10 Unexpected — and Cheap! — Items to Decorate With, According to Design Experts


Image Credit:  Sylvie Li

Image Credit:  Caroline Sharpnack

Some of the best accent pieces are a bit off the beaten path. These 10 unexpected items can double as stylish, affordable home decor and will help set your space apart from all the rooms you see on social media.

Image Credit:  Jewel Marlowe

Musical instruments

Guitars are an obvious choice especially if you go the route of wall mounting. Smaller metal instruments would also look great in shelfie or vignette arrangements.

Image Credit: Sourya Venumbaka

Repurposed baskets

“Inspiration can be found anywhere, but have you looked in the kitchen section of IKEA?” Instagrammer Sourya Venumbaka says. All Venumbaka had to do was add a bulb and a metal backplate then plug it into a nearby outlet.

Image Credit:  Victorian Bonhomme

Clothing and accessories

“Scarves and shawls make for great wall decor with small nails to hold them in place,” designer Leah Alexander says.

Image Credit: Tiffany Barino

Stylish matches

“You can use them for small pops of color; they also provide an opportunity to display pretty vessels that you can use to store them in. Best of all, you can pick up a box for as little as $4,” Instagrammer Tiffany Barino says.

Image Credit: Joanna Buchanan

Vintage silver

You don’t see silver used so often these days, but gems are out there, waiting to be found and displayed. “Use vintage silver as clusters or cache pots,” urges says Joanna Buchanan, a home accessory designer, and entertaining expert.

Image Credit: Sourya Venumbaka

Everyday cards and photos

Keep photos of your favorite people, places, and things out in the open by displaying cards and magazine pages on inspiration boards or even tossing a stack of polaroids in a bowl on your coffee table for easy perusing.

Image Credit: Shruti Chopra

Mismatched plates

“I collect lots of mismatched mid-century plates from eBay for formal and informal dinners,” designer Kate Hume explains. “I style them with stems of flowers in between.”

Image Credit: Raquel Langworthy

Air plants

“Air plants are a must when styling a built-in, a coffee table, or creating a spa-like bathroom,” designer Danielle Chiprut says. “Their affordable price point and their ability to thrive with minimal maintenance make them a shelfie staple!”

Image Credit: Viv Yapp

Children’s artwork

Celebrate your kiddos’ artistic skills by keeping their colorful pieces on display. "One of our go-tos for stylish decor that doesn’t break the bank is framed children’s artwork,” designer Katie Davis says.

Image Credit: Viv Yapp

Existing pieces

"I love to get creative with the placement of objects I already own,” designer Sara Swabb says. “Think rope adorning your ceiling, flat-woven baskets on a wall, art and lamps in the kitchen, or outdoor ceramics on mantels.”


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