You’re Cheap If You Decorate Rooms Frugally

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

If you’ve ever been judged or looked down upon because you decorate your home cheap don’t forget the purpose of your journey to debt-freedom.

No, I don’t think you are cheap, and you will never hear me say that, trust me.

A friend of my wife, who has a great job in a senior-level position, does her husband feel that we are too cheap when decorating our house.

I guess everyone has their definition of cheap and frugal, but for us, it’s simply spending less when we can.

How to Decorate A House Cheaply
How to Decorate A House Cheaply

Things To Do When Moving Into A New Home

Many people skim online ads looking for a deal in their community.

Newlyweds and those moving into their first place typically have what they acquired over the years living at home or while away at school.

With more and more students exiting school with student loans that may take them years to pay off, scouting for discounts on home décor is worth the effort, in my opinion.

New Home, New Stuff

Everything in Cheryl’s house (changed her name) is pristine and has the price tag to prove it.

When we were house-sitting their cat on the weekend, just going inside their house alerted us to the smell of a new home.

She keeps it immaculate and spares no money when decorating the house inside and out.

Her theory is that since we have decent jobs, we shouldn’t need to buy anything but new because we earned it.

It’s not about how much money you make; it’s how we save it.

Sometimes, I have to keep reminding myself of that so it sinks in even when the pressures of our friends try to sneak in.

I don’t worry about their thoughts; they are still our friends. I don’t need to follow through to be a “spender” like them.

Even top designers flock to second-hand shops looking for furniture they can re-cover or reuse for an upcoming project for all clients.

I believe that many people associate a new home with new stuff, and that’s not always the most innovative way to think.

We prefer ‘new to me‘ stuff and shopping for new items at discount prices, which works equally fine.

Most people who come around think that our house is gorgeous inside.

You’re Debt-Free

She also says we are very cheap by how we live our lives, considering we don’t need to as we are debt-free, although that wasn’t always the case.

Now that we are practically mortgage-free, we can splurge more on what we want, but we still can’t bring ourselves to spend like nobody is looking.

It seems like it would be defeating the purpose; we also have other goals.

Having other goals when you are debt-free doesn’t mean going hog-wild with life.

That’s how people get into trouble in the first place sometimes.

Overall, no one bothers us when they think we are too frugal; it’s their opinion, and if it makes us happy and it’s not wild “cheapskates” unbelievable, then we’re pleased with that.

Whether you are moving into a new home or want to decorate rooms in your home or apartment the frugal way, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

One of the worst things about moving into a new home is the house interiors are empty, meaning each room you walk in needs a vision to bring it to life.

It may not be the worst thing in the world, but some people love decorating and find the right furniture, décor, and accessories to make the space livable, stress-free, and easy on the eye.

They could care less for others, and any old furniture will do. Some vintage pieces do make a room stand out.


Things To Do When Moving Into A New Home

If you are moving into a new home from an apartment, you likely already have furniture.

You should have a relatively good idea of where to put things.

If you are moving into a new home after getting married or leaving your parents, you may not have to worry about hiring a rental truck to get you from point A to point B.

Most of the time, you can stuff a vehicle of belongings or toss a bed in a friend’s truck to save some cash rather than renting a moving truck.

Sometimes, it’s nice to move to a new place without having too much stuff.

Doing so allows you to take your time decorating rooms the way you want without having too much clutter.

Keeping organized is essential; otherwise, you end up with a mish-mash of items you don’t need.

DIY Home Decor On A Budget

Our friend made her roller blinds instead of going to an expensive big box store or even costlier having them custom-made.

She used her sewing skills and made her own, which is excellent if you want to add your personal touch.

If you are handy, there are many DIY ways to decorate your room, starting with a simple coat of paint and then searching for furniture to fit the space.

I must caution that not everyone has the decorator’s eye.

If you want help or a second opinion, call a friend whose home you adore to get their idea on your space and your visions.

If you like their work, you will likely want the advice they give you.

It’s a win-win situation without hiring a designer, which can be costly.

When we bought our home, we moved in from renting, so we didn’t have mung.

Over time, we started to purchase items on sale at discount stores and kept our eyes open for any deals that came out in the flyers.

Friends and family were kind enough to donate items to us because they had doubles or no need for these things any longer.

Instead of recycling or selling something, they asked us if we needed it first.

Most times, the answer was a yes because we didn’t realize how much we didn’t have when we bought our new home.

We also wanted to save our money for other ventures and not spend it decorating our home.

Tips to get you started decorating your home in a budget-friendly way

Garage Sale Decor

We are garage sale lovers, and although we don’t get out as often as we like now, we used to go almost every weekend we could.

It was probably the cheapest way for us to acquire what we needed to decorate rooms in the house. If you can bargain with a seller, you can sweeten the deal even more.

Don’t just offer what they are asking; make an offer and see if they will bite.

I believe they will accept your offer nine times out of 10, and you get the item you wanted for less.

Kijiji Decor

Search the free stuff classifieds on Kijiji or find the category for what you are looking for and do a search. 

You never know what you might find.

Sometimes, people have leftover building materials they no longer want and will sell them cheaply or give them to you for free.

If it’s not free, then learning the art of negotiation is a great way to haggle a deal from the seller that fits within your budget and makes them happy. 


If you have family, friends, or kids moving out and have items they no longer need, they may send them your way.

It’s a great way to ensure items stay out of landfills, especially if they still have lots of life.

Free Stuff

If you find free stuff, heck, it’s like hitting the jackpot, and if you follow this blog, you know that on many occasions, we have found free stuff on the curb that homeowners label ‘free,’ and we take it away.

We’ve also found some pretty cool free stuff in the past, probably the best being the remote control for our new ceiling fans in the garbage at a neighbor’s house.

We decided not to buy the remote for one of our ceiling fans as it was a silly price of over $30, but now we have one for free.

Discount Stores

There are plenty of great discount stores you can shop at, and if you love IKEA as much as we do, you can find great bargains for a reasonable price.

Not everything is top-notch quality, but I’ve gotten some great deals that lasted me over the years.

You might also find great deals at scratch and dent shops in your local area or consignment stores.

Second-Hand Stores

If you have already gone to Value Village, The Salvation Army, and many other second-hand stores, you know there are deals to be had.

You may have to pop in periodically to see what stock has come in, but if you’re lucky, you might find what you are looking for.

Keep an open eye for discounts or 50% off days to sweeten the deal even more.  

Plus, some shops also have rewards cards, so take advantage of them when you can.

Rewards Points

Collect rewards points on your credit card, and you may be able to redeem them for paint at Canadian Tire if you use the Canadian Tire MasterCard like I do.

If you love PC and collect PC Optimum points, you can redeem them for many household items in-store.

When collecting points, always remember to have your card handy because points lost are like throwing money out the window.

Just last week, we redeemed for a new food processor and frying pan, and although they are not used to decorating, it was still great to get free stuff with earned points.


If you watch, you will find coupons in weekly flyers. I know that Home Outfitters offers a coupon for 20% off if you buy one item at a regular price.

That might mean you could get curtains, pillows, lamps, bedding, etc, for a cheaper price if you cut out your coupon.

Do that every week, and you can start decorating your house frugally in no time.

There you have it: some tips on finding frugal deals to decorate rooms in your house or apartment without breaking the bank.

Never listen to those who make you feel as if you should be spending more or that buying used is for people who can’t afford new; it’s a load of you know what.

If someone thinks you are too cheap or living too frugally, remember to live your life as you want.

Spend your money wisely, and the goals you set forth to accomplish will come your way.

Discussion: Where did you get the items to decorate your living space?

Please leave me your comments below.

Thanks for reading,




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  1. I’ve only bought 3 new pieces of furniture in 32 years of marriage and, although I do recognize the things that are beyond my level of expertise (electrical wiring, heavy plumbing) and hire someone in to help with those things, I prefer to do most of my repairs, flooring, tiling, and decorating as DIY projects. I love to find old things, clean them up, and make them useful once more. I sew my own window coverings, slip covers, table cloths, place mats and napkins. It’s frugal, satisfying, creative, and it makes our home so much more uniquely our own. Cheap? Maybe. But I’ll keep on doing it because it makes me happy.

    1. You are so handy, and probably why I love following your blog. I learn so much from you. I also use a needle and thread and sew all my pants so I don’t have to buy new ones. These are pants I use around the house, gardening etc.. but I will do what I have to so I don’t have to spend more. I think if we all put a bit of effort into trying something new instead of giving in to convenience or new all the time we may see the world from a different perspective.

  2. In my early marriage years (1967 maybe) we bought a very old kitchen table at an estate sale , with umpteen layers of paint. We spent much of the summer stripping and refinishing what turned out to be a beautiful maple drop-leaf table. When the marriage ended in 1981 my husband took the table. 2 years ago he and his (new) wife came east, for our daughters Uni graduation, and as soon as he saw me, he said ” I still have the table”. Obviously very important to him. It wasn’t just a table, but something we had done together. I have done many makeovers in the past 30 years, grew up with a make-do attitude, and resent the price that many new items cost, especially if I know I could refinish a second-hand piece and be happy with it. I say my style is “eclectic”, mostly antique, some inherited, some a little bit newer. Regardless it is my space, my place of peace, If people come to visit, to inspect my home, they might as well stay away. Come to visit me, not my decor!

  3. My house already had furniture left by the previous owner so that was fine until we got settled but I do appreciate to have nice things now, not necessarily decorations, the garden is full of orchids that decorate more than any painting but for your daily items, a good mattress, a good fridge, a good blender.. we bought everything new because they don’t do second hand much for household items, people keep their stuff until it can’t be fixed anymore or like the previous owner just leave it for the next owner inside the house.

  4. I’m one of those crafty types and I’ve had people ask why I don’t just buy something…. I consider it my artistic outlet and a fun hobby. I have an old dry sink cupboard from my parents place and an old plant stand from my grandparents that I did a marble number on and we love it!! The dry sink is in greens (I bought a kit to learn how to do it) and the stand is in pinks on a gray background. Then people go into my downstairs bathroom/laundry room…. and the jaws drop….. I used very thin painters tape and sponged over it to make it look like tile…..For all the times my sil has been here she still has a hard time believing it isn’t tile…. it’s paint. People have to actually touch it to realize it’s not real tile……
    We also bought a sofa back in the early days of the marriage and hubby worked for a few months at a furniture place, they had some sweet sales at that factory!!!! We got our sofa and a “boneyard” sale for all of $166.00!!!We think it might have been a sample product that didn’t sell…. It needs to be recovered …again, but it is solid and just needs to be recovered to look awesome again. I look at it and think about trying to do it myself…….if I find some fabric I really like cheap enough………..I just might …….wonder what Farbicland has…….

    1. Good for you Christine! Another place to look for affordable upholstery fabric might be your local bespoke furniture stores. They tend to change fabrics annually (to encourage people to change stuff to keep up with the Joneses) and, if you’re not concerned about keeping up with the latest trends, it’s possible to buy the “old” fabric from the previous year at very low prices. Usually good quality too!

  5. A well argued post here, CBB! I cannot stand the thought of spending time, money and energy on decor. It’s just that I can always think of a better way to spend those dollars and that time. So in 10 years, our house has got a new AC unit and that’s about it. There is furniture, but it’s all old and there are no plans to replace any of it;) Some of us, like you, simply choose to spend our money elsewhere. Am I supposed to decorate for company? I could not care less what company has to say about our decor.

    Have a frugal day!!!

  6. I don’t usually DIY often and end up paying way too much to furnish my condo. I’ve never been to IKEA since my closest one is 3 hours away but that’s a less expensive option to check out too.

  7. My wife is the crafty/DIY type so she did a lot of the decorating herself (and we still have more to go!). When it comes to furniture I usually prefer new (especially couches because of my allergies) so I bought a lot at ikea. I definitely am up for refinishing some older wood furniture, though, and can see myself doing that if I ever have time.

    1. I like refinishing wood as well.. so I’m always on the look-out for vintage. I’m not big on couches unless they are leather. I think we have to be picky for some things but if you know what you want and you find it, grab it if it’s a great price. Cheers DC!

  8. “Just because you are debt free doesn’t mean you should go hog-wild with life.” I could not agree more Mr. CBB! I think that too many times people will use that as an excuse to overspend when they shouldn’t. For us it comes down to quality, value and what will fit in our budget. Sometimes that means new, sometimes in means used. It depends on the situation and what we’ve allocated for it.

  9. Great suggestions! I am looking for a couch and 2 chairs but I am not in a rush and will wait until the right deal comes my way. 😀

  10. Great tips, I’ll have to keep this post handy for future reference… My wife and I stay on a roller coaster with home decor. We save money and turn a blind eye for a while until we just can’t take it anymore, then we blow a couple hundred dollars on DIY projects that make us feel a little better but don’t really make the room look awesome, then we save again.

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