The holidays are inevitably a time for stretching your budget — and the waistband of your pants — to the breaking point. Well, now it’s a new year, and you’d like to start afresh with a new home-decor look. This may be the easiest resolution to make and keep (or, at least easier than that CrossFit one): Transform your space with finance-friendly tweaks that pack a big style punch but possess minimal wallet impact. Here are some thought-starters:
Get creative with paint. It’s fast, easy and has the power to transform a room. The quickest fix: Paint an accent wall a solid, mood-boosting hue or go for a bold-striped wall. On a smaller scale, you could revamp a piece of furniture or a large mirror; opt for metallics or pick an eye-catching hue. Check out paint stores for their discontinued or returned colors (ask for “oops” or “mistint” paint) at bargain prices.
Reconsider wallpaper. For many, wallpaper equals a tube of slimy paste, flaps of paper flopping down on your head, patterns that don’t line up … and don’t mention the price. Well, you don’t have to do a whole room. You can get away with a single roll or less if you apply just a vertical stripe of paper over your bed as a one-dimensional headboard or delineate a home office nook. Or go off the wall (literally): Line the backs of bookshelves or china cabinets with colorful or metallic patterns. You could even get all DIY and try decoupaging a swatch on the front of a dresser. For wallpaper bargains, scour overstock stores for designer odds and ends.
Replace your hardware. Knobs, pulls and hinges are like jewelry your room can wear; and they’re a cheaper way to swap out your style than redoing a whole kitchen or bathroom. Scavenge sale bins for new versions in decor stores, or troll architectural salvage shops for unique antique pieces. If you go the mix-and-match route, stick to a single finish (brushed nickel), color (jade) or theme (florals) to keep your statement consistent.
Shop your closet. Remember how recession-era fashionistas rallied to the battle cry of “Shop your closet”? The point was that you’d find hidden gems that could be worn in new, shopping-free ways. Well, the same goes for your tchotchkes. Got a flock of bird-themed objects—figurines, bookends, plates? Arrange them on a mantel or among the books on a bookshelf. They have more power together than randomly scattered about. Or, if you’ve bagged a bunch of boxes on your travels, display them on a table or dresser to corral paper clips, makeup or cufflinks.
Get in touch with your softer side… in the form of throws and cushions, that is. These cushy goods are easy to switch out according to your mood or the season in a living room, den or bedroom. They’re a simple way to add color or texture, and so much cheaper than reupholstering.
Be artful. You don’t have to be an investor to have interesting art on your walls. You can put anything you like in a frame — discontinued calendars with interesting photos, color copies of pages from a library art book, vintage menus from eBay or antique photos sourced at a yard sale. One cheap trick to add extra impact: Whatever your choice, hang multiples. For a harmonious look, pick frames in similar sizes or colors and make a symmetrical grouping over a sofa or mantel.
Let your trash be someone else’s treasure. Join nonprofit freecycle.org and offload a piece you’re over, or pick up an interesting item with potential. Sign in to find a local group. You can also post free classified ads to sell your stuff on Craigslist and eBay-owned Kijiji.com. If nothing else, you can try out the trend for a month or so.
And, for more great design finds on a budget (all under $200!) shop Gilt Home’s Design Resolutions: Save Money sale starting Sunday, January 5th, at 9pm ET.
— Maria Ricapito