Cheap decorating ideas don't necessarily mean poor quality products and materials. The keys to having a great low-cost project are planning your project and researching for the lowest prices.
You can have great looking floors if you take the time to research ways to cut costs. Discount warehouses and closeouts are the first place most people start. These are good sources, but you can save even more money if you reclaim floors in a home scheduled for demolition. Many times the owner of the house will hold an onsite auction. The auctioneer will go through the home room by room taking bids on various things. Sometimes an entire house of hardwood floors will be auctioned as a package. Other times this may be auctioned off room by room. You'll need to have some basic carpentry skills since you'll be responsible for removing the flooring from the house. If you're skilled enough to tackle this kind of project, then you can save thousands of dollars for a full house flooring project by using reclaimed hardwood floors.
The same thing is true of other kinds of wood such as paneling, exposed beams, doors, and kitchen cabinetry. Go early and walk through the house before the auction. Set your highest price and don't go over no matter how enticed you are. There are other places you can find reclaimed hardwood floors. Try a salvage company that specializes in homes.
Fix Up Existing Cabinets
You might not be able to afford redesigning your kitchen cabinets. Don't let this stop you from being creative. If your cabinets are solid and in good condition, you can replace the doors, re-stain or paint for a new fresh look. Don't forget to change out the hardware and door pulls or knobs.
Visit Yard and Estate Sales
The difference between these two types of reselling of possessions is that the later is usually a higher-grade of items. Don't let the thought of expensive items being sold at an estate sale stop you from going. You may be surprised what you can buy for a fraction of the cost an antique or new piece would cost.
Yard sales can be a two-edged sword. You can tell very quickly by the items on the table or spread out on the lawn whether or not it's the kind of sale you're seeking. If you see mostly clothes and children's toys, chances are you won't find much in the way of home decorations.
The kind of neighborhood will make a difference, too. Older neighborhoods often have full home yard sales of a deceased relative. A multi-family yard sale would be a good place to find items you could either recycle, refurbish or re-invent for your home.
If you've never refinished furniture, don't let the process scare you off. It's not as difficult as it may seem. You'll want to make sure you have proper protection with a paint mask, long rubber gloves and goggles to prevent chemical splashes in your eyes.
Stripping Finishes Off Furniture
Most stripping agents aren't as harsh as in years past. You'll either paint or spray the chemical onto the furniture and let it work through the paint or varnish.
You may need to repeat the process more than once depending on how many layers of paint and varnish is on the piece.
Finishing Your Piece of Furniture
There are all kinds of options for finishing your new piece of furniture. You can simply stain and varnish it for a classic look. You may decide to give it a distressed look and can use various objects to help create the popular look. Paint is another way you can refinish your furniture either as a bright vivid color or a washed look.
Accessories and Other Art Objects
Breathe new life into old pieces of art objects, statues and paintings. A new frame and mat will often brighten up a photo or painting. Get ambitious and buy frames from a dollar store. You can paint all of your frames to look alike or hot glue seashells onto the frame for a beach themed room. A fabric frame made out of small squares in a quilt-effect will jazz up a country themed room.
Lamps, Pillows and Plants
Lamps can be recycled with paint and new shades. Recover a few pillows, add trim and tassels for a romantic touch. You can purchase houseplants at a discount store. If your budget doesn't include new flowerpots for your new plants, get creative and paint the pot for an artistic flare.
The final component of cheap decorating ideas is to be patient and go into your project knowing it will take you longer to complete.