Decorating Ideas Your Wallet Will Love

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Decorating Ideas Your Wallet Will Love
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There are plenty of ways to reboot your decorating scheme without breaking the bank. Using a bit of creativity mixed with inspiration can transform your home. And just think: You can show off your thrifty wiles to your guests right away.

Add a New Hue
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Add a New Hue

Don't discount the transforming power of a wash of color. No other room-decorating strategy gives more bang-for-the-buck than a fresh coat of paint—especially when you choose a cheery or unique hue. You’ll need one gallon of paint per 350 square feet; at $15 to $30 per gallon for bargain-to-premium-range paints, you could utterly change the look of even a large space (brushes, rollers, and masking tape included) for under a Benjamin. Worth noting: Experts say it's worth spending $22 to $25 for a quality brand—the coverage is superior.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Hit the used-housewares source that you feel most comfortable with—swap meet to antique shop—for stellar deals on quality furniture, rugs, artwork, or so-ugly-it’s-beautiful knickknacks. All the better if the piece you love is slightly worn (place that corner of a rug under an end table or chair), chipped (you can work wonders with touch-up paint) or in need of a little wood glue. You can bargain on prices for used goods, and the best part is that your “new” pieces are utterly unique.

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Lighten Up
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Lighten Up

Sometimes, brightening up a space merely requires shining a literal light on the scene. Stock up on cheap-and-cheerful new fixtures at bargain-retailers-with-style. Cute table numbers, torchieres, even inexpensive clip-on lamps will add a new luster to any room. Don’t have a big enough budget for new fixtures? Try upping the wattage of the bulbs in your existing lamps, or frame doorways and fill clear vases with strings of clear Christmas lights. It’s a look you can love throughout the year.

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Cover Art
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Cover Art

Wishing you could replace that hideous-but-sturdy plaid couch you inherited from Uncle Albert? No need to spend thousands on a new piece of furniture, just pick the perfect slipcover. Pre-made covers in glorious fabrics are readily available and you can choose from a range of standard couch sizes. It’s stunning to see the difference a new fabric can make on your most-used piece of furniture.

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Utterly Free Centerpieces
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Utterly Free Centerpieces

Sure, fresh flowers make for beautiful tablescapes, but there are tons of options for those who don't want to shell out for pricey blooms that quickly wilt. When you go for your next walk around the neighborhood—or through the woods—bring along a pair of plant snippers and a bag. You can turn almost any plant into a beautiful centerpiece.

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Cheap, Cheerful Curtains
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Cheap, Cheerful Curtains

A set of curtains can uplift an entire room, and you needn't pay a lot for pre-made or custom ones—create your own. Buy a great colored or print twin-size sheet for each window you want to cover. Next, fold each sheet in half lengthwise and cut along the fold. Sew or use iron-on seam tape to hem the raw edges and hem the bottom for your desired length. Open the seam along the edge of the top fold, thread a curtain rod through, and, voilá, snazzy new curtains!

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A Cool New Floorcovering
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A Cool New Floorcovering

Add an inexpensive rug with a bold pattern to liven up your space. Or save a little extra dough and get crafty with an easy home DIY project. First, purchase sturdy, #8, 100-percent canvas, allowing for six extra inches in all directions—you'll need to shrink it. Lay it on waterproof tarp and sponge hot water onto both sides and dry for 24 hours. Then, hem the edges (using an iron to crease). Finally, prime with two layers of latex paint, allow to dry, then use latex paint to decorate it. Seal with clear polyurethane and your rug that will last for years.

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Spray It Together
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Spray It Together

To brighten up an ordinary table, make a gathering of collectibles unified by their hue. You can use a mishmash of objects you already own—porcelain birds, antique keys, candlestick holders—or go thrift-shopping. Choose a spray-paint color that works well in the room you want to liven up. Pick bold hues—like red, royal blue, or celadon—or, if you're feeling blingy, go for metallic paint in silver or gold. Spray each item, allow to dry, then arrange in the center of the table or on a sideboard.

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