Published in: Banks | Sept. 7, 2019

8 Tips to Decorate Your New Home Without Going Broke

By:  Lyle Daly

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You don’t need to go into debt to decorate your new home.

When you move into a new house or apartment, you’ll probably want to decorate it and make it your own as soon as possible. But decorating can be expensive, especially when you’ve just paid for moving costs.

So, the goal is to decorate your new home without spending too much, and there’s a right and a wrong way to do this. Here’s an example of doing it the wrong way: I remember a friend once sent me a picture of his new apartment and excitedly told me how he only spent a couple hundred dollars because he got everything at thrift stores. My initial thought?

Yeah, it sure looks like you got everything at the thrift store.

While thrift stores may be popular for shoppers on a strict budget, they’re a better place to get one or two pieces rather than all of your décor.

So, what’s the right way to save money as you decorate? Here’s what you can do.

A stylishly decorated living room with green, black, and white accents.

Image source: Getty Images

1. Find ways to use what you have first

The biggest savings you’ll make are by using items you already have. See what furniture you have that could fit in your new home. Before deciding that something won’t work, think about ways you could repurpose it.

For example, instead of getting rid of an older, worn-out sofa, check how much it would cost to reupholster it. This could end up being much cheaper than replacing it entirely.

2. Consider going with a minimalist style

The minimalist style, which is when you keep your décor simple and more restrained, has been a popular trend in home decorating for years now.

The nice thing about this approach from a budget perspective is that you won’t have to buy as much. You’ll also have an easier time laying out each room because you aren’t mixing and matching as many pieces.

3. Open a savings account for home décor

Although consumers often finance furniture and other home décor using store credit cards, it’s always better if you can pay the full price upfront and avoid taking on debt.

One smart way to save for this is to open a new savings account specifically for decorating your home. Make monthly deposits of an amount you can afford, and you’ll have more cash for home décor when you need it.

4. Aim for quality when buying staple pieces

Some people consider good furniture to be an investment, which isn’t necessarily true. Unless you’re royalty, it’s doubtful anyone will ever buy your loveseat for more than it originally cost you.

That being said, it’s absolutely worth it to get quality staple pieces, as they could last you for years, and even decades. You’ll spend less in the long run if you buy high-quality beds, sofas, and rugs; odds are that you’ll keep them much longer than you would cheaper alternatives. And, as you can see below, there are several ways you can get them at decent prices.

5. Browse local marketplace sites

While there can be good deals at thrift and vintage stores, you can also find plenty of bargains without leaving the house.

On local marketplace sites, sellers can list secondhand items they no longer need, and buyers can get quality pieces at a hefty discount. These sites are especially useful for staple pieces, such as sofas, armchairs, and tables, that can be expensive when you buy them new.

Here are a few popular marketplace sites to check out:

  • OfferUp
  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • LetGo

6. Buy floor items at furniture stores

Want to get almost-new furniture at used furniture prices? One smart strategy is to purchase the floor items that stores use in their showrooms. These may have a little wear, but it’s usually nothing significant, especially considering you could buy furniture at half its original price this way.

While you can often find pieces like this at outlet stores, another option is to visit furniture stores near the end of a season when they’re doing their best to get rid of old items before they bring in new ones.

7. Look for budget-friendly accent pieces

If staple pieces are where you should spend more, accent pieces are where you can cut costs.

There’s often not a huge difference in quality between affordable accent pieces and higher-priced alternatives. You’re also a lot more likely to replace these when you want a fresh look for a room or when you move, whereas larger furniture is something you’ll probably hang on to.

So when it comes to throw pillows, side tables, stools, and any other accent pieces, don’t spend too much.

8. Be careful about financing furniture

It’s obviously better to pay for your furniture in full, but what if you don’t have enough saved? Sometimes your only realistic option is to finance the purchase. After all, if you don’t have a bed, it's not very appealing to have to sleep on the floor or buy a used mattress of dubious quality.

Furniture stores may have so-called zero-interest payment plans available, but these are often deferred interest plans. That means if you don’t pay off the full balance by the end of the intro period, you’ll be on the hook for interest going back to the date of the purchase.

Another financing option to consider is a 0% intro APR credit card. These cards waive the interest during the intro period, so if you can’t pay off your balance before that period ends, you’ll only be charged interest on the remaining balance.

Decorating on a budget

While home decorating can be costly, it doesn’t have to be. By planning well and shopping around for deals, you’ll benefit both upfront and in the long term. You’ll save money on the furniture you buy while still getting quality pieces that will last you for years to come.

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