Whole Home Redecorating On A Budget

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Though glossy decorating magazines are full of expensive home makeovers that cost a fortune, you can actually go pretty far in redecorating your home without a big budget. The secret is in being willing to swap out remodels for décor makeovers, shop in places you might not normally consider, and doing some of the work yourself.

Paint

One of the easiest, least expensive ways to give an immediate, huge boost to the appearance of your home is with paint. Painting is a fairly easy DIY project, and you can prep and paint a few rooms over a weekend.

You can buy a quality gallon of paint from any home improvement center for less than $30. When picking your color, only use the paint chips to narrow down your choices. Take the chips home, and tape them up on the walls in the rooms you want to paint. Look at the color at different times of day, and in different lighting conditions. Once you have whittled your choices down to two or three colors, it is worth it to buy a sample size can, and paint a large section of wall in each color. This will really show you how the color will look in bright morning sun, afternoon shadow, and nighttime lamplight.

Once you have decided on your paint, purchase enough to cover your entire project. And though it might be tempting to buy the cheapest paintbrushes and rollers, this is not the place to skimp on quality. You don’t need to buy professional products, but go for at least the medium-level. Good paintbrushes and rollers make a huge difference in the final appearance of your paint job, and a mediocre job won’t leave your home looking as beautiful as possible.

If you had your heart set on new walls, try painting techniques to create texture. These can mimic the look of stone, brick, tile and other materials far outside a small budget.


Flooring

If your home has old, stained or torn carpet, or linoleum with burns and scratches, it’s time to replace the flooring. The least expensive option (if your home is built on a concrete slab) is to remove existing flooring, and paint and seal the underlying concrete. It’s not a difficult DIY project, and you can achieve remarkable results with various faux painting techniques. After being polished, concrete floors can look strikingly similar to gorgeous, luxurious stone. With a hard, cold surface like concrete, you will need area rugs for comfort, and it is a look best suited for rooms outside the bedroom.

If concrete flooring isn’t for you, vinyl or linoleum flooring is the next inexpensive choice. This is another one you can handle on your own, especially with all of the peel-and-stick options available. Linoleumis a good choice for bathrooms and kitchens, and you can find a huge range of options at your local home improvement center.

If your heart is set on carpet, tile, laminate or wood, you will need to shop for low prices, and someone to install them. Shop your local flooring stores and home improvement centers for sales, clearance materials or special discounts. If you live near a Habitat for Humanity ReSale store, you can find tremendous deals on surplus, used or donated wood flooring materials, but you never know what will be in stock, and you must be prepared to buy right away if you find something you like.

Look through your local Penny Saver flyer, or newspaper for flooring installers who offer low prices. Check references, and be sure any contractor you use is licensed. Never pay the full cost of the job upfront; establish a payment schedule before the job begins.

Furniture

Buying furniture on a budget is usually very doable, it just takes time and usually legwork. Look for great deals on furniture at:

  • Garage/yard sales
  • Thrift stores
  • Consignment stores that specialize in furniture
  • Estate sales
  • Furniture stores that are going out of business
  • Craigslist or Freecycle
  • Discount stores like Target or Wal-Mart

If buying used furniture, always inspect carefully for evidence of damage, excessive wear or bedbugs before bringing the items into your home. Never buy a used mattress or bedding.

Appliances

If you want to replace your large appliances, you can often find excellent deals on slightly scratched or dented floor models at home improvement centers, or stores that specialize in appliances. Habitat for Humanity ReSale stores frequently have appliances for sale.

  • Don’t be afraid to haggle with the salesperson at the store. You can frequently bring the price down, or at least receive free delivery. If you are buying several items, you have more power to negotiate a price break.
  • Though large appliances are rarely bought online, register on the manufacturer’s websites, and you will frequently find mail-in rebates that could return as much as $500 off your purchase price.
  • Consider the cost of running the appliance when looking to buy. It may be worth it to spend slightly more upfront for a newer, more energy-efficient model that will ultimately save on energy costs.

Décor

Your decorating accents show off your style and personality, so take care in choosing home décor. Only buy things you love, and that work well with your existing style. Rather than buying an entire roomful of artwork at one time, spread your purchases out, and take your time in searching for things you love.

You can find all types of décor very easily at budget prices. Shop at:

  • Antique malls
  • Thrift stores
  • Craft fairs
  • eBay
  • Garage sales
  • Discount stores
  • Consignment stores
  • Stores that specialize in discount décor, such as Home Goods or Cost Plus World Market

Don’t resign yourself to living in an out-of-date, bare, or just plain ugly home. You don’t have to spend a fortune to redecorate, and even small touches go a long way. Look for bargains, repurpose items you already own, and tackle projects you can do yourself. The results will surprise you, as you discover a beautifully redecorated home can be yours at a discount.

Last Updated: August 1, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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