Cheap Decorating Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

Looking to put your stamp on a new space, or just looking for ways to spruce up an existing space? Here are a bunch of cheap decorating ideas that won't break the bank or leave your home looking like a DIY gone wrong.

Paint the Ceiling

Painting Ceiling
Painting Ceiling. hanohiki/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Pick up a gallon of paint and add a splash of color to the ceiling in one of your rooms. Painting a ceiling takes half as much money and time as painting all the walls in a room, and the effect is often far more dramatic. Figure on $40-75 for a gallon of paint and another $15-20 for a roller, brush and drop cloth. This is a project that you can easily knock out in half a day. Here are some tips to help you get the job right the first time:

Have a bedroom, living room or office that you want to give a restful, cozy feel? Consider painting the ceiling the same color as the walls. If you already have a wall color that you like, you just have to pick up a gallon of paint to extend the color to the ceiling.

Good to Know: If your ceiling has a popcorn ceiling that you're dying to scrap off, be sure to check for asbestos before you dive in. Homes built before 1978 often contained asbestos in the textured ceiling paint.

Give Your Light Fixtures a Makeover

Green Light Fixtures
Green Light Fixtures. archideaphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Breathe new life into dated light fixtures by repainting them, instead of replacing them. A $7 can of spray paint can completely transform the look of a chandelier or several smaller light fixtures. Just cut the power to the fixture; take it down; and carry it outside for a paint job. Then, reinstall it when you're done. 

If the sconces or lampshades are past their prime, or simply not your style, look for replacements at a thrift store, repaint them or see how the light looks without them.

Re-imagine Your Existing Furniture

Wallpapered Cabinet
Wallpapered Cabinet. Helena Schaeder Söderberg/Moment/Getty Images

Bored with your furniture, but short on cash? Find ways to revamp your existing pieces, so you fall in love with them all over again. Often a new paint color or set of drawer pulls is all it takes to completely change a piece of furniture, but there are plenty of other fun options to explore. Swap out the legs on a table to change the height and look, or add removable wallpaper to the back of a shelf for a bit of drama. If you have $20 to spare, you can find a way to remake your furniture into something new an exciting.

Tight-Budget Tip: Those little sample pots of paint that home improvement stores sell are the perfect size to repaint a small piece of furniture, and they usually only cost $3-4. Sometimes you can even catch them on sale for $.99.

Create an Accent Wall

Wood Paneling
Wood Paneling. Eak8dda/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Completely change the look of a room by adding an accent wall. This can be accomplished with completely free materials, like wood pallets, or inexpensive materials, like a quart of paint or a vinyl decal.

If you love the look of wallpaper, but can't afford to paper a room, consider papering or stenciling a single wall. Often the results are not only cheaper, but more dramatic.

Like the look of paneled walls? While it may look like a high-end finish, this is actually something that you can easily pull off in a weekend for $100 or less. 

Repaint Your Front Door

Blue Front Door
Blue Front Door. Fanny Wong / EyeEm /Getty Images

If your home is lacking in curb appeal, try repainting the front door in a fresh, eye-popping color. That's probably all it'll take to wake up your existing color scheme. Figure on spending $10-20 on a quart of paint. Have a bit of leftover paint? Consider painting your mailbox and house numbers to match your door, or use it to repaint a couple large flower pots for your porch.

If you have a few more bucks to spare, buy a new door mat and a couple plants to further brighten things up.

Shuffle Your Stuff

Restyled Living Room
Restyled Living Room. KatarzynaBialasiewicz/istock/Getty Images Plus

When you see the same stuff in the same spot day after day, it's easy to get bored with your home decor, or to simply become blind to it. But you don't need money (or more stuff) to remedy this problem. Take a walk through your house to remind yourself of what you have. Then, look for opportunities to move your stuff around. Are there things in your office that you could move to the living room, or things in the guest room that you could move to your master bedroom? Are there things that you've tucked away in the basement or attic that you should bring back out? Often it just takes a bit of shuffling to refresh a space and remind you of how much you love the furnishings that you own.

Show Off Your Collections

Collection of Vintage Cameras
Collection of Vintage Cameras. Hero Images/Getty Images

Have something that you like to collect? If it's something that you keep tucked away, find a way to put it on display, so you and your guests can enjoy your collection. Create a display on a wall, or use your shelves, mantel and coffee table to showcase your collection. Since these are things that you already own, this is no-cost decorating at its best. And there's nothing better than decorating your home with items that mean something to you.

As you consider what to pull out of hiding, be careful not to overlook everyday objects. A collection of costume jewelry or hats can serve as eye candy for your home, if you find the right way to display pieces when they aren't in use. And putting those items out where you can see them all the time, may just remind you to wear them more often.

Do a Garage Sale Switcheroo

Furniture and Home Decor at a Garage Sale
Furniture and Home Decor at a Garage Sale. Daniel Grill/Getty Images

Have a garage sale, so you can sell the furniture and decor that you're over and done with. Then, use the money you earned to buy new furniture and decor for your home. If you follow this simple strategy, you can redecorate your home as often as you'd like without spending any money out of pocket. 

Like the idea, but not interested in hosting a garage sale? Then, use Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or a consignment sale to sell your cast offs. Desirable items usually sell quickly, so you shouldn't have to wait long to switch up your space.

Tip: Looking for something specific to finish off a space? Sign up for email alerts on Craigslist, so you'll receive a notification any time a new item matching your search get added to the site. Acting fast is the key to getting desirable items.

Hide Your Tech

Charging Cellphones
Charging Cellphones. Tolola/iStock/Getty Images Plus

It takes a large number of cords and chargers to power our "wireless" worlds." All of that electronic mess may be vital to modern life, but it sure doesn't do anything for the look of our homes. There are all sorts of home organization products that promise to tame the unruliness, but it's far smarter (and cheaper) to use things you already own to make all that tech disappear.  Use a jewelry box or a tray tucked inside a drawer to create a charging station that meets your family's needs. Then, look for creative ways to hide power cords and unsightly devices, like routers. A few carefully placed baskets and storage boxes can make all the difference.

Make Nature Your Super Store

Roses in a Vase
Roses in a Vase. Jena Ardell/Moment/Getty Images

Whenever you have a room that needs a rethink, take a trip outdoors, instead of a trip to the nearest home decor store. Fill a vase with flowers or sticks for a quick seasonal update, or take a walk and see what inspires you. Drift wood, rocks and leaves all make gorgeous display pieces on a table or desk, and they don't create any clutter because you can return them to the great outdoors when you're done with them.