Let me say upfront that I have NO talent for decorating. I am not fashionable or stylish--my living room had absolutely nothing in it but a piano for years--but when I saw on Monica's blog that Mary at Not Before 7 asked about decorating ideas, I just had to add my two cents' worth. (Are you surprised?)
My big revelation is that decorating does not necessarily need to be expensive. My style is "late grandma"--and I do mean late grandma. Most of the things we have in our home come from a relative that has passed on to a place where they no longer need furniture and accessories! This works out very well because I love the beauty and the stories that come with old things and it just so happens that our budget can't handle new ones.
So here are my ideas especially for those on a low budget:
1. Utilize the gifts (or trash) of others. Much of our furniture is cast off from others, including our dining room table and chairs that were pulled from a neighbor's trash. This is my living room:
Most of the furniture came from my husband's grandmother. The mirror was his mom's from way back, the piano was purchased for me by my parents when I was in the first grade, and the accessories came from various grandmas. The only things we've added are the rug that was purchased with a gift card from Kohl's and the curtains from Walmart.
2. Scour your grandma's attic. The cabinet below was made by my great grandfather out of a peach crate. I guess cheap is a family trait! I decked it out with old tea cups. The fan was found wrapped in newspaper in my great-grandmother's attic.
3. Visit thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales and discount stores for things that are beautiful and useful. The plates above the mirror in my living room are old Stangl dishes I found at a flea market for about $3. I love pitchers. The one at the bottom was purchased at a thrift store for $.75 and we use it for our cereal milk in the morning. The top one came from Williamsburg Pottery Outlet--a store you can't miss if ever you're in that part of Virginia. The little people belonged to who else--grandma!
4. Utilize your family's talents. I have pricey taste in art and love real paintings. Lucky for me my dad is an artist. I went through his stacks of watercolors, picked ones I wanted, and then took them to Hobby Lobby to find in-stock frames on half-off day. I believe this one was matted and framed for less than $20. The green pottery pitcher on the table next to my couch was made and painted by my grandmother.
My mom made this quilt hanging for our family room which has a cowboy theme. The Fiesta Ware came from thrift stores.
One of my great grandmothers did these needlepoint birds that hang in our dining room.
5. Find someone who has a Woolie Roller you can borrow to paint your walls; it uses very little paint and covers a multitude of wall imperfections. When we bought our 35-year-old house everything inside and out was painted a dull blue-gray. I was able to paint the living room, foyer, and hallway in a little more than a gallon of paint without having to prime. The brown you see above is a mixture of a creamy yellow and a fudgesicle brown.
So there you have it, a frugal girl's guide to sprucing up your pad!