Frugal and Fab: Decorating on a Dime

By  November 01, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to chat with four of Glam’s top design, DIY, and decorating bloggers. I wanted to pick their brains to get fabulous, frugal tips for decorating without spending a ton of cash. From spray paint to acorns (Kelly Lydon of The Party Dress suggests using them to fill a hurricane glass), here are some great pieces of advice from Catch My Party, Spearmint Baby, The Party Dress, and Modern Day Moms!

Cara Chronis, Glam editor: What’s your favorite no-cost (or very low-cost!) way to improve your home?

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: Flowers and greenery are my favorite low-cost improvement. I can clip a couple of interesting branches or flowers from my garden, put them in a tall vase, and watch my living room come to life!

Shari, Spearmint Baby: I love any kind of DIY project. Right now I am obsessed with Rust-Oleum metallic gold spray paint. You can pretty much use it on anything for a glam look. Frames, old pots or vases, any kind of garage-sale trinket. Recently I even spray-painted some of our firewood gold (before-and-after pics here: http://www.spearmintdecor.com/2012/09/gold-diy-accents/).

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: Keeping each room organized is a great way to improve your home. I often feel refreshed when I go out and buy a candle from one of my favorite stores. By refreshing candles, sponges in the kitchen, and rugs, you not only improve your home but save money as well by not spending a ton on huge renovations and remodeling.

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: I like creating fresh, new centerpieces for my tables using produce or products I already have in my house. For fall, send your kids out side to gather up fallen leaves and acorns or pinecones, and use them to fill a glass hurricane. Insert an Energizer Flameless Candle and you have the perfect decoration for a table or shelves.

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: My other suggestion—and I always struggle with this—is to declutter. I find that getting rid of things and making my space more open improves my home and also impacts my mood in such a positive way.

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: Another favorite thing is to change out bedding every so often to keep it fresh and fun. You can find cheap bedding sets at discount stores.

Cara Chronis, Glam editor: Do you have a frugal home-improvement or design project you’re especially proud of?

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: One of my favorite fall projects is a pumpkin topiary for my front-door planter. Very simple yet it looks fresh and modern through the entire month of October, not just for Halloween.

Shari, Spearmint Baby: Yes, my dining-room sideboard. I looked for a long sideboard forever but could not find anything affordable, so I redid this Goodwill piece.

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: Chalkboard paint is very popular, and when you have artistic kids in the home, you know how important it is to give them a space of their own where they can draw and be creative. By making your own chalkboard paint, you can choose any color you’d like and satisfy your little Picasso at the same time. Here is the DIY to make chalkboard paint.

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: My husband and I are about to change out our old bathroom vanity ourselves and replace it with a pretty new one we got for free. We’ve never done anything like this before, but we’re watching a lot of YouTube videos to prepare. I do feel empowered trying tougher projects now that there’s so much information on the Web. I hope this project will be one we’re proud of.

Cara Chronis, Glam editor: What’s your favorite inexpensive DIY project?

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: My favorite DIY project is always paint. I love spray paints because they’re so easy, and I’m very into metallic right now. I think everything looks better with a new coat of paint, plus there are so many tricks—like sanding after painting—that create such interesting effects. Whenever I drive past a garage sale, I always have my “what if I could paint it” mind-set. It’s amazing how many treasures you can find that way.

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: One of the favorite DIY projects we’ve ever done, and that has gotten the most compliments, is our DIY Hillbilly Crystal a.k.a. Redneck Wineglasses using Mason jars. The fun thing about this DIY project is that it’s so versatile. They can be used as wineglasses, votive holders, or just a fab and fun decoration.

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: Everyone always loves a bowl of mini pumpkins at Halloween. I like dressing them up with skinny, patterned ribbon for a festive look.

Shari, Spearmint Baby: I love art and painting, so I would have to say my favorite thing to DIY is abstract art. You can purchase pretty much any size canvas at a Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics store. Acrylic paints are pretty inexpensive and my favorite to work with. Here is a piece I’m working on for my dining room.

I also recently painted a piece for my daughter’s bedroom.

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: I love creating inexpensive wreaths for the holidays. It’s amazing what you can do with a little yarn, fabric, and wreath forms such as what we did with this easy yarn fabric wreath that we recently featured. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t take a crafty person to figure it out.

Cara Chronis, Glam editor: What are some of your favorite frugal decorating tips or ideas?

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: You don’t need to use expensive vase fillers for your glass hurricanes or jars. Explore the aisles at your grocery store for frugal “accessories.” I use green lentils to fill my hurricanes during the fall season.

Jillian Tohber Leslie, Catch My Party: I’m big into embellishment. I like to go to the craft store and see what kinds of odds and ends I can add to something to make it even prettier without having to reinvent the wheel. I love wrapping things in yarn. I made this pink ombré letter L to decorate my daughter’s room recently. It looks great on her wall and was so easy to do!

Shari, Spearmint Baby: Use what you already have. Make things fresh again with a coat of paint or spray paint. Shop garage sales, Craigslist, and Goodwill for furniture pieces that you can make new again. Bright colored flowers will do wonders for your dining-room table. I love freshening things up with bouquet of red or fuchsia roses or tulips from my local produce market. And Energizer Flameless Candles are a great way to soften the mood when the sun goes down!

Kelly Lydon, The Party Dress: For fall, I like using rich colors and textures in my home decor. My kitchen table is the center focal spot of my home, so it always has something new on it. Currently, I’ve clustered together baskets that I have collected over the years, each filled with a different type of produce: squash, potatoes, onions, peppers, tomatoes.

Jessica Lynn, Modern Day Moms: Everyone likes a good “before and after” transformation. Make one at home easily by revamping plain or unfashionable furniture. Go glam with all dark or black side tables, chests, and bookcases. Rather than purchase new pieces, update the old with high-gloss black paint. Simply sand furniture, apply a primer, give the furniture 24 hours to completely dry, and apply a few thin layers of the dark paint. For other easy updates, try refreshing lamps with new, colorful printed lampshades or enhancing furniture with interesting knobs and handles. In a few minutes, the old hardware can be removed with a screwdriver and stylish items added. Look to Anthropologie or Target.com for fashionable options that cost around $8 each, far less than a whole new piece of furniture.