Hey everyone, Zina here with some great tips on how how I’ve decorated on a tight budget! When I got my first apartment out of college, I realized how expensive decorating could get. In school, my roommates and I would buy cheap posters that would take up the majority of our room. One year, my friend Leah and I collected our favorite magazine photos of male celebrities and put them all around our dorm room. We called it the “man wall.”
Unfortunately, there comes a time when that DIY attitude isn’t good enough for a 20-something living on her own. But when I looked into buying art, frames and mirrors for my new pad, I realized I could barely afford real decorations.
Here’s what I’ve learned about decorating on a budget since then:
I’ve always loved collecting prints and works of art. Unfortunately I realized quickly that framing everything could get expensive quickly. Even with coupons at JoAnn’s, framing can easily run you $50+ for a good frame to highlight your favorite prints or posters, and for a gallery wall, it’s stupid expensive.
That’s why I’ve looked for frames outside of the typical stores like Target and Michael’s. I scoured flea markets, vintage stores and resale shops for old frames that could work. I would carry a list of the posters and maps I needed framed so I know what size frame I need.
This process took longer than if I’d gone to a frame store, but I never spent more than $20 on a frame. Some I got for as little as a dollar!
I’ve also bought used picture frames, repainted them funky bright colors and hung them on the wall.
I’m not the most creative person so my DIY hacks are less about making something better and more about reimagining something.
For example, I have two Christmas ornaments I bought at a thrift store and Anthropologie. I banged some nails into the wall and boom! I now have to small decorations that brighten up the corner of my bedroom. Just because they were sold as Christmas ornaments doesn’t mean I can’t use them year round. You can also snag deals on generic wreaths, Christmas lights and linens around this time of year without it being covered in a reindeer print or red and green to be repurposed.
My husband took our Ikea coffee table and ordered wrought-iron legs for it. He took off the original legs, which were about to fall off, and screwed in our new ones. Now we have a more interesting coffee table that cost less than a new one.
You can easily build up to a furnished and decorated home by going to a big box store and getting what yo need in one fell swoop, but you also will be paying more and getting generic items. One of the best ways to save money on decorations is to skip the new stuff, but make it an adventure to procure items that speak to you. One of my favorite posters I found at a yard sale for $5. It came with a gorgeous frame, and is unlike any poster I’ve ever seen.
Scouring yard sales and flea markets (and heck even Craigslist) is not only more frugal, it’s also more fun. You never know what hidden gems you’ll find that will be perfect for your house or apartment. I’ve found out-of-print books, crafting supplies, jewelry and clothes all by avoiding the typical retail chains.
Outdoor markets are also a great spot to snag items. Take a friend and plenty of cash – you never know what you’ll find. It is more time consuming, but it’s a trade off, you can spend money or you can spend time. Get ideas from Pinterest to start thinking outside of the box, and then go out there on a decor safari!