Great home decor doesn’t always have to be fancy or expensive so today I’m sharing a list of some of my favorite inexpensive decorating tricks.
Sometimes the best home decor moments around your house are the ones that actually cost the least. They’re often the things that really add personality and character to your home and I definitely have some favorites that I come back to again and again. We’ve all seen examples of times where it was pretty clear that lots of money doesn’t always buy you good taste, and these ideas prove that’s absolutely true. If you’re looking for a little decorating inspiration to refresh your home without a huge investment, here are some easy ideas and some of my favorite inexpensive decorating tricks that might be of interest.
My Best Inexpensive Home Decor Tricks
Thrift Store Baskets
I love all baskets, but sometimes you happen across one at the thrift store with just the right personality and just the right wood tone and you just know it’s meant to be. I have a few that have become useful staples in my home and as much as I love using all matching baskets for most purposes throughout the house, there’s something about that one-off slightly-different piece that really makes a house feel like a home. The one pictured below is a picnic basket I found and painted quite a few years ago. It’s now my donation basket that sits by the back door. I love the lid to keep everything tidy looking.
Painted Gold Frames
Any type of frame looks good with this technique, but the ones that really turn out the best are always from the thrift store. Such an inexpensive way to create a special moment. Here’s my tutorial for my painting technique: The Secret Formula for the Perfect Gold Painted Frame
Black and White Family Photos
Whether old or new, black and white family photos always look classy and just right in any setting. You can put them in larger frames with oversized mats for a big impact, and they look great arranged in a grouping in smaller frames as well, of course.
Why are house plants so popular? Besides the fact that they’re fun to grow and there’s no rush like the excitement of seeing a new leaf forming, they also make such a big difference in the atmosphere of a space, often super inexpensively. If you can keep them alive, they’ll continue to grow and become even more of a statement making piece in your home.
Black Spray Paint
I’m the first one to laugh at myself over this one. When I first tried out the black decor trend a few years ago, I admitted that I thought it was a bit silly and wouldn’t last. Well, here we are now and I have a whole cabinet dedicated just to black styling pieces for our interior styling and photography business Art & Spaces because they just look so good in any space and make such a big impression. I’ve always heard that every space needs a little bit of black and I feel like that’s true now more than ever. If you can’t find just the right piece, matte black spray paint is almost always the answer!
Honestly, as much as I love dark, dramatic rooms, or the softness of a mid-tone warm neutral paired with white trim, when it comes down to it, I think that white paint for walls and cabinetry is ultimately the way to go. It’s timeless, always in good taste, and very budget friendly when you think about how much time and money you’ll save by not needing to repaint year after year as your tastes change.
Branches Clipped From the Yard (or a ditch)
Using what’s in season and local to fill your vases is usually free or very cheap and brings a sense of authenticity to your home. My favorites are dwarf lilac branches at any time of year or dogwood branches that grow on the banks of our creek when they’re bright red in the winter or when they have their little soft white flowers in the spring. Always simple and classy and as a bonus, if you put them in water in the late winter, they’ll start to form little leaves so you can have a bit of fresh greenery in your home even before everything starts to come to life outside.
Best Long-Lasting Greenery From the Florist
If you’re looking to pick up some fresh greenery for your home from the florist, the best bang for your buck (and your time) is to look for any type of ruscus. I love Italian ruscus for its deep green color and graceful, outstretched branches. Ruscus will keep its color and look fresh for weeks, even if you forget to change the water.
Amazon for Lamps and Side Tables
I’m not sure why this is, but I always seem to come across great lamps on Amazon for very good prices. Often they’re the same lamps I’ve seen elsewhere for significantly less. The lamp I recently bought for my mudroom was one I found on another site, but then came across on Amazon a little while later it and it was about 40% less there. They also seem to be a great resource for beautiful little side tables because I have about ten of them in my cart right now just in case I ever need another one. I will definitely need another one. 🙂 This is my favorite one right now.
Wayfair for Larger Furniture Pieces
Wayfair can be a bit of a challenge to navigate because they just have so much on there, but you can find so many beautiful furniture pieces for really, strangely low prices. I’m almost always surprised by the quality of the pieces that I get from there when I see them in person and I almost always end up feeling like I’ve just gotten an amazing deal on a piece I really love. I wrote a whole blog post on some of my favorite Wayfair pieces from around our home last year, so have a look at that if you want to see a list of pieces that were a great deal that I’ve personality confirmed are beautiful in person. 🙂
Thrift Store Finds
Do not ignore the thrift store! Besides the baskets that I mentioned above, I’ve found some of my favorite vases, books to fill my shelves, frames, and vintage brass pieces there, not to mention lots of classic blue and white ceramics. Depending on your style, you may want to use there more character-filled pieces sparingly throughout your home for just a little personality, rather than aiming to fill a whole room with thrift store finds, which is what I do. If you really have a good eye for thrifting though, it’s really one of the most affordable and sustainable way of decorating and furnishing your home.
Inexpensive Pillow Covers With Down or Faux Down Inserts
I put together a list of Etsy pillow covers that can easily be mixed and matched, so that’s a great resource if you’re looking for a place to start. The truth is that almost any pillow that you find and love can be made to look beautiful and expensive if you remove the cheap insert that it came with and add a down insert, as long as your cheap pillow has a zipper to open the cover. Faux down inserts work just as well too because they’re also “chop-able” like real down.
Where to Find The Best Inexpensive Decor Books
Books are something that can really add up in cost, especially beautiful coffee table books about home decor. I have to say that books are definitely something I don’t mind investing in and paying full price for. They are definitely a worthwhile purchase if you’re looking to elevate your decor. That being said, I often come across beautiful home decor books, even the newer titles that you see in all the beautiful home decor photos on Instagram in places like Homesense and on BookOutlet.ca, so if there’s a particular book you have in mind, it’s definitely worth checking out those options. While you’re at it, check out your local thrift store for beautiful older books as well to pair with them for something a bit different than the exact same shelf styling that everyone else has.
Buying Quality and Keeping it
This is really the ultimate tip for afforable decorating, not to mention a good philosophy to follow when it comes to clothing, furnishings, homes, art, books, and just about everything. Buying quality and keeping it pays off over the years and ultimately you save a lot of time, money, and energy when you just choose classic, well-made pieces that you know will be in your home for years and years. Of course, furnishing your home with antiques is a great example of following that philosophy, but I’ve also added a few new pieces to my home in the last little while that I know will continue to feel right for the long run. My marble topped, French cafe inspired side tables come to mind, as does my rattan desk chair, and even the baskets that I’ve been buying for our various mudroom areas to hold all our necessities instead of the old flimsy fabric bins. You can even apply this philosophy to door mats; you know I never miss an opportunity to mention my favorites in that category. 🙂
MORE IDEAS LIKE THIS
- Timeless Farmhouse Mudroom Update
- My Best Recent Amazon Purchases
- Top Ten Thrift Store Classic Style Finds to Look For
- Affordable Black Table Lamps
- The Creek Line House Decorating Archives
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.