Decorating on a budget

4 Tips for Decorating Your First Home On a Budget

Purchasing your first home can make you feel like you are on a roller coaster. At first, it’s extremely intimidating to enter the market with a million questions. Then, once you realize you’ve found your dream home, you may be on pins and needles hoping you’ll be able to close on it first. Once it’s finally yours, the excitement only builds. That is… until you watch all the bills piling up.

Buying a home is expensive, and furnishing it is the not-so-sweet icing on the cake. Sure it’s a fun, new adventure to start with a blank canvas and allow your creativity to run wild, but the costs can add up very quickly, and if you’re on a budget, this can cause a lot of stress.

When you feel like you’re walking a tightrope between splurging on all the exciting features you want or staying within your budget, you may need some guidance to help keep you on track.

Here are four financially savvy tips that can help you decorate the home of your dreams without breaking the bank.

1.) Define Your Budget

All good things begin with a well-thought plan. If you don’t define some sort of budget beforehand, you’ll have no structure to work with when you start styling your new home.

Before making any purchases, explore the market and see what kind of costs you can expect to pay for what you need. Then, write out a list of all the items you’re expecting to purchase. To keep things organized, you can plan according to what you need for each room. If you already have some key items to decorate your home then you’ll be off to a great head start.

Once you create your shopping list, write the average price range beside each item. If you’re on a tight budget, add up all the lowest costs and use that number as your budget. If you have a little wiggle room, you can choose some items from the higher end of the price range.

Keep your budget handy with you while you do your shopping so you can be sure you aren’t exceeding your limits in any areas. Having a tangible copy with you at all times will help keep you accountable for your spending.

2.) Start Shopping for the Essentials

Let’s face it: Some things just aren’t worth skimping on. When it comes to the major pieces of furniture for your home, it may be necessary to spend a little extra for better quality and durability. It may feel like you’re footing a large cost upfront, but you’ll be better off in the long-run as you won’t have to replace these expensive items as soon. Starting with the necessities will make sure you focus on the priorities and fit them into your budget, rather than forgetting about them and having to exceed your budget on a big purchase.

Consider which items are on your essentials list on a room-by-room basis. The major pieces you’re probably concerned with are your couches, appliances, and your bed. Here is a quick rundown on best practices for each of these essentials:


If you’re still using those hand-me-down couches you purchased from a guy down the street to get you through college, it’s time for a revamp! Your couches define the energy of your living room. If they’re dingy and old, no one will want to sit and relax there. If there’s too formal and stiff, people will feel as if it’s just a room for show. Take a lot of consideration into what kind of space you want to create. When it comes to finding the best deals, search warehouse sales and discount furniture stores.


This includes your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer and dryer units. If you’re lucky, you may already have some of these. If you’ve never had to purchase one before, the cost may be a big shock. Appliances can be very expensive when they come with all the bells and whistles. Choosing standard options will still offer high-quality devices while keeping you in budget. While you don’t want to buy the cheapest option that will likely break and cause you issues, you also don’t need to choose the most deluxe version for everything.


Just like your couches, the bed you’ve been sleeping on since college is ready for a replacement. Experts recommend switching your mattress every 10 or so years anyway for better sleep quality and health. The market for buying a mattress has changed a lot in recent years, moving to direct-to-consumer online retailers that ship in a box rather than shopping in old brick and mortar stores. Take advantage of the online space and the availability of reviews of the top competitors. This gives you plenty of opportunity to do your research, make comparisons, and be sure you’re finding the best deal.

3.) Skimp Where You Can

To save money, you may have to get a little crafty. Consider where you can skimp in any possible scenario. For example, instead of framing expensive artwork in your home, you could create your own pieces, frame printouts from online sources, or find cheap pieces at your local antique store. Unless the guests who frequent your house are art connoisseurs, it’s likely that no one will notice the difference.

The same goes for your dishware. A glass is a glass and a plate is a plate. Buy the cheapest items on the shelf that look nice and avoid that fine china you would never use anyway. Tables and chairs are also an easy item to skimp on. Find cheap options at antique stores or estate sales and do a quick DIY project to refinish them and make them look like new pieces.

Any place you can pinch a penny will add up to large savings in the end, so keep your mind open to buying used when it makes sense.

4.) Host a Housewarming Party

When you’re moving into your first home, the people in your life are often very excited for you as well, which calls for a party! Hosting a housewarming party is a great way to get all those little extras you need as gifts. Just like when you have a bridal shower or any other type of party, you can create a registry to ask for all the items you still need. Be sure to be intentional with your registry rather than just choosing any exciting decor you see so you make sure you actually get what you need.

If you plan it right, moving into your first home can be a time full of excitement. Stick tight to your budget and be smart about your spending so you can create your dream home without additional financial stress.


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