How to Decorate Chic Yet Cheap: 9 No-Cost Ideas nudges you to think more creatively about your approach to personalizing and beautifying a space. But it also demystifies the process with concrete steps. It may even make your checkbook love you. As we tiptoe around my home, you’ll get pep talk from a thrifty soul who has learned more than a few chic yet cheap tricks over the decades.
Let’s talk money for a second. Sweet cozy Moses, it took a fair amount of cash to breathe life back into the neglected and forlorn fixer upper we renovated DIY style and call home! Decorating it became a supreme adventure in frugality. Instead of buying new, I shopped my house.
I’m sure plenty of other renovators can relate to this common pattern of events: expensive disasters inside walls and underneath floorboards unexpectedly spring up along the way. Invisible though they may be, they take precedence. Paying for repairs inevitably cuts into the decor budget.
So you can indeed trust the low cost decorating ideas here since girlfriend has lived it…not to mention she also has a doctorate in decorating while ghetto poor! Before becoming homeowners, we were macaroni and cheese poor forever with mortgage sized student loan debt. Lean years will train your eye, spark creativity, and teach dollar stretching, chic yet cheap lessons.
How to Decorate Chic Yet Cheap: 9 No-Cost Ideas
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Just in case you care to know the paint color we coated walls, ceilings, and trim with…see it on the bottom left of the infographic above.
Paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE “WHITE”
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 1
Choose One Room
No need to give yourself an anxiety attack by tackling more than a single room for starters. Is there one space that torments you and is long overdue? Which one space have you wanted to address most?
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 2
Put On a New Mind
Here’s what I have observed over the years. Even though most folks totally understand on an intellectual level the concept of shopping their own home for decor, they struggle behaviorally and emotionally and get big time stuck.
It is no wonder we become paralyzed! Getting started is truly the biggest hurdle because let’s face it…most of us have a bunch of stuff spread out across rooms, closets, garages, basements, and even storage containers.
So if you don’t feel empowered, equipped, or even in the mood to BEGIN the process of shopping your own stuff, bear this in mind: you simply need to first put on a new mind.
You: WHAT THE HECK IS SHE EVEN IMPLYING? Fake it til you make it, aerie faerie, yada yada until I arrive at MY CHIC YET CHEAP LOVELY LOOK?
Me: Nope. And no need to shout. Not faking it. By ‘putting on a new mind,’ I mean leaning into a higher consciousness not bound by your current mood, past failures, or lingering doubts. No need to be a slave to the old mind. Putting on a new mind is transformative business! It cleans the slate and shifts you into SWEET MOTHER, LET’S DO THIS, AND LET’S DO IT NOW!
(Feeling more motivated? Because I highly doubt you’ll read this advice in any of the shelter magazines you leaf through at Barnes and Noble.)
A new mind is golden. With your new mind in place, you’ll be able to get to gettin’! Shop your stuff and look at your treasures with fresh eyes.
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 3
Decide on Design Style
Dig in the archives here if you need inspiration to get you started. Pin like a bandit! Consult Pinterest if you like. Now grab a post-it note and write down the style you’re after. Narrowing down the design style primes the path for executing the next steps.
Determine Color Scheme
On another post-it note write down the color scheme that sings to you. All white? Moody? Bold? Tranquil greys? Don’t become distracted thinking about the color of the furniture in the space or freak yourself out. There are creative ways to incorporate the colors that make you feel good.
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 4
Empty the Room
You’ll want to move everything out of the room or at least as much as you can. So clear the space of small furniture, accessories, lamps, and decor so you are able to really see the room in its most bare state.
Paint if Necessary
Does your plan involve changing the paint color? Now is the perfect time to paint those walls! Check out these stories for paint color inspiration:
Shop my home
Clean Like a Crazed Freak
Go ahead and dust, scrub windows, and vacuum that sweet little space as if Ryan Gosling, Suzanne Kasler, and the cast of Game of Thrones were coming over. You will not even believe what a difference a deep clean will make to your attitude!
Photograph & Analyze
First, take a photo of that sparkling clean space. Next, analyze the photo and notice what cues it gives seeing the room in this medium. You may even be surprised by how this method guides you. Does the furniture arrangement in the room feel balanced? Does your eye go to a particular place…and is that direction desirable? Does the room feel too dimly lit?
Are the curtains hanging at the right level? (A quick change could pack a huge punch.) Are the drapes too heavy?
How is the wall color working for you?
Jot Down Specifics
Write down specifics about what you’re less than happy with on another post-it note. Maybe the coffee table seems like it is the wrong scale or the bed should be on an alternate wall. Would the space look better without the area rug?
Note whether you feel better or worse (on an emotional level) with the room cleared and spare. Do you feel lighter and more at ease? Do you feel anxious and jittery?
Your emotional response will help to guide the rest of the process.
Decide where the furniture should go to best function for your needs. Have a friend with a good eye for such things? Feel like changing it up? Have fun with this part of the process!
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 5
Time to Shop Home Sweet Home
Shop your house for décor items when you are well-rested and feeling confident. You’ll be making determinations about whether the decor is what you care to see on a daily basis. It may be a great time to have a bin or garbage bag at the ready for donations! Find a mix of treasures old and new for the most interesting and personalized result.
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 6
Consider Hidden Potential
Try to look at the objects you gather from around your home with wonder. Did you find a piece of really bad art (or good art in a horrible frame) that has been gathering dust and may be the right size for your space with a a little makeover or tweaking?
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 7
Create New Art
Take some risks even if your masterpieces were never showcased on that gallery wall in third grade. Making something original is an honorable, no cost way to inject your unique personality into the space.
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 8
Recycle & Re-purpose
Don’t forget you can steal furniture pieces, not just decor, from other rooms in your home. An unused bedroom dresser could become a console table or bar. A stack of coffee table books could become a side table.
Chic Yet Cheap Decorating Idea No. 9
Consider 6 No-Cost Decor Options
1. Check Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for items folks are giving away for free.
2. A branch from the yard in a clear glass jar or vase can create instant organic interest.
3. Experiment with throw pillows you already own; try mixing unexpected color combinations. Discovering ‘chic’ is subjective and YOUR chic need not be your neighbor’s chic.
4. Lazy no-sew slipcovers were one of my go-to strategies in the Ramen noodle days and even beyond! A dropcloth, coverlet, quilt, or fabric yardage may have potential for looking chic to cover a sofa or chair.
5. There is a good chance your family members or friends have something you need in their ‘donate’ or ‘trash it’ stash. Ask.
6. If you have old magazines lying around, skim for potential art to frame in existing frames you own.
I’m all ears if you have design wisdom to ease the process of making over a room without spending a dime!
Peace to you right where you are.
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