Ways YOU Can Decorate Your Home on a Small Budget

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Please welcome guest author Shannon of AKA Design as she shares with us how to decorate our homes on a small budget today.

Being a mom of small kids (or big kids for that matter) can be really tricky. The sticky fingerprints (that turn into bigger, stickier fingerprints when they get older), the sleepless nights, the diapers. It’s a lot of hard work.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s the most rewarding job there is, and I wouldn’t trade it for anythingBut it’s hard.

It’s hard on the budget too. Most of the time the kids needs come above and before anything else.

Like decorating.

When you have a family, decorating the house usually isn’t at the top of the budget priority list. (Which is exactly as it should be.)

So what do you do when you still want to have a cozy and beautiful home, despite a lack of budget? 

You get creative.

7 Ways YOU Can Decorate Your Home on a Small Budget

1.  Re-use what you have by shopping the house. Even if you have to clean it, paint it or re-purpose it. Move it to another room. Or just to another space.

Use a plain white bowl from the kitchen to hold random items at the front door. Steal a mirror from the living room to hang in the bedroom. Look at your accessories (and future accessories) as being useful in more than just one space and even for more than its intended use. You’ll be amazed what you can find if you “shop” your own house!

2. Go thrifting. Try kijiji or craigslist, the thrift store, garage sales or consignment shops.

Or go for a drive on garbage day. For real. I KNOW it sounds a little icky. But some people put out some great stuff – especially furniture pieces like random side chairs and tables – on garbage day. We once found a great little wooden chest that became a filing cabinet with the addition of some rails inside. And after garage sales people will often just put what didn’t sell at the curb because they really just want it gone. You never know what you might find!

This bar cart got a good cleaning and a bit of paint (on the shelves) after we bought it for only $10 at the thrift store!


3. Do-it-yourself. You can DIY so much. Spray paint is an easy, but oh-so-versatile tool to wield. Google whatever project you want to work on and you will find a plethora of tutorials. We DIY’d the faux board and batten in both of our last two homes, adding architectural interest to a large room. If we’d hired out to add trim and molding, it would have cost us five times as much!

In our entryway, we recently repainted the simple wooden bench black to add a touch of drama to the small space. AKA-Design-black-and-white-entryway

4. Clean and Tidy It
Okay so this may seem obvious. Or maybe you were hoping I’d ignore this one aspect of a beautiful home? But a clean and tidy house is a much more beautiful house. Dust the baseboards, clean the blinds, wipe down the kitchen cupboard doors, sweep and mop the floors, use a bleach cleaner in the bathroom (wear gloves!). Also be sure to make the beds, tidy the paper (at least into neat piles), put the shoes in the closet. You may be shocked to see how much difference a cleaning and tidying spurt will make.

5. Get Rid of the Little Things That You Truly Don’t Like
I’m not kidding. Remove the tchotchkes and accessories that just don’t do it for you. Give them away. Or if you really can’t part with them (maybe they were a gift?) put them in the basement on a shelf where you don’t have to stare miserably at them every day. Same goes for things that you don’t use. It’s far better to have an “empty” house than to have one filled to the brim with things that don’t make your home feel beautiful to you.

6. Rearrange Your Furniture
Both Dean and I used to come home from school to rooms that had been rearranged by our moms while the rest of the family was gone all day. So this comes naturally to both of us. But rearranging the furniture (in any room) can really help you to see your home in a new light, so to speak. It can freshen a space up for a new season (like making room for the Christmas tree) or just because. We’ve done this several times in each of our houses until we find an arrangement that works best for us. We’ve even swapped entire rooms of furniture, making the living room the dining room and vice versa!


7. Ask For and Accept Stylish Hand-Me-Downs
There is absolutely no shame in asking (or even posting on Facebook) if your friends with stylish homes have any decor items they’re not using anymore. I’ve been both the giver and receiver of beautiful decor items. Some friends just tend to change out their decor more often than others and would be more than happy to have what they bought put to good use in someone else’s home.

Spring AKA Design Dining room 2

See? There are LOTS of options for decorating with a small budget!

If you’re still reading this – and since Christina was kind enough to let me into her space to talk to you today (thank you, friend) – I suppose I should tell you who I am and why I’m talking to you about decorating your home on a budget, yes?

Who is Shannon, anyway? And, um, why should you care?

Technically speaking my bio says “Shannon Acheson is the co-founder of AKA Design, a community of over 11,000 people ditching their fear of decorating failure and learning to just get started.”

That’s totally accurate. But I’m also just a mom who believes that anyone can learn to decorate their own home, no matter what their budget – because I did. I spent 20 years learning actually. I studied photos in magazines, visited model homes (lots of them!) and practiced on our own home and others. I even completed a full course in Interior Design from a New York design school to fill in the gaps. (That was kinda boring, let me tell you! A full unit on color theory anyone? The history of every single period of furniture ever made? Ugh.) But I finally – finally – figured out how to decorate my own home. And I created Cozy & Beautiful, the decorating handbook for non-decorators, so that YOU can skip the learning curve and get straight to creating the home you love.

BUT I warn you – COZY & BEAUTIFUL IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! It’s NOT for you if you’re just looking forinspiration. Or more decorating ideas. Or pretty pictures to drool over. That’s what Pinterest is for.

BUT if you’re ready to step beyond inspiration to actually decorate your home…Cozy & Beautiful IS for you

If that’s you, you can go and see Cozy & Beautiful for yourself right here!


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