Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cheap Home Decor: an apartment tour of sorts

My husband and I moved to a new state carrying only two compact cars full of books, clothes, wedding presents, and boxes of nostalgia (mostly toys). We had to buy all our furniture when we got up here, so we didn't have much money left for home decor, or bedside tables for that matter. Here are some pictures and tips for decorating your home frugally.

Make friends with scraps of paper. 

I used annoying magazine subscription cards to make temporary wall art above the bed.
Magazine subscription butterflies.
Once you tire of the butterflies, cover them with images from magazines and put them in a shadow box.

Old magazine pages and some origami helped me make a fun mobile

Maps from old road trips became faux wallpaper for our big blank dining room wall. It only cost as much as a box of tacks. 

Vintage recipe cards can become cool and inspirational kitchen collages. 

Framed postcards can be an inexpensive substitute for larger posters or artwork. 

Paint chips are free and versatile. 

Make it yourself.

My husband and I love the Native American art of the Pacific Northwest, but I couldn't find any we could afford. I used free clip art images from here, here, and here. We bought inexpensive canvasses and acrylic paint and made our own. These are not my design and I am not using the images for profit, just for making my house prettier. 

I embroidered more permanent wall hangings for above our bed. I used a white twin sheet from Ikea I had laying around and used embroidery hoops to hang the work. I borrowed the designs heavily from images I found on the internet. I looked for embroidered trees, deer, and birds. I added a little blue hedgehog too because I love them. I don't want to show the images, although I'm not using them for profit, because I'm not really sure if there are rights issues. The hedgehog came from looking at a bunch of images, but it's mostly my design, so I'll show it. 

I knit a wreath that is near our front door. I didn't hang it on the door, because I'm not really sure what the door is made of. I used a woven wood wreath base from the dollar store and used yarn left over from some tree decorations I made last year. I put it up before halloween because I think the colors are autumnal, but can also work for Christmas. 

Use what you already have.

We have a ton of books and a bunch of toys, so they have become prominent parts of our decor. Bookshelves are a good way of using up blank wall space. They're also pretty and functional. I grew up in a home full of books, so I really don't know what a home is without them. 

Bookshelves aren't just for books. I use photos as bookends sometimes or as storage for other decorative items. I like using groups of colored books to make a statement. 

A bunch of toys became wall art above our couch using square wall boxes from Target. Sorry for the blurry picture. 

Get creative with furniture. 

We didn't really have the money for bedside tables, so instead we bought some inexpensive Ikea picture ledges for each side of the bed. They hold exactly what we need without the clutter. They also don't take up as much space as conventional side tables. 

We couldn't decide on an end table for the living room. They all seemed too expensive for not enough function. We decided on an Ikea drawer unit in silver. It holds mugs and discretely stores papers and my knitting needles right were we need them. We aren't really desk people so we use this unit for what would become desk storage normally. I didn't know what to write on the labels, so I used names cut from paint chips. They add color and some fun to the piece. 

This isn't a cheap idea, but I love our coffee table. It's sturdy and has a good amount of storage underneath for coffee table books and coasters. 
But wait, there's more! The top lifts up making it a great surface for working or eating. This was really good in the weeks before our dining table arrived. 
I've been obsessed with lift top tables ever since my brother and I discovered one at a coffee shop in California. I think we were trying to move it when the top started to lift up, but I don't exactly recall. I'm really glad to have one of my own. 

I hope you enjoyed. If you have any questions or any ideas you want to share, comment or email me! 

Happy decorating! 

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