Redecorating on a Tight Budget?

This is my first attempt at decorating my house. I stink at decorating! I am on a seriously tight budget. I have taken out a built in shelf that jutted out into the room and put down tile in the entryway, painted the walls, added new curtains, a mirror, and vinyl lettering above the fireplace.


Now what? I have a lot of very old barn wood, but I am not sure the wood is even usable it is so old. I don't have the money to go and buy bookshelves and was trying to figure out how to build bookshelves to go on both sides of the fireplace. If you have plans for this that do not require a lot of tools, that would be great.

Also, I am a new grandma to my first grandbaby and I would love to decorate this room for Christmas. But again, the budget is super tight and I don't own a lot of lights and things. What kind of crafts could we make to help bring things together?

Thank you for your help!

By Dinaonashoestringbudget

Rustic looking bookcase.

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October 6, 20110 found this helpful

Unless the shelf you took out was horrible, I would have left it, for storage and display of knick-knacks. No matter what you build you will probably need more than just basic tools. I consider basic tools to be: hammer, pliers, screw drivers, a skill saw. If I was going to be building anything more than a really small item I would want some larger power tools, like a nail gun, cordless screw driver, and a power saw.


To build bookcases on each side of the fireplace all you need is a certain number of boards cut to specific measurements. Decide on how many shelves you want and go from there. If they are going to be built in you will want to make sure they are attached to the studs in the walls. Also, depending on the measurements of the area you might be able to buy ready to assemble shelf units for lower cost than building them.

Most of the time one discount store or another has them really inexpensively. They might look cheap, but if money is truly and object they work. What kind of vinyl lettering did you put above the fire place. I probably would have omitted that. I probably would have put off putting tile in the entry way until I had other more important things done. If money is truly short forget about Christmas decorating a grand baby's room. That child won't know the difference.


As far as that goes special decorating of any type, for a small child's room is unnecessary for people that are low income. Fresh paint, and some curtains in a colorful print, and some toys are all they need. When they get older they will probably want posters of their favorite singers, etc. Think before you spend and decide what is really necessary.


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October 6, 20110 found this helpful

You can always make brick & board bookcases, that it, use the barn wood for the shelves & support them with bricks or cement or glass blocks. This might look very nice at the side of a fireplace. By my lights, you are doing a lot of redecorating! I understand about the hall - those areas get a lot of wear.


I had to redo the tiles in my bedroom near the door where it got the most wear & the tile I had used was out of stock, so I had to settle for tile that matched the background color of the old tile, but it really doesn't show.

October 6, 20110 found this helpful

Sorry, didn't realize it sounded like I was going to decorate the baby's room, not my intentions. I want to decorate my living room, get and decorate a Christmas tree and things like that.

I am not low income, just super tight budget, custody battle and two house payments has zapped our 'fun money' for this year, tried to sell the other house and it did not move. I have been laid off for 2 years and I am over qualified for minimum wage jobs and under qualified for the kind of job I was laid off from.



I have faith that life will level out by next year, just really need one room done in our house that feels like home, our home, if that makes sense and I love decorating for Christmas, sold all my Christmas decorations when we (me and my 2 kids, I am a newlywed) had to move.

Thanks for all your suggestions! I greatly appreciate them!

October 6, 20110 found this helpful

For Holiday decorations go to and look for freecycle groups in your area and post on there that you need an artifical Christmas tree and the decorations for it. You might be surprised at what you receive. The thing is before you can ask for something, you have to offer something.


That could be something as little as a couple paper back books or some little doo-dad. If I remember right after you post something to give away, you can turn around and ask for something, right after you post the give away.

October 6, 20110 found this helpful

Duh, not sure why I forgot about freecycle. I give things away all the time! I just never ask for anything. I will do that. Thanks!

October 7, 20110 found this helpful

Here's a link to a site that has plans for 101 homemade Christmas decorations.


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October 7, 20110 found this helpful

For nearly free Christmas decor, think about things like pine cones rolled in glitter-soak pine cones you've gathered on walks in water and a little household bleach overnight to kill off any bugs, let them dry in a warm spot for a few days, then brush white glue on the tips.

Next either roll the cones in glitter, or sprinkle the glitter over the glue. When the pine cones have dried you can take a bit of fishing line an wind it through the top of the cone then hang it from the tree. You can also use yarn (red would be pretty) or embroidery floss to make the hangers.

Another nearly free decoration is taking 2'-3' cuttings from pine or cedar trees and arranging them in a kind of a fan configuration (three pine or cedar boughs look best)-use twist ties or twine to tie them together at the top of the boughs near where you cut, then make a decorative bow with either red yarn or weatherproof ribbon and hang the spray from the front door and the front facing house windows. It looks very pretty in a colonial or rustic way.

In a real pinch you could use one for a wall-tree in the house, make sure you soak the cuttings to kill off any bugs, you don't want those crawling out of your decorations when the warmth of the room wakes them up!

You can also use cuttings to make swags for inside (or outside) use. Soak the cuttings overnight in a bathtub filled with cold water and a little bit of household bleach to kill off hitchhiking critters, then wire or tie the cuttings to a rope the length you want your swag to end up. Wire on some glittery pine cones, add some red pom-poms (or wood beads, sometimes you can find those at yard sales or thrift shops), paper doily angels (also easy to make by fan folding cheap paper doilies and tying into shape with yarn or embroidery floss).

One year we were in the middle of a move and our decorations hadn't caught up. We were broke from the move and on a tight budget, so we made a tree topper out of a colouring book page (an angel). We wrapped an empty toilet paper cardboard tube with tin foil, cut out a star from cardboard and covered it with tin foil, then glued the crayoned angel to the star. Then we duct taped the star to the toilet paper tube from the back point of the star running the tape through the tube and onto the star bottom point. Gave it a lot of stability, lol, and the tube slipped right over the top bough of the tree. Had it for years, lost it in Katrina, broke our hearts when we lost it.

You can also use the colouring book idea for tree ornaments; you can also use those as templates for hand-sewn stuffed ornaments using re-purposed fabric and stuffing found in your rag bag or in thrift shops.

One thing I don't suggest are the salt dough ornaments-hard to make, heavy, and if it's humid where you are the forms tend to go a bit mushy.

Have a happy Christmas, the homemade-handmade ones are the best:)


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