Simple Home Decorating on A Budget

Screen shot 2009-10-08 at 4.18.52 PMPhoto by Cottonblue.
Originally published in January 2008 under the title Decorating on A Budget – part 1 & 2.
Updated with current pictures.

Did you know that your home is an embassy of Christ’s kingdom? It is especially designed by God to be a place for others to find refreshment, encouragement, a haven of rest to their souls from the weariness and trials of this world. This haven must be a welcoming place to display the glory of God! This should always be our chief goal in our decorating. How can I make my home more of a testimony to the work of Christ in my life? How can I seek to refresh others as they enter into my home?

Furniture Layout

Make conversational areas. The key is to arrange your furniture so that the line of traffic from door to door is not passing right through the conversation area. You want to keep the furniture facing each other in smaller, intimate conversation areas without having people walk right through the center and taking away from the relaxed setting. You do not want this flow to hurt your fellowship. Arrange your future close enough that you don’t have to shout to have a conversation. The closer the better.

Choose a purposeful focal point. Each room will have a focal point of some sort. Most American homes have the furniture arranged so that the focal point is the television. This does not serve to invite conversation, but only distracts from it. Use your windows and fireplaces for this purpose.

Re-arrange your furniture with the seasons. Re-arranging adds fresh variety and change! It gives the feel of a whole new look without adding anything! For example, if you have a large window in your living room, you might make turn your furniture to make that the focal point in the summer as it is bright and cheery to look at. In the winter, the outdoors may not look so attractive so turn your furniture inwards to your fireplace. I recently angled my dining room table for a change in the corner, and I was amazed how appealing it was.

Keep furniture away from the walls. Arrange your furniture on an angle or in a unique fashion so it is not flat against a wall, or simply pull it away from the wall a bit (if possible). This adds a variety and creativity to your layout! We have placed our bed frame on an angle in the corner of our bedroom. It does take up more room in this way, but it is different and variety is the spice of life.

Have a place nearby to rest the arms or place a cup or mug. It is important to have a coffee table or end table near every seat, so your guests don’t have to stretch too far to relax themselves or place their beverage.

Have Fun with Paint

This may seem like a small thing, but paint greatly improves the appearance of your home! If your home needs a refreshment, buy some new paint! You will be amazed at how much cleaner your home looks with a fresh coat of paint. We had white walls for the longest time (due to my pregnancy, I couldn’t paint!), and when we painted the walls it was major transformation.

Use a variety of techniques. My sister and I painted our downstairs bathroom with rag rolling recently. Neither of us had done it before, but it was simply a blast! We just used old t-shirts scrunched up. It didn’t come out as the picture did, but it still looked unique and creative. Have fun with it! The key is not to be intimidated! Take your time. Do one room at a time.

Paint just one focal wall a rich deep color to add depth to your room. Leave the other walls either white, or a much paler version of your accent wall and those walls will appear to fall away. Also keep in mind that cooler colors such as greens and blues tend to recede from the eye, while warmer colors such as reds and yellows seem to close in a room.

For the Love of Pictures

Make sure to post lots of pictures around your home. This is the ultimate decor! It reflects your love for your family and others. People love looking at photos! Pictures are easy to come by and very reasonable to print.

Buy frames around a theme but have variety. Black photos go with black, silver or white frames. Colored photos go with brown, tan, white or miscellaneous colored frames. Throw in a fancy colored one! Always use a variety of frames. Don’t just have one size, one style, color, etc (this would be my problem, that my sister is weeding out!). Use black square, silver large frame, etc. See picture below of my collage. Throw in an old antique looking one. Great places to buy frames: Ikea, Goodwill, Ross.

Keep your arrangements to clusters. Don’t have pictures hanging randomly along every wall. Your eye will have no where to rest. The tendency is to think you need something on every wall in order to look fully decorated, but it is not true. It is kind of like when you read a brochure or newsletter. If there is no white space around the text, and/or no pictures for variety, or just simply all text, it is overwhelming to the eye and you would rather just set it aside them laboriously read through it. It is not appealing.

Maintain a rectangular shape. This is pleasing to the eye. Whether it is a small rectangle or a large one, maintain overall shape.

Avoid hanging pictures on a small wall (2 foot in length or smaller), or on a window wall, if there is not much space around it.

Important Tip: Don’t hang stuff on every wall! Leave one wall free completely from hanging items, so that your eyes have somewhere to rest. Here are some of the arrangements in our home.

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In our entry way

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In our bedroom

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Over our piano

Simplicity of Baskets

Decorate your home with lovely baskets storing or displaying items. I have used baskets to store baby’s toys that are really cute. My friend Lylah, shows a picture of a cute basket in her dining room. I love this idea!Baskets are cheap to rcome by at your local Goodwill, Ross, etc.

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Make it a Home Full of Scripture

Making your home an embassy for the Kingdom of God is so important! You want those who enter your home to know what is most important to you. Use calligraphy or print in nice fonts different passages of Scripture and frame on your walls. One idea: This picture displays our name placs with the meaning of our names (family tradition), and verses corresponding to them. Everyone has probably seen these. Why not display them in a prominent place? At my family’s home we had our names and pictures of all eight of us kids going up the stairs.

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Meaningful Memorabilia

Hang your veil above your bed frame, frame your wedding invitation. I wanted to preserve our wedding vows and have them framed in our bedroom as a good reminder to the commitment we had made to each other as well.

Display your food

This is a simple way to decorate your kitchen. Use nice glass jars (I got mine at Ikea) to display your grains, beans, popcorn, etc. I love it! Plus they are easily accessible when I am preparing a meal. This is what it looks like above my kitchen sink. I added my Ikea jars with grains, some simple cloth napkins and napkin rings (a nice wedding gift that matched perfectly with our kitchen!), and I put some platters on display in the background.

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Have fun making your home lovely for the glory of God!

Recommended Reading:

These titles should be available at your local library!

Decorating on A Dime by Christy Ferer
Trade Secrets from Use What You Have Decorating
by Laurie Ward
Frugal Decorating Ideas – a great site with lots of ideas for frugal momma’s
Decorating Small Rooms - here is a great article on decorating small rooms, as most of us may have only these!
Simple & Frugal Children’s Bedroom Decor

Fall Decor Ideas
Bring in The Houseplants

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

18 Responses to Simple Home Decorating on A Budget

  1. Debbie Young July 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    Hey Lindsay,
    Thanks for the great tips and thanks for sharing so many great ideas.

    Blessings,
    Debbie

  2. Shannon Hazleton October 12, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Lindsay, I was totally inspired by your post this weekend, and collected some frames I wasn’t using and painted them all red to hang above our piano… but some of these frames are small and don’t have hardware on the back for hanging, and some of them are plastic, so I don’t know that I could screw in a bracket for hanging. Did you run into this problem? Any suggestions?

    • Lindsay October 12, 2009 at 10:13 am #

      Oh yes, I have had this same problem. I just took a bit of ribbon (any style, but wired ribbon works the best), and formed it into a loop and stapled the ends to the back of the frame. For the plastic, you may have to use masking tape or something similar. I then hung the frame on the wall via the ribbon loop. You can see it on one frame in the arrangement in our entry way as well as the kids’ bedroom.

      • Shannon Hazleton October 12, 2009 at 10:26 am #

        I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do… THANK YOU!!! (My husband thanks you as well, since he won’t have to come up with a solution.) :)

  3. Abbi October 9, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    I have been having fun re-arranging and freshening things up in our home lately. It was fun to read your post and all the ideas you included!

  4. alexis October 9, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Lindsay, this is an inspiring post, just in time for me to start decorating, as we are moving into a new home soon! Also, I tried your recipe for home-baked french bread, and it was amazing! Thanks for the great recipes you feature here…keep ‘em coming!

  5. lylah ledner October 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    Oh…I love this updated post! Isn’t it really about creating sanctuary and letting the softness of our feminine soul and His heart come through to bring a calm, peace, joy and stability to others? I’ve extended “sanctuary” to the out of doors these days.

    Blessings on you precious woman! have a wonderful weekend! Lylah

  6. Hannah @ Reflections of a Face October 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    Those are some very good ideas! I’ll have to mention them to my parents. :)

    Hannah

  7. Shannon Hazleton October 9, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    What a simply beautiful home you have. I like your arrangement of photos, I like those great, happy colors in the kitchen, and I love the idea of having Scripture all over your home. Thank you for opening your home to us, Lindsay.

  8. Anna October 9, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    What color are you using in your kitchen? It’s so bright and eye catching and goes great with the cabinets. My husband and I have the same color cabinets and I painted the walls a Tuscan Yellow, but I’m thinking of re-painting.

    • Shanna October 9, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

      I’d also love to know the color/brand of paint in your kitchen!

      • Lindsay October 10, 2009 at 6:01 am #

        I cannot remember the exact color (and I don’t have any left to check)! But it was a miller paint swab in an avacado green shade. That is the best way to describe it!

  9. M.I.A in Minnesota October 9, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    I’m glad to see you hang up family pictures. I’ve heard many interior designers say it is a decorating no no to put family pictures up in living spaces. Only in bedrooms. I never did like that rule, and am constantly breaking it. So I’m glad to see that I’m not alone! Everything looks so nice!

  10. Gourmet Candles October 9, 2009 at 5:41 am #

    Truly inspiring words. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos as well.

  11. Tonya October 9, 2009 at 5:19 am #

    You are right – that our home is our family’s sanctuary for daily life and the keeping it beautiful simply is a great joy for the homemaker. It certainly doesn’t require spending money either. We live very simply on a very low income, but take what God has given us, combine some creativity to make our home comfortable and inviting.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Warm wishes,
    Tonya

  12. Teri Selbher October 9, 2009 at 3:56 am #

    Would you please tell us where you got the name plaques with verses?

    Thanks!

    • Lindsay October 9, 2009 at 6:17 am #

      My MIL gets these plaques for us with each child, but there are several online sources if you search “meaning of name plaques”. The closest one I found to ours can be found here.

  13. Fruitfulvine2 October 9, 2009 at 3:01 am #

    Thanks for this. The apartment we live in cannot be painted and it is made of concrete. I don’t want to destroy the walls by putting nails in so I’m on the lookout for an adhesive picture hanger(not very common on the island). The few holes I did meet there I used and I have scripture hanging from one of them.

    Those are such excellent ideas you bring forth in this article. As you said it is important to remember that our homes should reflect our faith and be a haven for those who live there and those who enter. I am striving for that but don’t always succeed. I’m a work in progress but I won’t give up.