The Enterprising Family: Frugal Decorating

Decorating is an area where you can be really creative and resourceful or you can break the bank.  A woman must begin with the understanding that part of her job is to be as resourceful as possible with the family’s income.  (Don’t forget:  “A penny saved is MORE than a penny earned.”)

Many women–especially if she works, have rather lost this concept, feeling entitled, instead, to whatever luxury she desires.   This is one area where “the heart of her husband should safely trust her”.  The better I can manage our spending, the less my husband has to work.

I personally think a house where a woman has spent her creative energies is so welcoming.  Stretch yourself!  You are building a home AND instilling a sense of frugality in your children.

The good news about saving money with decorating is that recycling is in!  To me, there’s nothing more satisfying and easy on the budget than finding new uses for old things.  And because we live in such a disposable society, you can find just about anything at a real bargain if you’re looking.

Ideas are what you need!  Many women are born with the natural creativity and eye to behold the beauty before it’s there; others need to see it before they can do it.

So, browse magazines (please buy them at thrift stores!) and the Internet for things that catch your attention, rip out/print off the picture, and tuck them in a notebook.  Make a mental note of things to look for at yard sales, thrift shops, etc.

Keep it simple.  Anyone’s taste can still be suited in a simple fashion.  Less is usually best when decorating a home.

Use natural resources.  Nothing is lovelier to me than when my daughters bring in a wild bouquet of flowers from the nearby field.  We put them in small vases for bathrooms, large vases for the table, beside the beds–everywhere.

Here are some picture of other ideas to get your started:

The Window Table


I’ve posted this before–it is a table I made from an old window pane ($5) and some table legs we happen to have around.  It now sits on my porch.  I used some left over paint and because it was so rought,  instead of sanding it down, I utilized it’s appearance and just brushed paint on and then wiped it off with a paper towel.  The result is a “distressed” look.

Wheelbarrow Planter

“Here is a nice old Wheelbarrow with great colors and rust that’s been turned into a Planter. I picked it up at a garage sale for a dollar because according to the seller “the tubs full of little holes”. I’m thinking, great, it saves me from drilling a bunch of drain holes”   From Junk Market

Baby Crib Spring Display


Look at this!  It’s burlap interwoven into a baby bed spring found on the side of the road.  Maybe a little eccentric, but pretty clever, nonetheless.

Junk Market

Fence Panel Re-Do


I love old fence panels.  I’ve posted a picture of the one that hangs on our dining room wall, and I loved this look as well.    Junk Market



  • Decorating with old quilts and baskets (to help keep things orderly).
  • Painting an old picture frame instead of buying a new one.
  • Covering an old pillow with some fabric–even an unused sheet or article of clothing no longer being used.
  • Rearrange your furniture.  It may not feel like the natural thing to do, but a sitting room is really best suited when the furniture is pulled in close together.
  • Decorate with books.
  • A coat of paint can work wonders with tired furniture.

There are so many ideas, but hopefully we’ll be inspired to just start looking at everything expecting it to have a little more potential before we go out to buy that perfect piece.

20 Responses to “The Enterprising Family: Frugal Decorating”

  1. I LOVE the bedspring idea – it’s got that cottage/industrial crossover I love….and I own more burlap upholstery webbing than I know what to do with! It would be great as a pin-up display for my fabric sample groupings. What a fun post, thank you!

  2. I was also going to add a suggestion about where to find magazines….If you know a designer/decorator is having a garage sale, stop there and ask if she/he is selling or giving any away. I always have a box out at my garage sales for free (I have sometimes pulled a page or two for reference, but they’re usually complete and the current year). I’ve noticed a lot of other decorating oriented folks do the same thing.

  3. Kim M. says:

    I loved the idea you gave awhile back about framing old quits that you can’t use anymore. I was also thinking that if one doesn’t have an old quilt to frame, one could sew something like that and frame it.

    I was in the thrift store yesterday and I saw a BUNCH of frames.

  4. kimberly says:

    My daughter loved the idea of a chandelier for her french themed bedroom, but the one she loved was 99.99, not in our family budget. I found a light fixture at the Salvation Army for 6.00. I spray painted it black, and repurposed some crystals from some candle holders, she now has a funky and fabulous chandelier.

  5. jessica in Peru says:

    I love to save a buck, but the creativity is SOOOO not there. This makes it hard to be frugal in decorating! I really believe you either have the gift of making cool stuff from scratch or you don’t. And I seriously just DON’T have it!

  6. Laura Ayars says:

    I would like to know how families that stay home a lot keep their “decor” looking nice when there are small children with trucks on the floor, and babies pulling things off, and small houses where you don’t really have room for everything! If I can keep the toys under control and the carpets vacumed things are about as “decorated” as they are going to be!

  7. wordwarrior says:


    I can relate. While we have some decoration, we don’t always have things squeaky clean. It’s a full time job to stay on top of the clutter. But I try to think of it as a great way for everyone to understand how vital “their part” is, and also to hone my mangerial/delegation skills (which still need lots of honing!)

    I can see as the children get older, it gets easier–there is a light! And besdies that, little hand prints and trucks and legos are more fun than a shiny, empty house.

  8. I don’t have babies anymore, but we have a once hourly pick up rule….stop what you’re doing, and count to 20 (slowly), and pick up as many things as you can. Almost everything gets picked up, except what they’re currently playing with. I learned this trick from an organizer friend and was using it at my desk, and I just translated it to the kids play area.
    They actually like it. If your toddler(s) can’t pick up at least part of what they’ve gotten out, you might consider that they have access to too many toys at any given time.

    Fewer toys has saved us a lot of aggravation, and has improved my kids attention span and spirit about toys. When they’re tired of what they’ve got, they swap. Built in sharing.

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  11. I have outdoor decors at home that are made of organic materials.:~:

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  20. Shalanda Struthers says:

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