How to Decorate Like a Pro with Little to No Money – 12 Ideas

Last updated Jul 18, 2018 | Published on Jun 21, 2018 | Decorating, Tutorial

Sometimes your budget dictates that you need to spend little to no money on your house projects/decorating. And sometimes you just don’t want to spend a lot of money. This post is for you. (Note that any links provided in this post are non-affiliate)

1. Paint

A fresh coat of paint is one of the two least expensive ways to make the biggest change to a room (see #2 for the other). Like nothing else, paint can erase the old and create something new.

But which paint to choose?

Ah, the tricky question. So many brands, textures and colors. I break it all down for you here in my post ‘How to Pick the Perfect Paint for Your Room.’

2. De-Clutter

Fresh paint and a good de-clutter compete for the number 1 spot on how to make the biggest change in a space for the least amount of money. Except that de-cluttering will cost you nothing except some time out of your day and a little elbow grease.

The example above is from my guest bedroom – click here for more information that renovation. If I had done nothing but clean the room out it would have made all the difference in the world!

Need some help? I’ve got you covered! Download my FREE guide, ‘3 Steps to Organize any Area in your Home’ and you’ll be off to the races.

3. Label Storage Jars & Bins

Putting labels on your bins, jars and other storage items not only pretties up the space. It helps everyone readily find things and more easily return them to their proper places.

If you’re looking for a nice set of labels (you can see some of them in the picture from my pantry above), all you have to do is download them here. They come with lots of alternatives and include print instructions. I printed mine on my little laser printer with no problem at all.

Love them!

Here’s that link one more time: Download my custom pantry labels here.

4. Style a Bookshelf

Bookshelves can be catch-alls and get messy fast. You can fix that without spending a lot of money. Shop your house for vases, faux flowers and small plants. Oh, and don’t forget the books! It’s easy to style a bookshelf when you know the rules. They are very similar to the rules for styling a coffee table tray – click here to view that post.

Just so you have a little more information, you may want to check out this Pinterest search as well. 

5. Upgrade Cabinet Hardware

Installing new door and drawer pulls can add new life to any cabinet or drawer that could use a refresh. Your local hardware store will have a lot to choose from. If you’re looking for something really different, I’m a big fan of Anthropologie’s collection (non-affiliate links): knobs & handles.

6. Re-arrange Your Furniture

Sometimes moving things around will make your room look like it’s brand new. Add a little de-clutter (see step #2 above) to your project and you may just end up loving your ‘new’ space without spending a cent!

Need a few tips? Here are a couple of links that may help:

7. Replace a Light Fixture

If you shop around you can find some real bargains. I got this chandelier at Overstock for $92 (with coupon) which I thought was an awesome price for a light that turned out to be so well made (it has since unfortunately gone up in price).

Shopping is essential if you’re looking for the best deal possible. For my shopping tips, click here. Here are a few other links that you may find useful:

8. Switch out a Lamp Shade

Replace that worn out or broken shade with something new. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a shade and it can really dress up a room. Here are a few sources:

Make your own:

Shops I like:

9. Construct a Cornice Box

I searched high and low for a valance that would work in my sunporch and came up with nothing after dozens of searches. I finally realized that I needed something that was a little more structured. The only way I was going to make that kind of valance happen at a reasonable price was going to be to build them myself.

I found this tutorial:  Easy Cornice Tutorial Using Foamboard. And then, I had the unbelievable good luck of finding the very material that was used to make the pillows on my new couch.  Here’s a link to the fabric.

The fabric has arrived and the next step is to turn the picture above, which is just a mockup, into the real thing. Including all materials, my estimate is that the cornices will cost about $25 per window, and these are big windows! Swwweeeet!

As soon as my cornice project is complete I’ll post it and add a link here so you can see how I did it! In the meantime, here’s the link to that tutorial again: Easy Cornice Tutorial Using Foamboard.

10. Decorate with Pillows

It’s a bit of a labor of love for me, putting together pillow collections. Honestly, I agonize over finding just the right ones. They can really dress up an otherwise boring space, though, and I love them!

It pays to shop, so check out my post ’10 Shopping Tips for a More Delightful & Successful Shopping Trip.’

Other Tutorial links:

My favorite shopping spots for throw pillows:

  • Overstock (be sure to take advantage of their coupons and discounts)
  • Pier1 (I like that I can go to a local store and see most of them in-person)
  • Wayfair (I like that you can really filter down to the colors and patterns you want)
  • Local Home Goods

11. Buy Affordable Curtains & Drapes

I found these gauzy drapes for my guest bedroom at Bed Bath & Beyond. I had to iron them, which was a bit of a pain, but they hang like a dream and they give the room just the look I was after. The cost? $10 per panel. They have rod pockets so I dressed them up a bit by using clip rings.

Total cost per window: $28.

It pays to shop, so check out my post ’10 Shopping Tips for a More Delightful & Successful Shopping Trip.’

My favorite shopping spots for low-cost curtains and drapes:

12. Shop Your Home

This is a centerpiece that I created almost entirely from items that I had within my own home. I had put the tray aside and was not using it. The candle holder in the middle was sitting on a shelf in my dining room. I also had in storage the basics of the decor inside the tray but I purchased a few holiday items to add to it, for a total cost of $10. For more information about how I created this flexible centerpiece, click here.

I love moving things around within my house and making spaces look like new while they barely cost me a penny.  So, before you go spending money on decor take a look around your house and see what can be pulled out of storage, moved to a new location or re-purposed to create a brand new look!

How about you?

Do you have a favorite decorating tip? I’d love to hear about it. Please share in the comments below!

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