By Maria Burke

Decorating or re-decorating does not have to be hard and it certainly does not have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, it can be extremely fun and super easy if you keep these tips in mind!

  1. Pay a visit to your neighborhood thrift store, re-sale shop, or flea market. I cannot even begin to tell you how many awesome finds I have made at Goodwill, Salvation Army and other neighborhood thrift stores. Of course, the better the area – the better the finds, but I can safely say that I have pretty much covered the spectrum. Often times, you can find hidden gems from pricier retailers like Pier 1, Z Gallerie, Crate and Barrel, and more! These finds are considerably less than their original price tags and, more times than not, are still in great condition. So next time you pass your friendly neighborhood thrift store – stop in! You could be pleasantly surprised. And as an added bonus – many times these places are often supporting a good cause. **
  2. Little changes can make a huge impact! So many times we want to hit the ground running by trying to make huge changes to our space. That, unfortunately, is what can get us into a lot of financial trouble. If you want to make a change, try starting small. For example, introduce a new color to your scheme with a few vases, some candles, accent pillows, wall art or even a throw rug. You would be surprised at the wow factor these simple additions can make to the room.
  3. Paint your way to a new room. Painting is another fairly inexpensive way to change a room without breaking the bank. You don’t even have to paint the whole room to make a statement. Accent walls are a great way to change things up without all of the prep and work that goes into painting an entire room. A pop of color on a single wall with just the right touch of wall art and accents can turn any room from “eh” to “ooh” in no time!
  4. Mix it up. A lot of times we can get so caught up in the minutia and technicality of decorating that we forget to just let go and have fun. I find myself guilty of this sometimes and have to dial the “seriousness” back a notch or two and just let my personality and individuality shine through in my space. You should do the same! So what if the end tables don’t match the coffee table? For that matter, who cares if the end tables don’t match each other? A room can come together in a perfectly imperfect way with just the right combination. Have a good time decorating YOUR space – don’t worry about what the magazines say. Create a space that you LOVE walking into everyday!
  5. Shop for clearance or less than perfect items. I can pretty much guarantee that if I do venture into one of the larger retailers or even if I am shopping online, I have absolutely no problem heading straight to the clearance section! A lot of times you can find “diamonds in the rough” marked down significantly due to a small scratch or chip – but still perfectly functional. On rare occasions, depending on the extent of the damage, a manager or sales associate may be willing to discount the price even more, just to move the items. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask – I do!
  6. Do the unexpected! In the world of interior decorating, literally just about anything goes now. Paintings don’t have to hang on walls. Lamp shades can be up-side down. Pinks can even go with reds! Whatever your heart can imagine can pretty much be done. Keeping that in mind, and don’t be afraid to use unexpected items in totally new and different ways. I have seen bicycles hung on a wall and called art, barn doors converted into coffee tables, milk jugs and mason jars used in place of vases, rugs hung on walls in lieu of a traditional painting, and so on. The bottom line is – don’t be afraid to try something new. Who knows? It could end up being the next big trend!
  7. Break out some of that old stuff. Remember that old vase that you stashed away because you thought it was “out of date”? Well more than likely, it’s not! There is nothing new under the sun – that applies to décor as well. Today’s decorators are mixing and matching the old with the new so artfully that you can barely tell what’s been repurposed and what was purchased brand new. So before you head out in search of “new” new stuff, revisit some of the oldies but goodies that you might have tucked away somewhere and see if they might just be the statement piece that you were looking for.
  8. Get creative. I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t have a creative bone in my body!” Well guess what? With a vast array of YouTube videos, Pinterest and Facebook specialty pages, you have absolutely no excuse for not at least trying. I have also found tons of easy to do projects that look amazing and cost next to nothing to do. There are even a couple of pages dedicated to making pretty close replicas of pieces that cost hundreds of dollars in the store that you can make for less than $50 or even $20. So get out there! Explore these sites and become inspired to channel your inner artist. You might just like it!
  9. Sew what? Good question! And the answer is, “Pretty much whatever you can buy off of the shelves!” You like that $45 curtain panel? Does that accent pillow case catch you eye? Is that table runner the cutest thing you ever saw? Make it! If you are blessed to be able to adequately operate a sewing machine or hand sew for that matter, put those skills to work in your favor and make your own curtains, runners or pillow covers. Not only do you have the satisfaction of getting exactly what you want and need, you have the added pleasure of being able to say, “I DID IT MYSELF!”
  10. Décor swap. One fun idea that has become popular within the last couple of years is décor swapping. I love this because you can essentially get a whole new look for your space by simply swapping out your themed decor with someone else who also wants to try out a new look. How fun is that? No out of pocket expenses, and you get to help someone else in the process – a win-win! You could also have a décor swapping party by inviting your friends who are looking for a change of spatial scenery to bring their old décor, so you all can select what you want from what everyone else brought. You could end up with a whole slew of items to reinvent your space with.

I hope that some of these ideas have been helpful and that you will be inspired to decorate on a dime!

**LatterHouse Décor partners with Hope’s Door with resale shops in Plano and Garland, Texas. The mission of Hope’s Door New Beginning Center is to offer intervention and prevention services to individuals and families affected by intimate partner and family violence and to provide education programs that enhance the community’s capacity to respond. You can find information about Hope’s Door at www.hopesdoorinc.org