Decorating a new home on a budget can be tricky. It’s so easy to flip through a lifestyle magazine, or watch HGTV, and get caught up in the gorgeous featured designs (guilty as charged), but most of what’s promoted is far too expensive to fill the average home. I look to those resources for design inspiration, to get an idea of the colors, patterns, textures, and combinations which are most appealing to me. I then make it my mission to find something that looks and feels the same—or better—at a more affordable price. In fact, I usually find something I love even more!
Here’s some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you do the same.
Independent retailers are the answer
One of the best-kept secrets in styling a home is to avoid mass market retailers. Instead, take the time to find smaller companies that specialize in the exact type of product you’re looking for.
When shopping for a rug, for example, you could simply go to one of the big box stores and choose a semi-affordable option hanging in one of the aisles. But if you spend a little time online investigating, you may just find a company like Well Woven. This company was created to deliver high-quality rugs made in Turkey directly to consumers in the United States.
A rep from Well Woven told me, “Unlike many of our competitors, we do not advertise, and keep a low overhead. This allows us to pass along great savings to our consumers/retail partners.”
As an added bonus, many companies like Well Woven were founded with a humanitarian or environmental mission that makes supporting them not only more affordable but beneficial to worthy causes.
Do it yourself
Have you ever spent hours on Pinterest looking at gorgeous home décor ideas? If you have, you’ve also probably noticed a number of easy and informative tutorials on how to make similar versions yourself. One of my favorite things to do is to score a find at a consignment store, then follow a Pinterest tutorial to learn how to re-face an old piece of furniture.
I also believe you don’t have to be super crafty to DIY. For example, I had a hard time finding a painting of Boston for less than $100, so I created one myself. I purchased a photo of Boston on Shutterstock.com, then had the canvas made (for a very reasonable cost) at CanvasDiscount.com. Instead of paying over $100 for something I didn’t love, I was able to choose the exact photo I wanted and create a piece of wall art on a 16-inch by 20-inch canvas for less than $50.
While it’s true that there are a lot of amazing prices on high-quality home furnishings to be found online, it would be a mistake to skip shopping the clearance center of a local family-owned and operated furniture store—especially an outlet store.
For example: Home Living Furniture, located in Monmouth County, New Jersey, offers discounted items in its clearance center, and it even has a competitive advantage over the resellers of the major brand Ashley Furniture.
“Because we are one of Ashley’s top resellers, we are able to offer our customers the lowest prices on Ashley,” said owner Deepak Jain.
Jain noted that his store also offers next day delivery on over 50 collections on display throughout the company’s two showrooms.
“Most stores in the area take between three days and two weeks to deliver furniture, and in an effort to further satisfy our customers, we came up with a plan to get them their furniture in just one day.”
Local retailers such as Home Living also offer online shopping with access to knowledgeable staff, but according to Jain, an in-store clearance center is golden.
Turn something old into something new
Last but not least, you can’t discount yard sales, estate sales, and thrift shops. There are a ton of groups on Facebook that even offer online yard sales.
“I recently relocated to Austin but kept my home in Tacoma, Washington, so I needed to buy all new furniture. I have basically furnished my entire home from a non-profit resale shop and estate sales, and then refinished or up cycled the furniture and accessories” said Lynn Woll, founder and CEO of Create Whimsy.
“I’ve gotten so hooked on going to estate sales, it is what I do almost every weekend! My tip: Go the last few hours of the sale, they are willing to bargain. Sometimes I’ve had people say to me ‘please just take it, we don’t want to have to haul it off.”
Creating a beautiful home doesn’t have to include shopping at all the stores you see in magazines and on home design shows. Whether you are downsizing and want to create minimalist luxury home décor on a budget, or if it’s simply time for a change, it is possible to find the home furnishings of your dreams for less.