I have been making over rooms with $100 for quite some time, and over the years I have learned the art of decorating on a budget. A very tight budget. I thought I’d share a few places I look for free and “nearly free” items for my home… including free paint!
Free. I love that word.
As you may know, I am always redoing rooms on a $100 budget. This isn’t an easy task, however. One hundred dollars is not a lot of money when it comes to redoing spaces in your home. Yet, I have completed nineteen spaces… all done for $100 or less 🙂
When given only $100 to work with, you have to think outside the box. There is no way you can head out to your local retail stores to buy everything you need. You have to get creative when decorating on a budget. Today I’m sharing all the places you can look for free (and nearly free) items for your home.
Decorating on a Budget: Where to Find Free Items for Your Home
Local Facebook “Swap and Shop” Groups
Facebook communities are awesome! I am currently a part of three different “Swap and Shop”/”Online Garage Sale” groups on Facebook. When you are in need of an item, simply search for the keyword in the group’s search box. See that mirror above the entry table? I scored it for $20 (brand new) from one of these groups…
… and if you have stuff to sell, you can do that too. But, here’s the deal, a lot of people are “selling” their items for FREE. Just scrolling through my local listings, here are some of the items, available for free:
- A Piano
- Several Couches
- Light Fixtures
- Bathroom Mirror
- Office Chair
- New Bathroom Counter Top with 2 Sinks
- Several Recliners
- End Tables
- Barstools (Set of 4)
- Coffee Table
- … Even a Toilet
The list goes on and on. Even if you can’t find what you need for free, most items are a steal.
Local Environmental/Recycle Center
Every drop of paint I used in our master bedroom was free… I also used it in our recent living room makeover. We live in an area where new houses are being built, and when there’s leftover paint, the builders bring it to the recycle center. I have gone time and again, always on the lookout for good colors. Along with paint, there is wood stain, deck stain, household cleaning supplies, etc. Check to see if you have anything similar in your area. Again, every item is free.
I had actually forgotten about Freecycle until I started writing this post. The concept of the site is this: if you have items that are still in decent shape, and you don’t need them anymore, instead of putting them into the landfill, “recycle” them by giving them away to others that are looking for that same item. All items found in this group are free, and you can also post items you are in need of. My local groups currently have:
- Filing Cabinets
- Chair and Ottoman
- Several Desks
- Multiple Headboards
- Kitchen Table
- Brand New Wood Wardrobe
- More Light Fixtures
… and, again, the list goes on.
Shop Your Own Home
Sometimes moving a picture from one room to another, gives it a whole new life. When working on a space, wander through your house and see if there just might be an item that would work better in a different place.
Think about recycling items as well. Cover some boxes in paper or fabric, and you’ve got some pretty cute storage.
… or take a piece of cardboard, apply some chalkboard paint, and make a sign… Yep, that laundry sign is just a piece of cardboard from our garage.
Decorating on a Budget: Where to Find “Nearly Free” Items for Your Home
Local Vintage Shops
I have fallen in love with the vintage shops in my area, and because the items are used (and old), they can be offered at a reasonable price. The window below was $15. Sure it needed a little love, but it now hangs in my kids’ bathroom as a towel rack.
When we needed a locker we headed out to our local antique shops… I bought one for $45 and turned it into a dresser for my son’s football themed bedroom.
Local Garage Sales/Estate Sales
Many people have garage sales because they truly want to rid themselves of unwanted items. If you go on the last day of the sale, they are typically willing to drop the price, or give it away for free so they don’t have to haul it to their local Goodwill.
Speaking of Goodwill… Goodwill is another place to find deeply discounted décor items for your home. Sometimes what you find is a little outdated, but a coat of paint can work wonders. I bought this nightstand for $5 at Goodwill.
A fresh coat of paint and new hardware: good as new. (Full tutorial here.)
Discount & Clearance Sections
Hello Target Hotspot! Discount and clearance sections often have great home décor items for cheap ($5 and under). These are just a few items I’ve recently found at Target (my home away from home 🙂 )
Hardware Store “Oops” & Scrap Wood Sections
This isn’t just for home goods, however, check your hardware stores for paint and wood at deeply discounted prices. For paint, check their “oops” section. When a color doesn’t turn out quite right, you can get it for a huge discount. Same goes for wood. Typically people are buying pieces of wood and having them cut down to size. The leftover scrapes are discounted about 70%. That’s how we made these shelves in our master bathroom… each piece of wood cost only 95¢…
Bins. That’s all I can say. I go to the dollar store for bins. Add spray paint and you’ve got some amazing storage… for $1! (Click on the link below each image for more details.)
Check out even more ideas in this round-up!
Habitat for Humanity has ReStores throughout the country where people donate furniture, building materials, and other items for your home. Because all items are donated, they are sold for a fraction of the cost. The proceeds then go to build homes for low-income families. I, myself, have not yet shopped at a ReStore, but I know others that have had amazing success.
Hopefully you have found some new ideas for places to shop when decorating on a budget!
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Restore is amazing! We have one down the street and I always find amazing things. Hardwood floors, tiles, cabinet knobs and handles, appliances, lights. They have it all. We also have one in an expensive area and I never find anything there. Definitely worth the trip.
Love to find free stuff like to redo bath room. As taller water saver toilet. Flooring, paint, wall covering around my mobile home shower base.
Glad you are back and I hope you and your family remain healthy and happy. I’ve been to Restore. Great place for all sorts of building materials. Love your site! Thanks!
Gail McMenomy says
I just absolutely love Lemons, Lavender & Laundry! It has opened a whole new world of inspiration for me. I’ve always been creative, but somehow I’d get caught up in the pricey, trendy, craft of the moment craze. When being on a fixed income, that isn’t always cost effective.
I can’t thank you enough for all of your beautiful ideas. I will definately keep you posted on what your suggestions, ideas + my color schemes & elbow grease combined to make my ‘ho-hum home’ become a place I can look forward to living the autumn of my days in!
I am presently pursuing my 2nd career which was actually my 1st passion since I was 13-writing (I have so much to learn). After 35 years of nursing I was forced to retire d/t health reasons. At only 51 it about broke my heart and truly sent me into a depression, but now the skies are blue with promise again! I made up a mantra that I see every day on the ceiling above my bed:
“I WAS FORCED TO RETIRE BUT NO ONE CAN FORCE ME TO QUIT.”
Blessings to all!! ❤
Simran Ahuja says
Nice tips. My favorite one is that vintage window. Well, no one would have imagined such unique idea of towel holder for a window. And the best part is you can buy them at such low price. Thank you so much. Liked it.
Great ideas Erin !! —- love your whole blog!!!
Wishing you much long term success!
Great roundup of ideas! I have hit yo see about recycling centers for paint!
“hit yo see”…..?!? One day I will reread BEFORE clicking “post comment”
Should say “I HAVE TO SEE about recycling centers for paint!”
I knew what you meant 🙂 I do the same thing all the time. Once my dog stepped on my keyboard as I was pushing “post”. Nothing I could do about it. It was my comment followed by something like dafhjsf/,.ea 🙂