Making a personal statement

Decorate Your Home with Memories

by Shari Smith

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Are you tired of staring at blank walls? Want to move past the posters thumbtacked to the wall stage? Then decorate your home with memories! It doesn't have to cost a fortune, if you use these savvy secrets.

  1. Pictures speak a thousand words. Take a few of your favorite family photos and turn them into art. Find Walmart wall art frameless canvases starting at just $19.96. Get one stand out piece or make a statement with a wall grouping.
  2. Remember the moment. Your vacation pictures are art in the making. Office Max will blow up your pictures to any size for very reasonable prices. I saw a beautiful lake picture at a furniture store for $600. I didn't have even $6 to spare, so I found a gorgeous picture of a memorable vacation in Whitefish, Montana and got it enlarged for only $1.58! I painted an old frame black and the triple mats white with a black border. It is stunning! You can do it, too! Here's an easy video to follow on how to spray paint a picture frame.
  3. Relive the trip of a lifetime every day of the year. Calendars are an easy and fun way to capture a dream vacation. Consider Walmart calendars. On a recent trip to Hawaii, my dad and two brothers took over 2,000 pictures. I wanted to surprise them, so I made a calendar. The hardest part was choosing only 12 pictures! My favorite was my 75-year-old dad grinning like a boy when he was the first to catch a fish on a boatload of tourists.
  4. Find frames for less. Frames can be expensive, especially the larger sizes. You can find huge bargains at garage sales, thrift stores, and online. I always check out the free section at Craigslist. Look past an ugly picture or the wrong color mats. You can easily paint them any color you want! Spray paint is very inexpensive and one can goes a long way.
  5. Decorate Your Home with Memories
  6. Go beyond pictures with shadowboxes. Check out Pinterest. My mom was nearing the end of her battle with cancer and all she wanted to do was finish the shadowbox she had started. It is filled with mementos of her life that include a wedding picture from 1966 showing two impossibly happy young people, a miniature violin like her father played, a special key, an antique watch from her grandmother, a beloved fan used frequently at the non-air-conditioned church, and many other things. It hangs in our family room, next to the antique secretary she restored.
  7. Shop home improvement for great prices at

  8. Display your collections. At our old house, there was empty space above our kitchen cabinets. I was addicted to collecting teapots of all shapes and sizes. Pretty soon the cabinets were full, so I started filling up a gorgeous shelf with lots of space for miniature teapots. Any collection can add charm to your home. Just arrange them attractively on shelves to complement or even inspire your decor.
  9. Glam up your favorite posters. Posters can make great art statements; they just need a little push. Get inexpensive poster frames at discount stores, secondhand shops, or yard sales. I once picked up two posters for 25 cents to make a great centerpiece for our Safari-themed living room.
  10. Display family heirlooms as art. Instead of keeping them boxed up, bring out your family treasures and appreciate them! A beloved quilt can be hung behind the bed for a unique headboard or used on the dining room table with a protective plastic cover. Clear shower curtains work perfectly for only $1 at a dollar store. You can even trim it to fit your table.
  11. Personalize your space. The popularity of writing on the walls has exploded. Take a favorite family motto and put it on the soffit in the kitchen or as a centerpiece in the family room. Inspirational quotes like "Today is going to be a great day!" or "Family First" are great starting points. Look for stencils at Walmart for less than $5, in any style or font you want.

Decorating your house shouldn't be about following some stuffy old rules. It should be an expression of your family and reflect how you want to live. Hang pictures that bring a smile to your face or even brighten someone's day. Above all, have fun decorating your home with memories.

Shari Smith also contributes to The Discount Diva.

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