Décor vs. Dollar

For almost two years, the hubs and I have been in a tiny apartment with no space and a no-repaint rule. In a month, we’re moving into a petite rental home—more space, new challenges. Considering that our bank account isn’t exactly overflowing, I’ve made it my mission to find decorating tips to make a small budget in a small space fabulous. Then, once I had found some, I thought I’d share the joy.

Part 1: Planning Makes Perfect

I don’t know about you, but I if I go shopping without a list, I end up with every possible item in my cart at check out. Did I need them? No, but without clear direction I just grab whatever looks good.

The same goes with decorating your space.

Find your look.

Find images to help inspire and discover your “look.” This will help give you direction so you’re not floundering in the home décor aisles. You’ll know what you need, your colors, and your end goal. BAM! Shopping over.

Plan and decorate for your current space.

If I want a mead hall but instead all I have is a dining corner in a small apartment, should I buy a giant oak table to seat fifty? NO! Could I find something that achieves the mead-hall feel in a me-sized space? Of course! Think outside the box to achieve your look that fits your space.

Make a realistic budget.

You can’t buy mansion-sized décor with an apartment-sized budget. Know your limits and spend accordingly.

Make a prioritized list.

Think about the rooms or pieces in order of importance, starting with the most important and finishing with the least. Are you all right with the least important space being left alone due to budgeting? Or are you willing to sacrifice touches in more important rooms so every space gets a little love? A prioritized list will help every purchase be intentional and purposeful.

One room at a time.

Don’t panic and do it all at once because that can quickly become mentally, physically, and financially overwhelming.

Pick a focal point for each room.

Is it a bright painting over the couch? The awesome vase in on your table? The brightly-colored chair or Victorian dining set? The focal point will help direct your design choices by helping you choose a style and color theme, giving the room a more put-together look.

Know your limitations.

If you’re renting, ask your landlords about decorating limitations. Are you allowed to repaint? Remodel anything? Carpet or retile the floors? If the answer to any of these is “no,” find a new way to achieve what you want—could you hang more pictures or art instead of painting? Use a new rug instead of redoing the floors? A “no” doesn’t mean your new home can’t be fabulous, it just means you get to find creative solutions.

Ask for help and advice!

Have a friend whose home you love? Ask her how she did it. And, of course, there’s always the majestic Google—there are too many design sites to even begin counting. Give them a look, and you’ll be surprised at what you find. Change your Facebook status to “Redecorating on a budget and need new ideas/advice”—it’s amazing how many people will respond, eager to help, and you’ll get some great ideas to boot!

Part 2 coming soon.

12 By Sarah Bocchino | Sarah wants to be a pirate when she grows up, but, in the meantime, she settles for adventures in domestication, teaching middle school English, and blogging at Any Way the Wind Blows. Her latest endeavor involves decor schemes on a miniature budget. She and her husband, Chris, live in Florida with two tabby cats and random explosions of creativity.

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2 Comments

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  1. Before you do anything to change your home decor – whether it’s just one room or the entire house, ask yourself (and others in your family, if it’s a group decision), what do you want to accomplish. Is it just to get a fresh look with a new color on the walls, or is it to really throw out the old and start all over again? If it’s a new wall color you’re considering, make sure the paint you purchase will compliment your existing furnishings. Don’t rush out to your nearest home supply store and purchase a can of paint because it’s on sale or your think the color will do. Get several paint swatches and bring them home.^..^

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  2. This is a good topic for me. I took a long time to figure out my own “look”, and thought for years that it was impossible to afford to do it right… better to give up that perfectionism.

    Also, I love the mead hall idea! 🙂