How I DIY and Decorate For Less | Little House of Four: How I DIY and Decorate For Less

Monday, August 29, 2016

How I DIY and Decorate For Less

You are probably well aware that I try my hardest to DIY and decorate our home as inexpensively as possible.  I learned real quick that there's no need to spend a fortune when you can get the same look for less.  Spend less, save the difference.  It's a great motto to live by.
Tips and Tricks for decorating for less

Paint can do wonders to a room.  Not only can it instantly brighten and make a space look larger, but with a little contrast you can bring major style to a room.  Adding dark gray paint to our exterior doors (Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore) and fireplace completely updated our spaces with minimal expense.

If you can do it yourself, adding woodwork to your walls can dramatically update your space.  Create the look of shiplap with inexpensive plywood or create a board and batten look without the boards. You can even disassemble pallets and add them to your walls for a free and custom wall treatment.  (Just make sure they are safe to use before using them indoors.)
DIY plank wall for less

Updating a dining room with molding and paint

I get it, sometimes you just want to buy something new, but you can save a ton of money by simply using or updating what you have.  Create a gallery wall with family photos or use your kids artwork instead of buying inexpensive wall decor.  Spray painting old lamps or frames can give them new life with minimal cost and effort.
thrifted frame gallery wall, diy for less

Are you tired of your living room decor?  Is your bedroom dated and in desperate need of a makeover?  Try swapping throw pillows or decorative accents to give your spaces a fresh new look.  I can't tell you how many times I move decor around my home.  Something that looked great in the mudroom can also look great in the basement and vice versa.  Paint and light from one room to another can make even the simplest pieces look different.  About a year ago I moved a black quatrefoil mirror from our hallway to the entryway.  It ended up looking completely different and popping against the new plank wall.

How I DIY for Less
I can't tell you how many times the green metal drawers have moved around our home.  Thank goodness I thought to buy two when I spotted them at HomeGoods a few years back.  They are currently in our mudroom and in my son's room, but they have also been in the basement and office. 
Decorating for Less

It really is amazing what you can find at thrift stores.  I've updated many signs and furniture pieces for our home and don't even get me started on old books.  Let's just say I don't walk out of many thrift stores without a vintage book in hand.  They are by far the cheapest and most versatile decor item you can buy.

Thrifty mudroom decor

Painted Goodwill dresser

The best time to shop is after a holiday, change of seasons and when items are marked down for new stock.  Target and HomeGoods are two of favorite stores to shop for sale and clearance items.  They are always rotating their stock and marking down seasonal items.  

Did you know that Target....

-marks down decor pieces on Tuesday?
-price tags end in $.06 or $.08 if an item is going to be marked down further?
-price tags that end in $.04 are at final price?
-puts the amount an item is marked down in the top right corner of the clearance tag?
-matches competitor ads?
-puts clearance items on end caps?
-has mobile coupons?
-allows you to combine store and manufactures coupons?
-donates items to Goodwill if they have been marked down on clearance and still haven't sold?
-marks down holiday decor 50% the day after (30% for candy) and 70% about a week after a holiday?

Target also has great items in the Dollar Spot that can be used for DIY, craft and office supplies.   

Affiliate links have been used
I never buy anything at Joann Fabrics or Michaels unless it's on sale or I have a coupon.  They always have weekly coupons that can save you at least 40% off a single regular priced item.  Every now and then Michaels has a 20% off your entire purchase coupon and you can bet I stock up on craft supplies when I have that coupon!  

If you like to shop online wait until the store offers a promotional code for a percentage off and free shipping.  That's how I snagged these stools and coffee table at a steep discount.  

shiplap wall

You know I love a good knock off project!  I've saved quite a bit of money either DIY'ing an item or finding a similar version for less.   I tend to have a champagne taste with a beer budget, so in order to get what I want I have to be creative.  There's nothing wrong with getting inspiration from your favorite stores then finding something similar for less. 

I really wanted these certain West Elm curtains for our living room.  I needed four panels, which would have put me back nearly $350.  I don't know about you, but there is no way I'm spending that kind of money on curtain panels.  I searched and searched and FINALLY found the EXACT pattern at a home decor store for a fraction of the price.  I'm talking $19.99 for two panels! 

How I DIY and Decorate for Less

I took inspiration from World Market's perpetual calendar (on sale now) and created my own for less. 
Knock off decor for less
I also created inexpensive artwork for above the kids art table after seeing a more expensive version.  I don't even own a Silhouette or Cricket machine (although they are on my wish list!), so I've had to get creative with tracing and using inexpensive elmer's adhesive letters for sign making.
DIY flash card art for less
There's nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other's (isn't that the best form of flattery?) and creating your own look for less.

More than likely if you're doing a lot of DIY projects then you'll be buying a lot of wood.  Have you ever bought a large sheet of plywood because you only needed a 2x2 section?  Yup, I do it all the time.  That's why I keep all my scrap wood for future DIY projects.  It may not be enough to do something large, but scraps are great for small projects and sparking creativity.  Plus my son loves to build with them so it's a win-win at our house. 
thrifty farmhouse market sign
Creating a beautiful home doesn't have to be expensive.  It won't happen overnight, but if you take your time, search for deals and keep an open mind you can make your home look amazing without breaking the bank.  

Love what you see? Subscribe to Little House of Four here!

* indicates required


  1. These are such great tips! I look forward to the day we can paint our house because all the walls are a horrible tan and I hate it!

  2. i have followed you for quite awhile now and you do amazing things with inexpensive stuff and you home is awesome xx

  3. It is an absolute treat to visit your blog. You are always up with insightful and helpful blogs. I am totally with you that DIY'ing has potential to bring newness and inviting appeal to the home.

  4. Stopping by from the share thread. So happy to find this post. You do great work. Enjoyed it very much. Susie from The Chelsea Project

  5. I love these brilliant ideas! I'm constantly changing up accessories and charity shopping has become my new obsession. I do still supplement from shopping hauls, but that tends to be around big seasonal events, like Halloween. Well... a girl has to have a little retail therapy! Your home is beautiful and inspiring Katie. Thank you for sharing it with us. Sue - The World of Suzy Homemaker