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You don’t need to be rich to have a beautifully decorated home. Here are some basics to decorate on a budget.

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After a breakup, I recently moved out of a 3-bedroom townhouse into a smaller 1-bedroom apartment. I’m living alone (yay!) but it also means that I alone am responsible for paying my bills. Which means a stricter budget and a lot less money to spend on fun stuff, like home decor.

But this gave me an occasion to think about decor on a budget. How can I use my functional, neutral furniture (pale grey couch, dark brown kitchen table, mattress set without a frame) to make my new home something that I’m happy to spend most of my time in? By getting cheap, easily replaceable decor elements that I can change according to my whims.

1. Living room: accessorize!

To refresh the look of your living room, you don’t need to buy a new couch or repaint the room. All you have to do is change a few accessories, and voilà, you have a brand new space.

On the cheap, you can easily get plenty of cushions and throws. Even better: get cushion forms and make your own cushion covers with a little sewing practice. The cushion forms will be a small investment, but the fabric will cost less than getting full new cushions every time.

red couch stylish living room

Throws (the regular-sized 60 in x 50 in) are also inexpensive (about $50) and useful if you want to refresh your living room. Look for trendy, seasonal prints and knits–right now the faux-fur trend is really big. And, honestly, you can never have enough blankets… for you, your family, your friends and your pets.

A new rug thrown under the coffee table can also have a big impact, and you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars for them. You can find smaller, trendy rugs for under $100.

2. Kitchen: it’s all about fabrics

Sometimes, there isn’t much you can do about your kitchen decor. Because I rent, I can’t repaint or redo the counters or whatever. So my decor choices remain with fabrics: the tea towels, the tablecloth, the seat cushions.

Thankfully, these come really cheap and can easily be changed if I want to get a new look. A tablecloth is an especially important piece to change the look of your kitchen/dining area. I personally prefer without, but if I wanted to add a little elegance, I would absolutely put a tablecloth.

kitchen storage spacious tile floor

Something else that’s good in the kitchen: your wall clock. Right now, I have a mother-of-pearl mosaic clock that is feminine and discreet, but I could get a big modern clock for under $50. A small price for a big change in look and feel.

3. Bathroom: one-stop shower curtain solution

When I went shopping for bathroom accessories, I was surprised at how expensive they were. A full kit would have cost me about $150!

But there’s an easier, cheaper way to change the look of your bathroom: the shower curtain. For $50 or less, you can get great-looking shower curtains of different styles and colors, from the most tacky rubber duckies to the most modern geometrical patterns. My current shower curtain cost me $20 and is an attractive Moroccan tile-inspired printed fabric. Once I get tired of it, I can easily change it for something else.

bathroom shower curtain

Along with the shower curtain, you can replace your bath mat and your towels. I like to buy neutral towels and bath mats that go with everything so I can just change the curtain.

4. Bedroom: duvet covers and shams

I honestly prefer having a duvet rather than comforters, just for the ability to change the duvet cover. Sure, some duvet covers don’t come cheap (the one I have right now cost $185, it was a luxury buy), but you can still get some beautiful stuff for under $100, if you’re not too picky about getting “designer” stuff.

Check out the liquidation aisle, too, where you can get last year’s duvet covers for a fraction of the original price. Or, if you have sewing talents, you can easily make your own for the cost of fabric and a few hours of your time.

bedroom subtle style bedding

I’m not a big fan of shams, but some people like to keep them around. Keep your bedding neutral, and change your shams and pillow covers rather than the bedding, and you have an even cheaper solution to refreshing your bedroom’s look.

And, of course, you can throw a new rug on the floor for less than $100 if you shop smart!

Decorating on a budget

When you’re decorating on a budget, it’s also good to spread out your purchases over time. Buy one or two new items every few weeks instead of a giant shopping spree. That way, you can rotate new decor in every room over time.

What are your cheap decor shopping tips? Share them with us in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.