7 Ways to Save on Home Decor
If only your house could look like the ones featured in the pages of a magazine. Okay, so maybe you don’t care if your home’s décor is worthy of a photo shoot. But at least you want it to look nice enough that you’re not afraid to invite your friends and family over occasionally.
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Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can furnish and decorate your home without blowing your budget. These seven strategies can help you save money as you fill your house with items that will make it look great (or at least worthy of visitors).
Buy at the right times of the year. Furniture stores have clearance sales in both January and July to clear out inventory before new styles are released. Some stores have discounts of up to 60%, and many offer incentives such as 0% financing. You’ll also find a variety of home décor items, such as throw pillows, marked down in January during annual white sales.
Ask about discounted floor sample items. You often can find get great deals when furniture retailers dramatically mark down items that have been on display in their showrooms. You can do a search on the Web for floor sample sales or simply ask the sales associates at furniture stores if they have any floor samples on sale. Some pieces might have a few dings or scratches or might be slightly faded, but it’s easy to overlook minor imperfections when you’re getting a good deal. I saved more than 50% on several pieces of furniture and rugs by buying floor samples.
Save big by buying used. You shouldn’t turn your nose up at pre-owned items for two reasons. Used furniture and décor can cost 50% to 75% less than new items. And design experts advocate a mix of old and new. You need a variety of styles in your home to make it more interesting, says Kim Jones, a visual artist and freelance interior and set designer. Hit up estate sales, consignment stores, antique stores or even yard sales to find unique and affordable pieces. You can easily turn a cheap piece into something original with a coat of paint, says Joy Beth Hanks, co-owner of vintage furnishings and home décor store Digs On The River. And an inexpensive slipcover can quickly transform an ugly couch.
Don’t be afraid to haggle. Don't buy anything at a yard sale, thrift store or advertised in the classifieds online or in your local paper without haggling because negotiating is expected. You can even talk down the price of merchandise at retail stores, especially if it's the end of a season and the retailer is eager to make room for new merchandise. I’ve had a lot of success getting sales associates to lower the price of already discounted floor samples. You just can’t be afraid to ask. For tips, see Save on Everything If You Know How to Ask.
Shop at discount retailers. Stores such as Target, T.J. Maxx, Stein Mart and Cost Plus World Market are a great source of inexpensive home décor, such as decorative pillows, frames, vases and rugs. For example, you can find large baskets -- which look great and are perfect storage solutions for families with kids – at T.J. Maxx for a fraction of the price you’d pay for similar ones sold by Pottery Barn ($30 or less versus $100 or more).
Find affordable art. A great piece of art can be the focal point of a room. But don’t assume you can’t afford original art and have to settle for a mass-market piece purchased at a home goods chain store. Jones says that consignment stores are a great source of original art. Sometimes you can find paintings or pottery for just a few bucks. She once found a painting by a local artist worth thousands of dollars on sale for just $75. Online marketplace Etsy also is a great source of inexpensive original art. Digs On The River co-owner Littia Napier Wimpee recommends checking with local high school and college art departments to see if they have art sales. Maps found at Goodwill or thrift stores also can be a great way to decorate your walls, she says. And look no further than your own children’s drawings to hang in their rooms.
Get creative. A great way to save on home décor is to find new uses for things you already have, Hanks says. Look in your attic for old suitcases that can be stacked up to serve as a side table. An old silver bowl stashed in a drawer can be set out on a table for a classy way to hold keys or candy, she says. Jones says driftwood can look like a cool sculpture. Or head to a salvage shop or Habitat for Humanity ReStore (a nonprofit home improvement store) to find inexpensive used windows that you can use as unique frames and old doors to prop against a wall to add interest or turn into a table, Hanks says. An old mantel could be used as a headboard, Wimpee says. “Old stuff doesn’t have to be used for its intended purpose,” she says. For inspiration, do a search for “repurposed items” on Pinterest. Also check out design blogs such as Houzz, Apartment Therapy and DesignMom to get your creative juices flowing.