One of the hardest facts about owning a home is that you can’t always afford your own decorating taste! But decorating doesn’t have to be costly. With some creativity, it is possible to cut corners and purchase items cheaply without looking cheap. Here are a few smart ways to score deals on kitchenware, furniture, knick-knacks, and more!
1. Paint a room or accent wall. Paint is the most affordable decorating tool you have. Check out the “oops” paint at paint stores first. “Oops” paints are gallons of paint that were mixed for a custom order but returned to the store because it wasn’t the right color. You can purchase these paints as low as $5/gallon versus $20-$30/gallon.
2. When purchasing furniture, go to the “as is” department where stores sell their slightly damaged pieces for up to 90% off the retail price. We purchased a stainless steel stove for $500 versus the going price of $900. It had a small dent on the side of the stove that was hidden anyway from our countertops and cupboards. We also bought a lightly scratched dresser that couldn’t be seen to the naked eye at a $200 discount.
3. Purchase items off season. Outdoor Garden Centers mark down their summer inventory in October to make room for their Winter items. You can score some great outdoor pieces of furniture, like wicker patio sets, to use indoors. You can find clothes drastically reduced at the end of each season. I bought my son’s coat in February at 70% off and he used it the following winter. Purchase them now and wear them next year.
4. Purchase after the holidays. You can find great deals after the holidays. You can score amazing Christmas deals right after Christmas–lights, decorations, artificial trees, and more get drastically reduced. The same thing with Thanksgiving and Easter items.
5. Use accessories. Pick up knick-knacks and accent pieces at thrift stores and dollar stores. You can find all kinds of throw pillows, ceramics, vases, dishes, frames, toys, and more at a fraction of the cost to give an old room a new feel. Dress up your mantelpiece, kitchens, and bathrooms. As long as you don’t set out too many in the same area, they won’t look cheap. A friend Leanne at Organize and Decorate Everything says when she gets tired of her mantelscape or decor, she switches things out from room to room. What she used in the bedroom, might go on her mantel or living room and what she used in the living room, she switches to the bedroom or another part of the house.
6. Use mirrors to spruce up rooms. Use them like they are a piece of art. Mirrors can open up your rooms and reflect the decor. You can find large-framed mirrors at Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Walmart, and more at a fraction of the cost. You can use the mirrors to reflect light or group them together in a bathroom or bedroom.
7. Shop garage sales, flea markets, and estate sales for cheap finds. Hitting the weekend sales can bring about great prices. You’ll be surprised how many items are being sold and resold like new. We purchased a 32″ TV for $25. We got our daughter’s like-new Barbie Dreamhouse for $10! A cost savings of about $90. You can also find ads online through Craigslist, KSL.com, Groupon.com, and more. We bought our baby Peruvian guinea pigs through KSL.com for $20 each–a cost savings of $15/each through a pet store.
8. Shop at the hardware stores, such as Home Depot, to get great deals on lighting and rugs. They generally manufacture most of the brands they sell in lighting and rugs and they have great sales on overstock or discontinued items.
9. Speaking of “overstock”, Overstock.com has some great deals when it comes to bedding and bathroom towels. More is not always better for top-rated sheet sets. A 280-thread count costs $30 less than sheet sets of up 1,000 thread counts.
10. Get to know stores’ markdown/clearance schedules. This is an unofficial schedule for markdowns at Target from Coupon Mom. When items go on Clearance, Target consistently marks their inventory down to 15%, then 30%, then 50%, then 75% and sometimes 90% if there is anything left. They usually mark down these items on certain days (the regular Target stores discount more drastically than the Super Target stores).
MONDAY: Kids Clothing, Stationary Items, Electronics, Baby
TUESDAY: Domestics, Food, Women’s Clothing, Pets
WEDNESDAY: Men’s Clothing, Toys, HBA, Lawn and Garden
THURSDAY: Housewares, Shoes, Lingerie, Sporting Goods, Music, Movies, Books, Decor, Luggage
FRIDAY: Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware, Jewelry
11. Hold a garage sale. If you have old stuff lying around that you will unlikely use again, sell it and buy new decor with the cash. Whatever you earn from the sale will reduce your decorating costs.
12. Do your homework. Resist buying stuff on impulse. Before you buy something, make an extensive research. If you find a good deal on the Web, check out the shipping costs, which might make it more expensive than if you bought it at a local store. However, many places ship items for free.
13. Repurpose or recycle. Old T-Shirts can be made into cardigans. Sweaters can be turned into mittens. Bed sheets can be turned into window treatments. Etc. The possibilities are endless.
14. DIY and save: Maximize your existing furniture. Consider re-upholstering or using slip covers for different seasons or occasions. Re-finish wood or use a fresh coat of paint on your cabinets. Paint frames on pictures to match the latest color trends. Spray paint earrings to change out their color. You can do anything with spray paint!
15. Use online resources. You have so many resources for online tutorials to teach you how to DIY. My friend wanted a waterfall and pond in her yard, but didn’t want to spend the outrageous price of having someone install it. She spent time on YouTube and other sites watching online tutorials one after another until she felt confident enough to make it. And she did. It’s amazing! (See picture above). When I saw it, I was dumbfounded. It was a LOT of work, but she saved over $3,000. Whoa!