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How to Design Your Home on a Budget

Updated Feb. 2021: For those who don’t know our story, my husband and I had a micro-wedding in 2015. After shooting over 30 weddings, and being a bridesmaid in 6, I knew a large wedding wasn’t for me. My parents gave us the option to have a wedding with the money they saved or we could use the money as a downpayment for a house. We took the house. I was so excited to start designing our home! Sadly due to mold & humidity issues, we did have to get rid of many of our items from the apartment, but in an odd sense it began the minimalism approach we wanted to take… Here’s the Living Room Before & After: You may see our house and think, “Wow, they must be doing really well! Their house looks like they spent a ton of money”. Nope. While we rebuild our finances, I’m still always on the hunt to make some extra cash and score some sweet deals. I’m here to say it’s possible to make your home look awesome and expensive even with a small budget and I’ll show you how. 1.Sell items you don’t need Before you even begin decorating, I highly recommend going through your house and finding things you no longer need. You’ll be surprised how much you may have laying around that you don’t use! When we were getting ready to move, I made 3 piles: things to donate, things to sell, things to toss out. Go room by room and do the same. One you take out the trash pile, and drop off your donations, sit and begin to figure out how to sell your other items. I primarily use Facebook Marketplace to sell items. We’ve made over $5K in cash over the years just from doing this! 2. Bargain with Cash At least once a week I browse OfferUp & Facebook Marketplace. We found many of our cool items through these methods. Items that would have cost us hundreds of dollars, we were able to get 50%-90% less. Remember: Cash is King. Most people are willing to work with you if you have cash, especially around the holidays when they need it most (Black Friday + Christmas to be specific). My favorite thing about OfferUp is that you can bargain with people via app so you & the seller already have an agreement before you pick up your item instead of trying to bargain in person. Though I haven’t had much luck with Garage Sales in town, I’ve been able to snag some deals using the cash only bargaining. The only time this very rarely works is with smaller antique/vintage stores, however, what I do is follow them on social media and wait till they run a sale. In *some* cases, if you go in often and talk with the owner, if they’re in need of moving items, they may offer to take what you have on hand (this has happened to me several times!). 3. Watch for Corporate Deals Online & In-Store Anyone else love getting Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons? When you move to a new house, they send a 25% off your entire purchase coupon. At least once a month we get either $5 off $15 or $10 off $30 coupons. We save them up and use them in several translations to save money there. Even though they don’t quite sell “decor” you can find some useful items for your home. Most of our items outside of the Facebook MP & OfferUp ones are from either HomeGoods & Ikea. HomeGoods has a constant flow of items coming in so I venture there at least once a month to see what’s in store. Their clearance section can have some goodies. The only downside with HomeGoods is if you see it and it’s in your budget, don’t wait. Their items tend to sell & move quickly. Ikea is of course another great option. For our gallery wall, most of our frames are a mix of discounts from Michaels, Walmart, & Ikea. Ikea offers coupons every once in a while for their “family” members. And of course, Amazon is everyone’s best friend. We often buy many things on here instead of hitting the malls because 9/10 it’s cheaper to purchase online and have delivered via Prime Discounted Monthly Offering. Pretty much, join their email lists, use coupon codes online (if they have some) and always check the clearance section. Some things they are putting in clearance may be a really quick fix. 4. Join “Give, Buy, Trade Groups” Facebook literally has hundreds of these groups. I’m in 3 in Pinellas County alone. Sometimes you may get lucky and find someone giving away items they no longer want but require you picking up. However, these groups are also full of criminals & scam artists, so when making transactions do them in a safe place and make sure to do your research before purchasing. These groups are pretty good for calling scammers out, but you still want to be careful. 5. Ask Friends & Family When we bought our home we knew a few companies to help with electric work & plumbing work, but we didn’t know who to use for flooring, painting, & some construction. We asked our friends and family for recommendations which really helped because these were people we trusted so we knew they had some good sources as well. Our realtors recommend their go-to guy for handy work, Cliff, who not only did quality work, but also saved us so much money compared to a larger company! Those beautiful barn doors? They cost us $1K~ in total (which other companies quoted us $3.5-$5K for the same thing). Because we had such a large entrance, the railing even being on sale cost the most (Home Depot $600~ total). The wood, labor, and installation with Cliff was another $600. If you have a smaller space you probably wont spend as much as we did. Not only did he do our doors, he also put a window in our kitchen for $300. We simply

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Hello, I’m Lyss

Heart-Centered Solopreneur • Design & Brand Strategist • Lover of Plants, Coffee, and Mother of Backyard Chickens