It seems like I am always updating at least one of the rooms in my builder-grade house, trying to add those details that will make my home look more custom. Since I never have as much money to spend as I would like, these low cost home decorating ideas on a budget come in handy!
I always have at least one room in my house that is in some phase of being re-decorated.
I know. It shouldn’t be necessary at this point (all of my rooms have been updated at least twice).
But I just can’t help myself. I get bored of the same old decor after a while.
With all of these projects on the go, I can’t afford to splurge on too many big purchases (although I do fit in a few here and there).
Which means coming up with some budget home decorating ideas and DIY projects that help me to stay on a budget.
So here are my ideas for how to decorate a house with (almost) no money.
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1 | Create Architectural Interest With Paint
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Of course, the biggest impact you can make in a room without spending a lot of money is applying a coat of paint.
It’s on every budget decorating ideas list out there so I’m sure it’s not a surprise.
But since paint is such a game changer, I couldn’t really leave it off. So I’ll go ahead and get it out of the way.
However, just because you’re painting, doesn’t mean you have to stick to the usual one-color walls.
If your home is lacking in architectural interest and you don’t want to install moldings, you can create the illusion of them with paint. It’s a much cheaper way to do it!
Painting the bottom third of your wall a different color makes your room look like it has wainscoting.
Painting half way up the wall (or even higher) in a different color has the same effect as paneling.
Painting a stripe across the middle creates the appearance of a chair rail.
In all cases, you get the benefits of molding without the expense or hassle of installing it.
Find more creative ideas for painting your walls HERE.
2 | Make Your Own Wallpaper
If you like the look of wallpaper but don’t want to pay for it, then this budget decorating idea may be for you.
Creating your own DIY wallpaper is easier than it sounds. Use stencils!
Okay, to be honest, it’s not really wallpaper, but it looks just like wallpaper when it’s done.
All you need is the right stencil pattern and some paint.
The best part is you can make it whatever color you want, so matching your decor couldn’t be easier.
You can either buy a stencil, like I did when I created the Chinoiserie design in my hallway. (Find all the details HERE if you’re interested).
Or make your own.
To do this, buy some stencil plastic (which is very inexpensive…you can find it HERE*).
Then trace the pattern you want for your stencil onto the plastic and cut it with a utility knife.
Or if you have a Cricut machine (or something similar), have it cut the pattern for you.
Then you’re ready to paint.
For more details on how to stencil your wall, check out the DIY zebra “wallpaper” in my bathroom and the gold dots stenciling from my mother’s living room. (You can also get the patterns for each of the stencils on those pages).
3 | DIY Artwork
One of the easiest ways to add your own unique decorating style to a room is with a gallery wall of art. However, buying artwork can be expensive.
And for most of us, painting our own art just isn’t an option.
Which is why I like to print art whenever I’m looking for cheap decorating ideas for my living room walls.
You can print pictures you’ve taken on vacation, signs you’ve made (like my Live, Laugh, Love printable signs), or printable wall art you’ve bought. (There’s a ton of inexpensive online prints on Etsy*.)
If you’re looking for a bigger picture than your printer can handle (or just want better quality prints), try uploading your image to Staples and have them print it for you*. Their printing services don’t cost a lot and your pictures are usually ready for pickup within a couple of hours.
Then find some cheap frames.
I usually have a bunch hanging around in my closet. But if you don’t, you can get a multi-pack from Amazon* which doesn’t cost much.
If your frames don’t match, give them a quick coat of spray paint so that they are all the same color. It will make them look like they were meant to be together.
4 | Create A Gallery Wall From Wallpaper
Speaking of gallery walls…another budget decorating idea is to use left over wallpaper as artwork.
Framing wallpaper with inexpensive picture frames is a a really easy project that doesn’t cost much money or take much time.
To start, find different sizes of frames.
If you don’t happen to have any, you can usually find cheap ones at thrift stores, the Goodwill or garage sales. It’s okay if they’re banged up a bit…we’re going to paint them anyway.
As with your pictures above, painting them all the same color will create a cohesive look. I like to use spray paint for these kinds of projects because it gets into all the crevices and it dries so fast.
Then cut pieces of wallpaper to fit each frame.
Even if you don’t have wallpaper remnants hanging around, a single roll will be more than enough to do this kind of project. Buy a color and print that you love and you’re all set to create some one-of-a-kind home decor.
Hang them up and you’re done.
5 | Make Budget-Friendly Curtains
If your walls are less than perfect, or you want to make your windows look bigger, wall to wall curtains may be one of the home decorating ideas you’re after.
Hang them right at the ceiling, and get enough panels to cover the whole wall. They automatically create a statement in your room.
However, buying ready made panels for a whole wall can be expensive, which is where these DIY curtain options are helpful.
To save money on the curtains themselves, paint stripes on some drop clothes with this tutorial from Better Homes & Gardens.
They look a lot like linen once they’re hung on the wall.
Or you can make curtains out of bed sheets, which is what my mother did for my deck makeover (find the tutorial HERE).
While we used these ones for my gazebo outside, they would work just as well in your living room. And they cost less than $10 per panel!
6 | Display Collections
Displaying anything that you have collected other the years is a great, money-saving way to decorate your home.
Grouping the items in your collection together will make them look like they belong, and create a focal point in your room. (Avoid displaying individual decorative items here and there to prevent the room from feeling too cluttered.)
For more tips, find out how to arrange your bookshelf HERE.
7 | Create a Glassware Collection
Don’t really have any collections to display? Try using your glassware.
If you’ve accumulated as many glasses as I have over the years, you can create a whole wall display that won’t cost you anything.
I originally did this because I ran out of storage space in my kitchen.
But now that I have it, I really love the way it looks. And it’s easy to find the glasses I’m looking for when I need them.
Beautiful AND functional is always a bonus in my books!
Of course, if you don’t have that many glasses but like the look, you can start your own collection like Elsie from A Beautiful Mess.
Colored glassware is usually easy to find at thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets and even the Goodwill for a few cents per glass. (It definitely doesn’t have to break the bank!)
Organizing them by color and displaying them against a white background really makes the colors stand out.
8 | Rearrange Your Furniture
The next one of my budget interior design ideas doesn’t cost anything at all. Except maybe a meal or a case of beer if you need to get a friend or family member to help you.
After we bought our first house, my ex-husband used to complain that I wanted to re-arrange the furniture at least once a week, and always after midnight.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Well…maybe not the after midnight part. What can I say? Inspiration always seems to hit me when I’m getting ready for bed.
However, the sentiment is true.
When you don’t have a lot of money to spend, just having a different furniture arrangement in your living room (or any other room in your house) can be a breath of fresh air.
And when I say rearrange, I mean REALLY rearrange.
Move the chaise from the bedroom to the living room.
Try the living room love seat at the end of the bed.
Swap your TV room with your dining room.
Move your artwork into a different room.
It’s amazing how different the same room can look just by putting the furniture in a different location.
And hey, if you don’t like it, you can always move it back.
9 | Upcycle Your Old Furniture
Speaking of furniture…if you do want to do more than just re-arrange it, the next one of my low cost home decor ideas is for you. Upcycle your old furniture.
The easiest and cheapest way to do this is to paint it.
Whether it’s kitchen or bathroom cabinets, bedroom dressers or living room shelves, painting them is on pretty much every budget decorating list for a reason.
So paint is always an option.
However, it isn’t the only option.
You can also make your own mirror furniture.
Spray paint it silver.
Then have pieces of mirror cut to size for the top and the front. The cheapest place to have this done is at a local glass cutter.
Or add some gold leaf to the front of a cabinet.
And that’s just to name a few!
10 | Add Some Trim
The next one of my home decorating ideas on a budget is a way to give your accessories, lighting fixtures and furniture that custom look without the custom cost.
All you need is some trim and fabric glue*.
Then you can glue the trim onto the bottom of anything that needs a little extra pizzazz.
Like the lamp shades in my guest bedroom.
Or the bottom of the bar stools in my dining room.
Or the edges of the drapes in my mother’s living room (although she sewed hers on, glue would work, too)
And if you really want some glam, you can always glue a feather boa onto a lamp shade, like my mother used to have in her bedroom.
11 | Update Your Flooring
Similar to creating your own wallpaper, stencils like this one* are also a cheap way to update your floor.
Painting over a tile or vinyl floor with a black and white pattern like this can make it look like expensive Portugese tile. (Find the tutorial HERE.)
Perfect for an upgraded look in your kitchen or bathroom!
Of course if you’re a color lover like me, you could also go for something a little brighter than black and white…
12 | Double Up Your Area Rugs
The last one of my money-saving tips for home decorating on a budget helps you spend less on a large area rug.
Start by buying a smaller version of the rug you really want (the more expensive one).
Then look for an inexpensive large area rug in a coordinating color.
Layer the small rug on top of the large rug and you have a large-sized area rug without the large-sized cost.
Or if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, just lay the small rug down over the carpet and you’re done.
13 | Update throw pillows
It’s amazing what a difference you can make by changing your throw pillows.
But buying all new pillows for every season can get a little pricey.
So I like to purchase cushion covers.
Just make sure you have some standard-sized cushions (18″ x 18″ ones work well).
Then you can find all kinds of different cushion covers for very little money on Amazon.
14 | Paint your kitchen cabinets
If the kitchen is the room you want to update, painting your cabinets will make a huge difference in the way it looks.
It does take a little work, but the end result is well worth it.
I did this with my plain white kitchen.
Black paint combined with blue and silver glaze really makes a statement. (You know I’m never happy with the plain option, so I always have to do a little “extra”).
Of course, you can pick any color (or colors) that you want.
Find out how to paint your kitchen cabinets HERE.
15 | Upgrade furniture legs
Another budget friendly home decor idea is to change out the legs on your furniture.
When I wanted to update my living room, I swapped out the wood legs on my sofa for some acrylic ones.
But you can do the same thing with any furniture that has remove-able hardware, such as coffee tables and end tables.
Well, that’s it for my home decor ideas on a budget. Hopefully they have given you some inspiration to do some room updates without spending a lot of money.
More Decorating Tips You Might Like
- Living room decorating ideas on a budget
- How to make your home look more expensive
- How to accessorize your home on a budget
- How to decorate like an interior decorator
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This post was originally published on February 22, 2019 but was updated with new content on April 30, 2022.