10 Easy Ways to Decorate on a Budget

Posted: March 29, 2021 | Categories: Why Buy New | Design and Decorating
By Highland Homes

The idea of decorating your new home often sparks the child-like joy of unwrapping a new toy on Christmas morning. When shiny new toys are not in the grown-up budget, you may be looking for tips for decorating on the cheap. 

We spoke with Stacey Antonakos-Perez, Highland Homes’ design center manager and model decorator, to come up with ten great tips on how you can easily find or create unique home décor on a budget.  


1. Splurge on the Big Pieces  

The dresser, the bed, and the marvelously gorgeous sofa you’ve had on your wish list! Splurge on the large pieces of furniture like this – they are likely pieces you will have for many years, and you want them to be enduring as well as durable. 

In the bedroom, go for the bed and dresser you really want and save money by skipping the nightstands that usually come with a bedroom set. Nightstands are often priced around $300 apiece at a furniture store, and the bargain hunters on our professional design team have found cute accent tables serve the purpose just as well and for less than half the price (see our next tip for places our designers like to shop).


2. Where to Shop for Decor Deals 

Places like Ross, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls, and Hobby Lobby are great for finding economical accent furniture pieces, accessories, and wall décor. 

“I love these stores because every week you find something new, trendy, and reasonably priced,” says Stacey.  

And, coupons aren’t a thing of the past – they are just a touchscreen away! Some stores will give you a discount for simply downloading their app onto your smartphone. For example, Michael’s is one of a few stores that often offer in-app coupons for 20-50% off select home décor and furnishings, no scissors needed.


3. Double Duty Furniture 

Rather than spending money on a piece of furniture with one purpose, buy pieces which pieces, which serve multiple needs. Get a sleeper sofa for the spare bedroom, an ottoman with storage space for the gathering room, or use a boho-style trunk as a coffee table. In bedrooms, buy or build a headboard with shelves and/or hidden storage space. There is a multitude of ways your everyday furniture can serve double-duty, resulting in both space and money savings.



4. Fluff up the Accents 

Do you love to change out your décor for Christmas, Halloween, or just to match your mood? Rather than buying pillows for every occasion, buy cheap accent pillows or pillow inserts and redecorate by buying or making your own pillow covers and swapping them out. Cheap decorating doesn’t mean you need to cut out beautiful and well-crafted holiday décor.

“I have a bit of an accent pillow obsessions and do this in my own home,” says Stacey. “If you have kids or pets, it also makes cleaning your pillows so much easier – just slip off the cover and throw it in the wash.”



5. Affordable Art 

If you are an art connoisseur without the art connoisseur wallet, a great way to have original art hanging on your walls is to visit local art programs at a nearby college. Student art shows provide a variety of media where you can find one-of-a-kind pieces without breaking the bank - And you may even discover a future Pollock or Picasso!

Or, channel your inner artist! Print your own high-quality travel photos and create a travel photo montage showcasing your experiences for your guests. Frame a beautiful fabric piece or scarf as an oversized accent piece, or hang a colorful tapestry. For an easy and DIY wall art project, pull out the beautiful pages from an old wall calendar and framing them, or drip paint on BOGO canvases from Michael’s to create abstract paintings that are sure to be a conversation starter with your guests.  


6. Plant Your Happy Place 

Houseplants have proven to provide air purifying and relaxation benefits, and live plants and floral arrangements can change the look and feel of a room while coming together to create an inviting and relaxing atmosphere. 

While live houseplants can be pricey, there are a variety of ways to get plants for cheap or even free. If you have friends with plants that are easy to propagate, ask them for a cutting. Check out local flea and farmer’s markets, yard sales, and for-sale listings on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and NextDoor. And if you’ve been making a list of housewarming, holiday, or birthday gifts, why not request plants, seeds, or a gift certificate from your favorite nursery!

Don’t have a green thumb? You can still get the look and feel of having houseplants. Artificial succulents, in particular, can be indistinguishable from live plants and look lovely on accent tables or even as a dining table centerpiece. For a foyer, loft, or dining wall that can use an extra pop of color and personality, we love this idea for a floral wall hanging.  


7. Repurpose What You Have

If you have furniture, ceramics, or other hand-me-downs collecting dust in storage, bring them home and give them new life. Do you have an old dinnerware set that’s missing two or more pieces? Repurpose it as wall art. Have an old wood table that just needs a little TLC? Sand it down, paint it, wax it, and make it shine. Do you have a broken dresser, but the drawers are still in great shape? Flip them, secure them, add casters, and voila, a new bookcase. Pinterest is full of ideas to help get you started on these and many other repurposing projects for your DIY home décor.



8. Dream a Little Theme

When you visit any of our model homes, you’ll notice themed bedrooms play a part of the décor. And, creating a themed room on a budget doesn’t need to break the bank! 

“A themed bedroom can be as simple as a few wall decals and a central piece of art,” Stacey says.  

If there are children in your life who love music or animals, consider instrument-shaped appliqués and several small framed pieces. Or, frame a quote from your favorite movie and pair it with an art piece from the same flick. You can even incorporate stuffed animals you already have into the décor in a kiddo’s room. 


9. Flea Markets and Antique Shops

If you’re looking to create a rustic or vintage theme for any of the rooms in your new home, bargain prices and unique pieces can often be found in a flea market booth or the corner of an antique shop. 

Flea markets are a great place to find furnishings and décor without spending too much. You can also negotiate the price on items you are already picturing in your new home. 

Antique shops often provide shoppers a homey shopping atmosphere. Inside, you may find a great accent chair, a handcrafted wood wine cabinet, or an intriguing pair of Viking axes for your Nordic-themed home office. While not always bargain-basement prices, you can often negotiate a better price by simply asking what a seller’s best price is or making them an offer, particularly if the piece may need a little TLC. And, these are usually one-of-a-kind pieces you won’t find elsewhere, ensuring each piece is a conversation starter adding unique style to your home. 



10. Build New 

A new construction home provides multiple benefits and when it comes to planning your home décor, starting with a home personalized to your style sets the stage for you to easily and affordably add your furniture and personal touches.

When you build your new home in Florida with Highland Homes, you will work with Stacey or one of the other professional designers at our Personal Selection Studio to choose the flooring, cabinets, countertops, paint, and finishes and features for every single room of your new home in Florida. Then, we build your personalized home with the design features you’ve selected, making it easy to move in and love your home from day one without the need for costly renovations. 

On the flip side, remodeling a home can cost tens of thousands of dollars along with months of your time. Buying a new home is easily the biggest money (and time) saver on this list!

If you are shopping for a new home in Florida, we are here to help make your dreams come true! Learn more about us and the design options available when you build your dream home, and call or email us to connect with a New Home Specialist who can help you find your new home in Lakeland-Winter Haven, Metro Orlando, Ocala, Tampa Bay, or Bradenton-Sarasota.

Tags: Decorating tips Design features Home décor Personal Selection Studio Personalize your dream home Benefits of new construction Home organization Homeowner tips