Creative Ways to Decorate Your Home on a Budget | ModMoney

Creative & Unexpected Ways to Decorate Your Home on a Budget

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For me, personal finance goes beyond understanding how to save and invest responsibly. It has everything to do with feeling good about managing my money, and that includes having fun spending it! A few weeks ago, Chris and I moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, which has been an exciting start for both of us. Of course, along with a new chapter should come new furniture and a fresh look, am I right?

In typical fashion, I must admit to spending hours planning furniture and decor purchases within our budget. While Chris is more impulsive, I research until I know exactly what I want and where to get the best price for it. This post shares some of my favorite purchases – planned and spontaneous – and the online tools I used to ensure the best deal.

Coffee Table on a Budget

An added challenge to the decorating process was finding the right balance between masculine and feminine details. While I’m sure Chris loved my dainty furniture and perfume bottle displays, moving in together was a catalyst for a good, sturdy, rustic, coffee table. My first thought was to shop at Restoration Hardware. Y’all, those tables are beautiful, and they are EXPENSIVE. I loved this one for our living room, but I couldn’t justify spending $1,850 for a table that would host our ice cream and pinot spills sooner than we’d care to admit.

With this look in mind, I searched two of my favorite home decor flash sale sites, One King’s Lane and Joss & Main, filtering their selection to my liking. These sites are great for shopping on a budget! They work by purchasing unsold inventory from designers and reselling it at a discount through curated sales. Within minutes, I found the perfect Restoration Hardware lookalike, but I still wanted to ensure I was getting the best price. The obstacle was that these sites rename their inventory. This made it difficult for me to search for the table elsewhere since I didn’t know the original designer.

To solve this problem, I uploaded a picture of the table to the Google Reverse Image Search tool. This works like a typical Google search, but instead of typing in a keyword, you upload an image. Some call it compulsive. I call it resourceful. Of course, trusty Google pointed me to images of the same table on other sites. And voilà! Now I could find the table’s original manufacturer (Bassett Mirror Company) and style name. I keyed this information into the Google Shopping tool and found a full list of online retailers offering the exact same table. Finally, I made my purchase for the best price available.

  • Coffee Table on a Budget
  • Coffee Table on a Budget
  • Coffee Table on a Budget

Armchair on a Budget

Chris’s only requirement for our new home was a big, brown, reclining leather couch. He gave me almost complete discretion over everything else. (Sigh of relief. I can work with this). In order to offset the bulkiness of Chris’s couch, I wanted to pair a more delicate French-style armchair. As with the coffee table, this wasn’t easy to do on a budget. I loved this one from Kathy Kuo Home, but again, I couldn’t justify the $1,000+ price tag. I went through the same process detailed above with this chair. First, I looked at various selections on One King’s Lane and Joss & Main. Once I found a few styles I liked, I used the Google Reverse Image Search tool to find out the original designers, and then I performed a broader search for those specific designers and style names. Through this process, I found the perfect lookalike on Wayfair, another favorite home decor site and a sister brand to Joss & Main.

French Armchair on a Budget
French Armchair on a Budget

Home Decor Pieces on a Budget

I’ve always considered myself a minimalist. I generally don’t like clutter, and I have no problem tossing or donating items I no longer wear or use. Except for books and class notes (but seriously, I have math notes going back to Freshman year of high school). Well, that minimalist mindset goes out the window when it comes to ginger jars, vases, candlesticks, and other small decor pieces around the house.

Not too long ago, I saw these striped canisters while window shopping at Jonathan Adler in Austin. I loved them to spice up a kitchen, bathroom, or coffee table, but I didn’t love the price. Lucky for me, these exact jars showed up on Gilt, another flash sale site that offers a wide selection of retail products. After creating a Gilt account, you can select your favorite brands and receive e-mail updates whenever they go on sale. With this foresight, I was ready to go at 11AM when the Jonathan Adler sale went live. I use the purple and green Eyelashes and Peroxide jars in our guest bathroom for Q-tips and cotton balls, and they’re such fun, eclectic pieces!

Continuing on the “things” front, my mom used to fill our living room with blue and white porcelain chinoiserie. These pieces always remind me of my childhood house, and I love keeping that style in my home today. I have purchased a few of these porcelain pieces online (Oriental Furniture has a great selection), but I seriously stocked up the last time my local Hobby Lobby had a 50% off home decor sale.

Chinoiserie, Candlesticks, and Mirrors
Coffee Table Decor
Jonathan Adler Jars
Kitchen Decor
Kitchen Decor

Local Art (Not on a Budget)

Now don’t get me wrong. Not all of my purchases consume this amount of research, particularly when Chris has influence. A few weeks ago, we were escaping the Phoenix heat by perusing some art galleries with my family. Within minutes, we fell in love with a painting of Monument Valley by Michael Romero Duran, an artist with a fascinating drip technique. While Chris was ready to pull the trigger, I suggested we take a few days to think about it (typical). Well, as luck would have it, there was a wine tasting room next door. After a few 1-ounce pours and a new wine club membership, we walked right back in and purchased that painting. And to be honest, I’m so glad we did. It adorns our living room beautifully and reminds us of our first home together and valuable time spent with family.

An eerily similar scenario is behind the purchase of the Austin landscape painting above our bed. Chris and I were killing some time in downtown Austin before our brunch reservation, perusing some home stores. We came across this painting by Petra Rupp, a local Austin artist, and were struck by it. We loved the neutral tones and thought this was the perfect depiction of the city we love most. Consistent with past experiences, Chris flagged down the sales associate with credit card in hand as I physically ushered him out of the store. Well, we were back in the boutique within the hour, Chris with a wide grin on his face. Sound familiar?

  • Michael Romero Duran Painting
  • Michael Romero Duran Painting
  • Michael Romero Duran Painting
  • Petra Rupp Painting

The Bottom Line

Oftentimes, the spontaneous purchases are the most poignant and memorable. However, if you’re on a budget and in the market for a particular piece, a few minutes of online digging can save you a material amount. In any instance, feeling good about spending your hard-earned money is incredibly empowering.

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