your House

Many people spend all their time trying to make their house look like a model home on the inside. However, they completely neglect the outside. Just because you aren’t selling the home doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about curb appeal. After all, you walk in and out of your house almost daily. Having a nice front and back yard is just as important as having that sweet kitchen.

The same principles apply outdoors as they do indoors. Create a clean, tidy, clutter-free space and you’ll be happy with the results. Don’t forget to maintain it either. You want your beautiful makeover to last more than a couple of weeks, right?

The Bottom Line

Redecorating your home doesn’t have to be costly or out of reach. This is especially true if you try to do some of the work yourself. The beauty of DIY is that not only can you save money, but you can show off your house with even more pride than if you just paid someone else to do everything for you.

By using a little thrift and ingenuity (coupled with your creativity), you can transform the home into an interesting and tasteful expression of yourself. It’s worth the effort!

David Ning

Experienced Finance Writer

David is a published author, entrepreneur and a proud dad. He firmly believes that anyone can build a solid financial foundation as long as they are willing to learn. He runs MoneyNing.com, where he discusses every day money issues to encourage the masses to think about their finances more often.

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