Having a home you love is important to many of us. It can be easy to feel like you will never have the home you dream about, but there are plenty of ways to create a beautiful home you love, that is better for the planet and your pocket! Budget is one of the top things people tell us about when we ask about the barriers to creating a home you really dream about. If you take a sustainable approach to your home, you can create a lovely place to live, without breaking the budget. Here are 20 budget hacks for decorating your home.
1) Stop Comparing!
It is so easy to do with the constant stream of amazing homes on Instagram. However if you are constantly watching renovation shows on television, reading home magazines, scouring social media for design porn and visiting stores, it is easy to start believing you need more, more, more.
You really don’t.
It may sound like something your mother said, but there are people out there who do not even have a home – if you do have one, stop and be grateful for what you have, and consider what you can do with what is already there.
2) Buy Vintage
Buying vintage is something many of you are already doing, but it is important to remember that vintage does not mean daggy, or out of style. In fact style is a very subjective thing and if you love it, then it is in fashion! It is amazing what you can find at vintage and second hand stores. It does mean being open minded as you can not open the catalogue and pick your sofa from the current season. You need to go with an idea of measurements and style, but be prepared to think outside the square. Always look at the bones of a piece rather than the finish, as you can always upcycle.
3) Go to Garage Sales!
When was the last time you went to a garage sale? The Garage Sale Trail is on every year and is a brilliant way to get to LOTS of sales in one day! Also it is a fun day out. Every week can be garage sale trail day if you plan ahead – look for them online and in the local paper. There are lots of groups now on Facebook. Be prepared to barter – here are some tips.
4) Reuse What You Have
Back in the day everything was reused, mended and recycled into something new. Happily this is starting to become popular again. Look for glass in the supermarket rather than plastic, for example for sauces, jams and honey – so that you can reuse the jars. You can also reuse your candle jars and some places will take them back to refill. Anything made with glass or ceramics can be used for another purpose, such as storage in the pantry and bathroom. You can get crafty with fabrics and make something new like a crochet doily bunting, or tea towel cushion cover. Avoiding plastics is also part of this, so it is a win win situation. Head here for a great crochet tealight holder pattern!
5) Swap With Friends
If you want a new look, why not hold a swap party with friends! You could even set one up via a Facebook event. Each person brings along items they no longer want or need, and picks some items to take. You could include furniture, homewares and textiles. A great way to get a new look for zilch!
6) Let Friends & Family Know What You Need
We have friends who update things often and they know we are happy to take the things they no longer want. As they buy quality it is a win for us! We have taken an air conditioner, a bath which ended up at our family beach shack, crockery and lights. If you let people know you love to accept second hand items, they may appreciate being able to pass things on rather than working out what to do with their unwanted items.
Upcycling is a great way to decorate with a new look, without spending much. When you are out at the op shop or garage sale, or with roadside finds – look for quality and things that are not needing too much fixing, unless you have the skills to do that. Our podcast episode with Interior Designer Kate St James, is packed with tips about sustainable decorating. Upcycling may be taking materials and creating something new, or a simple coat of paint on a chair to bring it back to life. If you have a tired old chair or sofa, you can totally make it over with chalk paint – our podcast with Brocante in The Barossa takes you through all the tips about using chalk paint.
8) Save Up!
Yes it is true, in the old days people would save up for a major piece of furniture or home renovation. Instead of buying cheap items that will break and have been made in likely dodgy conditions, or going into huge debt for an extension, if you really covet a piece of funiture or want to add an extension, save a little so you can buy the furniture which is made to last, and at least place a deposit on the renovation work.
9) Use Paint
Paint is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to change your home. Look for no VOC paints and wallpapers with eco friendly inks. There is a lot of great information here about choosing these.
10) Be Mindful
This is about noticing what you have, considering what you really need, seeing the world around you, and stopping wanting more. We are driven to consume and this is not doing any of us any good. Take moments each day to be grateful for your life and focus on the good.
11) Be Brave!
Don’t be afraid to use unusual objects in your styling and vignettes around your home. You can include items such as old bottles, industrial items and pieces of fabric, to create layers of stories and textures. These are cheap or free and make a big impact.
12) Add nature
Organic materials such as leaves, bark and fresh and dried flowers make a beautiful statement. Look for seeds, branches or interesting pieces of bark when you are out walking.
13) Shop local
Add some new pieces from local makers and fair trade businesses to create that perfect blend of old and new. If you are able to, buying from etsy for example, is a great way to add artwork or decorative pieces which are affordable and ethical. Markets are another great way to buy directly from maker.
14) Get creative
Use old suitcases and boxes and crates for storage. Turn crates on their sides and hang as a shelf; stack for a side table with built in storage, build a coffee table from a series of crates with casters for feet, or a stack a group of old cases.
15) Hang it
Clocks and art are brilliant for decorating impact and often easy to find in op shops and vintage stores. You can also find lots of local artists again at markets, and online via places like instagram.
16) Did I mention flowers?
Flowers, flowers and more flowers! Always add flowers to your home whether picked roadside, from your garden or bought. Always consider the source of your flowers as sustainability and fair trade are important.
17) Mix it up
Contrasts work really well in decorating – mix rough with smooth, square with round and old with new. Add pattern and colour but be sure to have neutrals to balance the look. By using natural materials, vintage pieces and reinventing things, you will end up with a range of these kinds of contrast which do not cost a lot.
18) Think about the design and layout
Rather than have to add on or renovate, you can create nooks in your home that encourage people to linger, rearrange things and get a new look and vibe in your home. I regularly move furniture a little, change artwork and look for opportunities to create new little areas in our home. Add a vintage chair or two, a locally made artwork on the wall, some comfy cushions and a vase full of flowers. Sit some magazines on the crate side table you have made a whole new space!
19) Learn new skills
If you can learn to knit, crochet, sew, weld or paint, you can get started making your own cushions, curtains, tablecloths, throws and more (even a crochet bike!). You can learn to make your own furniture and shelving from recycled materials. By getting new skills and doing it yourself you will have a sense of achievement and make a gorgeous home.
We are all affected by trends to a degree, but it just makes you want to change everything each season. Buying things that are designed to last, not just in their longevity but also in their style, really helps with you being able to keep them long term and saves the planet as well as your pocket.
Which of these do you think you can implement at your place, or are you already doing most of them? Maybe you have some to add? Please share below
**updated from an article originally posted in 2016