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In this post: Let’s face it, we don’t all have huge budgets for making our homes cozy and beautiful. Sometimes we all need a few tricks up our sleeve… here are 8 ways to make your home look stylish on a budget.


We all want our homes to be that safe place we can rest and recharge and even go to be inspired. Sometimes money can be tight though and we need a little extra creativity to bring our visions to life. Here are 8 ways to make your home look stylish on a budget. 

Let's face it, we don't all have huge budgets for making our homes cozy and beautiful. Sometimes we all need a few tricks up our sleeve, ways to make our homes look stylish on a budget, right?

I’ve been home with my kids for almost twenty-one years and for many of those years, Dean’s income was the only one. Don’t get me wrong, he has a great job. But raising a family of five in the city can be expensive, so often there simply wasn’t much money left over for making our house look pretty. But because I love home so much and having a home that is both welcoming and pretty is so important to me, we figured out how to make it stylish little by little.

8 Ways to Make Your Home Look Stylish on a Budget

These ideas don’t need to be implemented all at once. They can be teased in one or two at a time. At first glance, they may not seem like much, but each one can have a great impact on its own. Eventually, you will find that you do indeed have a stylish home!

1. Grocery Store Flowers

Spring Flowers Antique Crate for blog

For years I told Dean NOT to buy me flowers. I felt like they were such a waste. They just died in a week anyway, so why spend the money?

But then I realized that a small bunch of flowers could be bought at the grocery store for less than $10 and could last for two weeks if I changed or topped up the water.

I also discovered how much joy fresh flowers bring me!

Poor Dean. After about fifteen years of me saying NOT to buy flowers, I now constantly remind him to pick some up while he’s out. Good thing he loves me so much!

Love the crate? Here’s a similar one

2. Hang Curtains High and Wide

new linen drapes for the dining room

No matter where you live you likely need curtains. Be it for light blocking, privacy or even just for looks, curtains are pretty standard house necessities.

Well, they can also add a lot of style to your decor  – even the cheap ones – when hung the right way.

Instead of hanging the curtain rod tight to the window frame, try hanging your curtains “high and wide”. Mount the curtain rod as high as you can, so your curtains gently kiss the floor when hung. Also get a rod that’s large enough to extend about six inches past the window frame.

Of course, when a small budget is an issue curtains can seem expensive. But if you just get creative you can still have stylish windows. Try using drop cloth curtains, our Ikea curtain hack or sheets hung with curtain ring clips, or use piping painted black as curtain rods. No one will know the difference!

Find similar grey linen curtains here

3. Classic Neutral Paint

Mallory Vitrine Standard Bookcase in the dining room

 

Some of the biggest decorating regrets come in the form of paint. Choosing a color that’s super trendy is fine IF you’re willing to paint again when the trend is over. By using a neutral backdrop, your home will look much more stylish for much longer.

Remember to bring home color samples or large swatches to look at in your house, in your lighting. Paint NEVER looks the same in your home as it does at the store, so NEVER choose a color at the store!

I’m always amazed at what a fresh coat of paint can do. And when you stick to a classic neutral, you can’t go wrong.

Check out our home’s paint colors here

4. Area Rugs

white living room couch dark wood floor trellis rug

Moroccan Trellis Rug, Rugs USA

It’s true, buying area rugs can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.

A few years ago when white shag area rugs were so popular, I wanted one but wasn’t willing to pay the price tag that most of them were selling for. So I looked and looked for one that was less costly.

Part of the issue was that I needed at least an 8-foot by 10-foot rug to fit our space correctly. And by correctly I mean that all of the front legs of the furniture at least had to be on the rug. None of that floating-the-rug-in-the-middle-of-the-room-with-nothing-but-the-coffee-table-on-it nonsense! (Learn more about proper rug sizing in our how-to-decorate course – Decorating Uncomplicated.)

Eventually, I found one at Home Depot for hundreds less than everywhere else and we used that rug till it was trash!

So be patient and shop around, check big box stores, online shops, Facebook Marketplace and even Kijiji and craigslist. And don’t buy a rug that’s too small for your space!

5. Update the Lampshades

elegant home office area in the dining room

If you have lamps and can’t or don’t want to replace them – let’s face it some lamps can be really expensive – try replacing the lampshades.

Maybe when you bought your lamps, curvy shades with piping or fringe were the ‘IN’ thing. You can update your lamps very easily with some newer shades that are more of a drum shape.

Trust me you will notice a difference!

6. Vignettes Instead of Tchotchkes Everywhere

Hello Spring Printable and Vignette

There is nothing wrong with a collection. Or even tchotchkes for that matter.

But when you start to clutter up every surface in your home with things, it’s no longer stylish. It’s just clutter.

Try creating vignettes instead.

Don’t know how, check out this post on how to create vignettes.

7. Use Matching Containers for Open Storage

Farmhouse Industrial Dining Room

Maybe you can’t afford those built-ins just yet and you’re making do with regular shelves. That doesn’t mean they have to look ugly.

If you’re buying storage containers anyway, you might as well buy matching ones. Baskets, boxes, and crates can all be placed together to create a cohesive and stylish open storage solution in just about any room.

8. Replace Hardware

Home Made Lovely black and white entryway

Little by little we’ve replaced the hardware at our house.

First, it was the kitchen cupboard knobs and pulls. Then we replaced the old hinges and cheapo knobs on our exterior doors. And recently we’ve just about got all the interior knobs and hinges updated.

It may seem like a small thing, but it really makes me smile to have the old faded and worn two-tone chrome hardware replaced with much more elegant oil-rubbed bronze.

This is one of those things you can purchase even one at a time. Hinge and doorknob manufacturers tend to carry the same product in big box stores for years and years so getting matches or at least very similar pieces over time shouldn’t be an issue.

Like this hardware? Here’s a very similar set!

So that’s our top 8 ideas for making your home look more stylish on a budget. If you’d like more, check out our FREE Decor Starter Kit below!

More Budget-Friendly Decorating Tips

Do you have a favorite?

P.S. Love these 8 ideas? Here are 20 more awesome budget decorating ideas you can steal for your house! And find 75 Budget Decorating Ideas you can really use in my book, Home Made Lovely

shannon round pic and xo signature

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76 Comments

    1. Debra Wilson I adore Sherwin-Williams Analytical Grey! It’s my absolute favorite paint color and the color of our current living room. We also have Bungalow Beige (also by SW and the color of our dining room and upstairs hall) and Fusion Mineral Paint’s Champlain (the color in our entryway) at our house.

    2. Great to know! Thanks so much. Your home is beautiful and I love the soothing grey and beige tones. They work so well complimenting all your beautiful details in the rooms. ?

  1. Great post! Approaches that have worked for our one-nonprofit-income budget have been buying used furniture via Craigslist or FB groups, dyeing things to match my color scheme, painting items to give them new life, and accepting lower-cost lines such as from IKEA or Costco if they suit the style I’m going for. I have a long way to go, recovering from years of not knowing what style I really wanted for our home so our furnishings don’t really have a cohesive look, but we’re getting there. Also, a constant struggle in a busy household of 7, keeping all areas clean and clutter free. Because grime and junk are never stylish. ?

    1. Oh yes, Rachel! It took years of changing out furniture for us too after not knowing what style we wanted. The couches we just gave away were bought second hand from friends and our new one (arriving today) is from Ikea. We’ve painted all sorts of things and built it ourselves too. And you are absolutely right, the daily struggle of keeping things clean and clutter free in a busy household is worth it for the beauty and style it adds! xo

  2. I agree with you about the neutral colours. It’s so much easier to add colour with accessories and change them than repainted the walls. Also neutral colours let your accents stand out more.

  3. Those are all great tips! Pretty photos of your stylish home to illustrate your points too. Our budget is always super tight too so I like to sew my own pillows, paint and repurpose. I also will sell pieces when I find something more my style or just to makeover and then use the cash for bigger repairs or a new piece (like the Ektorp chairs in our living room that were 100% paid for by selling pieces.) I would love to be able to save up for new area rugs at some point (roof last year and new fences this year -sigh!) We are going to tackle the worn carpet and 1990’s orange-ish oak stair railings soon because I can most likely pull that off with lots of elbow grease and supplies on hand (the stair runner will have to wait.)

  4. Hi Shannon
    Just hoping you can tell me where you purchased that gorgeous light fixture in your front foyer? We are probably going to be moving & I would love to replace a fan at the top of my landing with something as airy and rustic yet modern as that fixture. Can you help?

  5. Shannon… are those vinyl letters on your front door that say “hello”? Where did you find those.

    1. The “hello” we bought from a shop on etsy. The “goodbye” we made using our silhouette.

  6. This is so wonderful. I found this and started doing things last night. What you need is a “what can I do with….?” page. people can post a pic of some random thing they have – crate, burlap coffee bag, etc – and then get your ideas of how to use it. Pinterest is ok, but I get lost in that rabbit hole. 🙂

    1. I’m planning a test run of a community forum for that sort of thing this fall/when the decorating course is available!

    2. OH! Delightful. I’m really… REALLY trying to apply your principals as I feel less like I’m going to lose my mind. I’ve so many incohesive hand me downs, but also a couple really beloved antiques – and my amazing $100 Leather couch (amounts to a 98% discount) Do you have an entry on how to pick paint colors?

  7. Hi, My question is about the white sofa, or loveseat in your photos, could you tell me the measurements and where to purchase? Looks like this may fit into my single wide mobile home living area. I love the style!!

    Thank you.

    1. Unfortunately we don’t own those anymore. They were second hand from friends and when we bought our current sectional we passed the love seats along to other friends. I’m so sorry!

  8. Could you please tell me how to source the table on Page 7 on your farmhouse blog which showcases the Moroccan Trellis Rug?
    Thank you,
    Suzie Warren

    Franklin and Company

  9. I have looked at your blog. I am moving into a “retirement” community and do not want my new apartment to look like it is crammed with all of the good stuff from my former home, or look like I am totally trying to hold onto the past. So, I have haunted the local Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store…….love seat covered in drop cloth slipcover……remember to wash the fabric at least once so there will be no shrinkage on subsequent washings…..$9 coffee table that has been painted with charcoal latex paint and waxed with finishing paste wax…….plus two long dressers that the hardware has been changed, painted ….look great!!!! Have had so many positive comments on how fresh and relaxes and happy my new place looks. Yes, it is tiny, kind of like living on a sailboat, but so positive…..doesn’t weight me down!!!!!

  10. Your home is beautiful. What is the brand and color of the paint used in your foyer where you show the black door? I’ve searched for a similar color. Thank you.

  11. Can you tell me where you got the light fixture in picture 8? I love it!!!
    Thank you,
    Brie Thompson

  12. Just stumbled on this post via Pinterest. I love the Danforth sign! (I live off the Danforth myself!). Great tips.

    1. My grandmother used to live on Danforth – so the sign makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! Lol, not likely how everyone feels about Danforth! Ha!

  13. This was a great read!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! We are a one income family of ten!!! It’s hard to spend money on “mom’s office”!!!! I too spend most of my days at home so I completely understand wanting it to feel “homey”!!!! 🙂 I am going to try some of these good asap!!!!
    Again thanks,
    Kimberly

  14. Love your home! The photo I linked to from Pinterest caught my eye. Sometimes I Pin to come back later……but yours called me in immediately! Updating the hardware is on my list of things to do. My house has new hardware in most of my home, updated with renovations, but I have old brass knobs in other parts. I am planning on spraying these to update them.

  15. I love all of your ideas! You can never go wrong with neutrals and classic design. It’s less expensive replacing decor pieces like pillows, furniture etc. my favorite thing to do is re-vamp thrift shop items 🙂

  16. Hi Shannon,
    Do you have any tips for renters? I just got my very first apartment, and I have some furniture, but I don’t own anything to put on the walls. I’m definitely going to implement your tip about vignettes (so I don’t have to buy as many things), but I have no idea what kinds of things I should be getting, much less how to get things to hang up affordably. Thanks so much!

  17. I love your blog and Farmhouse style on a budget, so practical. I was wondering if you have any color suggestions for your classic neutral for wall colors that you suggested in your blog? I am familiar with Ben Moore colors, what colors would you suggest? I look forward to reading your entire compilation of helpful information. Thanks Shannon

  18. I love your sign that says,”Let’s stay home.” Do you have a link of where to purchase? You do such a beautiful job decorating!

  19. Do you mind sharing the paint color in the room with the curio cabinet/bookcase. I am sooooo bad in choosing paint colors.