How to Create a Beautiful Home on a Tight Budget

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Hi friends! Today I am discussing ways to create a beautiful home on a tight budget. We purchased our first home in 2015, after saving up just enough money for a down payment and a couch (a couch that we STILL have). That’s no exaggeration. This was also before the rise of social media that is FILLED with great ideas for decorating on a budget. So over the last 8 years, bringing two homes together with very little budget to do it, I’ve gained hard earned wisdom and experience in this department. 

I am truly grateful that I have had to learn to be creative and save for the things that will really be impactful in our home. It’s taught me to be intentional and mindful with every purchase. And truly, you do not have to be an interior designer to do this well. 

Simply put, home takes time. And there are plenty of ways to stay within your budget while creating a home that brings peace and rest. So let’s talk about it! 


1) Start with what you have. 

This is truly one of the best ways (and as a bonus, an easy way) to decorate your home on a budget. And I start with this because with the rise of social media, there has come about a pressure to have a perfectly put together home right off the bat. It’s so easy to think we need to go out and purchase brand new everything to compare to all the beautiful homes we see on instagram. So I’ll be the one to tell you! You do not need to go out and buy all new furniture and new area rugs and spend a lot of money. 

I have always worked with a very limited budget, so going out and buying new things has never even been an option for us. This has really grown my creative muscles and taught me to live with what we currently have, DIY using what we own, and prioritize what our home truly needs. It’s taught me to practice contentment with what we do have, and find joy in making it what we want. 

Starting with what you have allows you to live in your space for a time, get a true feel for it, and then start saving for the items that your home does need to make it the space you want it to be. 

We still have furniture that isn’t my ideal, but it serves us well for now. And I continually have my eye out for the perfect pieces! Which, let’s be honest, is so much of the fun 🙂 

ways to create a beautiful home on a tight budget

2) Create a pinterest board of what you’re drawn to. 

One of the best ways to create a beautiful home on a tight budget is to start out with a good, old fashioned brainstorming session. It can be overwhelming when we have a space that needs new life breathed into it, but are unsure how to even start doing that.

My best advice is to start collecting images that inspire you. And I want to clarify that I do not mean just trendy spaces. Get on pinterest or in home magazines and get lost looking for a bit on what calls to you. Save the images that you want to crawl into and stay a while, a feeling you’d like to bring into your own home. 

Be aware of the feeling that the image gives you, not how trendy it may be. Trends come and go, so I encourage you to look for spaces that really pinpoint your unique style. 

So for instance, cozy is my main home goal. So when I look for inspiration, I might look for something like – “cozy living room inspiration”

3) Make a list of what fills the spaces that you love. 

Once you have that pinterest board created, start looking for the elements and decor pieces that are bringing them together. Is it wooden elements? Plants? A certain furniture style? Pops of color? Modern or vintage style?  Take note of the items in the images and compile a list! For example:  table lamps, vintage rug, a pop of color, traditional sconce lights, window treatments, wall art, fresh flowers, soft furnishings, a light fixture, wooden spoons, chandeliers, vases, old books, baskets, throw pillows, plants, leather chair, eclectic gallery wall, moody paint colors, dark wood furniture. 

Are you drawn to a certain coffee table look? A certain home decor style? An accent wall style? What general “home feel” are you called to? 

This allows you to take control of what you really love and find your own personal style, and not just what instagram and big brand stores are pushing. This will make a huge difference in the look of your home when you’re done! 

decorating home on a budget

4) Save this list on your phone/computer and take it with you to thrift stores and yard sales / estate sales.

If I don’t have a list with me when I go to the thrift store, I end up missing items. Having my list allows me to refresh my brain on the things that I’d really like to incorporate into our home and really be intentional about looking for those specific items. 

I’d also recommend going to the thrift store or perusing Marketplace often. I visit our thrift store one morning out of every week. Some mornings I come out with nothing, but other times I find gold! Success with thrifting is mainly about frequency and having a plan.    I have a whole post of my thrifting tips written up here if you’re interested. 

And lastly – this is important!

I have rule that if I don’t have a place for it in my mind, items from the store don’t come home with me. This eliminates the clutter and frustration with our home that can come from it. I would much rather have a few intentional pieces than a ton of pretty stuff that I don’t know what to do with. You don’t want to be a “stuff manager,” so choose intentionally. 

5) Set Marketplace alerts for specific items. 

Did you know that if you’re looking for certain pieces of furniture or decor items, you can set an alert on Facebook Marketplace?  This has been pivotal in a few of my favorite Marketplace finds and finding affordable decor. 

To do this on your phone: The easiest way is to login to your facebook account, and from the “Menu” screen, select Marketplace. Search for whatever it is you may be in the market for. So again, if you search “leather chair” – there is a bell icon in the top left corner of the screen that you can select. Choose your price point if you have one, and then hit “create alert.” Voila!  

After losing out on every leather chair I tried for for over a year, I set an alert and was able to snag this one below (in perfect condition) for $80. There’s hope, my friends! It can be done!  A truly great way to decorate your home on a small budget! 

decorating home on a budget

6) Be creative and make second-hand items what you’re looking for. 

If you are looking for what everyone else is looking for, it gets tough to find the right items. When I head to the thrift store or browse Marketplace, I put on my rose-colored glasses and view things for what they could be! For instance, if I’m in the market for a dining table, I consider how a table could be re-done to get the look that I want. 

Think – Could it be painted/spray painted for a new color? Do not underestimate the power of paint! Could it be sanded and restained? Turned into something else altogether for a fresh look?  This is where it really gets fun. It doesn’t have to be some luxurious upgrade. Just something that truly matches the style you wish for your home. 

I have a post written up on how I refinished a free Marketplace table here, if you’re curious! 

decorating home on a budget

7) Be patient and enjoy the journey! 

Trying to buy everything at once is a sure way to go above budget for me. Being intentional and getting creative with what I’m bringing into our home is much more rewarding.

Think on decorating your home as a process and journey, rather than something to hurry and complete. 

8) Be true to your style, not just what’s trendy. 

This is where I think it’s really important to pinpoint what you’re drawn to (reference 1).If we don’t know our style, we are at the mercy of what is trendy and/or what is in stores. And as we know about trends, they come and go! Luckily, our personal home style generally stays the same – with some ebbing and flowing, of course 🙂  Stick to what feels classic and timeless to you so what you always love it. 

9) Save up for the investment items. 

It’s easy to want to go out and buy a bunch of cheap furniture to fill the space. I encourage you to save up for your investment pieces, or be patient in finding them second-hand. I consider this to be furniture and rugs. Anytime I’ve tried to rush this or settle, I always end up regretting it and causing more work and spending more money in the long run. 

Patience, my friends! It’s truly key. 

ways to create a beautiful home on a tight budget

10) Keep it simple. 

Don’t be afraid to keep things simple when working to create a beautiful home on a tight budget. Live with things as they are, slowing and intentionally adding as the seasons change. Keeping our homes clutter-free and leaving some white space actually promotes peace and rest. 

Be intentional with bringing in items that you truly love and/or serve a purpose for your family, and you won’t feel the need to keep adding. 

ways to create a beautiful home on a tight budget

I hope this encourages you that you can absolutely create a beautiful home on a tight budget. Our mindset is the most important factor!

Until next time, 

You may also be interested in these posts: 

Simple Ideas for Decorating Above a Bed

Tips for Thrifting for Your Home

DIY Hutch Makeover

Weekend Home Projects Under $100

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