DIY: Home Decorating on a Budget

by Shea Homes on September 9, 2014


Nobody wants to live in a dull space, no matter how minimalistic you are. There is a style out there for everyone, and home decorating is no exception. Spring and summer are great times to spruce up your home’s look, even if it’s just some new art on the wall or rearranging the living room furniture.

Fresh ideas to liven up our living spaces are out there, but sometimes they are just too expensive. Unless you’re looking for an extreme makeover, who has the money (or time) to spend? That leaves us with just one option: a DIY project. People are rolling up their sleeves and packing on the elbow grease in order to get the decor they want in their home, so it might be worth giving a try. Whether you’re a beginner at home decorating or a weathered expert, let your creativity flow! You’ll be sure to find a project you like.

1 – Old Sweater Throw Pillows

Popsugar tutorial on diy sweater pillows

(Image and diy tutorial via POPSUGAR)

Before you donate that bag of clothes to Goodwill, go through it and pull out all of those old sweaters. “But I’ll never wear them,” you say. Well of course you won’t, but you’re going to put them to good use.

Throw pillows are a funky and inviting accessory to any bed, couch, or loveseat, can really bring some character back into your living space. Whether it’s for a matchy-matchy look, or a zany accent pillow, the possibilities are endless. And those endless possibilities are where your old sweaters come in.

A women’s size medium or large should be just right to match most standard sized throw pillows. So all you’ve got to do is cut off the sleeves and collar so you have a square shaped tube of fabric (cable knit sweaters are perfect for this project, even in the summer). From there, sew around one edge, stick the pillow in, and ladder stitch along the last open edge. Don’t worry if you’re new to sewing; because we’re using the torso of a sweater, half of it is already done for you, and the ladder stitch is pretty easy to get the hang of. And if you’re a little more comfortable when it comes to sewing, feel free to add buttons or a zipper to one side in case you want to change out the cases.

Time: 10-20 minutes per pillow

Difficulty: Beginner

Price: $5-$15

2 – Family Portraits

How to structure a gallery wall

Looking to spruce up your wall art? Look no further than your own photo albums. Forgo the general paintings and wall fixtures this year and blow up your family portraits and candids for a unique and loving design. Perfect for the living room and hallways, larger than life photographs bring personality into the home, and all you need is a decisive eye and some help from your neighborhood printing center. Once you have your photographs selected, scan them onto a USB drive and bring them right into the printing shop. Standard poster sizes work well (24″x36″, 18″x24″, etc). Most printers have a variety of effects to choose from like canvas paper, watercolor, and black and white. Bonus: If you really want to go all out, take a trip to goodwill for some large frames for your pictures. Most likely they will be cheap but still good quality for your home.

Time: Printing time can be up to 1 week

Difficulty: Beginner

Price: $15-$30 per portrait

3 – Accent Wall

Tips on creating the perfect accent wall

Painting is a big job and most people would prefer to have a professional do it to avoid rookie mistakes. But this can end up being costly and time consuming (you’re likely not the painter’s only client), so you might as well just do it yourself! Painting a whole room is a big job for just one person or a family, so consider an accent wall. A bright and vibrant color on one wall to complement the existing paint on the other walls can completely transform a room.

How do you pick the right wall? The basic rule for walls is ask yourself, which wall deserves to be highlighted? Typically the one that draws the most attention already. Architecture like bookshelves and fireplaces are good accent walls. As far as colors are, anything goes, if your paint is currently a neutral. Try a few shades and see which one jumps out at you!

Time: An afternoon plus drying time

Difficulty: Intermediate

Price: $10- $30 (and a lot of patience)

4 – Open Shelving

Open shelving idea to open up the space in your kitchen.

Typically it’s been thought that open shelving in kitchens was just for the rustic or cottage-y type homes, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The easy but oh-so cute kitchen trend can work with virtually any kitchen, that is, it’s done right. For some kitchens it may be as easy as just removing the cabinet doors and repainting, but for others it may come down to mounting new bar shelves. Either way, it’s not a massive project and it could transform the way you look at your kitchen. Older homes and kitchens would do best with the doors to the cabinets removed and a fresh coat of paint, while more modern homes would do well with simple and minimalist bookshelf style shelving for the bowls and plates. Exposed shelving is a great way to open up a small kitchen and also to help you get your utensils and appliances organized.

Time: 1 day

Difficulty: Intermediate

Price: $5- $100 depending on shelving

5 – Stencil Painted Statement Pieces

Easily update your furniture with stencils and other embellishments

A new piece of furniture can add so much more personality to a room, but if you’re on a budget, you may think that project isn’t for you. Bookshelves and entertainment centers carry a pretty hefty price tag, so why not think smaller? A dresser, coffee table, or tv stand from a thrift store or flea market only runs about $15 or so and often times have a vintage feel to them. Don’t worry if they’re old or scratched; it’s nothing a little paint can’t fix. Get your hands on some bright paint to compliment the room and some stencils and see where your creativity takes you. From stripes, to polka dots, to chevron patterns, a stencil painted dresser or coffee table is a fabulous statement piece to any room. Make sure to paint it outside though, and wait for it to completely dry before bringing it in.

Time: 1-2 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Price: $15-$50

6- DIY Fabric Curtains

Update your bedroom with this DIY curtain idea.

The focal point in many rooms is the windows, so by extension, the curtains are the focal point of the room as well. If you want to change up the style and mood of a room, look to the curtains.

Unfortunately, the price tag for even simple curtains runs pretty high, and if you’ve got a lot of windows to outfit, it could cost you an arm and leg. So here’s a fun family project that’s perfect for letting the summer sunshine in without compromising your home’s integrity or breaking the bank.

All it takes is a trip down to the fabric store. You can pick any pattern, material, and style you like to add as your new curtains, whichever you feel goes best with your current decor. Once you have your fabrics selected, (you’ll have to measure your own windows to know how much to get; probably from one to three yards) you’ll have to get your hands on a pair of scissors, a needle and thread, a drapery rod kit, and some matching curtain rings. From there all you need to do is mount the rod to the wall (if you don’t already have an existing rod), sew up the edges of your new curtain and cut tiny holes for the hooks to go through.

Now you have an easy open and close curtain for your living room, dining room, or even bedroom, perfect for the summer time. Mixing and matching out these curtains is easy too, and can be done much more frequently than with traditional curtains.

Time: An afternoon

Difficulty: Intermediate

Price: $15-$30 each window

7- Family Painted Pottery


From dishes and pitchers to paper weights and piggy banks, there is a little bit of everything in your local pottery painting place. For a fun afternoon with the whole family, why not drop by? Individually painted pottery is a cozy addition to a home’s decor and allows everyone’s personality to shine through. You could go for a specific color scheme to match or contrast the current decor; stick to a certain piece of pottery like a set of plates; or give everyone free range to paint what they wish. You can pull out all the stops and paint huge pieces as showcase items, or a higher volume of smaller items for an “organized clutter” living room look. Either way you’ll end up with an eclectic collection of personal pieces that showcase everyone’s talents and interests. Mount your own shelves specifically for this project and put them all on display, place them in a glass case, or even hang them from hooks or wall fixtures for a creative twist the classic painted pottery project.

Time: An afternoon to paint/ a week to pick up the finished pottery

Difficulty: Beginner

Price: $5-$20 per piece

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