With the arrival of our first baby only three weeks away, I’ve had a bad case of the “nesting” phase. We were hoping to sell our two bedroom condo before the baby arrived, but with the downturn in the housing market our condo would not sell. Finally, after a year of sitting on the market, Philip and I sat down and talked over our situation. Our mortgage is pretty darn cheap, we had a second bedroom that was very usable for a baby room, and with a few updates and adjustments, we could very easily stay in this house for another few years. We didn’t really NEED a big, new house, we just WANTED one.
And that brings me to another unnecessary expense – new stuff.
With outrageously low housing costs and closeout sales at nearly every other store in town, buying new stuff sounds so appealing. But do you really need it? Are you buying it just because it’s on sale? In some cases, this is a great time to take advantage of all these cheap prices. But in many cases, like ours, you can spruce up your boring house with a few simple and cheap updates.
HGTV’s Design on a Dime show has some great ideas to update your house without breaking the bank:
Revisit what you already own. Refurbishing existing pieces is the best way to do some inexpensive decorating.
Sandpaper, primer and paint can transform just about any piece of furniture. Don't throw something out because you're tired of the color, and don't pass up a good deal on a piece of furniture just because you don't like the finish. You can easily change it.
Check the Classifieds. Peruse your local online classifieds. There are some great deals to be found. Listings in classifieds often have photos attached, so it's easy to find exactly what you're looking for.
Learn to sew. Sewing your own drapery, bedding and pillows will save you a ton of cash in the long run. By sewing your own decorative accents, you have a vast array of fabrics to choose from. Plus, sewing can be a lot of fun.
And here are a few of my own ideas (and things we did to spruce up our place when I was tempted to tear down the place and start fresh):
Sell something you no longer need/use and use that money to buy something new: We sold our bookshelf and our desk that made up the office in the second bedroom, which is now the baby room. With this newly earned money, we felt great about buying a nice new bookshelf and a dresser for the baby clothes.
Inexpensive accessories can make a big difference: Our front room was looking blah and it was driving me crazy. A few cheap but colorful pillows, a mirror hung in an old frame laying around, and some artwork on the walls (done by me) has made our front room look like new. And it all cost under $100.
Rearrange Furniture: Sometimes a little rearranging is all it takes to make a room feel bigger, better, and new.
These are only a few of the many inexpensive options out there that can make a big difference in your home. And you'll probably find (like I did), that once these updates have been made, you'll love your current home and your current furniture so much more. Then you can finally stop daydreaming about a new house and new stuff, which is good...because you and your wallet don't really need it.