You’ve moved into your new digs, and you’re ready to make your house a home.
There’s just one problem — furniture and home decorations don’t always come cheap. Buying a house is a big expense, often leaving you with little left in your wallet to make your house stylish and comfortable.
Don’t worry. With a little creativity, you can stretch your decorating dollars and create a complete look that fits your style and budget.
Here are five inexpensive tips to help you decorate your new house without breaking the bank:
Tip #1: Set your budget & prioritize
Before you even think about shopping, determine your budget. It’s easy to make a long list of must-haves and add up the costs later, but that can often lead to overspending (and draining funds you could put toward your mortgage). By creating a plan, you’ll be armed with direction and focus, which will make decorating your home on a budget so much easier.
First, think about where you’ll need to splurge and where you can scrimp. You might not need expensive wall art, for instance, but maybe a nice couch is worth the investment.
Your next step? Come up with a list of things you need now, and things you may want down the road. For example, you might not be able to live without plates, utensils and a bed, but you can hold off on light fixtures, houseplants and a wine fridge.
Knowing what you can afford without dipping into your savings or relying on credit cards can help keep your spending in check and give you a strong starting point.
Tip #2: Get by with a little help from your friends
If you’re on the hunt for free furniture for your home, post on social media and ask your friends and family if they have anything they’re looking to toss. You might be surprised by how many people have extra stuff lying around that they’re looking to part with. In fact, you might be saving them a trip to the donation center.
Another option is to have a housewarming party. You can set up a registry or Amazon wish list, buy some affordable food and drink, and invite your friends over for some fun. You get to celebrate your new living situation with your closest friends and get some housewarming gifts to help furnish your house. Now, that sounds like a perfect party.
Tip #3: Look for solid secondhand gems
There’s no way around it: Buying everything new can be an instant budget buster. And while there are certain things you won’t want to pick up secondhand (hello, sheets), there are a ton of items that will feel like new after a good polish.
Make a list of things you’d be happy to get secondhand (perhaps shelving, light fixtures and that wine fridge?). Then, keep your eye on marketplace apps such as letgo and OfferUp, as well as your local neighborhood groups, thrift shops and yard sales. You can often set up alerts on sites like Craigslist, so you’ll get an email when someone posts an item you’re looking for.
Bonus tip: There are plenty of easy upgrades that will make your used furniture look more expensive.
Tip #4: Get your DIY on
Get creative! There are plenty of simple projects you can tackle on your own, or with the help of friends. Think everything from side tables and bar trays to DIY pipe shelves (get inspired by these easy DIY decor hacks).
Search for free items on Freecycle or take a scan through the “free” section of Craigslist. Then, with a bit of effort and inspiration, you can turn someone else’s trash into your own DIY treasure.
For example, you can get things like a table, nightstand or footrest and paint them so they’re good as new. Or you can repurpose salvaged items like old doors or windows. Even an old wine bottle makes a lovely vase for flowers or a nice bookend for your collection of novels.
For more ideas, look no further than Pinterest, where you can get a ton of creative ideas for various DIY projects.
Tip #5: Shop smart
When you’re on a limited budget, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. To do that, you’ll need to shop around for the best prices. For example, the exact same item may have a higher price tag at one store over another, so do your research before pulling out your wallet.
You may also want to consider waiting for big sale events, like Black Friday or around the holidays, when you can find some must-have items on sale. And if you plan on shopping online, look for coupon codes at RetailMeNot first. You can also see if you’re eligible for cash back using a site like Ebates.
Bonus tip: Use these coupon-clipping tips and tricks to save money for your home décor budget.
Decorating on a budget
Moving into your own home can be an exciting time — and an expensive one, too. Luckily, furnishing a new home on a budget is possible. If you want to learn how to decorate a house on a small budget, use these creative tips and cheap home decor ideas to get you started.