- Set a budget for each project and save money each week or month for that project. Try to pay for your projects with cash. Again, this will take patience, but beauty has a price and sometimes the hardest thing to part with is your time! It is rarely worth accumulating debt to get a look you want right now when you can get the look with a little more time/patience. Not only will you have a beautiful room or home, you will have the peace of mind that you are not putting yourself into financial ruin to do it.
- Curate inspiration. One of the best advice I got when I was getting ready to buy a home was to start collecting ideas that inspired me. Pinterest is a great place for this. (Check out my Pinterest profile: Lucyjohome.) You can also tear pages out of magazines, copy and paste pictures, collect fabric swatches and take samples that are available through the home improvement stores you walk through. Just like a vision board helps you create the life you dream of, a mood board helps you to make your home decor/design ideas a reality. [A mood board is a collection of images and products that will inspire your decorating/designing.] Take note of the homes you love to visit and the places you travel to that bring you joy. If you can’t get a picture, write a note about the area and what you remember the most about it. When it is time to actually buy your materials or commission work, you will know exactly what you want and that feels good!
- DIY projects are your best friend. There are so many DIY ninjas out there. Follow their blogs; try the projects they feature and create pieces for your home that you love. Some of my favorite projects have been creating floating book shelves for my children’s books, reupholstering a kid table and chairs, creating a headboard and framed state silhouettes for my front room. A lot of the project ideas I used came from the book Young House Love, and the others came from Pinterest posts that I saved. Investing in your home through your sweat can help you feel like you are making progress. Warning: Don’t get caught up in doing a ton of little, low-cost projects if you need to save your money for larger projects. Do you need a wreath when your kitchen tile is falling off? Make priorities based on your needs and not just on your wants. Also, carefully evaluate the cost of creating something yourself and the buying it new. There have been some DIY projects we opted not to do because it was less expensive, and less time-consuming to buy the item. Be wise with your time, money and energy.
- Remember that less funds does not mean less beauty. Scarcity is the mother of invention. Get creative by taking stock of what you already have and how it might be used in different ways. Could that old mirror be new again with a coat of paint? Does that old couch just need a new slip-cover? Do you have some fabric to cover those stained pillows? There may be projects to do in your home that you just haven’t thought about yet. See your stuff with fresh eyes. A book that really inspired me to make the most of my home was The Nesting Place. The author always emphasized “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
- Buy, Sell, Trade Facebook Groups: These groups can be a little more safe than Craigslist because there are administrators monitoring regularly (hopefully) and people’s profiles are attached to their post.
- Craigslist (see story below)
- Thrift Store: Remember that visiting frequently will increase your chances of great finds. People that find great deals don’t go in once, they go in weekly. This takes patience, but it often pays off!
- Online second hand furniture stores: Here is a list of companies to check out. (Chairish, Etsy, Viyet, Krrb, EBTH (Estate Sales)
- DIY furniture projects:(There are so many IKEA furniture hacks that truly are stunning. It is less expensive, but the sweat equity is a factor. Check out my Pinterest boards for ideas. Lucy Jo Home is my Pinterest profile name.)
- Look at the pictures and pick up on clues. The picture quality of the posting I was interested in wasn’t great, but the fact that she made the slipcovers said she had some sense of style and beauty; she actually had decorative pillows on the sofa and her end table was styled with flowers and a lamp. We are on to something now. And the fact that she named the brand of furniture was also an indication that she valued quality.
- I knew what I was looking for. I am refreshing my basement, and I knew I wanted a white sofa. After realizing that my budget was not going to allow for a brand new piece, I started to look on my local Facebook Buy, Sell and Trade pages and on Craigslist. I was so pleased to see a white slipcovered set of Baker Furniture for $100 on Craigslist.
- The next step was to contact her. She had only one source of contact, email. I always ask about things that are deal-breakers–smell is one for me. Confirm price, and arrange to see the piece in person. I always ask if it is smoke-free and pet-free home. I do not buy furniture that smells like smoke or pet urine and I doubt you would want to either. Now, just so you know, I took a chance on the furniture this weekend when she told me that she had pets. I was worried, but I also figured that if they were white slipcovers that she wouldn’t be selling it if is was ripped up by a pet or smelled to high heaven. Again, I did make an assumption, but it was a calculated risk.
- Go get it! I took a good look at all the furniture and when I was ready to buy it I handed her the cash. I didn’t negotiate on price because I thought it was very fair for what I was getting. If it is worthy of buying but not worth their asking price, you know what to do. Offer what you think it is worth.
Do I want to buy brand new pieces of furniture? Yes, I am looking forward to it, but in the meantime, I can create beautiful spaces and still stay true to my other super important goal of paying off debt instead of going into debt. It is fun to create a challenge for yourself and make the most of what you have. I will post pictures once the basement is done.
What are some ways that you have furnished your home on a budget? Which ways have you used to get affordable furniture.
|A lot of natural light pouring into this space and plenty of light colors for the light to bounce off.|
Lighting: Throughout the day take note on how the light changes in the room. Is there a lot of windows that let in natural light? Do you have dark-colored, heavy curtains blocking the light? When the natural light wanes, is there enough artificial lighting to keep the room looking bright and fresh?
Window Treatments and Lighting Fixtures: Let the light in! Window treatments should add color or whimsy to the room, but do not need to block out the world. Blinds are great for creating privacy and easy to open for the light to stream through. If you are going to add curtains, make sure you hang them as close to the ceiling as possible so that it creates height in the room. Sheer curtains can let in lots of light, texture and flow. The lighting fixtures should be placed in the darkest parts of the room and can also be strategically placed to highlight beautiful vignettes of decoration. There are lots of cool options for lighting fixtures. Check out my lighting post here.
|Notice the large windows are only covers with sheer curtains.|
Paint colors: What colors are on your walls, the trim and the doors? Whites and grays are going to bounce natural and artificial light the best, so consider those colors if light and airy are your aim. What color is the furniture? Although a few colorful pieces of furniture will not take away from the light of a room, having all your pieces be very dark will give the room a more dark, moody look vs. a bright fresh look. Remember to choose primary and secondary colors for the room and then add on other color for interest. More on choosing colors in another post.
|Even with the shades closed, this room has a light and airy feel to it because nearly everything in the room is white. Color matters!|
Decor: Now that you have walls, doors and trim that enhance light and furniture that complements the walls, think about the wall art and decorations. Are you wanting a light farmhouse country look, are you going for modern, classic, eclectic, or glamorous? Whatever your taste, you can use the decorations to add your personal flair to the space and contribute to the rooms over. Don’t forget about the flowers; they add a punch of color, whimsy, and shout “come in and stay awhile.”
|Notice that most of the decor is white or neutral with pops of colors like green and blue. These finishing touches to a room bring interest to the room while still contributing to the light and bring atmosphere.|
YOU: Sometimes I get cleaning and perfecting my spaces and at the end I am ready to enjoy the space or invite others into my space, but I look and feel gross. I am guilty of answering the door smelly and looking unkept, but my house looks amazing. There is something wrong with this picture. You should feel as good as the space you created, so time your preparation so that you can look and feel as inviting as the beautiful space that you made. Maybe I am the only one that forgets to polish myself in my frenzy to make my home just so, but just in case there is someone else out there, here is the reminder that YOU are a huge part in making your house inviting. You don’t quickly forget the homes, clean or dirty, fancy or humble, that make you feel like a special guest. Open the door with a smile, offer them some refreshment and invite them to sit down in your bright, inviting room!
Now, you and your room will fill your soul and the souls of others! Enjoy!
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16