Decorating Dollars – How to save when you want to splurge

Hubby is a thrifty guy. While he’d gladly drop $5,000 on a new guitar, he’s not quite so excited about home decor. So when I want to pretty up the house a bit, I have to be frugal. I have million dollar home decor dreams, and a dollar store budget. So I’m always looking for ways to look like I splurged without actually doing it. And as I know many of you are in the same boat, I thought I’d share a few tips:


This is always a great place to start. Chances are you’ve got things hanging around in the attic or the basement that you can re-use for storage or decor. For instance, find a bunch of old frames that are different sizes and go to town. You can keep their original character for some mix and match fun, or you can spray paint or distress them to create your masterpiece. Not sure what you want to do for artwork? Sometimes it can be as simple as framing a piece of wallpaper or creating a pattern of different colored papers in a set of frames. You’d be surprised what you can do with a little ingenuity.

Thrifty is Nifty

I was at a friend’s house today and I saw this adorable metal bicycle sitting on top of a bookshelf. As I’m a big fan of bikes, I commented on how cute it was and she leaned in and said, “I got it at a thrift store!” Some of you just shuddered. The idea of stepping foot inside a thrift store freaks you out, and I get it. Ugly knick knacks from the 80’s abound. BUT… you’d be surprised what you can make with an old vase or figurine and a can of spray paint. 

Don't Count Out Discounts

I recently stopped by Burlington Coat Factory looking for a gift and if I hadn’t been shopping with Hubby I may have walked out with a house full of discount decor. (I did pick up a trivet set for $6 and a soap dispenser for $3.) You have to be picky, and keep an eye out for damaged goods, but you can find a treasure trove of discounted goods at places like BCF, TJ Maxx, etc.

Dollar Deals

A friend of mine was asking me about wedding reception decorations and I showed her some amazing ideas straight from the dollar store. Most dollar stores carry vases, baskets, greenery… you name it. It’s amazing what a few fresh flowers can do to a cheap vase, but if you’re feeling crafty, the sky’s the limit. For example, take a simple glass vase and fill it halfway full with popcorn kernels. Wrap some burlap or a ribbon around the center, drop a candle inside and presto! If you can find similar vases in varying heights you’ve got an awesome centerpiece for as little as $8.

Nurture Nature

When I bought my first house, the previous owners left a pile of sticks sitting on the back patio. Some people would think it was just another mess to clean up, but I got creative. I had a floor vase from a discount store and I picked up the bundle of sticks and dropped them inside. Not only did I clean up a mess, but I created a neat piece of decor that people still ask me about. We’ve also picked up pine cones from obliging lawns to drop in bowls, place on the mantle, etc. There’s a lot to be said for finding things in nature to use in your home decor – and usually they’re free!

What are your go-to thrifty decor ideas?

Do you have some favorite frugal decor ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’m always looking for great new ideas for decorating on a dime.

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