Decorating on a Budget

In the Kitchen

Refinish the cabinets. Try a new color, or just freshen up your existing color. Or, take some of the cupboard doors off, leaving the shelves open and turning your visible china or dinnerware into its own decoration.

Paint the rims of several terra cotta pots and use them to hold cooking utensils, telephone odds and ends (like pencils, pens, and notepads), or potted herbs.

Change the knobs on your drawers or cabinets or consider drilling holes and installing knobs if you don’t have any. This can be done very easily and will add a fun new feel in your kitchen.

Add accents like tablecloths and placemats. This is a great way to inexpensively incorporate splashes of color and will help tie your décor together.

In the Bedroom

Your down comforter is still in good shape, but you could really use a new duvet cover for it. One easy and inexpensive fix is to sew two sheets (the same size as your comforter) together, leaving one end open. You can then sew Velcro or buttons to the open end. Even if you don’t know how to sew, this project is easy enough that a friend or neighbor with a sewing machine would surely be able to help you in no time at all.

Think out of the box when choosing a headboard. Some ideas include: a section of a wooden picket or wrought iron fence; an old, distressed door; a trellis decorated with ivy, ribbons, or flowers; a quilt; old shutters or window frames; or a folding screen.

Many newlyweds are given older furniture that has seen its years of use. It may not always look especially attractive, but as long as it functions properly, take it! Among these hand-me-down treasures is sometimes an old chest of drawers. If yours is dated, scuffed, and scratched, consider it a fun opportunity to give it a new life. Strip the original varnish and give it a fresh coat of paint or stain. Not only will your chest look as good as new, you can create a look specific to your bedroom and your style. Add new knobs for an especially distinctive look.

In the Living Room

The sofa Aunt Maude gave to you is in good shape, but you just can’t do much with the orange and brown flowers. Instead of investing hundreds of dollars into a new, modern couch, spend much less on a slipcover and add instant style. Keep an eye out for great buys online, in discount stores, or through Internet auctions.

Now that you’ve got a “new” couch, you’ll probably want some accent pillows. Luckily, this is one decoration that will add a great deal to the feel of your room, without adding a great strain on your wallet. If you keep an eye out for sales, accent pillows can be very inexpensive; or, purchase second-hand pillows and cover them with a color and fabric of your choice. Mixing textures and shades is a great way to liven things up.

Finding artwork to hang on your walls can become very expensive. Instead of breaking your bank on beautiful but expensive framed works, look through magazines or postcards to find images you’d like to display. Then, buy inexpensive frames and mats from thrift or discount stores and spray paint them to give them a similar look or color. No one will know yours was created thanks to a pair of scissors!

In the Bathroom

Towels can work wonders. Purchasing a few new, fluffy towels is an easy and inexpensive way to work color and coziness into your bathroom. Instead of simply hanging them on a rack, roll several up and place them in a wicker basket on the floor.

A new shower curtain will change the whole look of your bathroom. Many stores offer them at very reasonable prices and they can help inspire you when deciding on paint colors and other bathroom accessories. Unique shower hooks can also add a fun flair to an otherwise bland room.

Search your local thrift store to find multi-colored jars or antique-looking bowls. These are great for storing things like cotton balls, Q-tips, hair accessories, and other toiletries and will look great on your sink basin or bathroom shelving. Adding potpourri to a container such as these will also give your bathroom a sweet smell.
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