Tips to Save Money Decorating a Home
You’ve just moved into your first home—congratulations! Whether you’re buying or renting, the costs associated with moving have probably sucked your budget dry. But an empty house won’t do you any good, so you’ve got to think about furnishing and decorating.
With even the standard, budget-friendly living room design ringing up for over $10,000, you should be prepared for a little bit of sticker shock when dreaming up your new interior design scheme. Here are some simple ways you can make your budget go further when decorating your very first home.
Thrift Like It’s Your Day Job
We cannot underestimate the power of second-hand shopping. With furniture and décor sourced from a combination of antique stores, thrift shops and Facebook Marketplace (which is, as far as we’re concerned, the new Craigslist), you can fill your entire home on a limited budget.
Here are a few of the best second-hand shopping tips when shopping for the home:
- Identify Quality Makers and Seek Them Out—The beauty of shopping “new to you” is that you can get high-end stuff on the cheap. This is especially valuable for furniture that may be impeccably crafted but slightly outdated or gently used. If quality’s your goal, scour the online markets for Ethan Allen, Restoration Hardware, Drexel and other well-known, high-end names or look for custom or locally made wooden furniture.
- Stick to Shopping in a Close Region—Limit your second-hand search to the 50 or so miles surrounding your new home. This is a toughie for those of us who want to shop for very specific pieces, but it’s good advice if you’re willing to be patient. The reason for this is that when we travel long distances to see something for sale, we’re more likely to buy it even if we don’t like it because we feel like the trip would be wasted if we didn’t.
- Query Your Social Circle—Many people offer up their old furniture, home décor items, flooring, etc. only to people whom they can easily text or e-mail. This helps weed out the ever-present buyer scams and makes coordinating easier on the seller. Send out a mass message to those in your close social circle inquiring about purchasing old, unused items. There’s a good chance a friend will give you a better deal than a stranger would.
- Get on the Estate Sale Circuit—If you’re not already watching the classifieds and net like a hawk—get on it! Estate sales are typically held before a home goes up for sale, which means just about its entire contents are up for grabs. And since estate sale companies usually hold sales on a single weekend, sellers are motivated to get rid of everything fast. The result? Home goods deals on home goods deals. Here is a great resource to find deals on estate sales.
Know Where It’s Okay to Cheap Out
It’s super common for new homeowners to waltz into big box stores and decorate their homes for almost nothing. Fast forward a couple of years and those chintzy MDF pieces, factory-made rugs and cheap wall hangings have not aged well. There’s just no getting around the fact that you will most likely need to cut corners some places, but don’t do it by instantly turning to Walmart, IKEA or Amazon.
Instead, seek out factory direct suppliers that cut out the middle man and supply you directly with quality, designer pieces for a lower price. This is a great option when buying things you might want to replace in 10 years or so, like window blinds, furniture, and rugs. Funnel your bigger bucks into permanent fixtures, like flooring, countertops, lighting, and appliances.
Get Crafty: Refinish, Recycle, Repair
According to HomeAdvisor, it costs an average of $169 to have furniture repaired and an average of $591 to have furniture refinished. In contrast, the average new homeowner spends several thousand dollars per room on new furniture. If you can get your hands on used, discarded or broken furniture that just needs a little tender-loving care—or a fresh coat of stain and some new hardware—then you’ll make some extra wiggle room in your budget for other things.
It also helps if you know a thing or two about crafting. As you probably already know, Pinterest, Instagram, and other platforms are jam-packed with ideas for how to create unique DIY home décor items, from personalized wall hangings for your perfect gallery wall to homemade headboards that add serious luxury minus the high price.
Take it a step further by learning new skills like upholstery, woodworking or refinishing.
Shop Warehouse/Showroom Sales and Events
If you’re dead-set on the idea of buying brand-new but don’t want to settle for big box store junk, you need to get hip to local warehouse sales. Many of the higher-end furniture makers (including local and regional ones) hold annual or semi-annual sales to get rid of their showroom furniture, overflow stock or items that have been damaged.
When shopping your favorite stores, inquire about any special one-off or insider sales that might allow you to score impressive pieces for a significant discount.
Extra tip: Shop at the end of the season and make offers on showroom pieces that may soon be discontinued.
Added Bonuses of Shopping Budget-Friendly
Shopping on a budget for interior design essentials not only helps you fill your home with things you love without going broke, but it also helps improve the planet. An excellent side effect of budget-friendly shopping is that you’re also contributing to a better, more sustainable world.
By reusing, recycling, repairing and shopping second-hand, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and contributing less to a throwaway society. Even if you’ve got the biggest budget on the block, it’s a good idea to follow some of these smart money-saving strategies.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed these budget-friendly tips for decorating your first home. Buying a home can be an exciting adventure, but it makes sense to be sensible with your spending. It is effortless to dig yourself into a financial hole.
Additional Helpful Home Buying/Selling Resources
- Closing checklist for first time home buyers via Danny Margagliano.
- The Best Real Estate Articles Found on Flickr
- Best Real Estate articles on Diigo.
- Best Real Estate articles on Instapaper
- Why dual agency is bad for buyers and sellers via Newswire.
Use these additional resources to find helpful information to make informed decisions when buying or selling a home. These posts are filled with information that is vital to stay on track and not make mistakes.
About the author: Kenneth Gordon serves as the Assistant VP of Factory Direct Blinds. Kenneth is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of all Factory Direct Blinds marketing and advertising initiatives.
Before joining Factory Direct Blinds, Kenneth served 6 years in the United States Air Force as a Military Police Officer. Kenneth enjoys spending time with his two sons and beautiful wife Brittany when he’s not working or writing.