PARTY DOWN! Home Makeover Under $100

cheap home makeover

When you’re trying to save, you end up doing a lot at home more often–meals, dates, movies, entertaining, etc–and it’s easy to get sick of your surroundings. I didn’t decorate for about a year when I first moved into my apartment, because, well, I couldn’t afford it. It wasn’t until I had to production design the space for a couple different short films shot there that I really got resourceful about decorating frugally. There are so many little things you can do to improve your place that end up making a huge difference. Here are some cheap home makeover ideas for a few. (And none of the DIYs are very complicated, trust me.)

How To Do a Cheap Home Makeover for Under $100…

ADD NEW WALL ART
There’s nothing like totally blank walls to make a home feel unfinished. Even if you have a lot of hanging art, sometimes it helps rotate or rearrange them every once in awhile:  simple and free. If you’re in need of something to warm up your walls, Art.com, ParimaStudio, Society6, 20×200, and Etsy are great online resources for affordable art. There are also so many lovely free downloadable pieces from artists online. I think these pretty botanical prints by Jennifer Olmstead would be perfect in a kitchen. I also love this Hemingway hand-lettered quote print from Oh My Deer for only $12. (And the sentiment is perfect for this column). My favorite wall covering, though, might be an inspiration clustering of vintage photos or postcards. I picked up a stack from an antique store for 10-25 cents each, but you could also use your own photos, maps, and paper scraps for a more personal touch. It’s easy to put up and switch up, and always makes a place feel more inviting with a nostalgic charm.

BECAUSE FRAMING CAN GET PRICEY…
Try some alternatives. Washi tape can be just as clean and cute a way to post art, especially if you don’t want to put holes in the wall. This towel hanger DIY, made by simply bending a brass rod, would also be a pretty way to display pictures with clamp paper clips. A wooden pant hanger will also do the trick.

cheap home makeover
BRING IN SOME GREEN
The easiest way to make a place feel fresher is to have a little bit of plant life. Herbs are a cost-effective way to cut grocery costs. Bulbs are easy to force indoors (and especially lovely for spring). And as a Los Angeles resident and chronic plant killer, I’m partial to succulents and cacti. All are fairly inexpensive. Cute alternatives to expensive pots are old bottles, crushed cans, and a paper bag cover over the plastic pot from the store.

LIGHTEN IT UP
Another simple change that makes a HUGE difference in a room is lighting. When I bought a cheap lamp at Ikea once that emitted gloriously soft light, it changed my entire opinion of a room. This ombre pendant light DIY makes a whopping statement for only $15 in supplies.

INVEST IN NEW COVERINGS
Updating a slipcover or duvet cover can change a whole room without forcing you to buy entirely new things.  On a smaller scale, you can add texture and color with a happy rug and a new pillow pattern. (That rug is sold out now, but I also love this guy.)

cheap home makeover

PAINT SOME STUFF
I love Alix’s room makeover from last week, showing how easily a vibrant coat of paint can kick up all the details in a space. But don’t limit yourself to walls. Colored doors are full of charm, and quick dip-dye style paint can freshen up anything from chair legs to spatulas. I also love these simple color-block desk space DIYs.

REARRANGE + RESTYLE
The ultimate rule of make-do-and-mend:  use what you have. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with furniture positions, but some of the most interesting interiors have repurposed pieces, so don’t be afraid to get weird with it. In a super tidy space, try a chair as a nightstand. Don’t use your ironing board much? It might be a perfect space-efficient plant table.

OTHER TIPS FOR DECORATING ON THE CHEAP:

  • Clean up! The #1 tip for feeling more stylish while saving applies to your home, too. If you get rid of the things you don’t love, your space is immediately transformed. And then, make it sparkle.
  • Cruise flea markets and garage sales for furniture, and don’t be afraid to offer a lower price than what’s asked–most of the time, sellers expect that.
  • Learn a little about styling composition. HGTV’s Emily Henderson always has great tips and commentary on making everyday stuff look really pretty simply by arranging it a certain way. Case in point:  how to style a nightstand.
  • Know that it’s not about the brand. Most of the time, the interior design that gets posted and pinned and admired is great not because of the stuff itself, but the creative way that it’s used. Sure, we all want a Smeg refrigerator, but it looks SO much better with plants on top.
  • For more cool DIYs, do check out Creature Comforts’ Home & Craft section here. There’s even a table!

 

What are your own decorating ideas and tips? I’d love to hear…

Lauren Johnson is a filmmaker/producer living in West Hollywood who enjoys a great foreign thriller, leisure beers, and non-primary colors. She also writes the blog LOCONCEPTS

17 comments

in DIY, Make Do & Mend, Practical Solutions

16 Comments

  1. Joy // April 14, 2013

    Switching up art is the #1 way I make my space feel new again! Freevintageposters.com has some really neat free downloadables (I especially love the travel ones).
    Also, Hobby Lobby carries 24×36 poster-sized prints from the New York Graphic Society that are fantastic. They have a 50% off sale on posters about 1 week per month, and I’ve snapped up so many poster-size prints I love, for less than $10 apiece.

  2. The Norwegian Girl // April 15, 2013

    I often buy beautiful postcards when I´m out travelling, and I love framing them and hanging them on the wall, making frugal decorations AND travel-inspo!

  3. Marie L. // April 15, 2013

    I like the chair as a nightstand idea! I never thought about that but it’s a fun way to be different.
    My fave wall art DIY is this : I like to get blank canvas at the dollar store for 2$, then I soak a tree leaf or any pretty plant material in some colorful paint and finally I apply it on a canvas and create cheap, pretty and handmade wall art!

  4. Ashlee Aleshire // April 15, 2013

    I have somewhat of a dilemma that’s slightly related to this post: I need furniture pretty desperately, specifically a couch. I don’t want to be picky about what I have, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m living with my grandmother and I’m severely limited on space (my living room is functioning as a study, living room, and dining room). Any suggestions on what I can do to get something that I like that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?

    • Lauren Johnson // April 16, 2013

      If you have a sofa already that you don’t love for fabric reasons, slipcovers are a simple option. My go-to for inexpensive furniture is Ikea, but I know that’s a little tired. Apartment Therapy has a nice round-up of cheap, chic furniture resources: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/shopping/guides/beyond-ikea-10-other-cheap-chic-furniture-stores# (But some of these choices are still somewhat high cost). If you are able to, check out your nearest flea market. Sometimes gorgeous vintage stuff goes for insanely low prices when a seller wants to unload. My mom also has incredible luck with Craigslist and garage sales.

      • Anna Newell Jones // April 17, 2013

        Thanks for the link to the Apartment Therapy post. That’s awesome! I’ve also heard a lot of people have great luck with estate sales.

    • Anna Newell Jones // April 17, 2013

      Thrift stores, estate sales, or even ask friends on Facebook if they are getting rid of a couch.

  5. Carol Newell // April 15, 2013

    Cute, simple ideas Anna, that add interest without the cost. lov, mom

  6. Vanessa@cashcowcoupl // April 16, 2013

    Wow! I love this post. So many out of the box ideas. One other one I know about it painting an interesting metal trash can and turning it upside down as a night stand as well. Cheap! Especially if you use that sample paint you mentioned. Where do you get sample paint btw?

    • Lauren Johnson // April 16, 2013

      Cute idea! Some hardware and paint stores carry “sample” sizes of paint (so you can test colors before doing a whole room). Small sizes are also usually available at craft stores and Walmart.

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