Partner Post: How to Decorate on a Budget Without it Looking Cheap

You’ve either heard it said or said it yourself. “Sure, if I just had the decorating budget the people on those home shows have, I could make MY space look great, too!”

Yeah, you’d like to make some decor changes at your house, but hmm, the orthodontist expects to be paid for those braces!

I’d like to show you some decorating secrets that will help you refresh your interiors and not break the bank–or look cheesy!


I’ve said it before: paint is the cheapest design change you can make. Paint your walls. Paint kitchen cabinets. Paint furniture (your own or estate sale/thrift finds). Not confident? Enlist a friend who loves DIY. Or email me!

(See what I mean about paint?)

2. Edit furniture, make a plan

Take a hard look at your seating, tables, and storage.  Sometimes we hold onto a piece because it was expensive or because Aunt Nadine left it to us. But what’s working in the space and what isn’t? If everybody hates to sit on it, out it goes! Then measure/make a grid of your rooms and shop (sales) with a plan and a measuring tape.

P.S. Avoid MATCHED SETS! You’re going for that “collected over time” look.

3. Rearrange

Pull your furniture out from the walls and rearrange it. You’ll be amazed at the difference. Now you’ll be able to see what you need to complete your look. Just see what having a plan did for this ranch house!

4. One terrific piece 

Use new purchases to tie together existing pieces. In my client’s bedroom redo, the large rug is the item that establishes the colorway for the room. For you, it may be that green velvet sofa, or a large work of art that has all your favorite colors.

(Another note about this room: for easy decorating WOW, change out your light fixtures. Discount home decor stores have very affordable lighting choices.  This gold and crystal chandelier picks up on the gold accents throughout the room–so glam!)

5. Declutter!

This is absolutely free: define your desired use of the room, then remove anything from the room that doesn’t belong to that function. Treadmill in the dining room? Nope. Work files in the bedroom? Out! Craft table in the kitchen? Oh, no!

Then–corral needed items in interesting containers like wire or willow baskets, crates or boxes.  The containers become part storage, part art!

Oh, I could go on and on, but I’ll close with this:

6. Shop smart.

Be patient and wait for sales. Look for coupons and special offers. Ask for or shop online for a better price. Peruse clearance and scratch-and-dent sections (flaws are often barely noticeable or can be easily repaired). Buy out-of-season. Shop flea markets for quirky, one-of-a-kind items to put to new uses, such as…

That’s what I do for my home!

If you need some inspiration for re-imagining your rooms, schedule a consultation with me.  I’d love to help you zero in on an affordable plan to perk up your home!

Let’s talk!

Courtney is an an award-winning interior designer in Dallas who specializes in decorating, renovation & home staging to help stuck people adore their home. She loves her historic cottage and has been published in Better Homes and Gardens, Kid’s Room, Best of Flea Market Style, Cottage and Bungalows, American Farmhouse and Dallas Morning News.  

Follow her daily projects on Instagram at @courtneywarrenhome & on Facebook at Courtney Warren Home.  See her complete portfolio of house tours at

This blog post originally appeared on How to Decorate on a Budget without it Looking Cheap and was republished with permission of Courtney Warren Home. 

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