A Curated Home on a Shoestring Budget

We all want a home that reflects our personality right?  A space where friends and family enter, and your home speaks softly “this is who I am”.

We all deserve a space that makes us exhale and feel peace when we enter. But instead, most of us probably step into our home and feel that there is just something off….

Maybe it’s a pile in the corner we never got around to picking up, or maybe it’s those curtains that you bought years ago but every time you pass them in your home you cringe because they just don’t feel like you anymore. If that’s the boat you’re in, I’m here to say, me too! I’ve been there. But luckily I’ve found some simple ways to make my home feel like it fit’s me.

Many of us have heard the term ‘aesthetic’ and we may not think too fondly of that term as it connotes a feeling of a space or style that is too difficult to achieve for most people. But what if you could have your own unique home aesthetic, something that screams your personality and lifestyle the second people enter, believe it or not you CAN have that! And no, it won’t break the bank. I’m gonna help you get that ‘this is MY home, and MY style’ feeling with just a few easy steps.

A home should be more than just a well decorated space. It should be curated in a way that expresses the type of people or family that lives there. You might be surprised to know that there are people who get paid to step into someone’s home, and gather information on the type of people that live there. From matchmakers to forensic psychologists, many people agree that your home speaks to who you are, how you live, and what type of relationships exist in your space.

Check out this fun article from Reader’s digest explaining “what your home might say about your personality”. Without a doubt, your home conveys a message!  So if someone can walk into your space and consciously pick up on everything from your lifestyle, your hobbies, and your relationships. Then imagine how much you and your loved ones subconsciously pick up on when they are within your home!

I know for a lot of us the idea of creating a nice and cozy home that represents who we are may sound daunting but I promise you, it doesn’t have to be expensive or intimidating. Now my home is nowhere near perfect, in fact no one’s home is perfect. That’s part of the magic, but I do have some experience in creating a nice and cozy home on a low budget. For many years my husband and I have lived on just one income and had to stretch our budget.

As the keeper of our home, I have been in charge of all the tidying, deep cleaning, and interior decorating and I’ve come to love it! It’s no easy task to decorate a home, but you might be surprised how much a difference you can make by just tweaking a couple simple things in your home. Creating a nice home on a budget can seem like a big task. But don’t fear it’s possible, it just takes intention. So let me show you how I did it!

My home really started to come together after some trial and error, and after some real intention and I’m gonna let you in on the best tips I have for creating a beautiful home on a budget. Let’s get started!

Keep a clean and tidy house

This is a ‘not so secret’ rule that can elevate your home very quickly. There’s a lot to be said about what a clean home can do. Especially when there’s not a lot of wiggle room in the budget for new furniture or rugs,  taking good care of what you already own is an absolute must. Do not underestimate what some good deep cleaning can do for a space. Here’s a couple things I recommend to start with.

  • Do a quick tidy, put everything back where it belongs and if it doesn’t have a home find one!
  • Clear off counters, tabletops, and flat surfaces and only leave what you love or use every day.
  • Wipe down walls, doors, fixtures, baseboards, windows, mirrors and any ceiling lights or fans. (this one makes a HUGE difference, so don’t skip it)
  • Wipe down furniture, especially couches and dressers.
  • last but not least (in fact it’s probably the most important) clean the floors; vacuum, mop, and keep them clear.

I promise you keeping a clean and tidy house is going to be a huge step in the right direction. No one can see the intention or creativity in your home without it being clean. Honestly I’ve seen people who have very bland homes impress a lot of people just by keeping it spic and span. Its my #1 tip for a reason.

A good cleaning can make even the most modest of homes look nice.

Clear the clutter

You could have a big fancy house, but if you’re met with clutter and filth the moment you enter the door, no amount of nice decor will be able to fix that, in fact the decor might actually be adding to the clutter. It’s okay to have a mess here and there, some toys strewn across the floor is bound to happen if you have little ones. But there is a difference between needing a quick tidy up and actually having a dirty and cluttered home.

Many people, especially online, try to normalize messy homes. Which is understandable because we are all human and it’s unlikely that our home is going to be spotless every day. But It still doesn’t change the fact that it is one of the FIRST things we notice when we enter a home, whether it’s our own home or someone else’s. If there are dishes piled up, clutter on the countertops and stuffed away in the corners. It’s hard to even notice if someone has done a decent job curating their space because you become completely blinded by the clutter around you.

According to a RACGP article titled “what does clutter do to your brain and body”

“Clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep, and ability to focus. It can also make us less productive, triggering coping and avoidance strategies that make us more likely to snack on junk and watch TV shows (including ones about other people decluttering their lives).”

Oh the irony, so yes it turns out not only does clutter distract us, but it’s actually not great for the mental health of those living in the home. Simplicity puts our mind at ease.

If you’re in need of some great decluttering/ simplifying content check out my website for some decluttering inspiration. Here’s one of my favorite posts on the subject: How to create a Cozy, Minimal Home.  I’ve also got a decluttering checklist that’s sure to help you get started 20 items to declutter

Focus on furniture and less on decor

This may seem counterintuitive but I swear by it, because it works! This was one of my biggest mistakes when I first started curating my own space.  I didn’t have a lot of money to paint the walls or have nice furniture so I tried to decorate my way around it. But what I ended up with was a lot of decor that I didn’t like and soon my house just became a cluttered and style-confused space. I had too much stuff and sadly it was a lot of generic Walmart and hobby lobby decor. Nobody wants a home that looks like everyone else’s and buying from mass produced big box stores is a sure fire way to kill any intentional style in your space. So how did you fix it? First I got rid of ALOT of stuff. But most importantly I got rid of cheap furniture, not right away but gradually over time.

I scoured Facebook marketplace for sturdy nightstands, and painted an old (ugly but sturdy) vintage dresser and gave it new life, now it’s one of my favorite pieces in my house.  I found a vintage refurbished table at a local antique thrift store, which really helped set the tone for our space. All unique and ‘special to me’ pieces that really inspired the rest of my space. Focusing on the quality of the furniture and other items that you use every day is what’s most important, you want to find sturdy furniture that can last a long time, avoid particle board and stay FAR away from Walmart decor and furniture.

Which leads me too..

Shop Secondhand & Custom

Thrift stores and Facebook marketplace have become my best friends when searching for items for my home, but I make sure to be extra picky with what I buy. What sets antique and thrifted items apart is that they are unique, you can find items that only you have! We want to curate a home that is unlike all the others. Plus we can support our local community while we are at it. Another great trick is shopping at local art shops and checking out custom built furniture stores. Not only can you support local people but you will come across pieces that will last you a lifetime, and many of them are willing to work with you on pricing. 

Pro Tip: Utilize Pinterest! I love creating Pinterest boards to curate a style I love. Then I go throughout my home and collect pieces that fit that particular style and try to display them in a way that brings that style to life in my own home. You can also head to your local thrift store and scroll through your Pinterest board before you walk in to really focus your intention on what to look for.

Curating a home takes time, you might have to save up money for a quality couch or even buy some paint and give your walls new life. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your home won’t come together in one afternoon. Don’t let that dishearten you though, as tempting as it can be to rush the process, that’s when we make mistakes and end up with something that grows old rather quickly.

Pro Tip: Utilize houseplants. Too much decor can make us feel cramped and chaotic. But decorating with houseplants means you can fill empty space while still creating a visual sense of peace.

You don’t have to accomplish everything all at once. I know when I first started out homemaking, I just wanted to have nice stuff right away because I desperately wanted people to know I was doing a good job. I was concerned that if people came into my home and it wasn’t beautiful that they wouldn’t see the value in my role.  It can be easy to fall for the quick-fix mindset, and put your value in material things like money and nice stuff. While there is value in cleanliness and order, try to remember that the atmosphere of your home has a lot more to do with the culture you create within it, than what you own.

The process of creating a home is the best part. Slow and intentional homes have a classic and curated feel to them.

Be intentional & make it your own

Now this last tip is actually really fun. It’s such a simple joy to be able to curate your home with intentional pieces that you have collected over time. There’s just something special about displaying sentimental items or acquiring something vintage from a thrift store that has a story.

No one wants their home to look generic, we’ve all been to Hobby Lobby and Target and we all know what that decor looks like, we can pick it out a mile away. Plus it doesn’t have the same feeling to it as original art pieces and hand picked furniture made from real wood.

Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to find your authentic style and decorate a specific room? 

Q: What do you already own that you truly love? 

Find what you like about the style of your home and build upon that. Then think about what you dislike about your space and do your best to remove what you dislike from it.

Q: What’s the purpose of this space?

Set the intention of what you want this space to be used for, this will give you a guide for what each room’s function will be. If it’s your living room, do you enjoy entertainment or like to sit and read or let your children play? Set up the room with function in mind. 

Q: Are there any items that could be brought from another room that would look better there? 

If there’s decor that you like but that doesn’t quite fit a space, pull it out and see if it can be rehomed to another room in a creative way. If there are items that make sense functionally for a room, find a space for them. For example, if you like to read in your bedroom but all your books are in the lining area that moves the books into the space that you prefer to use them in. This will make the space function better but will also represent your unique hobbies and style. 

Your home should tell the story of you and your family. People should be able to walk in and get a sense of what your style is, and get a feel of your family’s unique personalities. When you walk into my home I have dried herbs in jars, vintage canisters and essential oil racks and LOTS of houseplants. It gives off a very collected, yet cozy and natural aesthetic. Even if you’ve never met me, you can get a vibe of who I am and who my husband is just by walking in. Our home tells a story and you can too. 

That’s the power of intention.

Your home doesn’t have to be big or fancy, and you don’t have to go into debt to make a house a home.Your home should be just that… your’s. Filled with the types of things that you’ve collected over the years, filled with memories and items that you truly love and that bring to mind memories and little tales of your personal history.

It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be authentically you. I hope these tips will help you and inspire you to make your house your home.

Take Care, Danielle

From The HomeBound Hippie