Tips for decorating your home on a tight budget

We’ve all browsed through a department store catalog or furniture showroom, coming across a beautiful piece that would look great in our family room.

It’s the right color, the right size, the right quality and the right style… but way out of our price range.

It happens. A lot.

April is National Decorating Month. Instead of focusing on pricey redecorating projects, perhaps it’s time to start shopping smart and shopping thrifty. You can indeed upgrade your home or condominium without running up a credit card bill.

Below are five ways to decorate your home or condominium on a tight budget:

Shop at Resale Stores

Southwest Florida’s affluent seasonal residents may only live in their Collier or Lee homes for a few weeks each year. Yet, many love the art of redecorating. Before they can be “in with the new,” they must be “out with the old.” Oftentimes, they’ll donate like-new, brand-name furniture, home décor and accessories to local resale stores. Shoppers can find essentially new, high-quality items up to 90% off the original retail price. Paying $250 for a barely used $2,500 sofa is a score worth celebrating.

Many resale stores support area nonprofits, too, so shopping there also is supporting community organizations.

Wall Art

Art lovers flock to museums to admire works of art from da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Picasso. Obviously, their works of art are pricey. In fact, all original artwork is pricey.

However, technology has improved so much that it’s difficult to tell what is original and what is a print. Today’s canvas prints can have texture and contrast that mirror original paintings. Manufacturers even make digital oil paintings.

Quality prints look great in every room. The key is focusing on the frame. Avoid plastic or mass-produced, store-bought frames. Fall in love with the artwork first, and then look for a frame to match.

Accessorize

Department stores sell table lamps in all shapes and sizes, but they are mass produced in a factory. Chances are, several neighbors have the same lamps. Find a base with a unique design, and try to match the color and style to the room.

Adding throw pillows to a sofa or daybed is a great way to accessorize. Again, choose a color pattern that fits a room’s color and wall art.

Another easy addition is a tchotchke, which can fill voids on bookshelves and end tables. Tchotchkes offer a little flair and personality, as well as conversation-starters for guests.

Room-by-Room Decorating

Interior designers often emphasize a home’s “flow.” However, each room doesn’t need to adhere to the same decorating style. For instance, look at the White House. The East Room is adjacent to the Green Room, but each has its own purpose and personality.

A single-family home can work the same way. Perhaps you elect to decorate your living room with a Florida style with pastel colors, travel-themed artwork and seashell-filled glass lamps. Meanwhile, your dining room is contemporary with clean, soft lines and neutral colors.

Ask yourself where you spend the most time inside your home. Start there.

Outdoor Space

We live in Florida for one reason – the beautiful weather. Outdoor living spaces can be as simple as a table and chairs, or as luxe as an entire entertaining space featuring an outdoor kitchen, dining area and recreational space.

The key in creating an outdoor oasis is comfortable seating. Unlike interior rooms, where cable connections, doors and windows dictate design, outdoor spaces can be free-flowing. Choose weather-resistant patio furniture that won’t be damaged by sunlight, rain and high humidity.

Redecorating on a tight budget is entirely possible. Spring is a great time to tweak our home interiors before summer rain and heat start sending us indoors for a few months. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop

Minimalism: an interior design trend that helps you, nonprofits

Our closets are filled with stuff. Our garages are filled with stuff. Our bookshelves and drawers are filled with stuff. 

As Americans, it’s almost second nature to acquire stuff – clothing, books, souvenirs, knickknacks, wall artdishware and a multitude of personal items. 

Millennials began bucking the trend about five years ago, favoring experiences over belongings. Now, minimalism has become mainstream. Everyone from first-time homeowners to retirees are decluttering and simplifying their homesJust flip on the TV and you’re bound to stumble across a home improvement or redecorating show where hosts are emphasizing simplicity. 

Minimalism isn’t about removing every painting to reveal barren walls or tossing tchotchkes off the shelves. It’s about having the right balance. It’s about having items that speak to your tastes and personality. 

Essentially, it’s about having the right “stuff” at this particular point in your life. 

Unlike some extinct interior design trends, such as wall-to-wall carpeting and popcorn ceilingsCOVID-19 helped affirm that minimalism is here to stay. Here’s why: 

  • Stuff costs money: The pandemic taught us that economic situations might change at any moment. Stock market drops can wipe away retirement savings in the blink of an eye. No industry is recession- or pandemic-proof, even government jobs and those requiring college degrees. Going forward, consumers will be closely scrutinizing their expenditures and building rainy day funds. 
  • Stuff clutters living spaces: Florida’s “safer at home” order forced many professionals to work from home, only to find themselves less productive. That’s because our brains prefer order, and researchers say clutter creates distractions, stress and anxiety. It’s also difficult to unwind with stacks of dirty dishes in the sink or piles of dirty laundry in the bedroom. 
  • Stuff isn’t important: That snow globe you bought on sale or free bobblehead you got at the ballgame just take up space and collect dustUnlike family or health, many household objects aren’t important. You likely walk past dozens of items daily without even noticing their presence. 

Once you’ve made the decision to declutter, it’s time to formulate a plan of attack. 

(1) Schedule it

Set a date and time to inventory and clean each room in your home. Otherwise, procrastination can derail ambition.  

(2) Set parameters

When deciding which items to keep, first identify if you have a personal connection to an item, whether you have used or enjoyed it recently and whether it has any value. 

(3) Trash vs. donation

If you no longer need or want an item, would someone else? Only donate items that other people may consider purchasing. While it’s true that someone’s trash can be another person’s treasure, it’s also true that someone’s trash can be another person’s trash.  

(4) Find a cause

In Southwest Florida, many nonprofits operate resale shops and thrift stores that welcome donations, which ultimately are resold to generate support for programs and services. Local causes include education, hunger, employment, housing, religion and more. Donating higher-value items allows your organization of choice to sell items at higher prices, thus raising additional funds to support the mission. Plus, donations often are considered tax deductible. 

When you’re ready to jump on the minimalism trend, please consider donating quality furniture, home décor, artwork, kitchenware, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and more, as well as all types of new and gently used ladies and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes. Call ahead to make sure a nonprofit accepts the items you want to donate. 

Every donation and sale allows nonprofits to accomplish their goals and enhance our community. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop.

READ MORE:

Captivating sculpture finds new home, funds new educational opportunities
Teens fill the volunteer void as seniors wait out COVID-19