March 10, 2013

How to Decorate Your Home on a Frugal Budget

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. 

our old house

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


October 6, 2010

Our Thrifty Chandelier Makeover

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.

chandelier – before

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.

chandelier – after

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. 

bathroom – before

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.

bathroom – after

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?


June 29, 2010

10 Tips for Hiring a Plumber

As a homeowner, I understand the frustration of having to call in a professional.  How much will it cost? Will it set me back financially this month?  You want the job done right without it costing you a small fortune.

Here are a few tips for hiring a plumber:

1.  Get references.  Word of mouth from friends, church members, co-workers, and family is a great place to start.  If someone likes someone, or if they don’t, you’re sure to hear about it.  Ask around.

2.  Search for reviews.  Use a free website such as or a paid service such as  I have also found other reviews online just by doing an internet search.

3.  Give as many details as possible about the problem.  Where is the leak?  What kind of pipes do you have?

4.  Ask if the plumber charges for travel time.  For some plumbers, their time starts when they walk in the door.  Others  may charge when they get into the car.  It’s good to know if you’ll be paying extra for their commute.

5.  Ask if the plumber will have the parts on hand.  Does the plumber keep a supplied truck or will he need to make trips to the hardware store.  Will you need to pay him for these extra trips?

6.  Is there a minimum charge?  Just like going to the doctor’s office, some contractors have a minimum rate and that includes a certain amount of time, such as 30 minutes.

7.  Inquire about insurance.  Many contractors have their own insurance which will cover them in case of injury or damage to your property.  Find out if they have insurance.

8.  Find out their credentials.  Does the person have any accreditations?  How long have they been doing this type of work?

9.  Try Craigslist.  If you’re a real cheapskate (like me) you might want to put out a “help wanted” ad on Craigslist.  Some professionals may not like this advice, but here goes . . . Unfortunately, times are rough for the self-employeed.  Put an ad on Craigslist, tell in detail what the repair issues are, filter through the responses based upon credentials, estimates, etc.  You’ll be surprised at the responses you will receive from this ad.  Some may even offer to come out and give a free estimate.  People are looking to work.

10.  Consider hiring a professional to work after hours.  Perhaps you know of someone that works for a major company.  Many times these individuals will moonlight on the weekends to make some extra cash.

Do you have any tips for hiring a plumber?

image sxc