First-time renter or homeowner? Find affordable home décor with these tips

First-time renter or homeowner? Find affordable home décor with these tips
using old pottery for decoration

using old pottery for decoration

Now that you’ve done the hard part of securing your first apartment or house, it’s time to make it look and feel like a home. However, after paying your first and last month’s rent and security deposit, there's little money left for decorating.

The good news: You can still transform your home into a warm, attractive and inviting environment without going broke.

Here are a few places to shop for affordable items to convert your new space into a showroom that your friends will envy. (Hint: Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of energy.)

Where to look

Consignment furniture stores: You never know what you’ll find. The merchandise changes regularly since private owners sell their furniture at these shops.

Thrift stores: Perusing through a thrift store takes time, but the treasures make it worth the while.


 (Photo by )
Angie's List member Teal L. of Indianapolis made a cup holder out of a broken rake. (Photo by Mike LaFollette) (Photo by )

Flea markets: A bit overwhelming for the novice, flea markets are a wonderland of knickknacks, used items and antiques.

Garage, yard (rummage) sales: The perfect opportunity to capitalize on someone else's need to downsize or make space for new items.

Websites: Don’t have time or don’t want to trek from yard sale to yard sale? Several websites bring the garage sale and newspaper classifieds to your laptop. Many items listed are free; you just need to haul them away.

Auctions: Discover vintage, funky or eclectic finds at estate or public storage auctions.

Furniture stores: Sitting on the floor gets old. Fast. Check out scratch-and-dent sales at retail furniture stores, used furniture stores, discount or wholesale furniture stores for budget-friendly options.

What to look for

Now that you know where to go, what should you look for? Here’s a primer on items to grab during your hunt:

Mirrors: Use mirrors to make tiny rooms or spaces appear larger, or to create an interesting wall pattern.

Pots and pans: Find some kitschy cookware? Use it to decorate your kitchen wall (and save space in your cabinets).


pots hanging on kitchen wall (Photo by )
You can add some culinary flare by hanging pots and pans on the kitchen wall. (Photo by Mike LaFollette) (Photo by )

Plates: Trendy patterns or brightly colored plates provide a super cheap option for covering walls.

Wall art: So what if you can’t afford a Jackson Pollock piece for your living room. Jazz up walls with posters, wall hangings, baskets and family photos.

Glassware: Decorate wall shelves with vases, bowls or oddly shaped glasses. Add a little creative fun and spray paint the outside or swirl acrylic paint inside for color.

Plants: Perk up a room with some potted plants or flowers. You’ll find cheap vases and pots at thrift stores and garage sales.

Need professional help? You can find highly rated interior designers and decorators on Angie's List.

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Search Angie's List for great tips on interior decorating. (Photo courtesy of Keshav Joshi)
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