"Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."  ~William Morris 

gretchen rubin quote about homeMy husband and I bought what we consider our dream home last year. When we first moved in, we set aside a certain amount of money for new furniture and decor.

By the time we were done decorating our new bedroom, we had used nearly half our budget. So I told my husband to stand back and watch the magical power I happen to be really good at wielding. That's right. 

It was my time to shine, people.

Something you may or may not know about me: I have Dom Perignon tastes and I know how to make them work on a Boone's Farm budget.

In other words, I'm a total cheapskate. 

So what's a cheapskate to do with a limited budget and a dream home to decorate? Here is a quick gallery of a few of my cheap decorating finds and ideas from my own home. Wanna know how I did something or where I got it? Just add a comment below and ask - I'll answer and I'll include any and all info you'll need. 

 
 
PSST...Here are the secret home decorating tips you've been waiting for.

 

All My Secrets for How to Decorate Your Home on the Cheap

Lucky for you, I don't believe in secrets. So here are my best tips for decorating your dream home on the cheap.  Yep, I'm just giving them away. You're welcome. 

Discount furniture stores and big sales

It goes without saying that you should always check local discount furniture stores and sales. My husband and I bought all of our beautiful bedroom furniture at a local store called Big Lots. We saved literally thousands of dollars.

For example, a friend bought the exact same mattress we did from a higher end store and paid as much for it as we paid for our entire suite of solid wood furniture, including our mattress and box springs.

Know someone on the inside

If you know people who own or work for your local furniture stores, even better. Many companies offer friends and family of employees a discount as well so ask around if you're in the market.

We got our already discounted furniture from Big Lots for an additional 20 percent off since my sister-in-law works there. Score!

Hit up Craig's list

You'd be shocked what you can find on craigslist.com. If you're looking for a specific piece, check there. You can often get what you need super cheap or even free.

Just be sure to keep your head in the game and be safe - there are some creeps out there.

Local buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook

The emergence of these groups has been a life-changing thing for me. From my local group, I've bought designer purses, clothes and more - but the best finds have been furniture and decor related.

I got my dining room hutch and buffet table for $200 bucks - delivered  - and they are beautiful, unique pieces in great shape. Plus, they're antiques.

Repurpose what you can

So I really wanted new couches but I also really wanted to save money. So I compromised and bought some really nice sleepovers, the microfiber kind. This made them look like brand new and cost me less than $100 each. You can also get these much cheaper if you're willing to look.

I also repurposed an old table for my office and turned it into a desk. I just covered the fake-wood surface with contact paper that matched the theme of my office and voila! A whole new piece for under $10.

Frame it up - snapshots
 
I have recently discovered the joy of printing and framing snapshots to hang in my home - especially BIG ones. I have several framed 16x20 snapshots hanging in the house. It looks fabulous!
 
Not only are we all photographers these days, but thanks to cropping and editing tools that we have available on all of our devices, we can almost all take fairly decent pics. I personally enjoy a casual look sometimes and I think a good snapshot can often be cooler than a professional photo. 
 
You can have stuff printed online at sites like Shutterfly.com and Flickr.com, or you could just send the pics to your nearest Walgreens and pick them up an hour later - whatever floats your boat. 
 
Frame it up - kids stuff
 
Your kids, god-children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews--whatever--they have probably made you something that you treasured at some point or another. Framing up their best work not only makes for lovely and conversation-invoking decor, but it can also really help boost a kid's self-esteem. 
 
Win-win situation. 
 
Be the artist
 
I recently hit a sale at Michael's, our local art and crafts store, and picked up a bunch of canvases, oil paints and supplies, and various brushes. I told my family that we're each going to paint a self-portrait and we're going to hang them in our home as decoration. 
 
Any kind of art project that involves the people you live with could turn into something that is both beautiful and unique - plus, it will be a great way to create a memory together. 
 
We're still working on our designs as we are taking this project very seriously, but I'll be sure to share them when they're finished. 
 
10 More Ideas to Get Free or Cheap Furniture and Decor for Home
 
Along the same lines, here are 10 more suggestions for finding cheap and free furniture and decor for your home:
  1. Build it yourself/DIY
  2. Yard sales and garage sales
  3. Church/club/group sales
  4. Neighborhood sales
  5. Dumpster/curbside 'diving' (not my preference, but I know some resourceful people who have found favorite pieces this way)
  6. Hand-me-downs from relatives and friends
  7. eBay
  8. Amazon.com
  9. Wayfair.com (I bought some lovely kitchen furniture here super cheap)
  10. Local thrift stores such as Good Will and Salvation Army
  11. The dollar stores, including Dollar General, Family Dollar and even the Everything's a Dollar place. You can get candles, knicknacks and frames and sometimes even better stuff for next to nothing.
5 More Cheap and Free Decorating Tips from my friends
  1. "Rearranging some of the older items you already have, makes a world of a difference." ~Ashley Schultz
  2. "Framing photos or children's art. Also, painting is relatively cheap, but only if you do it yourself, and that's a bit of a pain! Then again, so is simply cleaning up the house some days." ~Deborah Pecis
  3. "Free: clean out the clutter! Create open space to enjoy being in your home." ~Nance Rosen
  4. "Ikea!" ~Shelley Atkinson
  5. "Wood pallets! Tons of cute ideas on Pinterest to make cute things w/ free wood pallets. I haven't made anything yet but I have a collection of pallets that I'm eager to use." ~Amy Ritchey
 
 
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