Wednesday, March 5, 2014

making your house a HOME...on a budget!

owning a house and getting to finally make it a home- just how i like it- has been more fun than i imagined! to be honest, though, it didn't necessarily feel that way at the start.

as soon as we purchased the house (ok, ok- WAY before that), i started looking through my pinterest boards again and again- making huge plans and decisions about how i wanted to decorate our new space. it was going to be amazing- i was sure of it- and i was finally going to be able to actually recreate some of my most favorite pinterest images!

...cue reality check.


oh yeah- decorating costs money and it can really add up fast if you're not careful. after all the gazillion unforeseen costs that come with home ownership (inspection, insurance, window coverings, making our garage door automatic, hard water removal from exterior windows, etc, etc, etc), there was little money left in our budget for all my wonderful decorating plans.

but anyone can make a house look amazing with unlimited cash. i decided to let the fun be in the thrill of the hunt for the best bang for my buck when it came to decorating. we've been in our new home for five months now and love the way the interior is coming together so i thought i'd share a few things i've learned throughout this process.


i've got nothing against the boob ceiling lamp that we all know and love but sometimes switching it out for another option can really make a huge difference in a room.

example: our dining area.

the biggest downside to our home is that we only have a small eat-in kitchen. no formal dining room. to help make this area feel special and a little more separated from the rest of the kitchen, we swapped out the boob lamp for this hanging fixture from ikea.

grand total: $40

we also updated our two outdoor lighting fixtures on the front of the house which also made for a nice change at only $40 each. eventually, i have plans to continue on my boob lamp upgrade mission and put in some more appealing and fun lighting options in the living room, hero's room, and our bedroom.


when we bought the house, the whole thing had been dipped in beige- every wall and ceiling. thankfully, it was a nice, light shade of beige so we didn't have to get rid of all of it but it was still rather boring. i knew that i wanted to have white walls. i love how they make a room feel so fresh, clean, and bright. in a perfect world, i would have painted the whole house in white and two or three other soft and pretty coordinating colors. but our budget had other plans. so i just picked a few areas to paint- the living room, three upstairs bedrooms, and hallway. chas had the genius idea to paint the hallway the pretty blue/gray color. he's a keeper.

it's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a space.


love a look but can't afford the price tag? be patient and keep your eyes open for a more budget-friendly alternative.

example: i wanted to buy these mirrors from pottery barn for our entry way but couldn't justify the $200. so i just let that space sit bare for a while until the perfect solution came along- and eventually it did!

while at target yesterday, i came across these square mirrors for only $5 a pop! i also found this little foot stool/bench for $40. i love how the mirrors and bench look together and love knowing that i got it all for a fraction of the price of those pottery barn mirrors!

grand total: $55


for the first almost 4 years of our marriage, we had the same bedding. it was fine but after so long, we were dead tired of it and needed a change. we got rid of our quilt and purchase a white duvet cover, new white sheets, bed skirt, throw pillows, accent blanket, and lamps.

my mom and i made a day of shopping all our favorite bargain stores and, of course, target, and were able to create a whole new bedroom!

grand total: $170


chas and i painted this same mural in our apartment's unfinished basement (tutorial here) when i was pregnant with hero. i thought it would be fun to recreate the same mural in her room. i love this mural because it's relatively easy. you for sure don't have to be an artist or anything to do it- as long as you can wield a paint roller and painter's tape, you'll be good to go.

for just the cost of a few basic paint supplies and a little DIY labor, hero's room is unique and special.


i don't hunt at thrift stores often but have definitely found some treasures thrifting and/or searching the classifieds online ( here in utah).

although both this little end table and chair will eventually be upgraded. but for now they look pretty great in our living room.

speaking of the living room, i also think it's good to save up and invest in some nice, staple pieces. chas and i purchased this sectional (on sale) when we bought the home. it was definitely a big investment for us but we knew that it would be a great couch for the space and something that could last a long, long while. up until now, the couch we had was actually an outdoor couch. cute but not amazing. we waited 4 years to buy this sectional and it was for sure worth the wait!


while putting together hero's basement playroom (again, on a tight budget), i knew i wanted a really big print framed and hung on the wall. unfortunately, big prints cost big money. so, i got creative and asked my amazing graphic designer friend, stephanie, to design this simple image for me. then i got it printed it costco and purchased the frame from ikea. done and done.

grand total: $40

the slide in the playroom is second-hand and i got those "p-l-a-y" letters from hobby lobby (on sale) and painted them white. this whole room ended up coming together for only $230 total. (a little more than my budget of $200 but i just couldn't say no to that pink striped ikea rug!).

this little library set-up just makes me happy. (wall shelves from ikea)


when we first moved in, i started having this weird anxiety because i suddenly felt like i had to decorate and perfectly furnish every single corner of this new house RIGHT THAT SECOND. wrong. my mom, as she always does, talked some sense into me.

trying to do everything all at once is like a kid stuffing allll the marshmallows in his mouth at once. it sucks all the fun out of the process. instead, i'm trying to just be patient and calming eat the marshmallows one at a time and enjoy the fun of the process and hunt for great finds.

there's still lots and lots to do but it's nice being able to both enjoy the areas of the house that are more put together AND having future projects to work on (our basement office, new baby's room, laundry room, basement bathroom, and guest bedroom).


Laynah said...

These are really good tips! We are dipping our toes into the home-buying process and I am exactly where you were at your pinterest phase! I'll be on the lookout for that reality check you mentioned, I'm sure its coming haha

Emily Baker said...

even with my little apartment i have to control myself and say "it'll all happen over time."

emma said...

such great tips! your home is so beautiful.

Mumsy: said...

Your home is absolutely stunning Sam! It makes us want to come up there more often!

Christa Suppe said...

I love it all!

your home looks so bright and open! :)

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