Stylish, Inexpensive Decorating Ideas

A lampshade with a swag of beaded fringe.

Changing the look of your home’s decor doesn't require a hefty price tag to insure a positive outcome. An eye for detail and a touch of creative thought will go further than any pocketbook when it comes to a look that suits you. While an expensive designer can make big changes, decor that doesn't suit the homeowner can appear soul-less and unwelcoming. The following ideas will help you infuse your home with style without denting your bank account—too much!

The Ceiling

We’ll start at the top. If your ceilings can use a bit of pizzazz, consider installing embossed wallpaper. It mimics the look of expensive plasterwork, but for pennies on the dollar. As a great accent, consider a large square of white embossed wallpaper as an accent in the center of a room. It can also be found to mimic embossed tin—a great way to accentuate a hearth or fireplace. Textured paper can now be found at local home improvement centers or online.

Painted accents can also be used on a ceiling. From large painted diamonds to stenciled swags of flowers, paint effects rely on the decorator’s own hand. Instead of a typical wall border, consider painting accents to ring your room—a handsome garland of ivy, an abstract pattern of entwining circles—anything you can add yourself.

The Kitchen

New cabinets are, of course, a great expense, but you can employ paint to give them an updated look. Or, consider applying various images to the panels and decoupaging them for a thematic change. For instance, for an antique cottage look, paint your cabinets ivory and apply images of antique botanical prints of fruit and vegetables. Apply several coats of lacquer to seal and you have a lovely original and a great new look.

The Floor

Can’t afford a parquet floor, but desperately want the look? It’s certainly not hard wood, but laminated flooring can mimic the look of parquet. Add a few decorative rugs and you’ll see a considerable transformation no matter where you install it. And vinyl tiles are a great way to add flooring to a mud room that sees lots of foot traffic and needs constant cleaning. But avoid peel and stick tiles. They're cheaper, but they won't last.

The Furniture

Furniture is also a considerable expense. Furniture styles change frequently and if you want to keep up with the latest color or pattern trends, consider slipcovers for some of your pieces. Not only are slip covers ideal for cleaning, they allow decorators the opportunity to change the scene all the time. Check out your local fabric store and look through all the bargain and close-out fabrics. You might be surprised at the vast array of choices that await you.

By learning to refinish furniture you may be able to find inexpensive items that simply need some attention to return to their former glory. Salvage stores are warehouses for items like this. Flea markets and second hand stores often sell useful items that can help to decoratively transform a room.

The Storage

Stylishly storing items can often pose a problem in many homes. If you want to avoid the plastic totes, consider stackable suitcases with a vintage look. You can store everything from seasonal accessories to books in these and they even make charming arrangements that can double as end tables. Even an old trunk can serve as a stylish coffee table; inside you can store photo albums, dvds and magazines for example.

The Bedroom

The bedroom can be enhanced by creating a one-of-a-kind headboard. A large canvass covered with a great tapestry or piece of fabric can be a dramatic change for any bedroom. You can also paint a piece of plain wood and mount it above the bed; then, decorate with decoupage images or floral arrangements.

The Fixtures

Lampshades can also be found on clearance shelves and embellished any way you see fit. Add fringe or beads to a plain shade or recover a shade to match an existing pattern in your room. Adding interesting ornaments to a room like shelves, picture frames, and wall sconces can also call attention to these decorative items and enliven a room.

No matter what style you choose, by adding your own creative thought to a room, you can create a look that is right for you.

Looking for more budget decorating inspiration? Check out these decorating ideas that won't cost a fortune.