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Decorating on a tight budget

You don’t need a lot of money, just patience and a little time

Create a unique space that’s all you. Photo credit:

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For some of us, we look forward to the next upcoming move because it means we get to decorate a whole new space. After so many moves you start to anticipate what is worth keeping, what is worth replacing, and how to set back up easily and with as little cost as possible. For those who aren't as seasoned, dedicating your time and a small budget is all you need to successfully set up home.

This can be a daunting task, so take it one room at a time. Usually we are eager to set up the kitchen and living rooms, as these spaces are the most communal, used frequently by family and friends. Pay attention to how these spaces are being used as-is and note what types of furniture are needed for each function. Most typical for these spaces would be a dining table, storage for media equipment, and a sofa large enough for your family and maybe a few extra. Any furniture pieces that aren't serving a purpose need to be removed. This will help to maintain a comfortable flow through the space. Base all of your decisions on the function of the space.

Once you have your needs prioritized, you can move on to the fun stuff -- decorating. The best way to stay focused is to start with an idea or mood board. You can create this by using the popular social media site, Pinterest, where you can virtually "pin" pictures to a themed board. You can also cut and paste magazine photos to achieve your board. Focus on colors, examples of your ideal space, furniture pieces, and materials. You will start to see a common theme as you select images that appeal to you. Write down a list of what you see -- colors, a décor style, materials, a "feeling". For example, you may see that many of the images include grey and black, and the furniture you like is made of weathered wood. A lot of the rooms you are selecting appear to be a "farmhouse" décor, and they feel rustic and comfortable. This list will now be your guide for purchasing anything.

With your new list of "décor musts" created by your inspirational vision board, you can begin looking and shopping for new elements you need for your space. For furniture pieces, try shopping second-hand on websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or letgo. Usually you can find name brand furniture pieces for a fraction of their original prices.

When you see something that you think will work, double-check the dimensions first -- and then run through your list. Is it the right color? Does this material work in my new décor theme? You may see an amazing deal for a modern orange and chrome sofa, but if you are going for a farmhouse style, you're going to have to pass. I promise everything you want will come up eventually, you just have to be patient. For your softer components like pillows, throws and rugs, check out discounted stores like Home Goods, IKEA, and Cost Plus World Market.

Remember to shop with your list. Decorative artwork can be found for cheap at Michaels and Hobby Lobby -- or even better if you can make it yourself. Try weaving a macramé wall hanging or covering a wall with paper flowers. There are so many easy-to-follow, DIY videos and tutorials online - you can do it!

With these tips you can confidently create a space that is all yours, created from the unique images, materials and colors that make you happy. Don't forget to declutter first, then create your vision board, and always be patient when searching for the perfect pieces. If you can practice this then decorating on a budget will be something you will also look forward to with every move.

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