- 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.”
- Hardwood floors and 2. laminate floors made with fiberboard core (small pieces of wood compressed together) that has not been treated for moisture exposure.
- Epoxy floor coating. This is easy to do and is completely waterproof. There is also a good variety of colors to choose from.
- Rubber flooring. This comes in sheets with interlocking edges so it is good for DIYers. There are plenty of color options and it is soft underfoot. It is especially good for kids.
- Engineered wood flooring. Make sure when you buy it that it is graded for below-grade basements.
- Ceramic Tile is not affected by moisture and has tons of design options
- Vinyl tile and sheet flooring
- “grading out foundation soil so it slopes away from foundation walls at least four inches over 10 feet, adding extensions to your downspouts so water exits at least five feet away from your house, and keeping gutters in good repair.”
- “install a vapor barrier under your flooring. Sheet plastic is a good barrier, or you might seal the slab with paint or epoxy coating made specifically for damp concrete walls and floors.”
- “raise the floor with a waterproof subfloor. The system is made of interlocking plastic tiles that are elevated on grids. The grids create an air space below the floor that dissipates moisture and keeps your basement flooring warmer than if it’s in direct contact with concrete. It’s not designed to be used with a nail-down type of flooring. Some types of vinyl and carpet tiles come with similar plastic barriers already attached to the tile. They snap together and are good for DIY projects.”
- 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.
Today, I realized that I have been feeling like our basement renovation is almost done for over a month now. This is good and bad. The good thing is that I have been able to balance my desire to get things done with the reality of our busy life. The bad thing is that it has been a month and we are still not done. Like all good things, it will be gradual and quality.
|Anyone know what that circular thing is in a random spot in the space?|
|Ikea Stockholm sideboard. So simple, functional and beautiful.|
|Sarvanny Casual White Wood 3 Drawer Large Credenza. This would also fit the bill well with a farmhouse look, but I would want more of a contrast between the walls and the furniture piece.|
Cody helped me paint the basement this last weekend. As we were painting I thought about the amount of painting we have done since we moved into our home. We are on our eighth room! Then I thought, I will ask Cody what his number one tip would be for those that are thinking about painting in their home.
His answer: Hire someone to paint for you.
I laughed hard. He is right though. If you can afford to hire a professional, it will save you a lot of work, sometimes heartache, and will likely look better.
Then I thought about what tip I would give for those that, like us, can’t hire a professional right now.
My answer: Just get started and get the tools to make the job easier.
It is almost always worth the investment to paint. Usually you are painting a room a color that makes you happy and your walls will look sharper and cleaner after you are done. Getting started, like when you are wanting to exercise, is easier than thinking about or anticipating it.
Tools/Essentials that we use:
Quality paint rollers
Lots of paint trays and liners for the different colors
Paint pails for detail work
Quality paint brushes
Painting ladder and or step stool
Large drop cloths to protect flooring
6-in-1 painters tool
Paint roller extension
Plastic Wrap: we wrap our paint rollers in between painting sessions so we don’t have to clean them out every single time.
As far as progress in the basement, we are done painting the walls. Look how much brighter the room looks with white walls! I bought two colors with the intent to have an accent wall, but once I put the paint on the walls, I decided that I wanted to keep the walls one solid color. There will be lots of room to add color through the decor and since there is low lighting in the basement, I feel really good about having the brighter white (Sherwin Williams Snowbound) reflect more light.
The next step will be to paint the smaller doors that cover water elements and then to lay the flooring. Cody says the flooring should go quickly. My goal is to be able to replace baseboards and door trim before we leave on our trip to Utah.
If you ever have questions about painting, please let me know. I am always willing to share anything that I have learned from my own experience.
Have a blessed and productive day!