Perhaps you are moving into your first apartment. Or maybe you are up-sizing to a larger house. No matter your situation, buying new furniture and home decor can wipe out your savings in a hurry. But does it have to be expensive in order to be new? If you know exactly what you are shopping for, you will find some great deals on home decor at a thrift shop, garage sales, and even at the local dollar store. They don’t have to be permanent fixtures; you can replace them later when something better comes along. First of all, make a list of the items you need to fill up the space.
1. Shop for budget home decor at thrift stores. You have probably heard this bit of advice more than once, but seriously–if you know what you’re looking for, you might be surprised at what you will find. Second-hand shops often carry gently-used furniture, paintings, accessories, and more. While I’ll admit to recently buying several pieces of new furniture, a couple more “expensive” pieces are either from the thrift store or hand-me-downs. And they are in great condition. If you find a piece of furniture you like, but it is a little on the worn side, you can always refinish, re-paint, or reupholster it. Old paintings and mirrors can be re-framed, or frames can be used for new pieces of art. Finally, clean and polish knick-knacks that you find, and display flowers in unique vases and bowls.
2. Shop for budget home decor at the dollar store. Okay, so dollar store decor can be cheap–literally–and not very original. But honestly? When I moved, I had very few usable accessories and wall hangings. So I hit up the local family dollar store, and I actually found a lot of nice things. They will do until I am able to find quality pieces to replace them. The drawback: There will probably be a lot of other people with the same decorations as you have. Seriously, my sister has unknowingly bought two of the same things for her new place that I already have in mine. But on the bright side, they look completely different from one home to another.
3. Shop for budget home decor at garage sales. Yeah, yeah–one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It may be cliche, but it’s often true. I’m pretty picky; I won’t buy anything used that I don’t truly need or absolutely love. Especially if I personally know the people I’m buying used items from. But if you know what you want, shop from garage to yard for great deals on the items you really need. When I first moved out on my own, I found an end table that I loved and couldn’t pass up. I paid about $5 for it. I also got some free end tables and a coffee table from some people who were buying new furniture; I just painted them with a fresh coat of black and–ta da!–I have three new pieces of furniture.
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Decorating Your Apartment or Rental Home