Guest post by Jennifer Kardish.
Everyone wants a nice home. It’s all part of the American dream, a dream that does not include clutter, dingy, mismatched furniture, or cobbled-together bookshelves made of cinderblocks and planks of plywood. But home decoration is a multi-billion dollar industry, on par with women’s fashion, and they didn’t make that kind of money by giving it away. Still, it is possible to get the living room from the pages of Architectural Digest that you’ve been lusting after or the perfectly decorated model home you cruised with your friends last weekend. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do it.
The trick, as always, is to find similar décor for less. You’ll want to begin by pinpointing your personal style. Do you want your interior to mimic Frank Lloyd Wright or the Tudors? If your house is fairly modern (or small) you probably don’t want to go for a look that requires a lot of dark, heavy fabrics. On the other hand, nobody wants the peach and mint pastels that are hallmarks of the ‘80s. In the end, only you can decide what you like, but your style should fit your house, your life, your sensibilities, and the times we live in. When in doubt, go with a classic look. White walls and neutral furniture are the perfect palette for splashy accessories (which can be swapped out cheaper than a red, leather sofa, for example).
So how do you get it for less? Furniture can be tough. If you want something new, it’s going to cost you, but there are stores that offer discount and surplus furniture at great prices, so look around to see if there are any in your area. The best option, if you’re on a tight budget, is to shop thrift stores. Many get weekly or bi-weekly shipments, so find out what day they come in and make a habit of frequenting them. Have a good idea of what you’re looking for in advance and give yourself some time to find it. Just don’t be too picky. With thrift store shopping, you’re almost always going to have to compromise or do a little repair work. If you get a banged-up sofa for $50, you can reupholster it for a couple hundred dollars (or get a $20 slipcover) and have a custom sofa for way less than you would have spent in a store. Want to spice up your walls without the permanence of paint? Check out one of the many websites that offers removable wall graphics (like Blik). For about the same as you might pay for a couple cans of paint, you can customize your walls with pre-designed graphics that range from chic furniture and chandelier silhouettes to plants and animals to inspirational phrases (or you can create your own custom graphics). The best part is, if you don’t like them, you can peel them off and try something else. They’re the ultimate buy for the indecisive decorator.
In terms of accessories, you can always check out what’s available at stores like Target and Wal-Mart. While must-haves like lamps and side tables can get a bit pricey, you can always find sales on extras like picture frames and throw rugs. If you’re yearning for something a bit more unique, but still want to enjoy great prices, check out the offerings on Etsy, a site devoted to selling the wares of up-and-coming artists and craftspeople (or basically supporting anyone who makes their own stuff). They have absolutely everything you could think of to decorate your home, including furniture, art, lighting, cushions, curtains, quilts, candles, and even toys for the kids. The list goes on and on. Prices range from very low to very high, but imagine if you bought a $20 painting from the guy who turns out to be the next Andy Warhol?
In short, there are ways to get the designer look you crave without the hefty cost. If you’re willing to buy it used (which is more environmentally friendly, anyway) or you can take the time to shop around a bit, you’re going to find deals on items that are similar to the exclusive ones you see in elite magazines. And remember that you don’t have to get it all at once. Searching for one or two pieces at a time will be less stressful and yield better results. Plus, if you love to decorate, working on a couple of items each month will keep you from finishing your look only to start over in a few months when you’re bored. And that will save you a lot.
Jennifer Kardish is a communications coordinator at RTA Kitchen Cabinets. You can check out their free design tips for your kitchen and home.
I was not compensated for this post. I posted it to share this information with my readers.