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One objection that I have heard over the years is "I can’t afford to re-decorate my room", or "I can’t afford to hire an interior designer". Well, I’m here to tell you…no more! I’m going to show you 4 Ways You Can Design Your Family Room (Even on a Tiny Budget). If you are willing to be creative, add in a little DIY, and do some searching, you can get a magazine worthy room, no matter your budget. Plus stay tuned for a new FREEBIE at the end that will show you the best places to shop for the best deals (no more wandering aimlessly down the aisles!)

Budget Trick #1 Look for the Copy Cat I get subscriptions to about a thousand design mags and I hate seeing a gorgeous lamp just to find out it costs $840. Seriously…for a LAMP? That I would disown my child if they broke that (kidding but only a little). So if you love that lamp, tear it out or Pin it. It will serve as inspiration…then look for a Copy Cat version! I love both of these Farmhouse Console Tables above…but one is more than FOUR TIMES the price of the other!

Want to see this actual World Market console table used? Then check out this Real Postbox Living Room project below and see all of the items I paired up with it:

Let's try another. Just check out these rustic industrial coffee tables below. While the expensive Wisteria one has a more intricate top, it is nearly NINE TIMES the cost of the other one…that has a great, rustic looking top as well! (And you can put your feet up on it without guilt).

When it comes to look-alikes, you want to be careful not to buy a piece of junk that will fall apart in a month (or you didn’t save money in the long run!). So while there is no way a Target piece is going to be the same quality as a $2000 table, you CAN get some durable pieces at a great price. One of my favorites is this Ikea Ektorp Sectional Look-Alike as compared to the Pottery Barn version.

Budget Trick #2 Use Inexpensive Artwork

For my own home, Etsy is my #1 Go-To for artwork. It is astounding how many drop-dead gorgeous pieces are available for under $20. To narrow down your search try searching by room and description "Boys Animal Prints" or "Farmhouse Word Art". My favorite way to save money is by purchasing an Instant Download. You can find plenty of these for under $10, simply purchase the JPEG image and then print on your own.

The easiest way to fill up a wall is by using one oversized piece of art (as opposed to buying a full wall of frames). I like using 24x36 or 36x48 images. To further save money, if your art happens to be black and white, use a place like Staples and order their ENGINEERING PRINT for as little as $5. To make a print look more expensive, I use a white matte almost every time. In this client project I found both of these Etsy prints from the shop LILAxLOLA for $7 each!

Budget Trick #3 Upgrade an inexpensive piece (you already own)

The easiest upgrade is to paint a piece of furniture. If you don’t label yourself the "crafty type", then paint with just one color-add a glossy bright pop of color, or update an outdated wood piece with white paint. I even create two PAINTING GUIDE FREEBIES (PART I AND II), so you know what type of paint can work on what type of surface. Oil over latex, or latex over oil? What exactly is milk paint? Check these out BEFORE you start painting:


1. Swap out the hardware (try Hobby Lobby or Anthropologie )

2. Add a new top (try butcherblock, stained plywood, or paint the top a different color)

3. Add wallpaper to the back of an open shelf or on the back of the piece

4. Use a stencil to add a subtle pattern

5. Paint the bottom half of the legs a different color (or leave bare), called "dipping"

I love this furniture makeover by Ferpie & Fray below:

Budget Trick #4: All You Need Is ONE

I have been telling this Designer Tip to my friends and family for years now. If you have a small budget, add one "Wow" piece to your room. That is the piece that will draw people’s eye and they will comment on it…and that is what everyone will focus on. In a bathroom, if you don’t have the money to update your vanity, buy a killer eye-catching mirror instead.

For a Family Room, it could be a beautiful piece of art over your fireplace (Budget Trick #2), a great vintage sign, or an amazing rug. If all else fails, a couple of really great throw pillows on your (not so favorite hand-me-down) sofa will draw your eye. You don’t have to make every single piece in your room picture perfect, instead focus on one great eye-catching piece.

Been stuck on a room? I have helped clients design their room in two weeks that they couldn't tackle in two years on their own! Order your entire custom designed room in an hour without leaving home.


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