So, you’ve finally moved out of mom and dad’s house. You’re free and all on your own. You walk through the front door of your new home and see freedom, possibilities and … blank walls? You mean, all of mom and dad’s furniture didn’t come with you? What can you do? Lucky for you, it’s not difficult to transform those blank canvases into works of art that effectively reflect your sense of style. And even better, it’s possible to decorate and still have enough money for your electricity bill at the end of the month.
1. Know your space
First off, you have to see your new home as a blank slate. Evaluate the space and see it for what it’s worth. What potential is there? Evaluate all the pros and cons of each room and brainstorm ways to accentuate the good and mask the bad. Do you have a huge bay window that brings light into the living room? You probably want to dress that up. Do you have built-in shelves with nothing to put on them? You might need to invest in a few books or knickknacks.
2. Know a style
After you see which areas will pose a problem to you, figure out what you want. Do a little research to see the different styles available. Look around friends’ houses or refer back to mom and dad’s. Notice things you like and use their good ideas to make them reflect you. Are you an urbanite? Or more traditional? Do you like curves? Or clean, straight lines? Be sure to choose a style that you won’t get bored with in a few months.
3. Choose your colors
Once you have a good design, choose a color palate. Remember that you’ll be looking at these walls every day, so don’t go too extreme. Find colors that compliment your theme and your personality but won’t give you a headache.
4. Skip on professional painters
A gallon of paint costs about $30; professional painters cost $200. Multiply that difference by how many rooms you will need painted, and you should get the picture on how much money you can save.
5. Shop around
Once you’re sure of what you want, you can finally jump into the fun part—shopping. Don’t buy the first thing you see. Shop around for a good bargain. You might find the same item for half the price at another store. Go to places you’ve never been before—garage sales, flea markets, dollar stores and discount stores. Just because they’re cheap doesn’t mean they’re not good.
6. Ask for discounts
Become a bargain hunter. Wait for sales, clip coupons or ask for discounts on damaged merchandise. You’d be surprised at how much money you will actually save, and it doesn’t hurt to ask. Who will really notice a little scratch anyway?
7. Accept hand-me-downs
Free is good. Accept any hand-me-downs you can get your hands on. Don’t turn something down just because you can’t see its potential. That hideous couch that grandma gave you can be easily revamped with a slipcover.
8. Get crafty
Learn to sew, and make things to go into each room. By transforming trash into treasure, you save money, and you’ll have one-of-a-kind décor that effectively shows your creativity and style.
9. Be creative
Think outside of the box. (It may be cliché, but it’s true.) Don’t just see a dishtowel as something to clean the kitchen with. Look at it as good fabric for a pillow. See old building supplies, such as ceiling tiles, as art. Make an old, seemingly unusable chair into a plant stand.
10. Make it a work in progress
Don’t be afraid of change. Move furniture around, buy new knickknacks or swap out artwork. Keep on the lookout for a good bargain. There are always little accent pieces that can be added to make any room come together better. By occasionally changing things around, you lessen the risk of getting bored with your décor. Have fun!