Not all interior design has to break the bank.
My interest in interior design and aesthetically pleasing décor began years and years before I lived in my own space, thanks to HGTV and Chip and Joanna Gaines. But, when you’re young, you probably don’t have the money to spurge on a television sized clock or modern rustic hanging light fixture. The beauty of being a real-life adult is that I now have the liberty to splurge on interior design – yet I still don’t. That’s because over the years I have learned how to decorate for much cheaper.
You can have great decorations for your home if you are willing to put in some time, effort, and creativity. And, you don’t have to break the bank to do so.
Upcycle old jars.
Not only is saving and reusing jars sustainable and environmentally friendly, it also offers a functional way to decorate your living space. Clean, remove the labels from, and save your old pickle or jam jars. Try using mod podge to adhere a piece of craft paper or a ribbon to a jar to bring some color into the project. I use my upcycled jars to store cotton rounds, Q-tips, and my toothbrush and toothpaste. Now, I have more storage on my bathroom counter that is functional and cute.
Reuse candle jars.
Instead of throwing away your old candle jars, try upcycling them, too. You can use them for storage, just like old food jars. I like to use my old candle jars as pots for my smaller plants. Adding some paint, craft paper, or ribbon can transform these would-be trashed items into cheap and stylish home décor.
I’ll be the first to admit that removing the candle wax from the glass isn’t the easiest task in the world. There are a variety of methods out there to try. I freeze the jar for easier wax removal. But be careful scraping the wax – knives have been broken in the process!
Create your own art.
Find your medium. Watercolor on paper? Oil on fabric? Pencil on wood? Crayon on printer paper? Personally, I have always done acrylic on canvas (basic, I know). Whatever it is, find your niche, your style, and you have the creative liberty to design art exactly how you want it. And you’ll do it for a lot cheaper than buying an expensive art piece.
Don’t expect to be amazing from the start, unless you are already amazing from the start. I began when I was in middle school. I painted a simple rainbow ombre pattern on a small canvas, and I loved it for years! Slowly, I began to try new techniques, invested in better brushes, and ventured outside my comfort zone. Even when I messed up, the overall work was good enough to use as a decoration in my living space. Now, I have a large collection of canvases that I have created over the years and can use in my apartment to fill blank walls.
Learn a new skill for versatile benefits.
Learning a new skill is beneficial in many different ways, and if the skill is artistic or crafty in any way, it can be turned into décor for your home. For example, learning handlettering or calligraphy can be a practical skill in certain careers, for other hobbies, or for creating beautiful art to hang in your home.
Personally, I don’t practice handlettering. But, my sister acquired the skill a few years ago and has since been working to refine the ability. She creates stunning pieces of work for friends, family, and clients. She has opened a small business, called Scallop Designs (@scallopdesignco on Instagram – check her out!), to promote her work and draw more customers. The photos below are a few of the decorations that she gifted to me that now hang in my living room.
This type of work is not only a way to decorate your home but also offers an example of putting a skill to work to earn extra income! Look into various hobbies and skills that interest you and learn how you can profit from it.
Thrift picture frames.
The next two tips require that you venture to a thrift store, provided you have the means to travel to one. If not, try looking at thrift websites and apps, such as LetGo.
No, this tip is not to buy cheap picture frames to frame pictures.
Go to the home section and scope out the picture frames. One you’ve found a few frames that in a style that you like, head over to a craft store and pick up some spray paint. I love gold spray paint to match my interior design style, but black or white are great neutrals, or get funky and purchase a bright color like pink or green! Now, go outside, remove the backing from the frame, lay the frame on some newspaper or an old cloth, and spray paint that bad boy!
You may be thinking, “if this tip isn’t encouraging me to buy cheap picture frames to frame pictures, what is it about?”
You decide. Picture frames are incredible versatile pieces of décor. Try printing a graphic from online and framing it. Maybe dry some flowers and frame them against a white piece of paper. Or simply hang the frame without its back for a simple design.
Mirrors are a timeless decoration that not only offer aesthetics but also work to make a room feel larger by reflecting any light present in the room.
While searching for picture frames at your local thrift store, keep an eye out for old mirrors, too. Follow the same steps as the previous tip: find a mirror in your style, buy some spray paint, and spray paint the frame. However, it may be trickier to remove the mirror from the frame. Instead, I like to place newspaper on the mirror, taping it down or placing something heavy on top so ensure the mirror doesn’t get accidentally spray painted. If you get paint on the mirror, try using a razorblade to scrap the paint off.
Mirrors are great because they can be hung, rested on a tabletop, or even placed on the floor against a wall. The opportunities to style a mirror are endless – just keep your mind open and try different placements until you find one you love.
Go to Etsy, find a few items you love, and try to recreate them yourself for cheaper.
This is my life hack for giving presents to others. For example, I knew I wanted to get my older brother a plant related gift for his birthday. I scoured Etsy for some cool ideas and found a few that I thought I could execute myself. I decided on a hanging plant shelf (pictured below). I found similar materials at Michael’s and Home Depot, used some tools I had around the house, and created a hanging shelf by myself for cheaper than what was listed on Etsy. In the process, I built one for myself, too, since I had to purchase the string in bulk and was left with a lot of excess that would’ve gone to waste otherwise.
Nobody should have to choose between aesthetics and saving money. These decoration ideas can help you save money and allow you to create your exact style. Plus, it is an ego boost when somebody compliments an art piece that you designed or a plant shelf that you built!
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