Tuesday 23rd July 2024

Making a beautiful home on a budget

When money is tight, how can you make a beautiful home on a budget? Is it even possible?

If you are inclined to look at home decor magazines for inspiration, you may think there is no way you could create a comfortable and appealing space without spending a ton of money.

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I’m here to tell you that you can! With a bit of creativity and by thinking outside the box, you can have a frugal home to be proud of. Here are my suggestions for making a beautiful home on a budget.

Go for classic styles and neutral colours

I remember looking through my parents’ Habitat brochures in the 1970s. Terence Conran’s legendary chain of shops were the epitome of calm, relaxed and modern styling. 

The Habitat look consisted of clean lines and neutral creams, pale browns and greys with the occasional vivid splash of colour.  Because of its simplicity and elegance, the Habitat style still works today and is easy for the homeowner on a budget to take as an influence.

By choosing classic styles and neutral colours, your home won’t need constant updating. Furniture and fabrics are popular and easily available at reasonable prices too. You can add colour with wall art, cushions, rugs and throws.

Whatever your tastes, go for a look you are genuinely going to enjoy for years, rather than being a slave to fashion.

Buy second hand

As I type this, I am sitting on a G Plan sofa, which would have cost around £1000 new. I paid £85 from a local charity shop. It arrived freshly cleaned and delivered to my door for an additional £10. 

Looking around, there is little in our sitting room that came new. The curtains, a pair of long, lined ones by M&S, were purchased on eBay for £50. There is a second hand sofa bed, given by a family member, a nest of tables from a junk shop, a wooden armchair that has been in the family for several generations and a dining room table and chairs that were picked up for £40 on Facebook.

It can take a little extra time to source exactly what you are after pre-loved, but the potential savings are enormous, which is perfect when you are aiming for a beautiful home on a budget.

Find free stuff

Sign up to Freecycle and Freegle and see what the kind folk in your area are offering for free. Many people are happy to pass unwanted items on rather than sending them to landfill, although you will usually need to collect them.

We bagged a freezer in excellent condition from our local Freegle group, as well as some lovely curtains and a rug. We have given away many items too, saving us a trip to the charity shop or the dump.

Keep an eye on skips in your area. People throw away many perfectly good and usable items (but do ask first). It is also possible to pick up free things when your neighbours have had a clear out.

We recently found some paint for our garden bench in exactly the shade that we were about to buy. The garden bench itself was found outside another neighbour’s about five years ago. We repaired it and painted it and it is still going strong.

Some household waste sites have a ‘tip shop’, selling items saved from the bins. If you are lucky enough to have one, you can usually find lots of great things at bargain prices.


You can find some inspiration on Facebook groups such as the Frenchic Fan Forum, where members show the most astonishing upcycling projects achieved with a couple of pots of paint.

You can also explore decoupage and learn how to repair things. You can find almost any instructions you need on YouTube, I have found.

Think out of the box

One of the members of my Facebook group, My Second Hand & Frugal Life, has decorated her house in a quirky and interesting way using things she and her partner have picked up for free (or very cheaply).

Caroline and Jay were given some carpet samples and carpeted their stairs in a stylish patchwork of colours. The handrail is the narrow trunk of a silver birch and their sitting room floor is covered with beautiful oak tile offcuts that were going for firewood!

In the bathroom, an old copper water tank has been made over as the sink, complete with fancy pipework and five taps.

Their house is a prime example of what can be achieved with hard work, creativity and by thinking out of the box. And, best of all, it is completely unique.

So, before you throw your hands up in despair and the expense involved in doing up your living space, use some of these ideas to help you make a beautiful home on a budget.

Photo: Pixabay License

Shoestring Jane

Mouthy Blogger

Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.

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