(Closed) Tell me your home decorating/remodeling saving tips!

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 3
3295 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

well besides doing as much work yourself as you can… we have bought alot of stuff off craigslist! theres a ton of stuff for sale there! even materials for our kitchen πŸ™‚ i think that tile is always a good choice… rather than lamanate… i hate the fake tile, i tore it all out of my house and replaced it with ceramic which is fairly cheap (compared to real stone or porcelain).  i would say that a lot of neutral warm colors are a plus for me…. i also like nice looking fixtures (i think that the plain jane cheapest ones can really cheapen an otherwise amazing space).  curb appeal is a big one thats sometimes overlooked too! i love a quaint little entryway!!!! πŸ™‚ good luck with your new home/ investment!!! its so much work but its sooooooo worth it!

Post # 4
1566 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Here is my 2 cents….I have worked for Lowe’s as a department manager for almost 7 years so I am lucky to always be able to find screaming deals when things go on clearance.  If you happen to have one in your area here are a couple of suggestions. 

Paint..ask where their mis-tints are.  I never pay full price for paint.  They sell paint that has been ‘mis-mixed’ for $5 a gallon vs. up to $30 a gallon at full price.  Most people pick neutrals anyways so as long as you are not super-picky you can get great colors for dirt-cheap.

Appliances…Look at the scratch and dent appliances…most stores have an area set up near the appliance area with marked down…like new appliances.  If the price is not low enough…ask if a manager would be willing to take less…I know at our store we just want to get rid of them and they will take much less than what is marked.

Also…If you are planning on spending over $2,500…Lowe’s has a program called QSP (I have no idea what that stands for)…but basically the people who work at the commericial sales desk can submit your order directly to the vendors to get a discount on the product.  If you do this…go to the commerical sales desk (by the lumber area)…they are the experts on that program. 

For all other decor I can usually find great deals on Craigslist.  If you want to make your home appealing to future homebuyers…put your money into the kitchen and bathrooms!! Hope that helps!!! Good luck and have fun!!!

Post # 5
2442 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I find a lot of decorative pieces I like at Marshall’s and TJMaxx.  

When buying a house for me it is all about the everyday ammenities.  Kitchen and appliances, bathroom fixtures/options, laundry room and appliances, deck/patio, etc.

When selling your house the new owner/buyer doesn’t want to work too hard to change stuff like funky colored walls, weird carpet, strange tile choices, etc.  

My personal motto is install neutrals (carpet. paint colors, tile, appliances, etc.) but decorate with color (furniture, curtains, artwork, throw pillows, etc.) because those things can be easily changed.

Post # 6
223 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Check if there’s a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area.  My understanding is that they get a lot of “left over” stuff donated to them when people buy too much stuff.  Some of their stock also comes from excess materials from their home builds. You’d be surprised what you can find here–doors, windows, toilets, even patio furniture.  Heavily discounted. 

As far as “paint in neutral colors” goes, I see that rationale, but for me, I didn’t let this stop me from choosing colors that I liked, mainly because I LIKE to paint and have no problem repainting the walls back to boring old eggshell when its time to sell the house.  Usually, by the time you sell your home, you’re going to have to repaint anyway from patching holes & drywall repairs so to me it didn’t make a difference what color I originally put on my walls. 

Post # 7
14494 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I sold my home 5 years ago and remodeled and decorated the whole thing with my deal finding abilities.  I made a “look book” for the whole house room by room to keep myself on track and to keep myself from buying things just because they were a deal.  I called or stopped in at paint, tile, carpet, and cabinet places at least once a week to ask about special order returns.  I got the tile for my bathrooms for pennies on the dollar because I took all of it and it was more than enough.  I also ended up doing the landing with the tile I had so much.

I also got my kitchen cabinets super cheap as a custom return.  I ended up having to have one cabinet custom made as the set was just short of what I needed, but the cabinets were all hard wood and stunning.  The installer told me I still saved 75% by waiting for a return and having one made.

Carpet was also a custom return.  I had enough to do the whole upstairs of a split level in a beautiful grey berber.  Because I had a friend hall it and install it, it ended up costing me less than the tile.  My friend is a carpet installer so he already had the pad and all he charged me was a case of beer.

For the kitchen I stuck to linoleum, but my kitchen was HUGE.  I got the end of a roll for just a few dollars a linear yard.  Part of that was the salesmans fault, he wrote it down as linear yard rather than square yard and since they wrote it down that way I was able to hold them to that price.  I added an island to the kitchen because of the size, but instead of buying an expensive island, I put two old buffets back to back and had a counter top made for it and added casters.  I can’t take credit for that idea, even though it was beautiful, I got it from one of the HGTV shows.  I still wish I had taken it with me.

For furniture, since at the time I was a single parent, I relied on CL and Furniture Marts clearance section.  I bought some things at garage sales and redid them.  I was lucky that I had a friend that recovered couches and chairs for a living and she would let me bring things to her shop and she would help me recover them afterhours.

For me, it was all about patience and keeping to my look that I wanted (and some imagination).  It took several years to get the house out of the 70’s, but in waiting and finding exactly what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay, I was able to have alot of pride in what I had accomplished and for less than what my parents paid to have the kitchen redone 20 years before that.  I am still sad that I sold the house, but am thankful that I did it right before the bubble burst.

Right now we are redoing our house and our cabin.  I have two bathroom cabinets sitting in storage and am on the lookout for the sinks that I want for them.  My Darling Husband swears that I am the queen of the $50 redo as, so far, I have yet to pay more than $50 for anything in our house.

Post # 8
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

My fiance and I have been working for MONTHS on refinishing our kitchen cabinets ourselves, and honestly, I wish that we would have shelled out the $1,500 to Ikea and just got brand new cabinets.  Granted, yes, the job that we’re doing cost maybe like, $60 in supplies, but the kitchen has been ripped apart for months and it SUCKS.  If you can elect a small crew of friends to help you, I would recommend it…but if not, just go buy some…lol  πŸ™‚

Post # 9
3539 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I stick to three principles when decorating.

  1. Function
  2. Ambiance
  3. Cohesion

Sounds like a whole lot of baloney right?  But the best rooms have the best function. Do you need that cabinet because it was on sale? or does it go with the whole room – is it a pain in the whatsit? or you bought it cause it looked good?

Ambiance: What look are you going for? Most people dont have a “Style” but you should either match by furniture.. OR colour scheme.  They seem to be the most common two.

Cohesion: Is it something your happy with at the end of the day? or are you always going to be adding more or taking away? Do they go next to each other or jumble?

And my best advice… if you cant afford it! FAUX IT!  You can make the most plainist of stuff look fabulous.

You can colour wash stuff, drybrush, whitewash it, add texture, metallic paints, polished stone, wood graining, stenciling..

You can upholster stuff – all you need is fabric (leather, textile etc) mdf, cotton batting and a stable gun πŸ™‚

And there are usually 10 steps to achieve it

  1. Create an inspiration folder! – keep looks that you love (no need to copy furniture for furniture) Two words  – Intuition and innovation πŸ™‚
  2. Create a realistic budget – There needs to be a limit on how much money you spend and its not just by going on how much is in your bank account. Its setting aside that money. – Find that high ticket item you like that you cant afford but dont buy it. Have a look at it what you like about it.. style etc and then go find it at a thrift store.
  3. Determine your design style – which means ask question.. What the hell do you really want anyway? Cultural? vintage? whats you? And dont be afraid if you like too many styles. OWN IT!!! create your own damn style πŸ™‚
  4. Consider the scale of stuff – hieght width dept and length of your furniture.  No point in buying big furniture if it doesnt quite fit in that corner so well. πŸ˜› And also…. The room should evolve around you – no point if your short buying tall furniture. Its just going to over power you!
  5. Create a furniture inventory! – Find out what you need for each room – whats the point if you have two single chairs and all you really want is a couch? Also..
  6. Keep an uncluttered prospective  in other words – kick out the crap you dont want. Somewhere there is going to be something hideous you bought – chuck it. Cramming too much furniture or too many accessories can loose your scale prospective.
  7. Work with one small space at a time. πŸ™‚
  8. Final function check – is this stuff working? does it serve your function?
  9. Create a work flow and schedule – lists are the bomb diggity πŸ™‚ Try priortize on how much work load you have, skill level and your availability. No point in redoing a bathroom if you have people coming over in a week. That stuff needs to be planned πŸ™‚
  10. DIY saves you a hell alot of money but be realistic about what you can do yourself and what you cant. Like for me.. I can put a room together but ask me to create a bench or something and im a loser at it. πŸ™‚ thats why i ask a carpenter to do it for me.
  11. Always reasses cohesion. Is it the look I am going for or are you just ‘making do’. If you dont like a paint colour and you painted a wall in it. Go down to the store and choose another colour.

I have a hell of a lot more tips. For the last 7 months I have been reading this stuff over and over because we thought about renovating and I bought dozens of books with tips, tricks… because I wanted to tackle it on my own. In the end we decided to build, so while I will have nearly I want it will be pulling it all together with paint, accessories and all that. πŸ™‚

Sorry its so long winded, I just enjoy this stuff and like sharing!!

Post # 10
1701 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Yes, IKEA kitchen cabinets are a good bang for the buck, and look great.

My advice with the rest is to be patient.  Everything will go on sale, and most of the time you really do not need to buy the expensive stuff.  Wait for the sale and with the sale buy the less-expensive version.  

I’m not usually one to clip coupons or read the sale fliers, but we have saved a lot of money by only buying our home reno stuff on sale. 

Post # 11
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I think the thing to remember for you since this house is a investment property is return value vs money spent.

In our current home literally the house has been updated. There were certain things we did the bare minimum because honestly it would not have added much to the resale value.

So everything you do think about if you will get what you put in back in the resale value.

Think not what you would pay for it but what a potential future buyer would pay for the add ons/updates you are making.

There is also DirectBuy which has appliances, furniture, windows, etc at dealer prices. It is a membership club but if you know someone who has a membership it’s worth taking a look for the big ticket prices. We have 2 friends that are members and they have always offered to bring us there for furniture, appliances, etc. We def plan to take them up on it in our next forever home.


GREAT tips. We got a Brinkmann smoker from BJs for like $100 because it was scratched and missing some parts. The smoker is originally like $500!! We just called up the manufacturer and they shipped out the missing parts to us free!

I will def keep the QSP at Lowes in mind for our future home!

Post # 12
6572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

I haven’t been a big help in fixing up our new house (I’m 39 weeks pregnant so I do have an excuse!), but I’ve been in charge of redecorating and finding furniture. I found a lot at antique stores, old furniture that has been repainted. We’ve also gotten some stuff at thrift stores and you can redo it yourself if needed. Especially for things like picture frames. I refuse to spend $5 on a frame when I can get it at Salvation Army for $.50.

Post # 13
984 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

We are in the process of building our first house and have already started collecting things to help fill it up. We’ve never really decorated before and haven’t really put an effort in before (what’s the point when you move every year) so I’m just kind of winging it by finding things that I/we love and making sure they are functional (for the most part, decor items are more for ambiance).  Here’s some tips I’m living by:

-Pinterest.com. Get an invite, open an account and start getting ideas. There are great inspirations to be found there and it’s also a great place to keep track of ideas and pieces you find online.

-Hobby Lobby(if there is one in your area)! Great for decor items, watch their flyers as different departments are on sale every week. They had metal decor items 50% off last week. Plus there is stuff to make awesome DIY projects (if you are into that)

-Antique/consignment/second-hand stores are great places to find furniture at a steal. The best part is that you can paint it to fit your taste.

-Outlet stores! Total bargins if you hunt. We’re really lucky that we have a JC Penny outlet right around the corner, found an awesome cupboard/dresser for the guest room for only $40. I just need to paint it. I will say that it’s been hit or miss there quite a bit but you just have to be patient.

-I read somewhere once that if you love the pieces you have in your home it will work. Now I’m sure there has to be some cohesion but I am kind of living by that rule.

So far that’s all I’ve got. Hope that helps! Good luck!

Post # 15
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010


Some examples are

when insulating our crawl space we used batt insulation instead of sprayed insulation. It was $300 vs $2k+.

When updating our master bath we put in new ceramic tiles and tiled the whole shower and put in a rainfall shower head. My Brother-In-Law was going crazy with idea of side jets, etc etc. As much as I would love that in our forever home in a house I knew we would be selling in a couple years I could not justify the cost. I don’t see getting the return of the cost of that in the selling price.

Replacing all the windows in the house we went with a trust manufacturer – Pella and standard sizes although our openings were not standard. We just built it up. Single pane vs dual pane. These are all big differences. New thermal windows = appealing in a home on the market. Would the typical home buyer know the difference between a window with single pane vs dual pane vs argon filled and all that? Probably not and most likely won’t get that extra money back for it either.

Dishwasher broke and needed a new one. Getting the cheapie $199 vs the $400+ stainless steel uber cool model.

Just stuff like that, we are constantly asking ourselves would we get the money back in our selling price.

Post # 16
5271 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

We hired an extremely affordable contractor; because he was so affordable we were able to update alot more items then initially expected. So, ask your neighbors, family, friends who they have used – thats how we found him & we recommed him to everyone.

In terms of decorating, be sure you buy each item for a purpose. Don’t buy something b/c you like it, decide first what feel & style you want for each room. Then buy decor items/ furniture that fit that idea.

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