Ways To Use Creativity When It Comes to Decorating On A Dime
paint_cans1If you want a fresh and new look, putting color on the walls is the most dramatic way to do so. Paint is the least expensive investment you can make. Simply changing the color of paint in a room can change the whole feel of it.

Do It Yourself
Why hire people to do things that you can do? If you can paint, tile or sew, you will save considerable amounts. It’s also easy to learn how to do a lot of simple projects by finding information on the internet. Lots of home improvements stores also have classes on such things as installing floors. Take advantage of free education.

Don’t be shy about asking relatives, friends and neighbors to pitch in and help. You can have a “painting party”, an “assemble-some-furniture barbecue”, a “sew-some-throw-pillows brunch”…. anything you can create to turn a work project into some fun. In most instances, if you offer free food and drink, you can use other peoples’ home improvement know-how in exchange for helping them in the future.

Shop Secondhand
Garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, church rummage sales and online auction sites can save you a lot in your decorating efforts. Lots of times, something might just need some new paint, a new light kit or just minor repairs to turn someone else’s trash into your treasure. If you’re doing bigger remodeling projects, check out salvage yards for really big discounts on your needed supplies.

Look for Less-Than-Perfect Merchandise
Check stores’ clearance items, “as is” items and ask about discounts on floor models. If you need several of an item (several wall sconces, for instance), ask to speak to the manager about a bulk discount. Sometimes returned goods won’t be put back out on the shelves just because the packaging is open. Nothing is wrong with the item at all. Maybe the customer thought it was one thing and opened it, realizing it’s not what they wanted, so they’ve returned it. It never hurts to ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Or SAVED in this case!

Save With In-Stock Items
Never mind that the store doesn’t have your dream sofa in the fabric you love unless you pay a bundle to have it ordered that way. A plain sofa can always be spruced up by making colorful throw pillows. Most times you can order yardage from the manufacturer. Better yet, check out your fabric warehouses for cheaper alternatives. Have a picture that you just absolutely love? Thinking about having it custom framed to make it a prized possession? Think again. Buy ready-made frames and mats and cut away any non-essential outside areas of the print. You’ll be surprised at the results. Keep this process in mind also when buying window blinds. Look on the back of the package to see how easily they can be cut down to fit your window. Another alternative would be to mount them on the outside instead of the inside of your windows. Those cheap bookcases that you can buy in almost any super store can be made to look more custom buy putting button legs on the bottom and putting molding around the top. Just paint or stain all the same color and it will look like a custom piece.

Wait Patiently for Sales and Discounts
We all have our crazy schedules and scheduling time to do projects is becoming more and more difficult. So you’ve planned your project and have everything mapped out. You find out that something that you really want is just not within your budget. Find out from store and department store managers if they’re going to have any inventory or any other kind of sales coming up soon. If you explain to them that you’ve taken a week off to do this project, you can ask if they’ll give you the discounted price ahead of time…… especially with the promise of repeat business with your other ongoing projects.

Mix, Don’t Match
So you got your grandmother’s beloved dining room set. It’s not only got sentimental value but she really took good care of it. Using the whole set in your décor though, is just too dated. Think about changing out the chairs. You’ll still have the memories of the table but don’t feel obligated to keep the whole set. Even the newer chairs can be 4 of one kind, using 2 on each side and then the two header chairs could be something different. You can pull them all together by painting or staining them the same and then upholstering the seats with the same fabric. If you have a more country style, even each chair can be of a different style and color. It makes things more interesting by mixing it up a bit. Too much matching can actually make a space look too formal and boring. Most people think a room also has to have all the same wood tones. Not true. Bed tables don’t have to match. End tables don’t have to match. Nothing HAS to match!

Sew With Sheets
If you have a sewing machine or know someone that does, you can quickly and easily transform sheets and pillow cases into all kinds of decorating. Take advantage of the elastic used on the fitted sheets to make covers for stools or unique balloon curtains. Flat sheets can be made into curtain panels, pillow and duvet covers for your bedroom. Tablecloths, napkins, placemats and café curtains could be made for your kitchen. Instead of expensive upholstering projects, try using them to make slipcovers instead. This is a cheaper way than buying fabric for these projects. Depending on where you are using them, keep in mind that you might need to put an extra layer of fabric though. You can use a sheet for that as well. Again, lots of instructions for these projects can be found on the internet. If you don’t know how to sew, this would be a great opportunity to learn or invite friends over and have a girls’ day sewing on the projects. Make them a brunch!

Add Unusual Accessories
Design remixing is a great way to use some of your most prized items in different ways. I’m sure we all have bucket loads of seashells on our trips to the beach. Group them together in a glass dish and put a center item in it to make a display. An arrangement could also be made out of a basket of shells with a book about seashells inside the basket. Placed along with other natural elements, such as cat tails, this would make an eye-catching vignette. Even placed inside a decanter meant for flour or sugar and placing on a bathroom counter is a great way to reuse usual items for unusual arrangements. You can also use your collection of larger seashells or even pine cones in your plants. Again, the natural items being placed with like items is a clever way to bring back memories of family vacations. If you have a favorite lamp that you’d like to use but it’s a bit too short for where you’d like to place it, try stacking books underneath it to raise the height. It not only corrects the height problem but also adds more visual interest. Having a Christmas dinner but have no centerpiece? Try using alternate red and green apples hulled out big enough to hold a tealight candle. Surround with sprigs of pine and you’ve got your Christmas colors! Let your imagination run wild and you can come up with all kinds of ideas. Designing on a dime will always get you more compliments than store-bought items.

Reuse Existing Items
Make your budget stretch even further by using your imagination. Instead of buying new pieces, rethink what you already have. It just makes more decorating sense saving you decorating cents! Using paint to completely redo an old piece, re-staining it, dry brushing it or crackling it can give you a fresh look. The story in this site about the couple that moved from their Texas home to their Colorado townhouse have this one sentimental piece that they’ve used in several ways. It’s an old small dresser with some detailed carvings given to them about 30 years ago. That piece hasn’t been touched by paint yet has had several uses in all those years. First, it was a baby dresser for their two children. After the children outgrew it, it next became an entryway piece to house gloves and hats in one drawer, shoes in the second one and outdoor items such as a basketball, football, frisbees, etc. in the bottom drawer. It became a small sideboard for their dining room in their next house in the Dallas area. Upon moving to their townhouse in Colorado, it housed the woman’s fabrics for her sewing projects. And the most recent use has been in the guest bedroom for visitors. Pretty good for free, right? But even if purchased, this is an example of implementing free style while keeping money in your pockets. Plain pillows can be turned into wonderful accents by adding buttons, fringes and other trim pieces or simply tying a scarf or scrap of fabric onto the middle of them. Even an old sweater that has gone out of style can be cut, sewn across the bottom, wrapping and tacking the arms around the backside can make a wonderful transformation of new pillows you got on sale or old ones that just need a lift. Going through jewelry boxes and your drawers of clothing will give you a whole new perspective on redecorating.

  • Storage & stacking
    January 1, 2010 | 12:24 pm

    1415_diamondstackStorage & stacking are the two elements to keep in mind when redoing a teenager’s room or creating a dorm room. Visit organizer stores for great solutions. Use trunks & suitcases as storage and end/coffee tables. Being creative is the key ingredient in establishing these cool, hang-out living spaces.

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