I am cursed with expensive (although dare I say, excellent) taste. Ever since I was young, I have had this keen ability to pick the most expensive thing in the store, even when I don’t know the price. It’s not the gift I would choose for myself, but it’s the gift I was given. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

The good news is, as a perpetual student, I have been forced to find ways to satisfy my expensive taste on a tight budget. Below are ways I’ve gotten around steep price tags to still get the look I want

Get Thrifty!

Garage sales, The Good Will, or your grandma’s basement can all have hidden gems that can pass for expensive antiques or other fun knick-knacks to fill your shelves. Everything old is new again, and this is true of old candleholders, ornate picture frames, vases, and other small items that can balance out newer decor to add character.

One cheap way to decorate that is also really on-trend are old, hard cover books (the picture below are some I found last weekend at a garage sale!). These are super cheap, super easy to stage, and super in right now. Decor tip: play around with placement of the books, with some having the spine visible, and some turned around.

books I found for just a few dollars at a garage sale this week!

Paint Your Own

Watercolors and oil paints aren’t hard to use, and you can make a big impact with minimal effort. Especially since color blocking and abstract minimalistic art is so in right now (see below), this doesn’t take much artistic talent. So get in touch with your creative side!

An example of how minimal style paintings can make a big impact!

DIY Gallery Wall

Pictures are pretty cheap to print, and they can make a big statement to spice up an otherwise boring wall. We all love a good gallery wall, but the whole 10-identical-50-dollar-frame thing doesn’t work for a tight budget. So, get creative with what you put up there! Some pictures can have frames, but not all have to.

The key is to mix colors, textures, and shapes, but to have some consistent elements throughout. For instance, if you’re using several different types of frames, consider printing all your photos in black and white. If you’re printing in color, it’s important to balance neutrals (creams, greys, black and white) with pops of color (olive green, yellow, light and pink). Also, be sure to think about the scale of each picture: mixing clean lines with close up shots, busy with simple. This will help you achieve a streamlined, yet eclectic look.

Take advantage of minimalism

The minimal look is in, and that fact is convenient for your budget! Right now, clean lines and simplicity are all the rage. Take advantage of this by keeping decor simple. One small statement can make a big impact for a few bucks.

minimalistic decor

Don’t Buy Anything Full Price

This is also a rule I apply to buying clothes. I will not walk into a store that doesn’t have a sign out front saying “40% off everything!” Why pay full price when a sale is inevitable? The key to saving in this regard is to never shop when things are dire, when you absolutely need to buy something. Those are the moments that you find yourself having to pay more than you want to.

Instead, start looking for good deals well ahead of when you need to. If you notice your couch is getting worn, start scouring for deals sooner rather than later.

3 thoughts on “Decorating on a Budget: Getting the Look for Less

  1. Bargain hunting in garage or car boot sales can also provide a hobby, of sorts. The tests have to be firstly, do I really need one of these, secondly, is it significantly cheaper than can be bought elsewhere, and thirdly, can I afford it at this reduced price, don’t you agree?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the process and buy things simply because they are a reduced price. It’s important to ask oneself whether this item is really essential.

      Liked by 1 person

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