Home Design & Decorating on a Budget.

As we have been building our 203k Loan Renovation house for one year and four months now (but who’s counting?!) you could say I’ve had A LOT of time to research how we want to design and decorate the house. Sometimes having too much time is a bad thing because you overthink and change your mind a few times, but we know our style and the look we are trying to achieve so we never ventured too far off course without coming back full circle. The issue actually became more that we have caviar taste on a Trader Joe’s budget, so I learned a lot over the past year on how to design and decorate a house on a budget. I hope some of these tips and tricks can help you along your home design journey.

Wayfair.com – I am the master of Google search and spend hours researching to compare the best prices on items and every item led me back to Wayfair.com every time for the lowest price. We ordered all of our plumbing and lighting fixtures from Wayfair, all items delivered quickly and without issue. They also have a great return policy we luckily didn’t have to use.

Coupon codes and holiday sales. If you order an item from any website do a Google search for coupon codes for that site before you checkout. Many websites offer 10% off just for signing up with your email. Also, take advantage of holiday sales online and in stores – we waited to buy our appliances from Lowes until Memorial Day and got the best deals around, while also taking advantage of their 0% interest credit card. We also splurged on a propane linear fireplace and a really nice bathtub – both of which we ordered online and used coupon codes on to save.


{ Our tub that I am in love with }

Learn the art of bartering. When a subcontractor gives you their price ask if they are negotiable and/or if they will come down on price if you pay them in cash versus credit. We were even able to barter with friends who are licensed by offering them other services like surf lessons, advertising, etc. If you leave everything up to the contractor to deal with bartering won’t come into play so do your own research on subs you may know locally so you can save money by bartering with them yourself before looping in the GC. The GC will still make money by overseeing the work, but they won’t have a markup in the service on top of the price you negotiated.

Ask around to friends and family for trade work. I can’t tell you how many people my husband knows through work or personally around town who also install sprinklers, lay fencing, paint and more who were more than happy to provide a discounted quote for us. Just make sure you do your homework if you need a permit (you do need a permit for a fence when building a new house) or if the sub has to be licensed. Most of the work we are having done by friends are items that you don’t need a licensed sub for (sprinklers, etc) so no hoops to jump through on that.

When all else fails, IKEA it. Read this blog post on Ikea kitchens which totally sold me. We priced out the kitchen cabinets with other vendors but even if they could compete on price, they couldn’t match the modern style and modularity of IKEA so it was a no brainer. One of the things I love about IKEA cabinets is you can swap the fronts later on if you want to change it up or even add custom fronts. I am going to do a whole post on using an IKEA Kitchen later on but let’s just say this is one of the best options to save yourself some money in your build. We aren’t having uppers and our kitchen isn’t that large, so our cabinets are only costing about $3,500 total.

{ this IKEA kitchen started my inspo }

DIY. We can’t do much on our own under our loan, but we can paint which will save us thousands of dollars. We are still going to have a professional handle the exterior painting but I think we can pull off the interior on our own, especially since we are painting everything in one shade of white.

So what other tips and tricks have you picked up to save money when designing or decorating your house? Share in the comments below. xx, Beth


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