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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Money saving home decor hacks

Updated: Jun 10

10 Top Tips for decorating and styling your home on a budget

Painting is an obvious choice as a lick of paint can transform a room or space without splashing too much cash here are some extra ways of saving the pennies when painting...

1. Paint - Match the colour not the price

I love using the expensive colour palettes of the top brands but don’t love the price tags that come with them so always use the brilliant colour matching service provided by the Decorating Centre Online (@decoratingcentreonline) which is a huge money saver and the paint is fab quality. Full disclosure, I have collaborated with DCO in the past, but this is not an ad or promotion at all, I just genuinely love them!

Here are some examples of the DCO colour matches I've used in my own home. Paint shades noted in the captions.

2. Use Tester Pots

I’ll often use tester pots of paint rather than large tins if it’s a small area I’m working on for example or an upcycle project. As part of my budget room makeover I painted the mountain wall murals on my bedroom walls (below) exclusively with only six 350ml tester pots. Read how I did it here...

3. Thrifting & preloved

I’m a big fan of shopping at charity shops, boot fairs, eBay and Facebook marketplace. Buying second hand or preloved items can save you a fortune and is also a good way of adding character to your home as you can often get your hands on better quality pieces than you could’ve afforded new which might also be unique or unusual.

The mantlepiece pictured was a £20 bargain from Facebook Market place and I managed to pick up the beautiful cast iron fireplace to go inside it on Facebook marketplace for a bargain too (below).

The vintage solid wood table below was a £60 charity shop bargain which came up beautifully after some TLC.

4. IKEA Hacks

Champagne tastes on a lemonade budget? IKEA hacks are your friend as you can create bespoke looking furniture using cost effective flat packs. I've written a few other blog posts about the IKEA hacks that I've completed in my home which I've linked below in case is interest.

5. Customising

If you are unable to find what you are looking for second-hand then you can still add the personal touch to cheaper, shop bought items by giving them a coat of paint or adding some texture or features, eg cladding in wooden dowel strips and painting (like I did here with my coffee table hack)...or you can swap out handles and knobs on doors and drawers to enhance an item and make it look much more expensive than it really is. TK Maxx and Homesense always have a good selection of bargain handles and knobs, I recently bought a pack of four beautiful gold bee door knobs for a bargain £5.99 and have used them on our wardrobe doors to add some interest.

I recently updated our tired looking bathroom by adding some black accents on the shower screen, towel holder, handles and door architrave, it made a big difference but cost very little indeed.

I’m also a fan of breathing new life into vases and ornaments by giving them a lick of paint to match the new scheme or style you are introducing. I used blackboard paint on a selection of vases and ornaments recently to give a matte black finish so they would fit in with the Scandi theme of a shelfie I was styling and have painted and repainted vases and ornaments numerous times in different shades.

7. Grow your own or get foraging

If you love using plants and flowers in your home styling or just love having fresh cut flowers around to cheer you up then why not grow your own. Pampas grasses and dried flower arrangements have been especially popular in recent times, and can easily be grown in your garden to save having to fork out.

Each year I buy sad-looking little roses in the garden centre sales, and I am rewarded with bountiful blooms that not only cheer up the garden but also look amazing when cut and brought inside the house.

Sticks and twigs can even make interesting additions to your shelves and cost nothing at all. In fact, why not forage all the foliage and flowers for your home styling displays? Be sure to read my handy guide on how to forage in the UK.

8. Discount codes

I subscribe to lots of discount code sites and also keep an eye out for sales and promotions. Brands will often use brand ambassadors on social media who have special discount codes to share with their followers, so it’s worth checking if the brands you love and plan to buy from have any.

9. Repurposing

Repurposing items can be fun too, for example washing out old diffuser pots and using them as bud vases which can cheer up a bedside table or windowsill (below).

DIY bathboard – Bath boards are all the rage at the moment I fashioned my one out of a spare laminate floorboard! You can read how I did it here...

10. Research and plan

This might sound really obvious but you can save making costly mistakes by really planning ahead. I love using mood boards when designing a new room or glow-up. I recommend morpholioboard which is a great app for designing schemes and looks and I don’t know where I would be without Pinterest and of course good old Instagram! Why not give me a follow to keep up to date with my tips and tricks.

Textured paint effects for rustic vases

Another similar project you might like is creating a textured paint effect on a vase by adding baking soda to paint or by layering up paper and wallpaper paste onto a vase and painting over it to create an artisanal look. Read the tutorial for these paint effects here.

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling and upcycling projects (like my upcycled shelves that I’ve just finished writing about), if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page).

If you are a fan of hacks, tips and tricks then you might like to read the following articles from my blog... DIY Hacks how to repair plasterboard walls DIY Hacks - Painting 5 tips for a successful IKEA hack

DIY hinged canvas hack Don't forget to check out some of my other DIY & upcycling blog posts ...and why not pop over and give me a follow on Instagram too.


Kitchen recommendations - click to shop 

Milk frother
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