Monday, September 10, 2012

5 Fun, Fast, and {mostly} Free Ways to Decorate

 My family recently moved back into our home after living away for a few years. When we moved back, I felt a little 'blah' and wished our home looked more like this:

source: Haute Indoor Couture

Thankfully though, there are some tips and tricks that even with a budget of nearly zero, your house can look pretty and reflect your family. The expensive updates may have to wait til later, but anyone can create beauty even with very little money.  Here are a few tips to erase "blahs" and enjoy your space.

1. "Shop" your own home and yard.  Look in your cupboards, cedar chests, drawers, garages, and even your yard for things that are pretty or have a story.  Find jars, vases, bottles, aprons, books, art {even your children's originals}, sticks, rocks, flowers, baskets, pretty clothes, souvenirs, dishes or containers and display them!

 I've learned from Anthropologie that decorating is about fun, beautiful, cool, and quirky things that look awesome in homes. {Actually the store reminds me of walking in to my great-grandma's house.} Some of the most recent hot items at Anthropolgie...

You have things just as cool around your house or yard... but, FREE.
I found these plates my mom painted 25 years ago at the bottom of a box. She died nearly 20 years ago, and it's fun to have something she created on our walls.

 As you decorate with things you love and already have, your house will be totally unique, and reflect who you really are. You  may set the next trend, who knows?

2. Create moments in your home. In other words, let your decor create warmth and tell about your family.  But, make sure to keep collections or like objects together. If not, the room will look tacky and discombobulated. Set collections on shelves, or even hang on the wall.

This is a collection of my my mom's, my Grandma's, my Great-Grandma's, and my dishes.  It's on a shelf in my kitchen.

The things you've collected your whole life are different than anyone else in the world. Let that speak in your home.

3. Use Frames. Frames are so cheap at thrift stores or garage sales. Even frames missing the glass are great for displaying collections, plates, wooden or vinyl letters, collages, or anything that is smaller than the frame itself. Remember: paint works miracles. Framed  pictures or mirrors make great gallery walls... find  more ideas here or here.

I inherited my great-grandma's silverware from the 1940's, and I love how it looks in this broken frame (even though I KNOW the picture is bad- don't judge, I'm working on it :))..

                                    I love this frame that's painted and glued onto a coffee table:

                           Put frames together in a collage like this.  Paint + thrift store frames= beauty.
Pottery Barn

4. Color with paint, pillows, and fabric.
Put swatches of fabric around a vase, on the floor, or as a bunting on a window, or even make {or fake-make}a curtain.


Pillows bring new life to a room. The first thing that improved our home were a few new pillows that I adore. It made the home so much happier.

Paint is another magical substance that makes a room lovely and happy. Give old things new life with a simple coat of paint. This is a great spray painting tutorial.

A few peeks of my desk and chairs that used to be ugly....

Chalkboard paint is one of the chicest, most inexpensive and fun things ever. Any area can turn into a chalk board with two coats of this paint! Let anyone draw on it, or make it a changing "work of art".

   This is a superb chalk art tutorial by In My Own Style.  Impress someone and use it on your  own chalkboards!

5. Include something fun, whimsical, bold, or 'outside the box'. Sometimes decorating can get so serious. Have fun while decorating, and let other people have fun when they come into the room.

Stools made out of truck springs from recycleart.

If you're not sure about a decoration or idea, just do it. Leave it for a while. If you hate it, take it down. If you love it, leave it. Don't be afraid- just try it!! Your room will speak to you.

These things will help you love your space. It won't be perfect-- you'll still have to buy the big stuff when you can, but your home will reflect YOU, not a magazine.  What's not to love about that?


PS.  Even though I used a few pictures from magazines to illustrate the points, don't let it make you feel bad about your house. Look at beautiful pictures for inspiration and apply colors, elements or the ambiance to your rooms.

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