I’ll give you the disclaimer now:
When we moved into our newly built house in December 2013, we owned exactly one sad looking sofa, a pair of tiny bookshelves, a crib, a dresser for our daughter’s nursery, and that was it.
We lived in a 1 bedroom 700 square foot apartment in our first year of marriage before moving in with my parents for a year and a half when Olivia came along as Robert finished college on the GI Bill and I worked as a high school English teacher. To say the least, we are very budget conscious people.
We had very little furniture and hardly any extra money to buy anything to decorate our 2500 square foot house, but we had very big dreams.
I have four tips for you, my budget-conscious friends:
- Check Craigslist every day
- Visit thrift stores and shop clearance aisles every chance you get
- Believe in the power of paint
- Figure out ways to think outside of the box
We bought our everything-builder-grade house because it made the most sense for our budget and we decided, from there, to customize it for our eclectic cottage style. It was a total blank canvas. We have a long way to go, but I’m pretty amazed at what we’ve achieved in just over a year on an extremely low budget.
Here we go!
Living Room Before
Living Room (in progress)
We spend the most time in this room, so it made sense to give it the most attention first. We built our giant faux fireplace ($600), refinished a Craigslisted coffee table ($50), media cabinet ($50), and bookcase ($160). We found a cozy leather chair ($65) at Goodwill, made an oversized map ($10), and created an eclectic gallery wall ($75) using DIY distressed and painted thrift store frames. We painted using Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige.
Dining Room Before
Dining Room (in progress)
We still have a little ways to go on this room, and a few projects are on our wish list. We found a Pottery Barn pedestal table ($250) on Craigslist. I madeover a set of 1970s dining chairs ($40 each), and I madeover a Craigslisted chandelier using rope ($20). I ended up painting a flea market china cabinet too.
Breakfast Nook (Complete)
We created the clock gallery wall ($100 total) using items found in the clearance aisles of Target and Garden Ridge. We replaced the builder grade light by selling it on Craigslist and buying a new one from World Market in order to get it half price ($40 out of pocket after profit from previous light). I madeover the existing bar pendant lights ($10 each) for an industrial look. We added some rustic character to the space by building a wood beam doorway ($80) to encase our existing one. One day, we would like to add a rug under the table, but for the most part, this space is finished!
Kitchen (in progress)
This space still has a lot on the wish list (my lust for white cabinets will never fade), but we painted a chalkboard wall ($12), added a handlettering decal ($6), and sold the builder grade flushmount light to help in the cost of a new, more custom one. A full makeover is on the horizon.
Foyer / Hallway Before
Foyer / Hallway (Complete)
A lot of Craigslist pieces, thrifted items, and DIY projects went into this space. We gave our foyer a full makeover for $411. And we installed DIY board and batten for $100 that completely transformed our once dark, lifeless hallway.
We still plan to add a little bit of art above the board and batten, but otherwise, this space is finished!
(I never got a before shot…oopsies.)
Not much has happened in here except we replaced the builder grade mirror with one from HomeGoods ($40), I madeover the existing builder grade light ($6) and made some simple burlap wall art ($10). We painted using Valspar paint in the Sherwin Williams color Sea Salt.
Backyard (in progress)
So far for the backyard, we added a playground (gift from Olivia’s grandparents), removed brush, graded it, and seeded the yard (free HUGE favor from Robert’s father). We would love to add a pergola with string lights and more greenery for our back patio, but time will tell.
Office (in progress)
For this space, we found a Pottery Barn desk ($180) on Craigslist, painted an old desk chair ($65), and found several Goodwill decor items like a typewriter ($9), globe ($6), and desk lamp ($5). We painted with Sherwin Williams Pediment.
Olivia’s Bathroom Before
Olivia’s Bathroom (in progress)
We wanted to make this bathroom kid-friendly, but not too childish for guests (so hot pink Hello Kitty was out, I guess). We painted using Valspar paint in the Sherwin Williams color Sea Salt. Most of the decor items came from Goodwill and the clearance aisles of Hobby Lobby, Target, and HomeGoods. (Sorry for the badly lit photos. Bathrooms are tricky to photograph.)
You can see the full source list and budget breakdown HERE! The whole makeover cost under $600. Crazy, right?!
Olivia’s Bedroom Before
Olivia’s Bedroom (Complete)
I reused lots of items from my ballet dancing days for our (almost) three year-old’s space, and used lots of thrifty items to stay on a strict budget. Check out the full room makeover and all of the DIY projects in this space.
Master Bathroom Before
Master Bathroom (Complete)
See all the details and full budget breakdown here for how we madeover this space for $375.
Master Bedroom Before
Master Bedroom (in progress)
Our bedroom has been towards the bottom of the list as we tackled the downstairs. We purchased our bed from Ashley Furniture back in January 2014 and our fan, Angora by Harbor Breeze, from Lowe’s when we moved in (it’s since been discontinued but you can find more of my favorite ceiling fans HERE). We are very close to being finished with this space as we still have a rug and sliding barn doors to add. But you can find all of this room’s updates here, here, and here.
The playroom and laundry room haven’t really been touched, but we’ll get to those eventually. The best part of all- despite living on one small income, we’ve been able to remain debt-free besides our mortgage and still manage to decorate. Thrifting and Craigslisting works, y’all!
(Psst. Check out my thrift store shopping tips and Craigslist tricks if you don’t believe me. You can check out my best farmhouse budget shopping tips too.)
So that’s the grand tour! I hope it will be twice as grand for our 2 year move-in anniversary. We have a lot more to do, like paint several of our still primer white rooms, but I’m proud of how far we’ve come. I feel blessed every day that God has given me the opportunity to do what I love: create.
You can find all of our projects in the Craigslist tricks since we moved in. Hope you enjoyed it!
Want to know more about me? Hop on over here to see more.