In this volatile economy, keeping a healthy home is especially important to maintaining balance. The good news is that a beautiful, supportive space doesn't have to cost a lot. Apartment Therapy is constantly peeking into the homes of real people across the country. Those nice folks that let us into their spaces tell us time and again that their dream homes aren't the result of overspending, but rather paying attention to quality over quantity, reusing whenever possible, taking on DIY projects, and being educated about what they buy. Click below for advice from a few of our favorite smart spenders...
Cheap makeover ideas from Amy: Whenever I'm feeling like my place is a little lackluster, I give it a good scrub and rearrange some of my, well, knickknacks. It gives the place a quick makeover.
DIY inspiration from the Fosters: We completed 95% of the construction of our home remodel ourselves. Recently it was the design/build of our platform bed made with solid Walnut.
Jeff and Jennifer advocate reuse: Taking elements from the 1870's to the 1970's, with a bit of an emphasis on the 1950's, we've created a style of Transitional Maximalist Americana. We both find comfort in being surrounded by things that have belonged to others who lived before us.
Kathleen and Alex on taking the time to find the right piece: Don't just buy things to fill space—buy things that you love, even if it means waiting.
Karl's advice on small space living: Don't do drugs or McMansions.
Advice on thrifty decorating from Dominic: I bought the apartment last year, then painted it and furnished it...I purchased every single item (including dishes and wine glasses) through either Craigslist, eBay or nearby thrift stores along with Ralph Lauren bathtowels and Calvin Klein bedding from Filene's. I did the whole apartment for under $3,000, which was the original price of the living room's custom made sectional sofa with Mohair upholstery--I paid $650 for it.
From Drew and Ernie: You really don't need to spend as much as you think to have a cool place.
Credit advice from Christy and John: Elective changes should be cash only; avoid loans and credit for all but the absolute necessities.
For all AT:Chicago House Tours, click here.