list of ideas for decorating on a budget is unending. Every
day you may come across new ways to use throw-away items or
to recycle old pieces. Below is only a partial list of some
things you can do at minimal cost to brighten your home.
Do you have a window or other area of woodwork you wish would
disappear? Disguise the area by painting the woodwork the
same color as the wall and choosing a window fabric of the
Fill a window with plants. The view is partially blocked,
but light can still enter the room. Make simple shelves by
placing brackets along the window edges and attaching supports
Use inexpensive fabrics for window coverings. Gingham and
other dressmaker fabrics work well. Try using unbleached muslin
or burlap for a country look. Sheets provide a lot of fabric
at a reasonable cost.
Paint that old venetian blind a bright, cheery color. You'll
be amazed at the results. To add an extra touch, paint a design
on the blind so when it closes the design takes shape.
Make windows appear larger by extending the window treatment
beyond the window area.
Are ordinary shades too plain for you? Stencil on a design
or cover them with fabric. You can even make your own shades
using fabrics that coordinate with the room.
Use area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet. Many carpet
stores sell room-sized remnants at a reasonable price. Such
pieces are easy to rotate for more even wear and can be taken
with you if you move.
If you are tired of your carpet color but it is still in good
shape, play down the color and emphasize other furnishings.
Stencil a design on a concrete floor.
A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive redo for a wall and
can add new life to a room. Try a new color. Choose a color
one to two tones lighter than the one you like in the samples
-- colors intensify on a large area.
Paint a design on a wall. It will take the place of pictures
or other wall decorations.
Hide ugly or damaged woodwork by painting it the same color
as the wall. Use an enamel paint (latex or oil based) for
A wall of shelves can be decorative and add storage space.
Wallpaper serves many functions. It can add color, pattern
and texture, as well as cover cracks and other undesirable
If metal kitchen cabinets look a little shabby, repaint them.
Hang pots and pans of interesting shapes and colors from a
ceiling bracket or pegboard. They add interest to the room
and are easy to reach.
Filing cabinets provide an abundance of storage and may be
used in a variety of ways. Use new pieces or buy used ones
at office supply stores. Cover them with fabric, wallpaper
or a coat of paint to make them more attractive. Use as a
single unit or place a board across two cabinets to form a
Rearrange furniture. Many times a new furniture arrangement
will do a lot for a room. Rather than lining up all your furniture
against walls, place some pieces out toward the center of
Restore your present furniture. This can include anything
from adding new hardware to refinishing, antiquing or painting.
Use old trunks. Make a trunk into a seat by adding a cushion.
Place a circular piece of glass on top to make a coffee table.
Use a trunk as is for an end table, shelf or coffee table.
Purchase unfinished furniture and add your own finish.
Make an inexpensive bookshelf from boards separated by bricks,
concrete blocks, glass blocks, large covered juice cans or
mailing tubes bunched together.
Making or buying framed furniture with removable cushions
makes changing colors easy.
Make utility spools into fun furniture for a child's room,
recreation room or patio. Choose multipurpose furniture to
cut down on the number of pieces you need to buy.
Purchase inexpensive director's chairs for starter pieces,
then move them to the patio or den when you add better pieces.
A few well-chosen accessories show up better than a flood
of small things.
Don't buy every accessory you need at once and don't feel
you have to keep them forever. If one becomes damaged, fix
it or discard it.
Make a simple wall hanging from a drapery sample, embroidered
piece, tea towel or small rug and hang from a stained dowel.
Create your own accessory with dried or silk flowers.
Plants are always attractive and nice for filling empty spaces.
Use decorative pillows. They can be inexpensive, functional
Use books to add color, texture and design to an area.
Candles can be simple but decorative.
Baskets can be decorative in every room of the home. Use them
on the wall, under a plant, on a shelf, to store clothes or
linens, etc. If you don't care for their neutral color, spray-paint
them in vivid enamels.