1. Paint: Color on a wall makes a room seem complete and adding paint techniques can add texture to fill space. (Anyone can take a free class from Home Depot.) Buying cheap older wood furniture and sanding and painting it yourself can end up saving you hundreds. I know it sounds like a lot, but painting your old kitchen cabinets is less expensive than refinishing or buying new ones. The outcome can be fantastic:
2. Trim: Buy your own trim, cut it to size and then use it to create a “picture frame” on a wall. You can fill this large “frame” with fabric, paint technique, family photos, etc.
3. Area Rugs and Pillows: Find an inexpensive rug from Walmart or Target that ties together the mismatched colors of your hand-me-downs. Inexpensive throw pillows could also be used to pull in colors. If you have an older, good quality pillow that doesn’t match, cover it with nicer fabric. (Don’t forget to look at remnants table in home section of fabric store for good deals on expensive decorator fabrics.)
4. Accessories: Find places in your area that sell inexpensive pottery and vases; Goodwill or consignment shops are a good place to start.
As far as artwork goes, taking a black and white picture and framing it in a simple black frame is a great, fresh look. Another great, inexpensive idea is to go and get an art canvas, cover it with padding, and then cover it with a fabric you really like. All you have to do is staple the fabric to the back with a staple gun. I’d even encourage you to do your own abstract artwork on a canvas. Be creative and express yourself!
Changing an old lamp shade and finial out for new ones can really change the look of an old lamp.
A few other ways to accessorize inexpensively are to use live plants, make and use your own wall-hung shelves for displaying accessories, find old trunks at thrift stores or garage sales, and use them as a coffee tables, and while you’re at it, find a few old used books for accessories on that coffee table.
5. Windows and Lighting: If you’re trying to save money on window treatments, buy inexpensive blinds or shades from Walmart, and only use a valance; this will save money on a lot of fabric. However, if you really want wooden blinds, only use them on the front of your home and buy plastic blinds for the back windows. You can use regular curtains for your shower curtain, but just make sure to buy a plain liner curtain.
When thinking about the lighting in your home, go ahead and invest in dimmers; they can really change the feel of a room.
6. Upholstered Furniture: If your furniture is old or the wrong color, before buying new, consider buying an inexpensive slipcover.
Keep in mind, you can very easily reupholster dining room chairs.
7. General Tips: Lastly, I’ve just got some tips for you… Save up and buy timeless, more neutral furniture. Remember that paint and curtains are generally less expensive to change than furniture. You can always ask for sales on the display pieces in furniture stores. Watching Home and Garden TV is a great way to learn more about inexpensive and creative ways to design. Don’t feel the need to immediately fill every space; wait and be patient for the right things. You’ll be happy you waited when you finally find the perfect sofa table. Determine what you want to invest in, and save up; quality will save money in the long run. If you get on mailing lists for decorating stores, (JCPenney’s, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, etc.) you’ll often get great coupons on a regular basis. Lastly, shopping Goodwill, consignment shops, and garage sales can really help you save money. Garage sales and estate sales in wealthier neighborhoods can have great deals on nice things.
Hope these help!