Frugal Decorating: Tips for Decorating on a Dime

guest posting at the debt princess


I’d like to thank Anne for writing this. I hope to add more posts on frugal decorating to the site in the future. If you have tips that you’d like to share in a guest post, I’d love to hear from you.

If you are interested in writing a guest post about topics in personal finance, debt or frugal living and have a blog, feel free to contact me. I accept guest posts from known bloggers and individuals who I have I have networked with in the past. 

Enjoy this post from Anne Hogan.


Tips for Decorating on a Dime

Everyone wants a home that’s personal and unique, but personal and unique can cost a pretty penny. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of extra pennies lying around to spend on beautiful pieces for my home. But what I do have is patience and a staple gun. You don’t have to be a DIY master to create home decor that’s perfectly personalized. In this post, I’m going to show you two of my favorite projects, and share my top five tips for getting the most out of your decorating budget.

Refinished Chairs

I wanted two matching chairs for my living room, and I found the perfect pair at a church yard sale. Well, perfect except for the color and the gross seats. But that’s nothing that can’t be fixed! With a good scrubbing, two cans of spray paint, and one yard of fabric I was able to create the perfect chairs for under $40.

repurposing chair decorating on a dime

I spent $20 for the two chairs, $10 for spray paint, and $8 for the fabric. For comparison, similar chairs at Ikea go for $50 each, and they’re not personalized.

Large Art

Big pieces of art can be expensive, but you can create your own for cheap if you look in the right places. You can usually pick up a big frame at a yard sale for under $10, and it doesn’t matter how ugly the existing picture is. Then swing by your local home improvement store for some paint chips in the color palate of your choice. A quick coat of paint, some tape, and voila, you’ve got big art for a small price.

art work on a budget

My frame cost about $5 at a yard sale. For comparison, a similarly sized framed canvas from Kirkland’s costs $50.

Penny Pinching Design Tips

Be patient.
You’re not going to find the perfect end table at the first thrift shop you walk into, so have patience. It may take a few weeks, but if you keep checking your local thrift shops and yard sales, I promise, eventually you will find that perfect piece.

Shop with a list.
The urge for impulse buys can be strong when you’re thrift shopping, especially because prices are so low. But no matter how cheap something is, if you don’t need it, it’s still a waste of money. Make a list of things you’re looking for and stick to it while you’re shopping. It can be ultra specific – a mid-century buffet no more than 50” long – or generic – milk glass for your collection.

Do your homework.
If you’ve never repainted furniture, spend some time doing research to make sure you do it right. There are a ton of tutorials online, and you can also get some great advice from the staff at your home improvement store.

Use the right tools.
This goes along with the point above, but you want to make sure you get the right stuff for your project. One of my favorite tools is a $2 handle that snaps onto spray paint so you can squeeze instead of killing your pointer finger.

Shop the returned paint.
One of my favorite spots in the home improvement store is the returned paint shelf. It’s usually at the back corner of the paint mixing counter, and you can find returned paint colors for 50% off in sizes ranging from samples to full gallons. Some of the colors are genuinely awful, but a lot of them are various shades of white that are great to keep around. You should never pay full price for off-white paint.

Bonus tip: Know your limits.
Know what you’re good at, and what you just can’t DIY. I’m not good with lots of measuring, so I’ll never attempt to build something from scratch. I’m more of an “eyeball it and hope it works” kind of gal, so I stick with smaller pieces instead of trying to refinish an entire dresser. Figure out your decorating strengths and weaknesses. Do what you’re good at, and get help with the rest.


Anne Hogan is a social media marketer in Orange County, CA.  When she’s not blogging at or playing with her rescued pets, you can find her tweeting at @Anne_Hogan.

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3 comments for “Frugal Decorating: Tips for Decorating on a Dime

  1. August 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    That refinished chair looks great! It’s crazy how much you can do with home decorating with very little money.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..3 Blogging Tips and an iPad Mini WIFI and $250 Cash Giveaway


  2. August 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    We’re moving in a few days and I need to decorate our new house. I’ve been scouring Pinterest for ideas and have found some really great ones that will cost $20 or less to complete but will look like much more when they’re done. You know, provided I do it right.
    Jana @ Jana Says recently posted..A few words on transparency


    • August 21, 2013 at 11:08 am

      I have a kids’ art wall that is a work in progress. It doesn’t look nearly as good as what I’ve seen on Pinterest but I don’t care. I LOVE it. I learned a long time ago to tread carefully through Pinterest. I just can’t do as well as others. I look forward to reading your Pinterest inspired posts.


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