10 Budget-Stretching Decorating Ideas

We’re all watching our pennies these days…thinking two and three times before making any discretionary expenditures. Yet making our homes more comfortable and attractive will help us feel better as we weather these challenging times. So here are my top 10 ideas for spiffing up your space without breaking the bank.

MM_0022_crop1. Paint: You’ve heard me say it before…there is no faster easier way to get dramatic change in your home than new wall color. Without a doubt the biggest bang for your buck.

2. Refinish worn pieces: If you have some tired furniture, a fresh coat of stain and varnish can breathe new life into the most tattered of pieces.

3. Recover or replace old lampshades: This is an easy way to add some spalsh. Recover your existing shades with a bright, bold pattern or trim. If that intimidates you, purchase new shades at any store that sells lighting.

img94i4. Reupholster: You love you grandmother’s chair, but the upholstery screams “old lady”. Have it recovered in a bright new fabric and viola…instant fabulous! Consider an animal print or a really vivid color…bright yellow or hot pink…not only will it add punch to any room but it’s unexpected.

5. Change the shower curtain, towels and accessories in your bathroom…you can have a new room for less than $100.

6. Rearrange your furniture: We all get so accustomed to seeing our furniture in the same arrangement, it’s hard to imagine it any other way. Truth is, most rooms will accomodate more than one floor plan. Try looking at your room as if seeing it for the first time, without attachment or emotion. Then rearrange, you’ll think you have all new things!

7. Add an area rug: A bold stripe or graphic rug will update your space quickly.

8. Repurpose: Get creative. Is a door always a door? Can it be a table top? A great piece of ironwork can become a beautiful piece of wall decor. Wire a ceramic vase into become a lamp (most local lamp stores sell supplies and/or will wire it for you.) Most everything can be used for another purpose, it just takes a little creativity.

9. Buy used: Now more than ever you can find amazing deals at garage sales, consignment shops, flea markets, salvage yards and online sources like Craig’s List and ebay. It takes some time, but the rewards can be huge. Remember what I said earlier about refinishing, reupholstering and repurposing.

transform-chair-after-m-m10. Add a punch of color: Paint a piece of furniture a bold color, add some accent pillows or a collection of objects. If it’s bright and unexpected, you’ll look like a design genius.

Most importantly, have fun. Do you have other budget-stretching decorating ideas? I’d love to hear them.

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2 Responses to “10 Budget-Stretching Decorating Ideas”


  1. 1 JCM August 1, 2009 at 10:50 am

    GREAT IDEAS!

    WANTED TO COMMENT ON THE “SPACE PLANNING” ARTICLE. YOUR HELP WITH THIS QUESTION OF WHAT COMES FIRST – FURNITURE OR SPACE PLANNING -WAS VERY HELPFUL.

    I THINK THE POINT WAS THAT YOU CANNOT HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. IN A WAY, A BRAND NEW BUILD WOULD BE EASIER – LIKE A CLEAN SLATE. WITH A REMODEL YOU BECOME SO USED TO FURNITURE BEING PLACED A CERTAIN WAY THAT IT’S HARD TO ENVISION THE SAME FURNITURE IN THE NEW SPACE. WHICH LEADS ME TO YOUR COMMENT ABOUT REARRANING FURNITURE. IT’S FUN AND CERTAINLY ECONOMICAL TO SEE THINGS IN A NEW WAY.

    YOUR BLOGS ARE HELPFUL AND TIMELY!

    THANKS!

  2. 2 Martha Murray August 3, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Thanks JCM. I’m glad you are finding my blog helpful. My goal really is to take some of the mystery out of interior design.


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martha@mmdsf.com 541-330-5899 www.marthamurraydesign.com

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