Lately, I’ve been on a “use what you’ve got” kick, especially as it relates to my wardrobe. After discovering free ways to get new outfits, I’m trying to extend these strategies to my home decor. I take pride in my abode and love switching things up for each season. At this point, I’ve collected enough furniture and accessories to keep things fresh in nearly every room. This past weekend, I had an epiphany about a decorating quandary I’ve been mulling over for a while now.
The wall space where our bedroom and laundry room connect is barren and sad, and needs a narrow piece of furniture to give it new life. This piece would be the first thing people see when they walk through our garage into our home. My husband always enters the house this way and I thought I could reduce clutter on our kitchen countertop by having a place for his keys, wallet and phone.
After returning from my neighbor’s immaculately kept house one day, I noticed the bookshelf catty-corner to the space in question brimming with dust. Instantly disgusted with myself, I emptied the shelf of all its contents with the intent to super-clean everything. Once all the clutter was gone, I realized it was the perfect length and width for the entrance wall. Breakthrough!
This got me thinking about other ways I redecorate without spending money, including:
TIP #1: Move Things Around: Sometimes, changing the setup or configuration of a room’s furniture can make a world of difference. If you’re sick of your living room, relocate the couch to a different wall. Take the end table next to your couch and place it between two chairs, or use ottomans from your chairs as coffee tables.
TIP #2: Shop Other Rooms: I don’t have a ton of accessories but what I do have are versatile pieces, like candles, vases, picture frames and the like. When redecorating a space, I often raid other rooms of their accessories to make something appear new without having to shop for new items.
TIP #3: De-Clutter: As Victoria over at Young Adult Money will agree, less is more when it comes to decorating. Nothing puts me into an agitated state quicker than walking into a room overloaded with tchotchkes. If you want to change up shelves, nooks or wall decor, try removing a few items and see how a simpler look strikes you.
TIP #4: Repurpose (and Drink Heavily): I admire crafty people who can refinish dilapidated furniture into beautiful focal points. Sadly, I am not one of those people but I know my way around simpler things, like using liquor bottles as vases or wine corks as vase fillers. (Sensing a theme here?)
This vase always makes me crave a gin and tonic. Not sure why.
TIP #5: Use Found Items: Growing up, I watched my mom collect countless rocks and pieces of driftwood for use in her home decor. That’s why I agree with the suggestion of using “found” items from this post at Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses to save money on decorating. I collected sea shells in the bay of San Carlos and along the beachfront at Huntington Park for use in my guest bathroom (see pictures here).
TIP #6: Raid Your Garden: Fresh flowers are a great addition to your home decor in the spring and summer. Sadly, fresh things die and quickly turn an otherwise welcoming room into a dark, foreboding space. That’s why I like using foxtails or clippings from ornamental grasses to freshen things up without casting a feeling of death upon anyone who enters the room.
Ornamental grass and Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout – a match made in decorator’s heaven.
With these tips in mind, I removed half the books the shelf once held and could instantly breathe easier (tip 3). I grabbed accessories from my study and bathroom (tip 2), and finally found a home for my paint ‘n sip masterpiece and modern, triangle bowl from Tiffany & Co. (also tip 2). I looked high and low for an appropriate item to collect my husband’s essentials but failed. So I cheated and bought a $6 basket from Marshall’s to complete my project.
Can you tell I’m excited about the organizational prospects of this project?
As we walked through the laundry room that evening, I made it a point to stop and step aside so my husband could pass. I looked at him expectantly and he looked down at the bookshelf and basket. With a slight smirk and faint shake of his head, he tossed his keys, wallet and phone into the basket. I grinned like he’d just given me wine and cupcakes and did a quick happy dance.
How do you keep decorating costs down?