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Your home is your sanctuary. And in a time of economic turmoil, it's important to create an environment that allows you to rest and relax.

Decorating can be challenging if you're on a limited budget, but don't let that stop you from breathing new life into your space. With these creative yet frugal ideas, you'll be able to put a fresh face on your home's interior without spending a fortune.


Before you can decorate a room, you need to clear away the excess. By removing what you no longer use, need, or really want from the space, you'll get rid of dead weight and allow new energy to enter. Your room will feel renewed and energized, and will allow you to start with a blank canvas. Bonus – you can hold a garage sale or sell items online in order to earn money for decorating or donate the items to a charity and keep the receipt to save on taxes.


Giving the space a fresh coat of paint is one of the least expensive things you can do, but can also have the biggest impact. While most paint costs less than $25 a gallon, you can save even more money by looking for mis-tinted cans on sale at a discount – sometimes just a couple bucks each. Even if they're not the perfect shade, you can consult with a sales associate who may be able to adjust the paint color for you.

Do you like the wall color in a certain catalog or magazine? Take it along with you to the paint store. They can scan it and match the color for you exactly (remember, it can look different under different lighting situations).


Let your own individuality shine by adding unique accent pieces or by displaying collections you may already own. Turn your favorite family portraits and snapshots into masterpieces using free online photo editing software to antique them with a sepia or black and white tint. Consider taking a new set of family pictures to use as decorations. Take the dust jackets off your hardcover books and stack them to create an interesting table-scape. By using things you already own and treasure, you'll be creating an even more personalized space.

Don't have anything interesting already? Great sources for interesting trinkets include thrift stores, garage sales, and online sites. While shopping secondhand is nothing new to any savvy bargain hunter, knowing what to look for takes some practice, a discerning eye, and an open mind. What can you disassemble, paint, or use as a centerpiece? Vases, ceramics, antique postcards, art prints, frames, and even furniture can often be found cheap on eBay and Craigslist, so be sure to take a look.

Where to Shop

The Swedish mega-store Ikea is the budget decorator's dream. They carry everything from slip-covered sofas to floor lamps – all with a reasonable price tag. Don't overlook their scratch-and-dent section, often located near the checkout. One note of caution: in order to pass on great prices to customers, most of their furniture requires assembly.

Target also offers great home design on a budget. Designers like Isaac Mizrahi and Michael Graves make upscale pieces affordable for the masses. Don't forget to comb their endcaps for markdowns bearing orange stickers. Don't be shy. Ask the sales associate when the next round of markdowns will occur. At most Target stores, markdowns for houseware typically occur on Thursdays. Retailers like Pier 1 Imports, T.J. Maxx/HomeGoods, and Marshalls are also great places to look.

Don't forget to look in out-of-the-way places as well. Your hardware store may have lower-priced lighting, fixtures, and shelving systems. Baskets, candle accessories, frames, and florals can be found in the home decorating sections of craft stores like Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts, or even at your local dollar store. Lower prices combined with the 40-50% off coupons in their flyers can add up to big savings.

Attention to Detail

Study the pages of your favorite decorating catalogs and magazines to see how shelves are arranged, what is placed on tables, and how wall displays are hung. The difference lies in the details, so pay attention to them!

Think scale and proportion. Balance your use of elements such as wood, metal, glass and stone. If a room has too much of one (such as wood floors and wood cabinets), consider adding another element to the room such as a glass table or stone pottery. Mix your uses of textures and fabrics to create interest. Use real houseplants to soften corners of a room or purchase fresh flowers at a discount to add life and vitality.

Flower Power

Fresh flowers immediately draw attention and add charm to any space. Consider buying a bouquet and then breaking it up to use it in new ways. has an offer for a discount off ProFlowers orders, so you can still be frugal and have flowers. For a festive spring touch, buy a dozen mixed tulips and arrange them throughout your house. Place one tulip in each of three small glass bottles, then line them up on your mantle. Put a bud vase on your bathroom sink for a cute punch of color. For a funky centerpiece, grab a small rectangle of grass (it comes in rolls and you can ask for a piece) from your local home and garden store. Then use flower stakes to arrange your remaining tulips so they look like they're coming out of the grass. Finish the look with twigs, rocks, decorated eggs, and even plastic bugs.

Anyone can make their life a little more beautiful without spending big bucks. So, go ahead and channel your inner design star! is a registered trademark of Coupons, inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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