8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor

The glass is always half full. Every cloud has a silver lining. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. (Enter any other optimistic cliche you can think of.)

Whether you’re the person to greet every day with a smile on your face or not, chances are a lot of us hit those speed bumps in life and money gets tight. After an unexected medical bill or a hit to the rainy day funds, home improvement projects usually end up dead last on the list. I’m with ya, sister.

Bless'er House - 8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor

In June, my husband and I made the decision for me to quit my teaching job to become a stay-at-home-mom and drastically cut our spending. We’re talking strictly bare essentials- gas, groceries, bills. But I would have done anything to be with our toddler full-time.

So I sorrowfully waved goodbye to any hopes and dreams I had for our home and sobbed over my inspiration boards on Pinterest. (Okay, I’m exaggerating.)  But after strapping down on our spending, I’m so amazed how many strides I’ve been able to make in our house and I spend next to nothing to do it! All it took was a little perspective.

The positive side of having no money to decorate is…

1. It gives you the opportunity to organize.
Whenever we hit a lull in home improvement funds (which is basically all the time), I get the itch to organize what we do have. (Don’t get me wrong. Our house is still pretty disorganized…the battle never ends.) Just because you don’t have the money to buy things for your home doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements. Cleaning out a closet can cost absolutely nothing. Creating a filing system for your office is totally free. And you improve the functionality in your home as well as give yourself peace of mind. It’s like yoga for your brain! Cleansing breath.

Bless'er House - 8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor

2. It encourages you to sell things you no longer use.
It’s amazing how much money people usually have lying around their house, usually in the form of furniture or random items just taking up space in their homes. Don’t overlook that old ratty chair in the corner or that musical instrument sitting in your closet that you haven’t played since high school. To give us a cushion for some vacation money over the summer this year, I sold my old (but still very nice) saxophone for $1,000! (Marching band geeks rock, y’all! Don’t hate.) Use Craigslist, eBay, and buy/sell/trade groups to list items on the higher side of its value and be willing to negotiate a bit.

3. You learn to shop in your own home.
It’s amazing what little treasures you’ll find you have tucked away in a closet or pushed back on a shelf when funds are tight. I’ve discovered decorating with books is one of my favorite things! We have tons of paperback books sitting on shelves in our office that have already been read and are just taking up space. I rip off the covers, wrap them in twine, and they instantly look vintage. (My inner-English teacher only slightly cringes at the ripping part.)  Some public libraries will even give you old, discarded books if you ask.

Bless'er House - 8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor

4. You find amazing ways to repurpose anything!
Got an old dome clock? Turn it into a cloche. Got a hunk of wood sitting in your garage? Turn it into a shelf. Seriously, take a second to search “repurpose” on Pinterest, and you will be amazed at what possibilities are already lying around your house.

Bless'er House - 8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor
5. It forces you to learn new skills (for the better!)
Why pay $100 for a bench when you can make one for $20? Why hire a contractor to install board and batten in your home when you can do it yourself for $11? The idea of learning woodworking, carpentry, or electrical work can be scary, but it’s so empowering when you can step back from a project and know you made that! And seeing the numbers add up to how much you saved makes it even more worthwhile. Learning a new skill is priceless and absolutely worth every penny left in your pocket.

Bless'er House - 8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor

6. You learn how to set priorities on big-impact purchases.
I’d much rather spend $50 on paint that has the power to completely transform an entire room than to spend $50 on something smaller like a throw pillow. I love love love little decor details but they can add up quickly. When you do have the money, and you want it to go far, make a purchase that will give you the most bang for your buck.

(P.S. Robert has no idea he is the poster child for this post.)

Bless'er House - 8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor

7. It makes you more aware of “curb alerts”.
Two years ago, I wouldn’t have given “trash” on the side of the road a second look. Now, I’m always amazed by the treasures people throw out. Having a miniscule home decor budget teaches you to keep your eyes peeled. Craigslist is always full of free merchandise. A lot of times, people list bigger items for free just so someone will come haul it away for them. And now thanks to photo texting, you don’t usually have to drive across town to check out the castoff. Landscaping is the same way. If you’re willing to dig up those rose bushes or carry off those brick pavers, they’re yours. And have you seen the gajillion pallet projects out there? Wood pallets are listed as free for pickup all the time. Just be sure you’re getting the heat treated kind. If you can’t find pallets on the local classifieds, post your search on Facebook. You’d be amazed how many people you know probably have piles of them lying around at their workplace. An even bigger plus- it’s eco-friendly!

8. It teaches you careful decision making.
You have to be absolutely sure you love something once you do manage to save up the dough to purchase that coffee table or curtain fabric. When we first moved into our house, we had a nice little chunk of money we’d saved to spend on furniture and paint to get us started. I spent all of about an hour or two making a decision instead of weeks/months like I do now. And, you know something? Now that I spend a long time pondering over the decor decision-making as we save up the little bit we have, I find that I love my choices more now than last year when we could buy something on the spot because we had the money on hand.

Bless'er House - 8 Ways to Make the Most of Having No Money for Home Decor

The journey of creating style in your home can be so challenging when it comes to finding the funds, but figuring out how to overcome the challenge can be part of the fun, can’t it?

I’d love to hear what other tips you have or projects you have done for design on a $0 budget!

Blessings,

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21 Comments

  1. Just what I needed to hear! Thank you~I need to work on changing my way of thinking and perspective on things. One day at a time and one project at a time, I tend to want to do it all at once. I had to leave my job because of illness and am now on disability retirement (even tho I think I’m way too young for that, lol), but it does bring the hammer down on your wallet when you have to change your lifestyle. But I can say I’m very proud of every little thing I do in my home, no matter how small.
    Thank you so much!

    1. So glad it was helpful, Candy! I’m so sorry to hear of your illness, but I’m so thankful you’ve found the silver lining in the challenges too.

  2. Thank you for creating this post! So often you see shows and posts saying something about decorating on a budget and they’re like “we did this all for $500” or something like that and I’m like that’d be great if I had an extra $500 laying around. What about those of us that have an extra $5? LOL. So again, thank you and I love your projects! They are gorgeous! I am inspired!

    1. Isn’t that the truth!? About the maximum I’ve spent on a room makeover so far was something around $580 and I’d worked on that room little by little over the course of several months. (And I often sacrifice clothes for myself for home decor because that’s just what I love.) Definitely couldn’t handle dropping that much money on a room all at once. My favorite way to make a big change is paint. A $20 gallon of paint can go a long, long way.

  3. While I agree with ALMOST everything you said I do have to say, PLEASE be careful with electrical work. If you are changing out a light fixture or ceiling fan just about anyone can do that BUT if you are doing anything major and you have no experience working with electricity PLEASE hire an electrician. Not only can you get hurt you can also burn your house down. I’m not trying to be a “Debbie downer”, but always err on the side of caution when dealing with electricity. 😊

  4. Lauren, I have to tell you–you linked this post to my Grace at Home party, and I started here. . . and then spent so much time reading your blog! You’re doing a great job with your home. Thank you for sharing all your tips!

    And thanks for joining Grace at Home. I’m featuring you this week!

    1. Necessity is the mother of invention, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe if we didn’t have challenges, we wouldn’t discover all of the amazing possibilities. This whole DIY sensation hit during a recession after all, right? That has to tell us something.

  5. You gave me the inspiration to finally finish decorating! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the great ideas! I started following your on Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter ๐Ÿ™‚ Look forward to reading more posts! Love your blog design! So cozy!

    1. I’m so glad it inspired you! I’ll definitely follow you back. Ya know…it’s funny you say that about the design because I’ve been thinking of doing a massive blog design makeover. That gave me a refreshing perspective on it. So thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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