Hi! My name is Ashley and I blog over at athomewithashley. Thank you to Kati for letting me guest post on her blog today! Kati and I used to work together and I always admired her for her energy and her ability to lead and get things done. Oh, and her cute high heels :). I wanted to share my top 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. I am a girl with big dreams, but a little budget. Regardless of money, I am convinced that people can have the home of their dreams! And what better way to prove this than using my own home as a guinea pig?!
Let’s start with the before pictures of my living room:
Ugggh! Those are scary! So dark and bland. But things got better! Here’s how I slowly transformed my living room on a budget (and tips so you can too!)
- Paint. I painted the walls white. Paint is such an inexpensive way to quickly make a huge difference in a room. And I found the perfect white paint color! Goodbye cave-like grey!
- I added in a custom wall treatment. For me this was chair and picture molding. This gives the room a very classy look. It was around $150 to install (so not the cheapest, but still reasonable), but the room has a whole new feel now. Below are more ideas on ways to make a statement with your walls. Here are my best tips for buying wallpaper on a budget.
- I put up a ledge gallery wall behind my sofa. I used $14.99 ledges from Ikea and added in inexpensive art (framed cards, printables from Etsy) and personal touches to pull it together. Ledges are a new trend that I love because you can easily change out your display without putting holes in your wall which keeps it looking fresh longer.
- I waited for sales. When I added in the desk area to our living room, we got the desk for $200 on a President’s Day sale when it’s usually over $300! If you can be patient and wait for a good sales day (I have included the best ones below) than it will pay off! My wall lamps were also on sale for $15 each from Target! The deal in the store was better than online, so I called customer service and they were happy to honor the sale price for me so I could get a second to complete my pair.
- I shopped thrift stores. I love using old oak frames from the thrift store for $1 and giving a fresh coat of paint. Sure, it takes time, but it is by far the cheapest way to buy frames. I also got an old beat up shelf for $3 and gave it new life with paint. I redid a $2 bulletin board and gave it a whole new look. My best tip for thrift store shopping is to go with a list of what you need. Be open minded and look for good bones as the finish can be changed.
- I decorated with books. I got most of them for gifts (aka they were free) and guess what, they are fun to read too :). I love the color they add. If you love pink too, here is my dictionary of pink books. Check out your library for sales or a thrift store. I have found great coffee table books that way for around $4!
- I got creative and thought outside of the box. The large botanical wall hanging was only $2! I go over the details here, but it was a free printable for wrapping paper and I printed it as a $2 engineering print and put it in a frame I already had on hand.
- I saved up my money, and then shopped when we found a good deal. I got the drapes for around $20 when I found them on sale at Down East Home. These are originally Pottery Barn drapes for $178! Make sure to put a note in your phone the dimensions of what you are looking for so when you are out and about you can buy the correct item if you find an awesome deal! I also found my pink bench for $75 (originally $349 from West Elm) and had to take it home. My husband wasn’t super excited about it, but it is at the perfect spot to take off shoes or throw your bag at the end of a long day.
- I got my DIY on by making a table runner. It’s super simple and made out of outdoor fabric so I don’t have to worry about ruining it when I over water my plants :). If you can sew you can make all kinds of things for your living room! Pillows or drapes are other great options.
- I use pillow covers that I can change up when I get bored of them. These are Caitlin Wilson knockoffs and are $14 each instead of $60 each (here’s a whole list of inexpensive places to find Caitlin Wilson look alike pillows). Invest in a good pillow fill and then change out the cover. This saves your budget and storing a pillow cover takes up much less space than a whole pillow!
- I used items I already had around my house. The cameras on my desk were just in a closet before and now they can shine!
- Photographs are an inexpensive way to decorate your walls. I had an extra frame that I painted white and then put our favorite Instagrams inside. This is pretty much the only reason I print photos now a days and I love pointing out the images to my son. Having a framed Instagram wall art is super cheap- each photo is around $0.20 and you can get a frame at the thrift store. Pretty much any photo printing location prints square images now, so this is a really easy project.
How have you decorated on a budget? Any awesome ideas I am missing?
So I have to be honest and tell you I didn’t always have all of the answers to having a beautiful space. I had been on a tight budget and for a few years I let that stand in my way. I figured that if I couldn’t do everything my heart desired, I would do nothing. So my house was boring and sad. Slowly I figured out some tricks (like above) to decorate on a budget and I brought my home back to life. Now it is a place where I love to spend time and create memories with my family. My home makes me smile when I wake up in the morning and is inspiring to be in.
I know there are so many people like I was. Right?! Who out there has a space that is a little scary? Or maybe you don’t know where to start? Or maybe you are like me and don’t think you have enough money. Let me help you! I figured out steps and systems to create a look you love with the budget you have in my ebook At Home for Less. It launches July 15th and is $7.99 the first week and then goes up to $9.99. It will never be cheaper than the $7.99 price so if you are interested, I’d suggest checking it out soon. You can click here to purchase or there’s even a link to a free chapter so that you can get a taste of my teaching style and step by step instructions.
Thank you again Kati for letting me stop by! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will drop by and answer them.