40 Room Decorating Ideas for Anyone on a Shoestring Budget (2023)

Call us optimists, but we think everyone under the sun can have a beautiful home if they want one. Even if you’re pinching pennies, there’s still plenty you can do to create a stylish, inviting home for yourself and whoever you have over. The first step (and this is true no matter where or how you live) is to clean your home and get organized. Doing those two things alone will drastically improve the quality of your space. Then for the fun part—on to coming up with new room décor ideas.

"Even if you’re pinching pennies, there’s still plenty you can do to create a stylish, inviting home for yourself and whoever you have over."

With years of budget decorating behind (and in front of!) us, we’ve amassed a few helpful tips for making house with a slim wallet. Follow our cheap home decorating tips and get inspired by the ideas that prove that style doesn't need to come at a price below.

Paint an Accent Wall

Painting your walls on your own is one of the most cost-effective decorative updates you can make to your home and painting just one wall is an affordable (and seriously cool) upgrade.

Disguise a Dated Sofa with a Slipcover

Rather than buying an entirely new sofa, purchase a simple slipcover to give your space a new look.

Get Rid of Unsightly Items

Before you start worrying about what you can and cannot afford to buy, consider what you should get rid of. Dated, worn, or damaged items could be doing the look of your home a disservice, and if they’re non-essential, removing them can give your home a clean slate.

Add Trim to Your Curtains

Instead of buying new curtains, invest in what you already own by adding an iron-on trim to basic curtain panels.

Hang Prints

Framed prints don't have to be expensive, but they can transform a room. If you're really ready for a project, try your hand at your own art piece and frame your creation to hang on its own or as part of a gallery wall.

Pot a Plant

Faux plants can make for chic décor at a low price. Find an affordable option and then style it on a beautiful stand or in a handcrafted pot.

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Set Up Sales Alerts

If you’re dead-set on something that’s out of your price range, try to buy it on sale. You can use ShopStyle to set a sale alert for products from literally hundreds of major brands; just enter your search filters or terms and press the pink “Add Sale Alert” button and you’ll be emailed when the item goes on sale. Retailers like Overstock, Amazon, and Macy’s will also alert you when something goes on sale or returns after being out of stock.

Hide the Cords

You can find cord concealers on Amazon for just $15. Hiding unsightly cords and wires by the TV or lighting fixtures will go a long way in making your home look effortlessly clean and organized.

Give an Old Ladder New Life

That old wooden ladder sitting in your garage could be your next favorite décor piece. Clean one up with a bit of sandpaper and maybe even a coat of paint, then use it to store spare towels or throw blankets.

Go Thrift Shopping

Buying used (pre-loved) pieces of furniture and décor is a great way to save on things that may otherwise cost you a pretty penny. You never know what hidden gems you'll stumble upon at a thrift store or flea market.

40 Room Decorating Ideas for Anyone on a Shoestring Budget (1)

Customize an End Table

With a bit of paint and a little imagination, you can make a tired end table feel brand new. Consider painting the edge of a simple black piece in gold, for instance.

Turn Plates Into Wall Art

If you never use the china plates from your wedding or you love the look of a cheap set you scored from H&M, plates can make for some seriously chic wall décor. Hang a few in a cluster on a blank wall for an instant update.

Create DIY Jute Décor

With a bit of jute rope and a glue gun, you can turn a vase or dish into a rustic creation fit for a coastal beach house.

Paint the Kitchen Cabinets

Similar to painting an accent wall, painting the kitchen cabinets will quickly give one of the most used rooms in your home a fresh feel. Pick a color and grab a brush.

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Rearrange the Furniture

This zero-cost decorating idea only requires a bit of time, creativity, and some strong muscles. Pick a room and make it feel brand new by organizing the furniture in a new layout.

Infuse Your Bookcase with Personality

Wallpaper isn't for the walls. Use a small amount of wallpaper (you can find chic, removable wallpaper from brands like Chasing Paper) to decorate the interior of a bookcase.

Refresh Your Thow Pillows

If you already have throw pillow cushions, replacing the covers is an easy and cheap process. We love the selection of cushion covers from brands like Zara, H&M, and IKEA.

Swap Your Bathroom Mirror

Nothing spruces up a dated bathroom faster than a new mirror to hang above the vanity or sink. You can find plenty of affordable new options or go searching for a cool vintage piece with a low price tag.

Give an IKEA Hack a Try

The internet is home to seemingly limitless ways to upgrade affordable IKEA furniture and décor into pieces that look far more expensive than they really are. Get inspired by a few IKEA hacks from serious DIYers.

Turn a Wine Bottle into a Vase

Hold onto a few bottles of wine after your next dinner party and repurpose them into eclectic vases. You can easily wash off the labels with a bit of hot water and soap and then you'll be left with a slender vessel fit for holding a few delicate stems.

40 Room Decorating Ideas for Anyone on a Shoestring Budget (2)

Buy a Woven Basket

You can find cheap woven baskets at almost any retailer. They give a room a bohemian flair and offer a place to store spare items to keep any space free of clutter.

Use Sheepskin Rug

IKEA sells ridiculously affordable sheepskin rugs that you can use to transform ordinary barstools, chairs, and sofas into luxe, Scandinavian-inspired pieces. We love the look of the wool in contrast with industrial, iron furnishings.


Download Apps

Shop pre-owned furnishings and décor on mobile apps like OfferUp and LetGo. They make finding used pieces at low prices almost too easy.

Get Eclectic

On the spectrum of home décor styles, eclectic designs are often the easiest to replicate. Why? The look is all about mixing—and not matching. Since there’s no need to find a specific side table, or that exact shade of blue, shopping for furniture and décor will be much more affordable.

Shop on Craigslist

You can find great deals for pieces on Craigslist for a number of reasons: Sellers don’t know the value, sellers are eager to sell, stores are liquidating, or something is brand new and strategically listed for less than retail.

Update Your Kitchen Hardware

Purchasing and installing stylish hardware is an affordable way to make your kitchen feel brand new overnight. Head to CB2, West Elm, Target, or Home Depot for handles and knobs that will transform your space on a budget.

Install Sconces

Replacing a few lamps with plug-in sconces is a task that's so much simpler than it sounds. Plus, you'll be left with a more modern look that you can personalize to your liking.

Stock Up on Candles

Candles are an affordable feature that can seriously shift the mood and atmosphere of a space for the better. For a really elevated look, search for candles that come in stylish holders rather than those with loud labels.

Hang a New Shower Curtain

An often underrated piece of décor, the shower curtain is likely the most decorative item in your bathroom. If the space is feeling dated, start by searching for a new curtain to hang.

Add a Table Runner to Your Dining Room Table

When a bare dining table feels too minimal but a tablecloth seems too formal, opt for a simple table runner. It's a small (and usually pretty cheap) accessory that instantly dresses up the dining room for any event.

Paint the Floors

Hear us out. A good floor paint won't cost you much more than any regular interior paint and you can use it to create the look of linoleum or vinyl floors at a fraction of the cost.

Make a Garage Sale Map

Garage and estate sales are great places to score cheap home décor and furniture, but stumbling upon one is a rarity. If you have the time (and energy), you can track down nearby garage sales and map out their locations on a Friday night so you're prepared for the Saturday morning rush. Don't forget to bring cash!

Pick Out a New Lamp Shade

This small detail can make a big difference. Treat yourself to a fresh lamp shade to give new life to an older piece.

Invest In Chic Kitchen Storage

Keeping your pasta, rice, cereal, and other pantry items in stylish glass or plastic containers is sure to make you feel like you have your life together. Whether tucked away or on display, they look pretty good, too.

Upgrade Your Bedding

You don't have to replace everything, but even something as simple as a new duvet cover can give your bedroom a contemporary look.

Reorganize Your Bookshelf

If your bookshelf has deteriorated into a place to hold anything and everything you don't have a designated place for, it's time to purge. Get rid of the clutter and then have fun with the way you organize what's left. Perhaps you stack your books according to color or spruce things up with some new bookends.

Add a Rug

While a rug may seem like a major investment, you'd be surprised how many cheap options are hiding at retailers like Target, Wayfair, and Amazon.

Use a Chair as an End Table

If you have an old chair that no longer fits in with the rest of your décor, repurpose it as a nightstand or end table. You can even give it a fresh coat of paint to make it work in the new setting.

Buy Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers instantly bring a home to life with their vibrant colors, fragrant scent, and sophisticated look. Invest in a nice vase and replenish your bunch with a few extra bucks at the market each week.

Frame Family Photos

Turn your personal memories into art by printing out a few photos on high-quality materials and styling them with nice frames. Make a gallery wall or simply display a few shots on a console table or bookshelf.

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Empty list item


How can I make my room pretty without spending money? ›

Now it's time to put them to use.
  1. Rearrange your furniture. Nothing is so simple as rearranging furniture. ...
  2. Make use of those old paint cans. ...
  3. Put old fabric swatches to use. ...
  4. Freshen up the linens. ...
  5. Display your wares. ...
  6. Mirror, Mirror on the wall. ...
  7. Put your unused fireplace to good use. ...
  8. Pull the photo boxes out from under the bed.
Jun 13, 2022

How can I decorate my room without buying anything? ›

How To Decorate Your Room Without Buying Anything - YouTube

How do you decorate a room with simple things? ›

  1. Bring in a plant.
  2. Add a mirror.
  3. Hang some wall art.
  4. Change up your lighting scheme.
  5. Rearrange your furniture layout.
  6. Put down a rug.
  7. Accessorize a surface.
  8. Toss a throw pillow on it.
Mar 15, 2022

How do you make a room not look childish? ›

9 Ways to Make Your Bedroom look 'Grown-up'
  1. Get the bed right. ...
  2. Invest in a headboard. ...
  3. A detailed nightstand is next. ...
  4. Frame your pictures. ...
  5. Ban the TV, bring in music. ...
  6. Add a couch, or two. ...
  7. Get yourself a chic clothes rack. ...
  8. Use a mix of textures.

Where do I start when decorating a room? ›

Start with the biggest piece in the room first

The biggest piece in the room is usually the most important and most expensive. That's why it's important to start with that one piece and work your way from there. In a dining room, start with the dining table. For your living room, choose your sofa or sectional first.

How do I update my home decor 2022? ›

15 Decorating Tips To Update Your Home in 2022
  1. 15 Decorating tips to update your home in 2022.
  2. Embrace color in the designs.
  3. Make your home bloom.
  4. Decorate your space with ceramic pieces.
  5. Having artwork on the walls can bring you joy.
  6. Get a custom feel by combining different cabinets and shelves.
Jan 24, 2022

What order do you decorate your house? ›

What order do you decorate in?
  1. Start with the ceiling. By painting from ceiling to floor, you'll avoid those pesky splash marks on a freshly painted wall. ...
  2. Then move onto the walls. ...
  3. Paint the skirting boards. ...
  4. Painting the window and door frames. ...
  5. Finish with painting the doors.

How can I make my home look good? ›

Moving your pillows from one room to another is also a way to update your home's look, Nielsen said. "Rearrange them on your sofa, swap in a pillow from another room, eliminate some pillows to create a sleeker space, or stack pillows on top of your bedding (preferably all white) for a crisp effect," she told Insider.

What colors make a house look expensive? ›

When it comes to choosing paint colors for a modern, luxurious house, New York-based interior designer Tali Roth always comes back to one hue: Ivory. Unlike saturated colors, she points out that shades of white will never go out of style—and they're a foolproof decorating shade.

What makes a house look tacky? ›

Bad Lighting

Bright, white lighting is a quick way to make a room feel washed out and makes any potentially tacky design decisions stand out even more. Dim, minimal lighting, on the other hand, can work in basements but can also pretty quickly make a man-cave feel a bit too much like an actual cave.

What makes a room look expensive? ›

Large-scale accessories like lamps, mirrors, and pieces of furniture are great, but small accessories can also do the trick. Antique boxes, sculptural wall sconces, or even antique picture frames can give your room a certain je ne sais quoi that makes it look like you spent more than you really did.

How do I make my room vibe? ›

14 Ways to Add Good Vibes to Your Bedroom Decor
  1. Soothing Scents: To really make it mellow, you want to be sure all your senses can get in on the action. ...
  2. A Bit of Nature: Plants bring a special kind of life into the room. ...
  3. Cute Candles: Little is more calming than candlelight, so don't just save 'em for special occasions.
Nov 12, 2016

What should I put in my bedroom? ›

Here's what to consider.
  1. Bed Frame. Your mattress is arguably the most critical component of a comfortable night's sleep. ...
  2. Mattress. High up on the list of bedroom essentials and vital for restful sleep, a mattress should never be overlooked. ...
  3. Headboard. ...
  4. Nightstands. ...
  5. Dresser. ...
  6. Storage Bench or Ottoman. ...
  7. Accent Chair. ...
  8. Vanity.

What comes first paint or furniture? ›

Furnishing First:

The main reason why you should furnish your home before picking a wall color is that if you have certain pieces of furniture with a bold or eccentric color, you can already anticipate them being the center of attention within the room.

How do you put colors together when decorating? ›

Basic Color Theory: Decorating with Color - YouTube

How do you rearrange your room if it's small? ›

When your bedroom is on the small side, it's best to place your bed against a window wall. That way your bed and windows work together as a focal point. This setup makes the space look airier and brighter. If you have a TV, mount it directly on the wall opposite your bed and skip the console.

What does it mean when you constantly rearrange your furniture? ›

OCD might also manifest as a need for order and symmetry, constantly rearranging their furniture and belongings, or hoarding things.

How do I decorate my first home on a budget? ›

How to Decorate a New Home on a Budget
  1. Plan and Prioritize. ...
  2. Repurpose What You Already Have. ...
  3. Start Cheap, Then Replace Later. ...
  4. Shop Antiques and Estate Sales. ...
  5. Pretty Up Rooms with Paint. ...
  6. Go Green. ...
  7. Get Creative with Wall Art. ...
  8. Swap Out Old Light Fixtures.
Oct 11, 2019

How do you save on home decorations? ›

7 Money-Saving Ways to Decorate and Furnish Your New Home
  1. Paint first for low cost home decor.
  2. Start with the most important rooms.
  3. Budget wisely.
  4. Measure twice.
  5. Think long term.
  6. Consider repurposing what you already have.
  7. Find the light.

What room should you decorate first? ›

When decorating your first home, start with the bedroom. When decorating your first home, start with the bedroom.

When decorating where do you start? ›

From Ceiling to Wall Painting - Decorating in the Right Order
  • Step one: start with ceiling paint.
  • Step two: wall painting.
  • Step three: windows, doors and skirting board paint. The last steps in your guide to decorating include the windows, door frames and skirting boards.

How many colors do you need to decorate a room? ›

How many colors should you use in a room? According to the 60-30-10 rule, you should only use three colors in any room – although you can successfully incorporate many different tones of these three colors.

What should I splurge on when decorating? ›

Three items you'll likely spend most of the time sitting (or laying) on in your home: Your couch, your mattress and your office chair (if you work from home). These are ideal items to splurge on because they will get the most use so you want to love them and they need to be durable.

What pieces of furniture should you splurge on? ›

Furniture Pieces You Should Splurge On
  • Bed And Mattress. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend about 8.82 hours, on average, sleeping every day. ...
  • Sofa Or Couch. ...
  • Focal Point Pieces. ...
  • Area Rugs. ...
  • Lighting Fixtures. ...
  • Sheets. ...
  • Artwork And Decorative Accents.
Aug 19, 2019

What is the 60 30 10 decorating rule? ›

What is the 60-30-10 Rule? It's a classic decor rule that helps create a color palette for a space. It states that 60% of the room should be a dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color or texture and the last 10% should be an accent.

How can I make my small house look beautiful? ›

Wondering how to make a small house look beautiful? We're here to reassure you that a large square footage definitely isn't a prerequisite.
  1. Make it appear see-through. ...
  2. Size upwards. ...
  3. Think pattern repeat. ...
  4. Work the corners. ...
  5. Create a feature wall in a bedroom. ...
  6. Plan for two functions. ...
  7. Consider custom designs.
Aug 14, 2022


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