Nothing excites me more than home decor, nothing! Since I was a teenager I had this obsession with styling my parent’s house. At the time I was very into Shabby Chic and started painting all our furniture white and distressing it myself (because Shabby Chic the brand is extremely expensive). My mom loved it, but my dad was just a liiiiiiiitle pissed that I was painting over their expensive wooden furniture just to make it look old and used??? Yeah, that was fun to explain. Now that it’s 2017 and more than 10 year later, he is just now understanding the concept of Shabby Chic, meanwhile I’ve long moved on. Sorry!
Prior to living in my house, Paul and I lived in a 2-bedroom apartment and we pretty much used hand-me-down furniture with accessories that I slowly started to purchase. I had no design motif / theme / concept, I would just buy random items that I liked individually. Because of this my place was erratic and all over the place and I had no clue how to fix it. After purchasing our house I decided we needed to start from scratch. It was the only way to fix my problem.
Having a blank canvas [house] to furnish and decorate was my dream. I was finally going to have the home I always envisioned (once I figured out what I wanted). But, not so fast. Here comes the money police, aka RICHARD, to shatter all my dreams. RICHARD wasn’t into me blowing our life savings on a couch. Because I didn’t furnish our apartment he had NO fucking clue just how savvy I am in this department. Nice try, RICHARD.
To find out how I styled my home on a budget read my tips below.
-Make a Pinterest board. First and foremost, gather inspiration and decide on a concept. Like I said, you can go broke buying the wrong items and the end result will just depress you further. Pay attention to the details in an inspiration photo–what kind of hardware is being used? What color floors / walls? What kind of lighting does that space have? These will help you establish if the look is achievable for your space.
-Take your time. It’s very easy to get carried away and excited to furnish an empty home. It is this exact scenario that has caused me to redo my bedrooms over and over again. I purchased on impulse instead of being patient. I really need to start practicing what I preach…Taking your time also allows you to save up or make sure this is really the piece(s) you want to invest in.
-Get a discount on large items. Furniture. It’s going to be the most expensive part, but it’s also the most important pieces in the house. Keep in mind most furniture online (West Elm, CB2, Anthro, etc.) takes 8-12 weeks to deliver so you definitely want to get that part handled first. My giant sectional in my “comfy” living room is from Z Gallerie and since it was such a pricey item they gave me 10% off. In fact, most furniture places will extend this discount on large purchases. If they don’t offer it, ask for it! Any dollar saved helps, right?
-The sneaky stuff. Ok, so I have no shame, but this side of me has saved me 100’s of dollars. Sometimes it’s too much of a headache / mission to do, but overall if you can spare the 20 minute phone call, do it! Places like West Elm, CB2, Urban Outfitters, Pottery Barn, etc. all offer an array of promotions weekly–20-25% off, free shipping, $10 off, sign up for our email and get an automatic coupon, you get it. If you are planning to purchase anything from these places, you should confidently be able to do it with at least a 20% off coupon. However, if you can’t find one, not to worry. Buy it, and when you do get that coupon, call them and make them refund you the difference.
Sometimes you have to argue with them, but most of the time there are no questions asked. Also, sometimes I just keep talking in circles until I confuse them and eventually they discount me even more? That part isn’t a guarantee but I always get at least the difference back.
-Home Goods. My secret weapon. Home Goods was how I afforded to decorate my parents’ house when I decided everything should be Shabby Chic. Clearly nothing has changed, as I frequent Home Goods a little too frequently. Sometimes I have to cut myself off cold-turkey. Home Goods shopping is like an addiction. You go in there secretly hoping you won’t find anything because you’re going to spend a minimum of $100 on like 20 items…but also secretly hoping you hit the home-decor-tchachki jackpot, which is usually the case.
Occasionally I find myself purchasing items that really aren’t that fabulous, but I’m under that Home Goods spell and can’t stop. So I bring it home, decide I don’t like it, then give it away. Very wasteful, I know. But if I go back there to return it, I’ll just spend another $100…so you see the problem?
-My decor is not expensive. Every now and then I’ll make the loop–Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, World Market, Target–to make sure nothing to-die for is just sitting on those messy-ass shelves waiting for me to arrive. Typically these are the type of stores I find most of my decor-type pieces. Things like a cute magnifying glass, brass statues, baskets, throws, pillows, marble items, copper accessories, a vase, canister, dish towel, frame, coasters, etc.
-Go to flea markets. My BFF and I have a ritual of hitting the Rosebowl Flea Market each month, as we are both very slowly furnishing our places. Our latest infatuation is Danish and Scandinavian design, which involves a lot of unique wood pieces, so the Rosebowl Flea Market is perfect for this look. It’s not cheap, so I save up for my one big item for the month. So far I’ve purchased my red rug in the sitting room, my wooden dining table and bench, all my plants, and most recently, the ladder in my guest bathroom.
-Ikea is your friend. I know, I know, it’s the most annoying and fun place on earth. Like Disneyland. You LOVE being there, but everything else is just stupid–the lines, the parking, the loading area, the kids running wild / screaming, endless carts everywhere…BUT, it’s cheap and good. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box, but overall Ikea is great. Things like a shelving unit, which can be spray painted gold or left black for an edgier look, faux sheep-skin throws, jute rugs, plants, dressers, and hardware are all basic items that can be worked into your space and made fabulous with the right accessories.
My black shelving unit in the sitting room is from Ikea and no one thinks it’s a cheap $70 thing because I’ve styled it with items that look expensive.
-Make your own art. Grab a canvas with some neutral colors and paint something abstract. OR, print off images from Pinterest and frame them. I buy all my frames on Amazon from this seller, they are inexpensive and a good basic black or white frame.
-Books add a lot. They range in price, but for the most part you can order a TON of fashion books, home decor books, and artsy books on Amazon (new or used) at a good price. Stacking them with a cute candle on top, or lining them up with a cool book-end from Home Goods is a great space filler that looks super chic.
If you have any additional questions for me about this, leave them below in the comments!
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