3 Things I Did to Save Money Decorating My New House

I bought my first home in April of this year and I’m finally getting settled in. Yes, your math is right, it has been 4 months. But I’m finally ready to kick procrastination to the curb and make this place my own with some fresh, new decor (and unpack the rest of the boxes … or maybe just put them in the garage and pretend they don’t exist).

I’ve been living with borrowed furniture and inherited design for most of my adult life. A coffee table from my grandparents, couches someone gave me for free. You know the drill. I figure now if I’m enough of an adult to own my own home, I’m adult enough to execute my own style, an exciting and expensive proposition. Here are 3 things I did that packed a punch and saved some pennies. Hope they inspire you to find creative and cost-effective ways to let your space reflect your vision.

  1. Add a Pop of Color to Your Shelves


I got two plain, white bookshelves on sale at Target. They only cost me about $70 each, but blended in with my white TV table and sand colored couch and left an overall underwhelming feeling in my living room. I used leftover paint that I bought for my front door, mixed in some white to get a paler shade and instantly jazzed up these pieces. Now they’re the focal point of my space, in the best way possible.

  1. Add Some Glam To Your Used Furniture

A fresh coat of paint goes a LONG way.


I bought an old, bright red dresser off of a co-worker for $10. It was a little scratched up, but mostly solid piece. It was one of those things you buy because the price is too good to pass up and you’re sure you’ll have use for it some day (this sentence also describes half of the contents of my wardrobe, but that’s a post for another time). When I moved, I got rid of a lot of old furniture that didn’t fit my style any more, leaving me with a moderate storage deficit. I knew there was a reason I bought this dresser! I hauled it out of my closet and snagged some gold (yes!) paint from Target for $20. The metallic sheen adds instant wow factor to the piece. I splurged on a few drawer pulls from Anthropologie and Etsy (currently en route, as you’ll notice the dresser is missing three pulls — who needs to get in those drawers, anyway?) to finish off the piece and give it a higher-end look for my entryway. After all was said and done I spent about $65 on the dresser, including the initial $10 I bought it for. I challenge you to find a piece that looks as cool for less than twice that!

Sidenote: I also did this last year with bedroom furniture I’ve had since 5th grade. Pale mint green paint and crystal drawer knobs from eBay (about $30 for all of them) and I took my bedroom from pre-teen to 20-something in a matter of hours.

  1. Get Creative – Make Your Own Art!

I’m a graphic designer by trade, but I would argue that most everyone can make something themselves; especially those really cute and simple typography pieces that you see everywhere these days. You don’t need the Adobe Creative Suite and years of training to achieve that, just a good font. Honestly, one of the hardest parts about getting art for your house is framing it. Frames are expensive, and if you want to mat it? Forget it. I’m terminally cheap. There’s no hope for me. I can’t spend $50 on framing when I spent $10 on the print. I can’t. One hack that I swear by is shopping the sales at Hobby Lobby and Michaels. Hobby Lobby especially has near constant 50% off sales on framed art. It doesn’t even matter if you like the print – buy it for the frame! I recently found a rather large bulletin board in a raw beach wood frame for $15. The frame itself would be twice that elsewhere. Score.