Four Tips on Decorating your Home on a Budget

Lately I’ve been trying to style my space to look more modern and aesthetically pleasing.  Fairly quickly into the home decor game, I’ve noticed that amidst a supply chain shortage (the couch I ordered took 5 months to arrive), and inflationary pressures the bill for home decor can add up quite quickly.  Despite being on a budget, there’s quite a few things that can help you reach your home decor goals without emptying your wallet.  What are some things you can do?

Know What Style you’re After

Before going into the store to find inspiration, look for some images online.  Get inspiration first before going to the store.  Part of good home decor planning is knowing what style you’re looking for.  There’re so many different decor styles from vintage looks to modern and sophisticated that will impress you.  However, if it doesn’t fit the atmosphere or feel of your home, you will be disappointed.  For example, if your home is a well lit, modern apartment it might be a good idea to stay away from retro styles such as ornate lamps and complex designs.  Knowing your decor style will save you both money and time down the road.

My home is more of a modern chic feel and I opted for velvet and fabric lounge chairs in my upstairs space.

Given that the dining room is a space I frequently use, I decided to prioritize my furnishings and home decor in this space first.

Plan and Prioritize

Planning is key to getting the most out of your budget.  While we may want to furnish every room of the house or apartment, it’s not always feasible to do so.  Hence, pick areas you will spend most of your time in so you can feel at-home with your new purchases.  I like to make a list of items I aspire for in each room and going through the list with highlighters to show which areas are of top priority.

Create your Budget

This is especially important for AU students as we juggle different life commitments and also want to stay frugal with the student budget.  I personally love using excel spreadsheets to map out my spendings.  Have about 10% flexibility in your budget so you can account for price increases and sometimes having to splurge a little more.  Also, if you’re looking to decorate on a tight pursestring, I like to use second-hand furniture sales such as yard sales, Craigslist and Facebook marketplace to find good deals.

My own spreadsheet for budgeting my home decor and furnishings.  I highlighted items I needed right away vs items I could hold off on.

Look for Value not Price

Despite having informed you on being wise with your budget, I also want to share with you my experience on being value-wise and not price-wise.  If you’re simply looking for the lowest price on every item, sometimes you will only get what you pay for.  For example, I was looking for dining room chairs and found the cheapest possible ones second-hand from a seller off Facebook marketplace, however the chairs were rickety and uncomfortable.  Instead, I paid $100 more for a brand-new set of dining chairs and they were sturdy, effective, and had I opted for these in the first place, I would’ve saved myself time and money.