Everyone wants to have an attractive home. If you’re like me, you’re on a strict budget. Most of us cannot afford to redecorate our homes. Here are some tips for furnishing and decorating your home frugally.
1. Shop yard sales and thrift stores. I’ve been doing this for years. A few years ago I was at a yard sale and found a really nice living room couch and oversized chair. The person I bought it from had only used it for one year. She paid $1200 for it and I got it for only $120. Sometimes you can find some really unique items by shopping this way.
2. Check Craigslist. You just never know what you’ll find on Craiglist. Before purchasing our last home, the home inspector found some issues with the bathtub. My husband found a brand new tub with jets on Craiglist for 1/5 the price. It was one a contractor didn’t use. Another great find was a HE washer and dryer. We got an almost new set for 1/4 the price. The owners were moving to Hawaii and it would cost them more to have it moved.
3. Think paint. Paint is one of the least expensive ways to add warmth and color to your home. It really is amazing how $30 in paint can transform a room.
4. Repurpose what you have. Paint that old lamp or picture frame. Change your night stand into a bookshelf. Recover your old pillows with fabric. Use a sheet for window treatments.
5. Get an outside opinion. It helps to ask someone else’s opinion for ways to help your decorating space. Many times friends will see things you didn’t see and have ideas you had never thought about. They may suggest moving a piece of furniture or changing a wall hanging. Those small inexpensive tips can make a big impact.
6. Borrow furniture. When I first got married, I didn’t have any living room furniture. I ended up borrowing some things from my parent’s house. All you have to do is get the word out to friends and family that you need some items for your home. Some people have things in their basement that are just sitting around collecting dust. Some will let you borrow things and others will just let you have the stuff.
7. Be patient. You can’t expect your home to look perfect right away. It takes moving things around, searching for deals, and tweaking things a bit. It will all come together eventually.
8. Bring in nature. Consider filling jars with shells from the ocean. Fill a vase with twigs. Put some pinecones in a basket. There are many things that we can use from outside.
9. Do it yourself. I am not one for creating things but if given an idea, I can usually duplicate it. Thanks to pinterest, there are thousands of ideas at your fingertips. I have pinned many ideas for future use. Be sure to check out my boards “For the Home” and “DIY and Crafts”.
10. Update out of date pieces. Our last home was one of my favorites. It was loaded with charm. The problem was that the fixtures were outdated. Everything was brass. We didn’t have the money to purchase all new lighting and bath towel bars so my husband gave everything an inexpensive update with bronze spray paint. You can check out pictures of our chandelier makeover.
What tips do you have for low cost decorating?
image (c) Karen Weideman
June 22, 2012
We all get those thick plastic bags. Our sheets, comforters, pillow shams, and other bedding items come in them. Some people might throw them in the trash, but I prefer to reuse them. I especially like to save the ones that have zippers and handles on them.
I have reused bedding bags for all sorts of things including:
- storing extra hangers
- packing baby needs for a road trip – baby bottles, spoons, etc
- organizing toys
- keeping extra carseat parts together
- organizing loose items in my car
- keeping sets of sheets together
- storing seasonal clothing
- keeping emergency clothes in the car
- storing bubbles and bubble toys
- keeping craft projects separated
- organizing cards and stickers
- storing gift bows
These bags are nice because they are see through. You don’t have to guess what’s inside the bag. For years I have been using the same large comforter bag for storing gift bows. Recently, I used two bags to help my daughter organize and store her yarn and looms. Everything stays together, she can see what she has, the items are kept dust free, and the cats aren’t in danger from eating the yarn. The organizing and storage possibilities are endless.
What uses do you have for bedding bags?
image (c) Karen Weideman
July 23, 2011
I attended a baby shower and they had some really cute pacifier favors and pink confetti spread across the table for decoration. I thought the pacifier favors were so cute (and inexpensive) that I had to share them with you. The candy pacifiers simply consist of two Lifesaver candies and a jelly bean that are held together by frosting or melted chocolate.
You will need:
- Lifesavers (These are made from peppermint Lifesavers.)
- royal frosting or melted white chocolate
- miniature jelly beans (probably Jelly Bellies)
- Unwrap your Lifesavers and set aside.
- If you are using chocolate then you will need to melt it. Follow the instructions on the package for melting the chocolate. Please note that you should be using chocolate candy that will harden after it dries. This is the kind that is sold in most craft stores or in the cake decorating section of Walmart.
- Put a small dab of chocolate or frosting in the center of some of the Lifesavers. To make your finished project more attractive you should make sure that the Lifesaver words are facing the handle and that the jelly bean side is plain. For best results, only work with a few Lifesavers at a time.
- Attach the second Lifesaver to the first. The second Lifesaver should be on its side so that it acts as a pacifier handle. It will make a “T” shape. Hold together for a few seconds to allow icing or chocolate to set.
- As you complete these steps, set them aside to dry. After they have dried add the ribbon to the pacifier handle. The ribbon should be about four inches long.
- Add a small dab of frosting to the other side of the lifesaver (the plain side) and attach the jelly bean. Let these dry or harden. You may have to hold the jelly bean onto the Lifesaver for a minute until it sets.
You may find that you want to make the pacifier handles first, attach the jelly beans, and then let the whole thing dry before adding the ribbon. Feel free to modify the instructions to meet your personal preference.
Uses: These candy pacifiers can be spread around the tables for decoration or placed on a cake. You can put them in a bowl on the tables or spread them around a centerpiece or the base of the cake. Put them in small candy boxes and send them home with your guests. You could also have the ribbon personalized with your baby’s name. There are many uses for them.
Money saving tips: You know that I am all about saving money. Save your craft store coupons to purchase these items while they are 40-50% off. Ask your friends for their craft store coupons. If you know in advance that you will be making these you can watch the weekly sales flyers for sales on these items. Check the dollar ribbon area of the craft store for ribbon deals.
This post was originally written by me in 2009. The content has been rewritten and modified to put on my own website.
Image (c) Karen Weideman
December 29, 2010
Unfortunately, I have moved several times in my life. It’s very consuming and exhausting. There are some ways to make moving a little bit easier. Here are some tips I’ve learned that may make the process a little easier.
1. Get organized. Keep a notepad handy for all the things you need to do. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget some of the extra tasks. A “to do” list will help you stay focused and not stress about forgetting things.
2. Pack ahead of time. If you have a choice, there is no need in waiting until the last minute to pack. Start by packing the things that you don’t use regularly such seasonal decorations, clothing, books, and wall hangings. Each time I move I am reminded that it was more work than I remembered. You don’t want to be overly stressed, so start as soon as possible. During the last week before the move, you should only have necessities left to pack.
3. Begin saving packing materials and try to use what you have. If you know in advance that you will be moving, begin saving packing materials, bubble wrap, newspaper, boxes, etc. See if you can bring home boxes from work. I also like to use sheets, blankets, and towels for packing material. Blankets work well for packaging wall hangings. I fold the blanket around the wall hanging and then apply packing tape around the blanket to hold it in place. No tape touches the frame.
4. Purchase a roll of plastic wrap (Saran wrap). It may sound crazy to you, but Saran Wrap is actually a great moving tool. Wrap it around dressers, cabinets, and small things that you might lose. Saran Wrap doesn’t apply tape to surfaces that you don’t want to get damaged, but it holds things together. I have used it to hold armoire doors closed to keep them from opening and breaking. I have used it to wrap odd items. It’s an inexpensive fix.
5. Label your boxes well. Simply writing “kitchen” just isn’t enough. After the move when you’re looking for your casserole dishes, you don’t want to hunt through 15 boxes before you find them. It’s worth the extra few seconds of effort to write something like “kitchen silverware” or “kitchen pots and pans”.
6. Declutter as you go. If possible, try to get rid of clutter as you pack. It costs money to pack and move things you don’t need. Have a separate area for items to donate.
7. Ask for moving expenses. If you are moving or relocating for your work, ask if they help with moving expenses. Be sure to save all of your travel and gas receipts, as well as the receipts for rentals and boxes. You can sometimes claim this expense on your taxes if it is work related.
8. If you are renting a moving truck shop around for rates with different companies. Find out if they charge extra for each mile driven or if there are a certain number of miles included in their rate.
9. When renting a moving truck, it is best to call to make sure your truck is there. We usually do this the day before. Even if you have reserved a truck and paid a deposit, sometimes the truck will not be there. I know it sounds crazy, but it has happened to us.
10. ALWAYS inspect the moving truck before leaving the rental company. Check for dents in the truck, missing trim, and any other kind of damage. Also, check to see how much gas is in the truck. Make sure all of this is documented on your rental agreement. Otherwise, you might face unnecessary charges.
11. If possible, use plastic totes for fragile items. When we moved a few years ago, I decided to spend $30 on totes so that my china would be in a safer place. Sure enough, someone was helping us unload the truck and dropped a tote with china in it. I was surprised that none of it was broken. Boxes can easily get damaged during moving and they can also collapse if heavy items are stacked improperly. Get plastic totes if you can.
12. If possible, move on a week day. We have found that moving trucks are more expensive and harder to find on weekends. A week day move will most likely make for a smoother transition since businesses and offices will be open.
These are a few moving tips that I’ve learned along the way. What tips make moving easier for you?
November 29, 2010
A few months ago, Wisk asked me to try out their new Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent on a few different kinds of stains. So far, I have tested Wisk on a grass stain and carbohydrate stain. I have been so impressed with the stain fighting technology that I have been using the Wisk on other stains such as ketchup, ravioli (oh my!) and set-in stains. (I hope to post more on that later this week.)
Today my assignment was to try Wisk out on an oil stain. Oil stains include things such as lip gloss, peanut butter, and salad dressing.
To test the oil stain, Wisk sent me a tube of lipgloss, a towel for blotting, a make-up bag, and another bottle of Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent. Hooray! I was glad to get another bottle.
I applied the lipgloss and blotted my lips onto the towel. Yes, I know, I put on waayyy too much lipgloss. It was fruit flavored and it made me feel like I was in high school again. lol
I applied the Wisk detergent to the stain, rubbed it in for about 30 seconds, and then rinsed the stain.
On this experiment Wisk took out the majority of the stain. To me, it appears that it took out all of the oil and not all of the color. Now I feel a little bad for putting on soooo much of the lipgloss. I think maybe the color got down into the ridges on the towel which made it more difficult to remove.
I have been extremely pleased with the Wisk. It is now the first thing I grab for stains. I am sad that this is the end of my Wisk experiments.
Click here for a $1.00 Wisk coupon.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.
October 30, 2010
There is one stain that I commonly deal with in our home and it is the carbohydrate stain. This includes things such as chocolate milk, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and syrup. Whenever I serve something with ketchup, I always preface the meal with something like, “Please lean over your plate when you eat and don’t get any ketchup on your clothes.” :sigh:
I cannot stand cleaning stains off of clothes and I certainly don’t like ruining good clothes with stains so I am glad that Wisk has given me something new to try. This time Wisk asked me to try their new Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent on a carbohydrate stain.
Today was a beautiful fall day so for lunch we grilled hotdogs. I also served potato smiles to the kids. Of course, they like lots of ketchup for their hotdog and potatoes.
Alligator Girl is the messy one in the house. She reminds me of myself at her age. It seemed each time that I ate, I wore something on my clothes. Too bad my mom didn’t have the new Wisk technology. Because Alligator Girl is the messy one in the house, we painted a big ketchup “M” on her shirt for “Miss Messy”. She was proud of her title.
Cuddlebug wanted to help out, so I let him apply the Wisk to half of the stain and rub it in. We let the Wisk eat away at the stain for about 5 minutes and then rinsed it under warm water.
Taaadaaa! Seeing is believing. I admit, I was a little skeptical of what the Wisk could do. Afterall, I have dealt with plenty of red stains, but I cannot deny these results. I am pleased with how well the Wisk worked.
Other Wisk Articles:
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.
October 6, 2010
When we bought our home last year, there was one thing that really stood out to us. The home needing some updating. Since the home was build in the 90s, brass was a theme in the home. Due to the cost and time involved, the update has been a gradual one. First, we replaced all of the brass ceiling fans in the home with some bronze colored ones that we found on clearance at Lowe’s Home Improvement. That alone was a major improvement.
Recently, we decided that something needed to be done to the brass light fixtures in the home, mainly in the foyer. We weren’t ready to spend $100 or more on a new chandelier, so my husband decided to try out some metallic spray paint in a bronze color. First, he tried out the paint on an old lamp to see how it would look. We liked the results and so the chandelier was a go.
Sorry, I didn’t have a picture of just the chandelier. This is from a set of pictures I took of the home while we were moving in.
Putting the chandelier back up on the high ceiling was much tougher than the paint job. I was standing on the stairs with tools and screws, just praying for safety.
My hubby was so pleased with the chandelier results that he painted the two bathroom fixtures and all of the towel bars.
Wow, look at all that brass. There were two light fixtures in the sink area and two towel bars and a toilet paper holder in the shower area.
And for some reason, my flash was not working on this picture. I really need a new camera. Anyway, you get the idea.
And that’s our thrifty makeover. It cost about $5 and the results were great. Do you have any frugal makeover stories to share?
September 21, 2010
I’m always interested in cute inexpensive decorations. My friend Karen sent me an email with this neat idea for an ice cream soda table setting. It’s simply made of carnation flowers, a tiny rose, a soda style cup, and two straws.
I have seen the Coca-Cola cups at Dollar Tree and in some discount stores for around $1 each. Many stores sell carnations for around $.50 each.
This would be an inexpensive table setting or decoration. It’s such a cute and simple idea.
September 11, 2010
A few weeks ago, I shared with you all that Wisk just introduced a new detergent with stain technology. I’m excited to receive some of the new detergent.
Wisk asked our family to perform an experiment. For this experiment, Wisk sent us a grass stain (which is a protein stain), lab coat, beaker, dropper, goggles, and a bottle of Wisk. My kids were so excited about the experiment and lab coat that we had to take turns with the experiment. Now my daughter has informed me that she wants to wear the lab coat and be a scientist for Halloween.
This was a simple experiment. We simply applied some of the Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent to the grass stain.
Next, we put the stained cloth into a beaker of water and swished it around for a few seconds.
As you can see, within just a few seconds the Wisk took away the grass stain where we put the detergent and then starting eating away at the rest of the stain.
And this has nothing to do with the experiment, but my daughter was giving a weird mad scientist face. I thought it was funny.
Since Wisk did such a great job, we decided to put the stained cloth back in the water for a few more seconds. Woweewow!
My daughter has declared Wisk to be the best laundry detergent ever. She also began to tell me about all of the stains in her clothes that it would remove. She is our messy one.
Have you tried the new Wisk Stain Spectrum Detergent?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.
August 29, 2010
Do you ever sit around and watch old commercials onYouTube? I do. I think they’re quite hilarious and honestly, they take me back to my childhood. Sometimes I show the old commercials to my kids and they get a good giggle from watching. Of course then, I have to hear the questions like, “Did they have electricity when you were a kid?”. haha
Here’s an old commercial from Wisk. Wow, does that take me back! The thing back then was ring around the collar. It would have been a terrible thing for a woman’s husband to show up to work with stains on his collar. It would have been a reflection of her ability to keep house.
I know that my mom always kept a bottle of Wisk in our home. We referred to it as “the good stuff”. Many times we would use the other detergents to wash with and then we’d get out the Wisk for the tough stains. We’d apply the detergent directly to the stains and rub it in.
Detergents have come a long way over the years. Check out this new detergent from Wisk. I’m excited to try it.
I think moms today have just as many stain worries as they did back then. Kids will be kids. Children will still get grass and chocolate milk stains on their clothes. Many times I feel badly for getting on to my kids so much. I’m just so worried about ruining another outfit with their stains. Hopefully, the new Wisk with Stain Spectrum Technology can help me to put my worries aside and let my kids have a good time.
What do you think . . . do you think the stains you tackle today are the same as the stains your mom faced?
Disclaimer: This post is being sponsored by Wisk and I am being compensated for this post, but all ideas and opinions are my own.