5 No B.S. Decor Tricks to Upgrade Your Space on a Budget

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When it comes to finding the perfect style and decor for your home, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the choices, ideas, and options. But beautiful, sophisticated decor can be done simply (and on a budget). Before you go overboard and spend too much money let’s go over some simple budget decorating tips to help you make your house feel (and look!) like a home.

Budget Decor Idea # 1: Use Milk Paint or Chalk Paint to Update Old Furniture or Accent Pieces

Milk paint has been making the rounds the past few years as an alternative to the wildly popular chalk paint, both giving inspiration and a pallet to the rustic and Farmhouse looks, and subtle provencal embellishments. Using something simple like milk paint is one of those magical decor tips that, once you start, you may not be able to stop.

Milk paint is significantly cheaper than chalk paint because of the all natural ingredients and often is sold in a powder form that needs to be mixed with water before application.

Because of this Milk paint tends to be a bit more runny and thin.

Chalk paint, invented in the 1990s, is much thicker and is sold premixed in colors, although you can also customize colors by mixing some together.


Both of these paints can be applied without any sanding, priming, or any prep work unless the furniture you intend to apply it to is straight up shiny AF. And even then, some light sanding can help you minimize that effort (I love this article from Renovated Faith about how to sand in less than 5 minutes).

Both milk paint and chalk paint can be applied to any smooth, dry surface with similar results adding a distressed look and feel.

If you’d like to maintain the look and create something long-lasting, it’s recommended to add a bit of wax sealer about 30 minutes after you’ve applied either paint.

Chalk and Milk paint can be painted over almost anything (and often without the need for a primer or sealant).

Chalk Paint can help you get a naturally weathered look without the direct impact on your furniture, such as this weathered dresser.

Or using the paint to turn something brightly colored into a more romantic feel such as this former bright orange lantern turned gorgeous (and budget friendly too!)

Here’s a great kitchen table renovation with chalk paint and wood stain and it’s gorgeous (and I want it).

Here’s a tutorial on updating an old chair with a deep beautiful blue color and using milk paint.

And here are some helpful tips on finishing and sanding Mustard Seed’s milk paint.

Budget Decor Idea #2: Wall Stickers or Wall Decals for the Win!

Wall stickers are an incredibly budget-friendly alternative to painting or stenciling and even wallpapering a room or design.

The choices and options for wall decals are seemingly endless. We used several in the nurseries of our boys to paint scenes on the wall and add something extra.

Because they’re easily applied and easily removed the choices for changing things up when you get bored with design are endless.

Some major design retailers including Wayfair and even Target now sell wall decals.

You can use these in place of wallpaper too to add something extra to unique design in a room or create an accent wall.

Check out the massive selection at Target that breaks it down by theme and/or color:

This is a clever and inexpensive way to create a family tree photo gallery.

Speaking of wall galleries…

Budget Decor Idea #3: Create a Stunning Photo Gallery

If you’re anything like me having too many photos to frame and no place to put them is, like, a thing.

Enter the simple and elegant design of creating a gorgeous photo gallery.

What I love about this tip is the creativity is endless and you can be uber budget friendly even using dollar store picture frames.

To make this as simple as possible, buy identical frames and hang them neatly in three rows side by side.

If you’d like to be more creative, experiment with different textures and styles of frames but it’s not necessary to do this from the jump.

I love this idea for a floor to ceiling photo gallery:

And these tips for creating a wall gallery that looks professional af. When you’re designing something like this pick frames that have a cohesive color, or design. In the below you can see all the frames are the same sort of gold/off white color and they each have a mat frame. Even though the frames are different shapes, orientations, and sizes, the colors of them bring them together to make it feel intentional.

This is a super sweet family photo gallery wall that includes black and white photos and white frames.

Check out these ideas for creating a staircase gallery wall, which is a perfect space for something like a photo gallery wall that adds eye-catching appeal and a great way to showcase your favorite photos.

Budget Decor Idea #4: Buy a Quality Rug

If you’re going to invest in anything for your space let it be a high quality, durable, yet beautiful rug.

There’s a reason that many interior designers say that a rug really brings a space together. Because it does.

For years I bought rugs for function. I.e. the cheapest ones I could find that didn’t look horrible at Ross or Marshalls or Target.

Now, having seen the way a quality rug can transform a room, I’ve become a bit obsessed.

Take advantage of annual sales from companies like Overstock or Rugs USA to capitalize on the budget decor.

Here’s a list of beautiful ideas for using rugs in a bedroom to make it feel cozy, romantic, and comfortable! Especially if you’ve got hardwood floors:

Here are some fun neutral Morrocan rug ideas that integrate a classic Moroccan look and feel with updated modern and minimalist colors.

Vintage looking rugs are very popular right now as well and have staying power by incorporating that distressed look with classically designed elements:

Below are some suggestions for picking a perfect farmhouse inspired rug. Farmhouse design and decor has long been an up and comer and it seems like it’s really here to stay. The combination of feeling cozy and also modern appeals as an aesthetic for many.

If you have some DIY time on your hand, here’s a little tutorial from Bob Vila about how to make your own DIY Rug!

I love the pop of color in this modern white kitchen with a very bright boho inspired runner:

Budget Decor Idea #5: Add Color to Your Space

Regardless of what theme your space has taken on, adding a pop of color, or creating a colorful area of a room will always brighten a space and be budget friendly. The trick is to use the 80:20 rule. Use the main color for 80% of the space and 20% for your accent wall ideas.

Whether it be throw pillows on a neutral couch, a brightly painted trim on a kitchen table, or appliances or backsplashes in your kitchen, there are so many ways to bring color into your space on a budget and with minimal work.

Here are some great budget decor examples of adding that color pop to any room:

I love the green details in the pillows displayed on this couch:

This neutral living room adds a clever bit of color that’s also got some personality (and can even become a conversation piece) with a cute little pink chair:

This white bedroom decor is gorgeous with a little added drama from the deep navy pillows:

This article from Apartment Therapy features some colorful bedroom bed spread ideas:

Adding brightly colored stools is a great budget decor idea to give color to your space:

(Bonus if you paint them yourself using the chalk paint or milk paint tip from above!)

You can paint a wall in your kitchen cabinets to add a little something to an otherwise neutral space.

When it comes to updating a room or designing a space there are so many simple budget decorating ideas that can completely transform any space.

Improving the design of your home doesn’t have to be expensive (or time-consuming) and by using some of the tips above, it’s easy to integrate modern pieces on a super budget friendly timeline to turn a space into something spectacular.

Got any other budget-decor ideas? Comment below! Pin this to Pinterest to share the love of all things budget decor.

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