Are you in the mood to revamp your living space? We found some cheap decorating ideas and resources for cheap home decor that skimp on money but not on aesthetics. A fresh coat of paint in a bold color, a vintage coffee table scored at the local thrift shop, a brightly patterned wall hanging, and mixing and matching what you've already got into new combinations are just a few quick, easy, and cheap ways to get started. So unleash your inner decorator and bask in the outcome.
The first place you might look for cheap decorating ideas is, surprisingly, your smartphone. Blanco County Times reports on several home improvement apps, such as ColorSnap, a free mobile app for the iPhone that lets you match paint color and code. StudFinderPRO, which costs $2.99 for the iPhone but is free for Android, helps you locate a stud in the wall so you can hang that new painting. Mark On Call lends you its room design and decorating expertise for a mere $2.99. The Handy Man DIY ($1.99) makes recording dimensions for window treatments, walls, and the like so much easier.
Craigslist and thrift stores are obvious places to search for recycled decorating treasures. But do be careful about what you bring into your home: clean and gently-used items with some life still left in them are the worthy finds. Readers posting responses to an article on BabyCenter.com about unearthing cheap home decor gems at places like Goodwill seem to prefer regular thrift shops. They say many items sold at Goodwill aren't really cheap, nor is there a wide assortment. These frugal shoppers prefer Craiglist or sites like Freecycle for finding hand-me-downs that turn cheap decorating ideas into finished projects.
Some cheap decorating ideas call for brand new items. LovetoKnow Interior Design writer Kate Bailey suggests several places to find home decor pieces that fit your frugal budget. West Elm and HomeDecorCenter.com, for example, offer rugs at low prices. Hanging fabric panels on the wall is a thrifty out-of-the-box design idea. You'll find inexpensive options at Contemporary Cloth and Novica. Big-box retailers, such as Target, Walmart, and K-mart are additional sources of cheap home decor.
You can also update any room in your house without adding to your existing collection of furniture, knickknacks, rugs, pillows, and pictures. EcoSalon recommends recovering pillows with old or new fabric and reupholstering couches and chairs in the living room, family room, or bedroom, suggests; getting new slipcovers does the job, as well. Move throw pillows and blankets into a different room or mix up the vases, picture frames, and candles. Try turning the living room into the den and the den into the bedroom for a fresh look to old space. Spruce up curtains with simple accents like ribbon tie-backs or a swag made with fabric left over from last year's sewing project. DoItYourself suggests updating lampshades with beads or fringe, and painting a plain piece of wood that you can hang above your bed.
Once we started looking, we found no shortage of cheap decorating tips. Designers interviewed by Country Living offer several. For starters, put short strings of Christmas lights in glass jars to make an eye-catching lighting piece, place colored glass jars and vases on a window sill to simulate stained glass, and lay a sheet of glass over a table and tuck photos or postcards underneath. Give your kitchen a country look or Old World feel with a low-cost rack for pots and pans that goes above the stove. New kitchen towels and throw rugs can liven things up, and if you have a lot of floor space in the kitchen, textile designer Sirpa Cowell suggests creating a long runner by sewing together cheap rag rugs. (A dry cleaner will do this if you don't sew.) And finally, a few random pieces of tile right above the sink add zip and novelty without straining your bank account.