Interior Design on a Dime

One of the first college classes I took was an interior design course. I took both interior design and advanced interior design and loved every minute of it. A lot of the designs we worked with were high budget and high class. Although it was fun working on them, my only actual paying client was just redesigning a rental and wanted something inexpensive and functional.

It actually came in really handy to know the design principles once I got my own home, though. We didn’t build or buy a brand new home. Our home is decades older than me but it has the space our family needs. That being said, I still wanted to make our house a cozy home that looked decent. We haven’t gone knocking out walls or anything to remodel our house, but we have done some slight upgrades that have made me feel much more comfortable in the house.

Luckily there are a few things you can do on a budget to totally upgrade your living space without spending a ton.


When we first toured our house it had orange shag carpet and bubblegum pink walls. Gross! Before we even moved in I repainted EVERYTHING. I went to local home improvement stores and found colors I liked of their five gallon OOPS! paint. I bought neutrals for the living room and family room areas, a sage green for the bathroom and laundry, red for my boys’ room, light blue for the nursery, and so on. My husband and I took the kids to grandma’s for a weekend and painted the house. I spent around $200 for paint and supplies for my entire house going this route.

Floor coverings:

I am not suggesting you go out and buy new carpet or hardwood planks. However, spicing up your floors can do wonders for the spirits. Look for clearance rugs at box stores or go thrift store shopping for rugs. One of our apartments as newlyweds had ugly linoleum floors throughout. I bought several cheap rugs for our living room, hallway, kitchen, and bedroom. Not only did it make life more comfortable (no freezing feet), but also more cozy.


The first place your eye is drawn when you walk in a bedroom is usually the bed. Sometimes all it takes is mixing up the comforter or duvet cover you use to refresh the entire room. I like to buy duvet covers on clearance for this exact reason. If I get tired of the look of my comforter I can put a duvet cover on and I now have a fresh new look for the bedroom.

I recently scored some reversible duvet covers for $5 at Bed Bath and Beyond for my kids’ beds. We got two fresh new looks for a fraction of the price of buying them new. I bought some in colors to match each of my rooms. Yard sales are also a great place to buy linens people don’t want anymore for super cheap.


We do have a few large prints that I purchased on clearance when I worked at a bookstore that sold art a few years ago but most of the artwork in our house was purchased second hand. Ross, TJMaxx, Savers, DI, or yard sales are great places to get artwork to brighten up a room without spending a ton. Make sure you purchase art with colors that will match your room (or will if you are repainting).

Portraits of your family are also great for decorating things. Pick up a few cheap frames at Walmart and get a friend to take some pictures of your family that you can use to update your decor.


When I got married we hired a florist to make silk flower centerpieces with white calla lilies and purple pansies for all the tables at my reception. They sat in a box for a few years until we purchased our house. When I took them out of the box I put them a few feet from each other on the sconces in my kitchen and put up green curtains on the windows.Using purple as my accent color for the other art I brought in the room tied the room together nicely.

I may not be as skilled as our florist at the time but I have since put my single floriculture class to good use. I have purchased many silk flowers from craft stores or dollar stores and put fun fake flower arrangements in various rooms to brighten things up a bit. For different holidays we mix things up. I like to get out my red roses for Valentine’s Day and try some colorful daisies in the spring. They last a lot longer than fresh flowers and are fun to play with.


I am not suggesting you go buy brand new furniture. I honestly can only think of one time in my entire life when I have purchased new furniture and it was a cheap dresser from Walmart. If things need a refreshing feel consider refinishing or repainting something. New drawer or cabinet pulls can bring fresh life to an old piece. Consider purchasing a sofa cover to re-do your fabric furniture. Rearrange what you have to make it something new and different for you.


This may sound silly or a bit dumb but having a disorganized house can be a real downer. Go to the dollar store and find some bins that you like. Any pattern or color you want. Plastic or fabric it’s up to you. Use these to organize paperwork, crafting supplies, kids toys, or whatever other clutter you have in your house. Having things put away with a spot they go will help your house not only be cleaner but also cuter.

Have fun redecorating and I hope you find a way to achieve the harmony and balance you want in your interior without spending a bunch of money.

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