Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Frugal Friday: Decorating on a Budget

on November 8, 2013

I love my Fall/Thanksgiving Mantel!

I really enjoy decorating my home. I love to have a cozy, comfortable home for several reasons. First, it is ingrained in me. My mom’s home has always been beautiful, back when she was country (like the beautiful country, not pale pinks and blues with hearts, apples, and dress-wearing geese in bonnets. . . oh, yes, and the “I love country” signs! 😉 ). Now that her style is more contemporary, it is still warm and comfortable. Sometimes we skype, just so I can have her help me decorate!

I also love to keep my home beautiful, because my husband appreciates it. He usually does not notice the little changes that I make or some new thing that I’ve acquired, but he has mentioned how much he loves how cozy and nicely decorated our home is. He has mentioned it enough for me to know that he notices and appreciates it.

Have you ever been to a home where it feels sterile and cold, where if you sneezed something might break? It’s hard to relax in an environment like that. Because we are a pastoral family, we have people over a lot. Several times people have walked into my living room and said, “It is so cozy!” and that makes me want to squeal (if I were the squealing type). I don’t decorate so people can praise me, but I do want them to feel comfortable. I want people to feel–just as I want my husband to feel when he comes home from his office–that our home is a place where they can relax, talk about what’s on their hearts, and just enjoy fellowship.

But (finally coming to the point of this post! :)). . . decorating costs money. And trust me, I drool over home decorating magazines and stores that have the most beautiful stuff. Instead of spending gargantuan amounts of money on stuff, I use the magazines and stores as inspiration. I am not originally creative at all, but if I see an idea, I get creative with what I have.

Here are the ways I decorate on a budget:

1. I “shop” my home.


I’ve had the pumpkins and garland forever. I wrapped a vase in some burlap to give it a slightly more rustic feel.


I filled a couple vases with some fall potpourri I had. I then slipped a cute autumn label down the front, making it sort of look like a silhouette design.


I set another pumpkin in a bowl I’ve had forever with a little moss. I wrapped another vase in burlap.


Our buffet in our dining room. I used a serving platter to hold up a pumpkin and a bunch of stuff I already had.

2. I freely take what others are throwing/giving away.


My mom gave me one of her old country framed pictures. I knew it was expensive, and I liked the frame, so I kept it until I could figure out what to do with it. I recently painted the glass with chalkboard paint, making a huge chalkboard above my buffet in the dining room. The buffet also was free, previously a dresser. I painted it black and put it in the dining room.

3. I shop at Salvation Army/resale stores. In the above pictures, the lights on my mantel were from a resale shop. I love looking in the miscellaneous sections (actually these stores are all kind of miscellaneous, aren’t they?!); you can find so many cheap, useful treasures!

4. I simplify projects, using products I already have on hand.


I’ve seen hand-made or DIY pics on pinterest for some really cute burlap or cardstock banners. I pulled out my kiddos’ art stuff instead. With construction paper, string, crayons. . . voila! 🙂

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on decorating. In fact, I rarely spend anything on decorations at all. But it is possible to have a beautiful home without spending mega bucks!

{On Fridays, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}


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