DIYP#18-My Frugal Decor Tips

I love decorating my home. 
When I’m not on home decor probation, that is.
Probation entails periods of time where I need to lay low.
My hubby calls it staying on a budget.
Over the years, I’ve drawn from my frugal past and discovered that the joy for me is in the hunt. So when I hear the word budget, I actually hear the word challenge.
Here are some of my tips:
  • Paint covers a multitude of sins. But even paint can be costly.  I shop the paint returns at Lowe’s, Home Depot and WalMart.  These are tints that weren’t a perfect match and you can buy them really cheap. Perfect for bathrooms, laundry rooms and small bedrooms. I like to make a statement with paint, while not making a statement. In other words, choose a bold neutral (in the taupe family, maybe) rather than a dark maroon or navy blue.
  • Shop the scratch and dent section.  When we were shopping for our bedroom furniture, featured in yesterday’s post, we looked everywhere!  Even after the initial sticker shock wore off, I was determined to find a deal. My hubby dragged me to Basset Furniture. I was reluctant because I knew it would be expensive, until I found the clearance room.  We bought it for 2/3 the price because there was a scratch and a missing knob (which I found in a drawer later!)
  • Don’t be afraid to shop flea markets, thrift shops and even garage sales. Some of my best treasures are from other’s hand-me downs.
  • Furniture doesn’t have to match (and I actually prefer that it doesn’t!) I like pairing a metal table next to a wooden bed or a wooden side table next to a metal bed.  Mix it up a little. The scratch and dent section only had one night stand. I found this little white side table at TJ Maxx for $34!
  • Don’t buy department store bedding.  It’s way overpriced and you can spend hundreds of dollars.  Instead, shop discount stores like Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  These stores offer high end items for very reasonable prices. I got my teal quilt and shams for $40!
  • Add bedding accessories as you go. Look at Target and even WalMart for coordinating fabric throw pillows. I like matching the same colors, but using different patterns.
  • Shop Ebay! I discovered ‘local auctions’ years ago. You can narrow your search to the amount of miles you’re willing to travel and avoid pricey shipping charges.  A few years ago, I wanted a chair for our living room. Money was very tight, but so was seating.  I had $50 bucks.  I found this gorgeous leopard-print chair on Ebay and won the bid for the local auction for $40!  My hubby picked it up about 15 minutes from our house and it’s still one of my favorite pieces.
  • Try something new. If you see an old door, make it a headboard. If you run across an old dresser, clean it up, remove the drawers and turn it into a buffet. Be creative.
  • Before you get rid of something you’re tired of, try painting it.  Lately, I’ve fallen back in love with many of my tired pieces.  
  • When you see fabric YOU LOVE on clearance or being sold in remnants, buy it!  Even if you don’t know what to do with it. Little coordinating scraps of beautiful fabrics make great pillows, coasters, place mats, bulletin boards, and so much more. 
  • Decorate with plates. They are cheap and make a statement!
  • Don’t be afraid to copy something you’ve seen.  I can’t tell you how many things in my home came from ideas I’ve seen somewhere else. I saw window wreaths in a Pottery Barn magazine.  And the price tag was ridiculous.  So, I bought large candle rings in the holiday department of Garden Ridge, hung them on $1 ribbon and leave them up all the time.  Just because I can.
  • About 85% of the stuff in my home is off the clearance/discounted aisle. My favorite place to shop is Target.  I love those little red stickers, especially after holidays.  I’ve bought things for 90% off, put it away and used it the following season.  (I also buy toys this way for birthday presents. Shhh!  don’t tell).
When we evacuated from Hurricane Ike, we stopped at a Dallas Target for a few necessities. I couldn’t pass this up: A plastic silhouette Cuckoo clock!
And yes, it bore the mark of the little red tag!  I got this clock for $11!  My hubby did raise his eyebrows when I used the word necessity. But once we got home and discovered that our beloved Target was badly damaged and will be closed for two months, he understood my sorrow.
Can we have a moment of silence for all the deals I’ll miss?
Thank you.
So, you can stay on a budget, find frugal finds and have a lovely home.
That is all.


  1. 3


    I used to be on the pricing team at Target, love the little red stickers….lol. They are the first thing I gravitate to in the store. I taught my teenage daughter to shop the clearance racks before looking at the regular priced stuff.

  2. 4



    You’re a thrift-seeker after my own heart. Yes, I’m coining that term! Instead of THRILL-seeker… we’re THRIFT-seekers… Ohhhhh yeah! Like the sound o’ that!

  3. 7


    Your home is so pretty! We have a tiny bathroom that is desperate for paint. I am so heading to the paint return aisle!!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. 8


    A Kindred Spirit!
    You would love the Community Church Rummage Sale $1/bag day. It’s my favorite place to shop since Target is MILES away. I also like Beals Outlet with their clearance dots and 15% off that reduced price with Friday cards for all youngin’s under 50.
    All this talkin’ makes me want to go shopping! :-)

  5. 9


    A Kindred Spirit!
    You would love the Community Church Rummage Sale $1/bag day. It’s my favorite place to shop since Target is MILES away. I also like Beals Outlet with their clearance dots and 15% off that reduced price with Friday cards for all youngin’s under 50.
    All this talkin’ makes me want to go shopping! :-)

  6. 10


    Thanks for sharing your tips! My Mother-in-Law calls me creative–I’m really just a copy cat of magazines too! I paused to read your blog before heading out to a garage sale by the way!

  7. 12

    laytonfamily says

    THANK YOU! I am decoratively challenged. I literally can’t do a thing. My hubby’s aunt stayed with us for a week after my 2nd was born, and she was staining baskets so they matched, putting things together and decorated my home because it was bone bare!

    I’m just now trying to get creative!

  8. 14


    Love, Love, Love all the tips!! I like the wreath idea I may have to find me some. Observing a moment of silence here in AL for the loss of your Target. May they get it open quickly.

    Ok off to the thrift store!

  9. 16


    I absolutely love some of the great deals I’ve found at Target. I’m a day-after-Christmas shopper. One year I picked up flannel sheets for $4/set. Woo-hoo!

    Love what you’ve done. I’m not quite as adventurous with paint.

  10. 17


    We are kindred spirits on this decorating front, I do so many of the same things :) :)

    I am so happy to see someone else with AQUA in their bedroom :) I love my aqua, black & white bedroom…and got the furniture (made by Lane) 14 years ago for like $1,000 for the entire set and it is still as sturdy today as it was the first day we got it..someone special ordered it and then canceled…score!!!

    I wish we lived closer so we could shop together, although we would probably fight over the same clearance items at Target 😉


  11. 18


    Oh, yeah, almost everything in my house has been painted. It’s amazing was a bit of black or white can do.

    Thanks for the ebay local auctions tip. I didn’t know about that.

  12. 19


    Great tips fro a fellow lover of frugal finds! Nothing more satisfying than creating something similar to something you loved but only spending a dime to get it (or something close to it, by comparison!). And how many times can I use the worth something in one comment? I’m something alright. Guess it is too early on a Saturday for me to write.

  13. 22


    yay,Im glad that you posted this,Im re-doing my bedroom, and couldnt find anything with in a good price range, and I had pretty much given up on the search, but this post inspired me to get out there and bargain hunt..thank you!!

  14. 23


    Kristen, you are too cool. Love these finds of yours. OK, how do I “turn a dresser into a buffet? ” I can’t quite get the visual – what to do with the drawers? Oh, I have a buffet but still. I love the idea and have a dresser I still like ….

  15. 26


    Hey now, be nice … I have burgandy trim, and I’m planning on painting one wall in my family room navy LOL!!!

    Great ideas … I don’t have a creative bone in my body, but I can copy anything! :o)

  16. 27


    Oh I just love you so much and your Saturday DIY stuff is one of my favorites. I am going to get my daughter and daughter in law onto you and let them see how easy (?) and fun it is to shop the way you do. Sounds like a challenge to me too. Target….here I come!

  17. 28

    Anonymous says

    I like your dining room chairs. Did you spray paint them or use paint and a brush? I’d like to do mine but I’m not sure how. Did you sand them and use a primer?

  18. 29


    Great tips! I live in the boonies now, but when we did live in a bigger city, TJMaxx was my all-time favorite store. I was able to buy excellent bedding on a college-student budget.

    I LOVE your metal, vintage hamper by the bed!

    And the Target clock – I just bought the same one – on clearance (is there any other way to shop?) for the same price! Great minds…. :)

  19. 30


    I am the queen of copying. Look at my life and I bet you won’t find many original thoughts . . . or decorations. I have often said, “I can’t come up with it on my own, but I can copy like nobody’s business!”

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