As I mentioned in my Girl Talk sesh, I've been nesting lately. To keep myself busy while Bubba is gone and to give our home a fresh new feel, I've been working on affordable ways to decorate and make a big impact…which is not easy for someone who is A) cheap, and B) design challenged. I do nooooooot like DIY projects. I don't like running to the store 1000x to decorate one nightstand. I don't find joy in wandering aimlessly for hours in a craft warehouse. BUT – I want my house to look nice, put-together, and updated.
In working through lots of trial and error, I've settled on 4 affordable home decor tricks that make a huge impact in your home, without a huge impact on your wallet (or back…or sanity…or time…)! Here's what I've done to my own home that has really seemed to help:
It all started when I bought this awesome white mirror from a yard sale:
I loved the shape (plus it was cheap…and white…) so I figured for a few bucks it would make a nice addition somewhere. We had this cute little corner that we FINALLY found the perfect chaise for, after 1 year of looking. But the wall was missing something.
(Ps since you're wondering about this awesome gray linen chaise, we got it online at Meijer, by the way, but it's not available any more – I don't see any furniture on their site now, actually. I found the same one HERE and HERE, or very similar ones HERE and HERE. We paid around $450 for it because we searched for an online coupon first, just FYI).
We tossed that yard sale mirror on the wall and BAM! Suddenly it brightened up the spot, and made it feel much more intentional.
It made me realize the impact a single mirror can make on a room!
Mirrors are much more versatile than art, in my opinion, because there is little to no color involved – it matches ANYTHING, and brightens up ANY space. It also makes it feel much bigger and more open. And really, who doesn't want to see more of themselves, so they are just functional right?? (snort)
We've been struggling with our entryway. We tried again and again to put furniture at the bottom of the stairs, but it became cumbersome and/or my kids nearly killed themselves by crashing into it somehow.
We debated about art. But our walls are so huge in our entryway, even a “large” piece of art (that we couldn't find for less than $300, BTW) was completely swallowed up in the space!
So we decided to try a mirror.
We found this perfect Kenroy Home Juliet Wall Mirror, and oh my gosh, it made all the difference in the world! (P.S It was hard to choose, Kenroy Home has a MILLION super cute mirrors, light fixtures, etc.)
We love the mirror because it looks like a window. We didn't feel like it had to be huge (though, it's really sturdy and a hefty size) because it still brightened up the space immensely. My favorite part? It doesn't need much on it to give it that final finishing touch. AT ALL.
I used a broken soap pump (that was sparkly and cute so I couldn't bear to part with it) that I washed in the dishwasher, then filled with $0.70 silk fall flowers from Michael's craft store. It suddenly makes the space feel complete, and it took us a whopping 5 minutes.
P.S…to see what's reflecting in that mirror, check out how we decorated our music room HERE.
SPOILER ALERT: Love this mirror as much as I do? Keep reading to the end to find out how you can get one for yourself for FREE!!
We recently added a huge mirror to our bedroom as well. I got it at TJ Maxx for around $60 I believe.
I didn't think to take a before picture, but trust me, it made a huge difference. We placed it in that spot so when you opened the door, you could see it reflecting the rest of the room. Our room is hardly decorated (not a thing on the walls!) so it made it feel more accessorized because it reflects our dresser and curtains (more on the curtains below).
So there you go! A mirror is the way to go when you want to make a huge impact, with an affordable, versatile piece. Now on to trick #2…
Now, I don't have much to show for this one in our house…YET (hint hint, I may have a project coming up really soon that I'm super duper excited to show you!). BUT, take my word for it – simple paint in a space makes all the difference.
You can buy fabulous paint for less than $30, paint an entire room, an accent wall, or even stencil a design on the wall, and suddenly a space looks intentional and incredible.
The best part about paint is…if you get tired of it or don't like it, you can paint over it and try again! There's nothing permanent about it.
We recently had our cabinets painted white, and it really brightened up our kitchen.
P.S…more about our kitchen re-do coming up soon! We aren't quite finished yet, but it should be done within the month. So don't worry, we'll give you the full dish on this when it's complete.
We didn't even touch our wall color – it simply brightened up the whole place! Now, painting your cabinets is a huge, expensive ordeal, so that's not necessarily the “affordable” trick…unless you compare it to replacing your cabinets. In which case painting is much more affordable. But the point I'm trying to drive home is that a simple can of paint can really transform a space!
My advice? Go to Pinterest! Check out my “Home Decor Inspiration” board for ideas, or type in specifically what you are looking for – “blue bedroom”, “accent wall”, “geometric stencil” or whatever. You'll find tons of great photos and resources to help inspire and teach you.
Now, on to trick #3…
As I explained in THIS TV segment, you should NEVER have to pay a lot for decorative pillows!!! I found duplicates of high-end pillows (exact duplicates in some cases) at TJ Maxx, Ross, Home Goods, and even Walmart – for (literally) a fraction of the cost!
I bought and returned 6 different comforters for our bedroom. Yes, SIX. I wanted fun, bright colors, but had trouble committing…or I'd buy something, like it for 1 year, then get sick of it. What a waste of money!
Another spoiler alert…I have big plans for that big, blank wall behind my big, blank headboard…so get excited for the big reveal coming soon!
You could have an old, plain couch and if you toss some adorable $12 pillows on there, it completely brightens up the entire space. Check out this cute pic I found on Pinterest:
And you don't even have to buy new pillows! Just cover your old ones. Hit Pinterest to learn how, go to YouTube and search “how to make throw pillow covers” and BAM. You're in business.
Last but not least, #4…
Stick your hand so it's covering the curtains in this picture. Look at how plain and simple the chair and rug look. Yes, the pillows help a lot! But add some fun curtains to a room, and HOLY SHMOLY have you got yourself an incredible space.
I recently got some simple tan chevron curtains for $24 (must be my lucky number?) from TJ Maxx for my kitchen. It helps block the intense sunlight that heats up my kitchen like an oven in the evening, and also gave it some texture and dimension:
The curtain rods were $14.99. I bought two sets, and put the other set in my room, which I filled with the perfect curtains (in the $20 range also) from Home goods:
I went pretty safe color-wise with the curtains, because I wanted them more for pattern than anything. I wasn't sure what “color scheme” I wanted in those rooms, so I stuck with tan and gray to be safe. That way I can easily switch out pillows and accessories without needing to replace my entire curtains.
Don't get me wrong, my master bedroom is completely neglected and still has a long way to go. But for $20-something (+ the curtain rod) it made a big difference and at least gets me started in the right direction!
P.S that awesome settee (aka wide chair couch thing)? Got it at Home Goods. Isn't it amazing?
So there you have it! For us cheap-o, design-challenged folk, those are 4 simple ways to make your home feel more decorated and make a big impact WITHOUT breaking the bank (or your back…or sanity).
Now, about getting that fabulous Juliet Kenroy Home mirror for free!
I love my mirror so so so so much, I asked Kenroy Home to give one away to you lovely readers…so here you go!
Enter to win a Juliet Mirror from Kenroy Home ($150+ value)!
Best of luck winning my new favorite decor piece, and happy decorating in the meantime!