Decorating, Humor, Life

Home Tour Or How I Can Decorate on The Cheap & You Can Too

I love reading home decor blogs, they give you a glimpse inside a person’s world without leaving the comfort of your own home. It’s like going for a drive at night by a beautiful home and peeking inside to see how they decorate or going to a model home in a new neighborhood to get some style tips.
But there are some downsides to seeing how the other half lives.
Especially when the other half has more income flow.
It can be daunting and I can see why some readers may be turned off.
It can look to some like these bloggers are showing off their homes.

I can totally see how some can get caught up in it but readers you do need to know something: those bloggers who have really beautiful model quality, out of the pages of catalog homes? They have advertisers who pay them, companies that give them goods for free to do that great decorating or to create projects. If you see a blog with sponsors? They are getting paid.

And they aren’t hiding this, in fact, they are proud of it (as they should be), I am just making sure you know that the really big bloggers are not doing these decor projects with their own money solely. They are getting help.

So I thought that I would show you how I have decorated on the cheap and how you can too!

Because I truly believe that you can create a great environment without an expense account or a degree in interior design. As long as you put YOU in your home, it will be beautiful. And if you happen to be cheap (in a good way), then even better!

Welcome to my humble home!



my favorite little corner of the living room


family room with a well-loved love seat


master bedroom
kitchen eating area
kitchen counter area
Now here is the fun part!!!
1– the wall color is called Peanut Butter by Behr and no, I would not pick that color again if given the choice. I love this color but it is such a large area covered in it that it is too much peanut butter for my taste.  Is there such a thing as too much peanut butter???
2– the mirror I have no idea where I got. I have had it for over 10-15 years but I can guarantee I did not spend more than 10 bucks for it. The Warren Kimble barn print? I got at Kohl’s in 1998 as a little present for myself for quitting smoking so when I quit cold turkey and had a month in, I bought this for myself. I know I probably paid more than what I would now for this but I was working full time then and had no kids so expendable income was in high form back then.
3– the cute little table was given to me by my mom, the lamp- Wal Mart from about five years ago, and the cute little subway art piece? Six bucks at a gift shop in Wisconsin that I treated myself to for my birthday last year.
Oh, that metal cross by the door?
$1.99 at Hobby Lobby a few years ago!
1– my “wall o’ frames” were created over five or so years ago. I have always loved the look of frames and mirrors together on a wall so when I was having trouble with this wall (it is so large AND it shares a wall with another room), I decided the best way to break up a large space was to create a smaller one so this wall was born. Not one of these frames cost me more than $2.50. Most of them are from dollar stores all over and I got them all in black to be uniform but they are not all the same texture or shape. Oh, and I am constantly having to straighten the frames as we live really close to the commuter and freight line trains here so they are always shifting.
The mirror I got for 15 bucks on clearance last fall at Home Goods.
2– the side table (by Broyhill)  is actually meant to be a nightstand.  This was a gift from my parents years ago for Christmas. The lamp is from Home Depot (again, years ago) and was part of a two-lamp set.
3– the “screamin'” red couch was from a great furniture store in Wisconsin called Steinhafels. Great place but kinda pricey so we headed for the clearance room and found this gem. We got her and the armchair for under $800 for both including delivery and take away of our old hand me down couch.
4– this coffee table was also a gift and it is from Broyhill as well.  This puppy is 15 years old and I love it so much. It has seen a lot in its 15 years and is starting to show its age so if I get confident in my furniture refinishing that I am going to tackle this fall/winter, I will try to refinish it.
The fern was from Michael’s on clearance last summer for six bucks, the galvanized tin- free from my neighbor.


1– this table and chairs set was a splurge when we first moved into the house six years ago. It is also Broyhill and a part of their Heirloom Collection but I have never regretted this purchase from day one. I love this table and that it is classic for our family. The distressed look of the table is perfect for having kids and someday grandkids. I get so many compliments on this set but don’t know if they still make it anymore.
2- the vase was a present to me over 10 years ago but is from Crate and Barrel. The stems in the vase? From my backyard, spray painted red.
3- the chandelier is just a basic one from Home Depot when we first moved into our house. I put shades on this for Christmas but like to leave it plain for the rest of the year.
4– the ledge was bought at Goodwill last summer for $1.99. The H was from Hobby Lobby (which I spray painted) and was $2.50 on sale. The frame I have had forever.
5– The “buffet” is supposed to be a bedroom dresser! See work with what ya got and move your stuff around! I love seeing pieces that were meant for a bedroom in a family room and vice versa. The lamp was the other part of that Home Depot lamp set, the tray was under two bucks from Goodwill and is filled with all sorts of fun tag sale stuff. If you want details, you can go to the Goodwill tag section of my blog and all the goods will be there.  The ANTIQUES sign? Is my favorite decor piece of my home. I got it at our church rummage sale two years ago for 10 bucks. I thought they were kidding, they sell these things at Pottery Barn for over 200 bucks. Even at flea markets, you can end up paying over 75 dollars for signs like these! So I was very excited about this deal and it was going to a good cause.
1– this framed print is from a great outdoor concert venue here in Chicago called Ravinia Festival. Just a magical place to see a concert under the trees and stars and would have been a great place to see Steely Dan and Tony Bennett coming up this month had someone planned ahead. (sorry just a little inside dig at my husband) We went to see Tony Bennett here three years ago and had a blast. So for a Christmas present that year for Mike, I went online and ordered a print of an original artwork piece of Ravinia painted by Anthony Benedetto. Who also goes by the name Tony Bennett. 
Cost- 10 bucks. I already had the frame from years ago (Target– 10 bucks on clearance)
A great way to remember a special night.
2– there it is! My favorite project to date….love this piece…on top of the cabinet that was part of the dining room set. I love this cabinet as it holds all of our special little things that we have no real place for (like Mike’s 8th-grade artwork or the book my 2nd-grade teacher gave to me before I moved or all those mothers day projects that Anna has made at school and I just can’t throw any of them away) and makes it looks not so junky in the process.
1– this wall is one of my fave’s in the house. The frames are from Hobby Lobby that I got over six years ago. I had a coupon and they were 50% off. I wanna say they were originally $24.95 each x 4 less the 50% off and the 40% off coupon. I love collages especially when it comes to pictures, that way you get to see all sorts of different pictures without using up a lot of space. I change the pictures out once a year to keep it current and have a frame for each member of the family. The kids love seeing all sorts of pictures of themselves at different ages, I catch each of them looking at them randomly here and there and that makes me smile.  The metal stars were purchased at a shop down near where my parents live for 50% off and the FAMILY sign was also from Hobby Lobby and was 50% off for a price of $14.95 for the sign. The color of this wall is Campfire by Behr. I love this color and never plan to change it no matter if my other color scheme ever changes. I will work around this color, it makes the room warm and cozy year-round.
2– this lamp came from Goodwill for $4.99. The table it is sitting on was from the hubs bachelor pad, just re-stained and we added some new knobs (back in 2004) to it. The loveseat came from a furniture store in a rough end of town seven or eight years ago. It was a store that was “going out of business”.
For three years in a row.
We think the couch/loveseat may have fallen off the back of a truck, wink and that’s why the place was always going out of business.
It is not the most quality piece of furniture but it is so darn comfy, you just sink into it.
1- this lamp was given to Annie from the “binky fairy” when she was a wee one in honor of her valiantly giving up her pacifiers. She loved this lamp until a few years ago when it was just too “little girly” for her. So I saved it for Ellie’s room and here it is. I got this or I should say, the binky fairy got this for her at Target back in 2003 for under 10 bucks, shade and all.
2- this table was my Gramma’s from her farmhouse years ago. I love this little table, it used to be a country blue color until last year when I painted (spray paint) it Heirloom White by Rust-Oleum.  I felt it should be in Ellie’s room since she was named after my Gramma.
3- the curtains are from a great little unknown catalog company that I can thank my mother in law for introducing me to called Domestications. I got these and the sheers in Annie’s room from there. I wanna say I got both sets of sheers for under 25 dollars.
4– the paint color? I totally forgot the name but know it is Rose something from Behr. I love this soft pink color.
1- the lamps were from Target six years ago and were hand me downs from Anna’s room and cost me 15 for the green-based lamp including the shade. The other white base lamp was a gift to my oldest for her first birthday from a dear friend of mine. The lampshade on top of it cost 10 bucks at Target two years ago and I was so lucky to find it!
2- the Ella letters were from when I was preggo with Ellie and were a shower gift from my mama.
3– the dresser (and all the other furniture in this room) was a hand me down from our old neighbors who were moving out of state. Normally, I would not recommend using a hand me down crib but we knew the previous owners well and they purchased this set from a high-end furniture store so we trusted it.
4- same as above for this crib. See that red piped blankie in the crib? That was made by my late Gramma (and Ellie’s namesake) and was intended for a grandchild she had not yet met. This is her favorite blankie.
5– this print was handed down to us from my bestie Rebecca. Isn’t it sweet?
OK so this does not look as gorge as those closets on Pinterest or on those decorator blogs but it works for my organization purposes and besides, it’s a closet, people!!
1– this ugly gray tote (I wonder if you can spray paint Rubbermaid containers….hmmm) is for Ellie’s fall/winter clothes. I used to do this for my oldest daughter’s fall clothes but her dresser is in her closet now and there is no room. I love that I don’t have to lug a container all the way up from the basement to the third floor to switch out of fall and summer clothes. Now it is conveniently in her closet and I just open the lid to pull it out, hang it up and fold all the old clothes into the bin. Or just get it ready for friends or Goodwill to hand me down since I am done with having children…sigh.  Cost of tote- 5 bucks on sale years ago.
2- hamper. Again, a little ugly but for its purposes, I really don’t care. If I could spray paint it to make it look better, I probably would but this puppy comes down to the laundry area at least twice a week so it needs to be functional and quite honestly, I don’t care what it looks like. Plus, I just close the doors and it is gone. So not gonna spend fifty bucks at PB kids to not look at a hamper. Cost of ugly cheap hamper- 5 bucks at Target years ago.
3-  the white wooden frame used to be a bookshelf that my dad made for Annie when she was a toddler and has since fallen apart a little (not from his part but many years of kids wear and tear. Oh and a sleepover last year for an 11th birthday party where one of the girls thought it was a great idea to stand on it and jump into a bean bag. Yeah…..) I still use it and will never get rid of it. Things made by hand from a loved one should never be tossed unless it is a safety hazard, it was made with loving hands and it has a history so it will remain in our home and our girls’ homes forever, I hope. So I keep a little toy box in here, her play phone (she has very important phone calls to make!) from Goodwill for 2 dollars and then on top, a basket (given to me after Ellie was born from my mama) filled with her favorite bedtime books 6–  a basket from Target ( $2.50 on clearance) filled with her crib sheets as well as a pic of her namesake, my grandma, with her brother, my uncle William (my nephew’s namesake and our boy name had we had a little boy) to watch over her.
7-  shelf filled with her rain boots for fall, her backup duck (those parents with kids who have lovies they can’t sleep without will get that), and Shout spray. This is a great tip– keep Shout or any kind of stain treatment in the child’s room (out of their reach) so that you can attack the stain immediately and let it set in while it is in the hamper.
8-  shelf with blankies for bedtime and a pile of outgrown clothes to go to Goodwill or friends in need.
1–  this cool blue glass jar is from Pottery Barn four years ago. The hubs and I were on a date night and found this for 3 bucks on the clearance shelf tucked in one of those side aisles. Love this so much and loved that we only got out of Pottery Barn spending three dollars. Un. Heard. Of.
2- those curtains were from and we got them for 25 bucks for 6 panels! Not sure if I would get the blue again, I would love some white sheers in here eventually but that is a want, not a need so it will have to wait.
3-  the paint color is a taupe-y beige color but cannot for the life of me remember the name but it is a Sherwin Williams color.
1-  this is a centerpiece of our wedding tables that were made by myself and some friends/family five years ago. The whole centerpiece cost about 5 bucks each to make!
2- The end tables, sleigh bed, two dressers, and a mirror cost 800 dollars eight years ago.
3- this clock is from Wal Mart, I saw one in the PB catalog years ago that I loved but it was 50 dollars. This one was $9.99. Take that, PB! Our blue matlasse looking bedding I got at Walmart six years ago for 60 bucks for a king set. The sheets are Egyptian cotton sheets and the set (including the full, flat sheet and the pillowcases) was 38 dollars from! The lamp was from Target four years ago and cost $19.99 each or 40 bucks for the two that flank the bed.
1– this headboard is from my previous marriage (the ex didn’t want it and I loved this and it is also the same one that the Barone’s had on Everybody Loves Raymond!) so I saved it for Annie and she wanted it in her room last year so here it is. I think we paid around $300 for this headboard and it is also Broyhill.
2- this end table/lamp set was from Wal Mart and I got it originally for Ellie’s room before she was born in anticipation of long nights of feedings and needing a place to put bottles, books, etc…. but it was in the basement storage as of late and Annie wanted it in her room. I paid $9.99 for this baby.
3- this wall decor piece is something I got at an upscale resale shop in a town nearby. I got it for 10 bucks, flowers and all, then spray painted it purple to go with her room. Her paint color is called Glamourous or something like that and it is from Behr.
4- the bean bag was a recent purchase from Meijer for $19.95. I loved the print and actually went all the way back to Meijer after hemming and hawing about it for a few days. She loves this bean bag so I am really glad I got it for her. The awesome bedding was a gift to Annie from Mamie and Papa for her 11th birthday.
1- this desk was a hand me down from my bestie Rebecca that used to be her daughter’s room. All we did was paint the knobs purple with spray paint.
2- this phone is not real. It is an old pretend phone she has had for years…..something she just likes to hold on to.
3- the chair is from Ikea and we paid $19.99 for it unfinished and painted it white.
4- the heart mirror was a gift from Mamie years ago and is from the store Gordman’s.
5- the bin was from Target and was 7 bucks on sale last summer.
Again, ignore the mess…..we all went through this phase at one point or another and as hard as it is for me not to intervene in this room, I keep my mouth shut and let her create her own space.
1– the mirror was from Big Lots years ago and I paid 9.99 for it.
2- the star was from a catalog company called Lakeside. I got it for 2.99.
3– the cross was 1.99 from Hobby Lobby.
4– key holders…love these….were from Terry’s Village years ago. I think I paid around 5 bucks for all three.
5- the knob on the closet door (which could change soon) was from the Restoration Hardware outlet five years ago for 99 cents.
6– plate holder was from Goodwill last summer for 1.99. The plates in it I have had for years and got both at either Marshalls or TJ Maxx and paid no more than a dollar a plate. I change out the plates with the seasons.
Stay tuned for a fun little project that I am doing with those closet doors this fall!!!
1– this table was my gramma’s table from years ago. Love this table and love the memories it holds.
2–  these chairs we found last August on the curb in a nearby neighborhood. I am thinking about painting them an antique white this fall.
3– the mirror was from Hobby Lobby years and years ago but they still carry this style of mirror. I know I paid no more than 10 dollars for this. The star was from Goodwill last summer and cost me 99 cents. The flowers I had from years ago and cost me around 50 cents for the bunch. The vase was free from a neighbor and the stand it is sitting on, free as well from some friends.
4– the color, I have no idea what the exact name is…all I do know is it is Behr and the color is changing this fall. I love this color but want to brighten up and neutralize the kitchen so my fave turquoise color can shine through.  The stained glass piece we got up in Wisconsin last spring and paid 20 bucks for it as a little anniversary present to ourselves. Love this piece and again, if the wall color was lighter, this would really show up better.
1- a basket that is very much like the Ballard designs basket they offer for 50 bucks…got it at Hobby Lobby for 19.99!
2- the lamp was 19.99 at Hobby Lobby, the globe was a gift to us years ago, the cabinet was from my childhood and the artwork above it was Anna’s kindergarten art project in a frame from Target for 9.99.  Curtains were from Walmart and we paid 20 for both valances.
Good lord was that long.
Are you exhausted??
So see, you can have a great cozy atmosphere without a lot of money.
This whole idea stemmed from my good friend and neighbor who asked me how I did all the decor in our home as they just moved in last fall, she is preggo with # 2 and is nesting. I told her it wasn’t overnight but it took years to collect, gather and group to get the look.
Cheap can still be chic.
Pass it on.


6 thoughts on “Home Tour Or How I Can Decorate on The Cheap & You Can Too”

  1. Visiting from Morgan and Kari.very nicely done! Thanks for your post, Some of those bloggers do need to realize that sometimes it is showing off. I have basically a 0$ craft budget and decorate on the cheap as well.(you can see from my link up) Oh and as a former smoker, I do totally get what you mean on loving every minute of it. 😉


  2. Megan- thanks so much for commenting and for sticking it out and reading that long post!!! I still sometimes miss smoking and it has been YEARS but I still sometimes miss it. 🙂


  3. Hello, Kari! I found you through Blue Cricket. I LOVE your style, especially all the color!! And I decorate a lot like you–try to use what I've got and be creative! I definitely feel daunted when I see some bloggers' homes. BUT, not only do I not have that money, but we rent, so not big, "fun" home renovations are in our future. It's fun to dream, though! (And yes, I peek inside homes!). I'm following you now, and I hope you'll come visit!Kelly


  4. Love this post!you have given me the courage I needed to start decorating on a budget! You should honestly offer a “how to get started class.” I’ll so pay for that!


    1. Oh friend, I love that you would even want to attend that class!
      When you get better, I am coming over and helping you.
      Consider it my present to you.


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