5 Secret Weapons of the Frugal Decorator

updated Oct 12, 2022
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(Image credit: Samara Vise)

Smart decorators know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a home that looks great. You just need a few tricks up your sleeve.

1. Spray paint.
Spray paint is a design workhorse, and a great way to give something a new look without actually buying anything new. Use it to rescue finds from the thrift store, to customize IKEA pieces, or just to give something you already own a bit of an update.

→ 10 Easy DIY Home Decor Ideas For Leftover Spray Paint

2. Contact paper.
If, when you hear ‘contact paper,’ you think of that terrible 70s woodgrain shelf liner, maybe it’s time to give the sticky stuff another try. Like spray paint, contact paper can be a great way to customize inexpensive pieces or give new life to ones you already own.

→ 10 Contact Paper DIYs That We’re Stuck On

→ 6 Clever Ways to Customize Kitchen Cabinets With Contact Paper

3. Plants.
Plants instantly add color and texture and vibrancy to a space, and they don’t have to cost a lot of money. There’s a reason houseplants are coming back in a big way.

→ A Plethora of Plants in Every Room

4. Craigslist.
It may not be the easiest site to search, but this local listing service is an invaluable resource for thrifty decorators. Browsing the sources on our Apartment Therapy house tours, I’ve noticed, again and again, that people find some seriously great stuff on this site.

5. The things you already have.
Creative decorators know that sometimes the thing you need to transform your home is right under your nose. If you can’t afford to buy new things, why not mix up the things you already have?

→ Shop Your Home: 10 Ways to Borrow from Other Rooms

Re-edited from a post originally published 10.2.15-NT