living room furniture

Leah Remmin writes for Inlaid Woodcraft where you can find the finest quality inlays and designs for marquetry.

Even those of us who don’t have two nickels to rub together still want to come home to a house that is warm, inviting, and lovingly decorated.  But that couch you picked up for free on a sidewalk ten years ago has seriously outlived its usefulness and the naked bulb in the ceiling is starting to give you a migraine (and don’t even get started on the carpet, which the last tenants apparently used as a drop-cloth for car repairs, if the stains are any indication).  But how can you turn your second-rate hovel into a pretty palace or Zen sanctuary when your budget will barely allow for the fix-up cost of one room?  With a little elbow grease and a lot of ingenuity, you can have the dream home you want and still stick to your budget.  All you need are a few tricks up your sleeve.

1.     Garage sales. The number one best way to decorate your home on a budget is to scout for decent items at a great price, and garage sales are the best place to nab a steal.  By hitting the sales early on a Saturday morning, you can have the pick of the litter.  And by checking ads (most of which list big-ticket items) you can be the first one at sales that have specific pieces you know you’ll want.  You can also look on Craig’s List in your area for furniture items (which you can find cheap or even free, with a “you-haul” addendum).  Don’t be afraid to haggle, either.  You can always get a better price, especially if you’re buying more than one item.  Just remember to bring enough cash.

2.     Paint. It can cost quite a bit to paint every interior wall, but if you want a lot of bang for your buck, try doing an accent wall in each room.  It will totally change the look and feel without a lot of work or expense.

3.     Wet vac. For stubborn stains on carpeting, try renting a wet vac from your local grocer (many have them available, so ask an employee or manager).  You can give your carpet a good once-over and see if that does the trick.  If not, you can always fall back on area rugs to cover up the damage.  Just make sure to pick colors and textures that are different from the flooring beneath if you want to pull off this stylized look.

4.     Accessories. When it comes to accessories, you’re going to have get handy with the sewing machine to avoid spending a lot of money.  But as long as you can sew in a straight line you can make custom curtains, pillows, and duvet covers in complimentary fabrics for every room.  You can even find decorative embellishments that are easy to add to finished pieces (such as ribbon for borders and rosettes for a dash of texture).

5.     DIY projects. Believe it or not, you can do a lot of fixer-upper projects on your own.  Get yourself a simple home repair guide and check out all the potential fixes you can tackle.  Whether you’re putting in a backsplash, laying tile, installing new faucets, hanging lights, or fitting a Corian countertop, a guidebook can give you the know-how and hints to make your upgrade a success and turn your rundown domicile into a castle fit for a king.

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