10 Tips for Decorating Your Home on a Budget

A friend asked me to do a post on all the different ways that she can decorate her home, however, she told me that there’s a catch. She’s just moved into a new place and spent a lot of money doing so. That’s right you’ve guessed it, she needs affordable ideas and needs them fast!

1. Furniture Makeover

furniture makeover before and after picture interior styling

Furniture can be, no – it is – very expensive, yet it’s the most essential to your home.

Cut down the cost by grabbing old furniture and giving it a new life! To do that for a sofa or a chair you can buy new fabric and upholster it yourself, I can assure you that it’ll be a quarter of the price of a new one.

When it comes to tables, chest of drawers and shelving it works well to paint them white or to use a wood varnish to give them a new lease of life. It’ll not only look as good as new but it’ll give you the chance to create a space that is styled in the way that you want, i.e. chic or classic.

Top Tip: I wrote a How to Upcycle Your Furniture post to help you out 🙂

2. eBay | Freecycle | Gumtree

Whenever I look for large furniture pieces or when I’ve found something in the shops that I totally love for my house but can’t afford, eBay, Freecycle and Gumtree are my ‘go to’ places.


If you haven’t already, make an account and peruse to your heart’s content. You need to be smart and bid for items in the last 5 / 10 minutes and you need to be fast too so be sure to set yourself a price limit when you’re bidding. Feel free to contact the seller and bargain too but I didn’t tell you to do that 😉

Top Tip: Start by searching for something very general as some people don’t know how to describe the item that they have. It’s a great way to find something very valuable for a low cost.


My sister and her husband recommended this one to me. They ended up getting a free TV (a massive chunky thing but it served them well!) a couple of sofas and a classic, dark wood shelving unit that I simply adored.

What you need to do is sign up and type in your postcode. Once the system knows where you are it’ll show you the things that people are keen to get rid of. The only catch is that you’ll need to collect it yourself.

Top Tip: Renting a van is much cheaper than buying a 3 piece lounge sofa.


I haven’t looked back since first trying out Gumtree. Even though it’s mostly collection only, it’s easy to find furniture or decoration pieces that are cheap. Who cares if they are old fashioned things; just recycle it, upcycle it and upstyle it! I’ve dedicated a whole page to my upcycling projects so be sure to have a look if you’re in need of inspiration.

Top Tip: Be sure to stay safe, bring someone with you when picking up the items you buy.

3. Make Do with Crafts

a cheap way to decorate the home with crafts

A good way to decorate a new place is to get rid of your old junk BUT, don’t get rid of everything completely. Keep hold of materials that may be used to style your home, like a traditional milk bottle for fresh flowers or an empty jam jar for a candle holder.

Here’s how I made scented wardrobe sachets from scraps of fabric and potpourri!

4. Bargain Hunt – charity shops, markets and sales

Have you ever heard of the term that fashion goes round in circles? Interior styles can be the same.

Although I know this isn’t an original home design tip, charity shops and markets really can be one of the best places to find something fabulous for an affordable price. If you’re a lover of vintage especially, this should be the first place to look.

Do keep an eye out for the sales in your favourite shops too!

5. Ask Friends & Family

How long have you kept a charity bag in the corner before it got given away? It’s the same for your friends and family who might have things they’d like to give away, or throw away even, and never got round to doing it. You will simply be doing them a favour by taking it away, all you need to do is ask! You never know what they might not want, be it big furniture or small decorative pieces.

6. Recycle Items



If you’re feeling more creative with your space, why not use things that aren’t meant to be used in that way for example; hang plates on your walls, add large stones in the bathroom for a beach hut look or add a large pallet or plank onto your wall and use it like a shelf!

There are plenty of ideas on how you can recycle items for your home so I’ve made a Pinterest board just for you 🙂

7. Independent Retailers

If you live in a small town it can work to your advantage. I recommend going to independent shops and asking them if they’re willing to part with samples and display pieces. You can even bargain on things that they’re selling at full price. I know that it’s easier said than done, as many of us aren’t used to haggle, yet it’ll definitely be worth looking into for the long run and perfect when you’re tight for money.

8. Paint

With a fresh bit of paint you can brighten up any room. Light colours do a great job making the space look larger whilst darker colours complete a cosy interior. Maybe buy a sample first? Paint brands like Dulux now sell small sample pots to help you choose that perfect colour.

It can be a lot of fuss, especially if you’ve read my post on The Pain of Painting haha but totally worth it, especially if you’re low on money!

Top Tip: Think outside the box too, if you have an artist in your family or draw yourself, why not frame that artwork or painting and put it up proudly on the wall?

9 . Small Decor for a Big Difference

greek godess statue decor home styling design

grandmothers home chelsea london patterns curtains family photos

Cheesy statement alert! It’s the little things that matter (don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

From scatter cushions and beautiful vases to figurines and plaques with quotes, these things don’t cost a lot but make a lovely, homey atmosphere. Even fresh flowers and plants alone can add life to a dull room.

My nanna is amazing at decorating with objects, photos and paintings! She knows where to place even the minutest item to make it stand out and look great. What’s your favourite decoration at home?

10. A Cheap Way to Update your Decor

1. Replace curtains or blinds. As these are prominent in any room you’ll get a new, fresh look as soon as you replace your old ones.

2. Add a rug. Be it to cover up a worn out carpet, bring warmth into the home or to simply add colour to a dull room, a rug can be used in many ways as it can be both practical as well as stylish.

3. Buy new lamps or a lampshade. Either of these can cost pennies but can add life, colour and vibrancy to existing home decor.


What have you done when decorating on a budget? Leave a comment below.

Have a look at my other Dream Home Interiors posts for lots more home decorating ideas.

Alina is the founder and writer of The Fairytale Pretty Picture blog whilst working full time as an SEO specialist at a growing online-only retailer called Amara. She owns a beautiful white Alsatian and lives in Essex with her husband.


  • March 20, 2015


    I have bookmarked this post for when I (finally, FINALLY) get a place of my own to live in.

    jaspooleblog.com // photography & lifestyle

    • March 22, 2015


      Really wish you luck finding your own place – thanks for bookmarking! 🙂

  • March 20, 2015


    These are such lovely ideas!! Can’t wait until I’ve got my own place to be inventive with 🙂

    • March 22, 2015


      So glad you’ve liked the ideas x

  • March 21, 2015


    These are great! I’m moving into a place next week– so this is really helpful!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

    • March 22, 2015


      I bet that’s exciting! Glad it’s come in useful and best of luck moving x

  • March 22, 2015


    My boyfriend bought my vintage dresser in a dark wood and then spent weeks (in secret) sanding it and painting it white to it had a shabby chic look to it. I definitely agree with looking around local second hand shops and using gumtree! It pays to be thrifty. 😉

    • March 22, 2015


      That’s super sweet of him! Sometimes all it needs is some TLC for a fab finish x

  • March 22, 2015

    Suzy Marie

    Great tips, I’ll definitely be using some of these when I finally find a house to move into haha!

    • March 22, 2015


      Thanks as always Suzy, really hope you get a house soon! 😉