University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County Home and Community Resources

 



Your Home and Community
updated August 1, 2002

 

Decorating on a Budget
submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator


The 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.

Windows

* 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 same color.

* 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 and shelves.

* 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.

Floors

* 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.

Walls

* 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 easy cleaning.

* 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 features.

Kitchen

* 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.

Furniture

* 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 desk.

* 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 the room.

* 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.

Accessories

* 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 and attractive.

* 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.

 

The information on this site is available for educational purposes and is valid for southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area.

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Home and Community web site information is maintained by the Lancaster County Staff. If you have any questions about the content of the site, contact Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator at lbartos1@unl.edu. If you have any questions about the design of this site, please contact Soni Cochran, (scochran2@unl.edu), Extension Associate. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County. Before completing any feedback or comment forms, please read our confidentiality statement.
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