How to Furnish Your House on a Budget

Did you just move into a new house or apartment? Or have you lived in your home for years, and you’re bored and ready for a whole new look? It may be time to give your house a décor makeover. And don’t worry—you don’t have to go broke to furnish or freshen up your house. Here are a few tips on how to furnish your house on a budget.

Start with pillows and throws. There’s no reason to invest in all-new furniture—you can give your current sofa and chairs and even bedroom a much-needed makeover on the cheap by buying a couple of inexpensive toss pillows and a cozy new blanket. If you buy smart (on sale or at discount and outlet stores), you can buy several sets of pillows and throws, one for each season. For fall think warm tones, such as reds, browns and oranges. Lighten your palette as the weather heats up.

If new pillows are not in your budget, look for scarves you no longer wear and wrap them around your pillow. My mother made pillow covers out of t-shirts. This is a great way to furnish your house on a budget.

When was the last time you rearranged your furniture? Sure, you can’t move a fireplace or built-in bookcase, but you can move furniture from one room to another and re-purpose it. Take a lamp that’s been in the kids’ room, paint it, buy an inexpensive new shade, and you have a completely different-looking lamp that fits perfectly in another room. A small desk can be transformed into a dressing table. Your dining room chairs don’t have to all match—swap out two chairs from you dining room with two from another room. Bar carts can easily be transformed into night tables.

Sometimes you can get a new look by getting rid of furniture you no longer need. And remember, a budget designer’s best tool is paint. It’s cheap—and transformative.

For new artwork, search through any photos you’ve taken, enlarge them and swap them with old pictures. Create a picture wall by gathering all the picture frames you have in your house, paint them the same color and arrange them on a big wall. Print some pictures in black and white for a different look. Look for cheap art at flea markets or discount home stores. When you’re on vacation, look for pieces that remind you of your trip.

Paint is not just for furniture. You can give any (or all) room in your home a new look by painting it. Paint the whole room—or maybe just an accent wall. If the room is small, think about painting the ceiling too.

If you live in an apartment and can’t paint the walls, brighten up your rooms by adding different colored accents. Use string lights in places you wouldn’t expect. Get real plants and toss out dust-catching fake ones.

Some other ideas:

  • Buy new placements; they’re cheap, and can give your table/dining room/kitchen an entirely new look.
  • Use a pretty shower curtain instead of drapes or regular curtains. They’re usually much cheaper.
  • Cake plates can be used to hold perfume bottles, art supplies or small books. I put my iPad on one, when working at my desk.Be creative. You can get lots of ideas from magazines or online. Check out all the cool looks at Houzz for inspiration.Rieva Lesonsky is an entrepreneur, best-selling author and self-educated health nut. Follow her @Rieva.Photo Credit: Digital Vision/Thinkstock