1) Use paint. Paint is cheap and easy to change. It also gives a dramatic result and can be applied in endless ways. Go ahead and choose a big, bold color to give your walls a fresh and inexpensive makeover. Remember that light colors make spaces look larger while dark colors make them look smaller. If you prefer cool colors, opt for a light shade or add a hint of grey to the mix to avoided pastels without making your abode into a cave.
2) DIY your decor. Avoid hiring other people to do things you could do yourself and enjoy the savings. Whether you're painting or installing new back splash, there are plenty of projects that are simple to do and have a big payoff. If you're not sure how to do something, check out an online video for a free tutorial.
3) Bring in your family and friends to help with the work. You may not know how to install a new ceiling fan, but maybe your dad does. Look at all of your potential resources before your decorating project gets underway. Call in the people you know when you need muscle or man-power then offer drinks and pizza for an impromptu after party. You'll have fun while you save money.
4.) Get a little thrifty. There's no social stigma with shopping thrift stores or yard sales anymore. In fact, there is a huge market for online yard sales where you can find great items at a fraction of retail price. Consider looking for paintings, furniture that can be up-cycled and other items at a resale shop before going to the store. Not only will you save money - your home will also take on a one-of-a-kind look that nobody else will be able to replicate.
5) Don't sweat the small stuff. Being OK with less than perfect merchandise will allow you to snag great deals on damaged or floor display items. Look for the store's as-is or clearance area to get the bargains.
6) Shop off the rack. Buying in-stock items and not ordering them or having them custom-made will save you a bundle of money. Off the shelf frames, mats and art are perfectly fine to use. You can always refurbish items with your own personal touch for a more unique look. Plain furniture can be dressed up with colorful pillows and as a bonus, in-stock means easy to change when you get the urge to redecorate.
7) Know when to shop. Most stores have sales or discounts at specific times of the year. Manages in many chain stores will give you the information on when to expect a sale, letting you save a ton of money if you're willing to wait. Sometimes, you can even get the item at the sale price before the sale just for asking.
8) Avoid matching everything. Not only is it boring, but if you match everything, you'll need to replace it all when you redecorate. Large collections for bedrooms or living rooms can also cost more, so being willing to mix than match will save you money now and in the future.
9) Learn to sew. The bygone art of sewing is the reason curtain stores and home goods stores are so popular now. If you have a sewing machine and a reasonable understanding of how to use it, you can easily make curtains, pillows and duvet covers. All you'll need to do is buy the fabric, but you'll pay a fraction of the cost of retail price and you'll have a larger choice of colors and patterns to work with.
10) Don't forget to accessorize. Don't get caught up changing the big stuff and forget to accessorize the space. You can find small objects and household items at yard sales or thrift shops that cost next to nothing. Consider using unusual objects like architectural corbels for book ends or driftwood for a fireplace mantle display.
11) Repurpose items you already own. Don't run out and melt your credit card buying new things when the decorating bug strikes. Instead, look at the items you already have and see if you could repurpose them. A little paint and some new hardware can transform a dresser, while a simple slip cover can breathe new life into your couch. Stencils, fabric paint and a little creativity can go a long way.