My Story: Low Dollar Decorating

contributed by Lisa

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We have a big house but a very little budget to do any decorating. Here are a few things we did that made a world of difference!

Candles: You can get inexpensive candles and holders at the dollar store. I bought a few $1 wrought iron wall candle holders and put them in the hallway. Also, I placed candles on coffee tables, night stands, and the dining room table. They add a nice romantic feel to a home.

Plants: I used to kill plants until recently. I was determined to fill my house with plants because it looks nice and brings oxygen in the house. I bought three plants at a yard sale that are practically impossible to kill (spider and ivy). When those plants grew a little, I cut clippings, put them in water and a month later planted them. I now have about ten plants from the original three. I have also asked friends and family to save clippings and contacted office plant care companies and asked them to put clippings aside, which are normally thrown out. So you can fill your house with plants for next to nothing and have a wonderful feel to your home.

Paint: We all know how a good coat of paint can freshen up a room. Sadly, paint can be expensive. I always look through the discounted cans. I once bought a very expensive paint for $15 (down from $40!) and it was very close to the color that I wanted. I painted an entire room with it and the difference was incredible. It was a room in our house that no one spent time in, but now that it's painted, everyone wants to be in there (I painted it yellow!). You can also find paint at recycling plants.

Revamp furniture: We have an old grungy stained beige couch. I wanted to throw it out because I couldn't get the stains out. There were also scratches from the cats. I looked through some quilt covers I had (and no longer used), cut one of them open and re-upholstered the couch with an industrial staple gun. I also took the cushion covers off and dyed them, which cost me $3.50. I used a dark color that matched the quilt cover. Now it looks like we have a new couch and it didn't cost much at all. We also had an old coffee table that was very worn on top. We broke some tiles we had found at a yard sale and made a mosaic table. All we did was buy wood to make a border, tile glue and grout. We spent about $20 and now we have a beautiful coffee table.

Curtains: Don't like your existing curtains? Dye them! I had some very light white curtains that looked worn, so I dyed them a darker color. Now, they look like new.

I have gotten some drywall and tiles from You just join a list for your area. I like to post a few things to offer people, and then ask for what I need. Sometimes, people have a lot of leftover material from projects and need to get rid of it as it will cost them to have it thrown out. We are trying to redo our attic and are acquiring all our materials this way. Springtime is also a great time to go garbage picking! I live in a student town, and at the end of April, the students throw a lot of things out.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to

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