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Guest Post: Decorating on a Dime

Guest Post by Nichole from Being Frugal Is Fabulous

We each want to have a lovely and inviting home. However,
decorating our homes can be very expensive. Here are
some of the tips and tricks that I have used to decorate my home on a

1. Paint. I love
painted walls, and nothing spruces up your house more for less money
than paint. You can even get reject gallons of paint from your local
Home Depot or Lowe’s really inexpensively. We did this with our master
bedroom. We took a couple of reject colors and mixed them together and
we got a very lovely shade of taupe.

2. Make your own toss pillows. Toss pillows are a great way to add a little flair to your
room. I am not much of a seamstress, but pillows are something that I
can definitely make myself. You can see my tutorial on making toss pillows here.
Even if your only experience with sewing is the sewing class you took
in 8th grade, you can make a simple toss pillow for very little money.

I made the striped pillows above from a shower curtain I didn’t need anymore.

This pillow is made from some old sheets.

3. Shop the clearance racks and stores like Ross and TJ Maxx.
Or even better, shop the clearance rack at TJ Maxx. This is my
fruit bowl that I love, love, love. I paid $5.98, on clearance, for it
at TJ Maxx. With clearances, and discount stores, you must be patient and flexible.
I watch for things to go on clearance, and I may miss them before they
get down to my price range. But if you are patient, something else will
come your way.

4. Think outside the box for wall decor. I can’t take credit for this idea. I found this fabulous wall hanging idea on the fabulous blog How About Orange.

Remember that shower curtain that I made the toss pillows out of? I also used the rest of it to make this wall hanging.

4. Refresh old furniture with a coat of spray paint. We
do not have a matching bedroom set. What we have are: some old end
tables that were given to us that we use as night stands; an old head
board that was also given to us; and a mirror that was given to us.
Each of these pieces were free and each were different styles, colors
and types of wood. With a little sanding and $12 worth of black
spray paint, they now all coordinate.

5. Live with less.
My home decor style is very minimalist. Maybe it is my cheapness, or
maybe it is the fact that I grew up in a home with wallpaper on every
wall (no offense mom and dad, it was the era!), but I don’t like to
have a lot of stuff. If you walk into my home, you are not going to
think that you just walked into the home of an interior designer, but
you will think that you are walking into a nice, inviting, family home. To me that is what is most important.

Nicole is a wife and a mother to four children ages seven and under. She enjoys reading, cooking, and being a savvy shopper. She blogs at Being Frugal Is Fabulous.

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  • kim says:

    great tips!! thank you!!!

  • Trixie says:

    Hi Nicole!

    Thank you for sharing all these great ideas. I’ve gotten some great bargains in the reject paint areas too!

    I really like the throw pillows you made. What a creative way to use a shower curtain.

    Take Care,


  • Houmag says:

    I have bought place mats on sale — some really pretty ones. These can be opened at the side and stuffed. If desired additional ribbons or trimmings can be added although some aleady come with ruffles. Easy and cheap.

  • Laurenlulu says:

    This is great advice. I put off decorating my house forever because well, I could always spend the money on something else. Lately though, I’ve been finding inexpensive ways to spruce up my house, and it makes a big difference in how I feel about it. Here are some tips I can add

    Walmart usually has a huge clearance fabric rack with tons of home decor fabrics for $3 or less per yard.

    Thrift Stores and Yard Sales are great places to pick up decorations if you are willing to be selective and take your time. And usually at yard sales they are desperate to get rid of them, so you can find a good price.

  • Cathy says:

    I read Nichole’s blog on a daily basis and this was one of my favorite posts. Thanks for all the smart and inexpensive decorating ideas!

  • Excellent ideas! I also love making my own throw pillows from cloth napkins. They’re almost always the exact size.

    I saw that idea on How About Orange, and I thought that was great. Love your take on using a shower curtain!

  • mom_of2boys says:

    Great post! I’ve been minimizing my decorating. I enjoy the simple things when it comes to decorating. For making toss pillows, you can use an old sweater too. Just cut it off under the arm pits and you will just need to sew the top and bottom together.

  • Lee Scott says:

    I love frugal decorating! I re did my entire living room on a budget of $60. I got a new lamp, new rug, 2 new throw pillows, and re-upholstered an old chair (including new cushions!)
    I love my hancock fabrics clearance section!

  • Tracy says:

    Delurking to add to this great post a thought.

    I’ve been pretty frustrated with the pillows on the back of my couches b/c they were looking so limp and frumpy due to children smushing them and playing with them. I had thought about buying new pillows or throw pillows and had been pricing some out. But today I went to the store and about a big bag of stuffing for $1.47, unzipped the cover off of the pillows and with my super minimal sewing skills I was able to open up some of the stitches, add stuffing, and sew the big pillow back up. And it looks good as new for only $1.47 and a little bit of courage!

  • deb burton says:

    I really hate shopping, but I’ve taken on the challenge of being more frugal during these hard times. You know what, the challenge has turned into something of a game for me. How can I best this deal? I’m learning a ton of stuff just from frequenting blogs like this one (I’m new here, BTW. Spent part of last night perusing your archives).

    My problem is that I live in a very rural area where the nearest brand name stores (short of WalMart) are 45 minutes away or longer. Gas prices being what they (usually) are, I’ve had to get more creative about shopping and learn to postpone what I want until I can make a trip out of town really worth while.

  • Molly says:

    Great ideas! We just bought a different house and I’m trying to think of how I can make that house a home with what I already have, but not make it feel like the exact same place.

    I really like these ideas.

  • Carol says:

    Terrific post! I especially like what you said about painting odd things a coordinating color. I have often thought about doing that with our mismatched wood pieces. Now you’ve given me some motivation. Thanks!

  • Jenni says:

    I like your fifth point about being minimalist. I read somewhere that 80% of the effect of a home being “comforting” is related to its cleanliness and organization, not its decor. I’ve seen that in my own experiences, both personal as well as in others homes. It would be nice to have a perfectly decorated home, but I just don’t have the time or talent to figure that out! 🙂

  • jeremiah's mami says:

    While on the topic of home decorating, I am writing to ask a question/request some feedback. God has blessed my husband and I with our first home. We will be moving within the next couple of weeks. There are a couple of items we need to buy and we are looking for quality items at great prices. We need: a coffee pot (so we stop spending money at DD and SBucks), a vacuum for hardwood and carpeting (a good one, since the little one is in to picking everything up and eating it), set of knives, washer/dryer, and a set of pots and pans. I have purchased these items in the past, before I was married; however I bought what was the cheapest. Now we are paying for it, as we have to rebuy the items, since they did not last. So I don’t necessarily want the cheapest version of the items. I know that there are a lot of readers who are frugal and could probably guide me to some good buys, as well as “what not to buy”s. Any feedback would be appreciated.

  • Pam says:

    You did a very good job. I worked at an architectural/design firm for 18 years and you did an excellent job. Maybe you should consider doing this on the side.

  • Elaina says:

    Beautiful house….. your creativity is clearly shown in it’s decoration.

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