Thursday, April 23, 2009

Frugal Decorating Advice Needed

We put our house on the market one year ago. At the time, we were completely optimistic that it would sell quickly. So we did all the preparation work we could. We took down all of our pictures and decorations. We painted all of the walls white. We cleaned our carpets and laid new carpet in the master bedroom. We were so proud of ourselves.

Now a year later with no signs of our house selling anytime soon, our pride in our accomplishments has definitely diminished. Eric and I are a little tired of living in such a sterile environment that doesn't feel very homey.

So we've decided that we want to some decorating.

  • We don't want to spend a lot or invest in anything big because we already have some things in storage and we want to wait until we are in a new house before we start with any involved decorating styles.
  • We also don't want anything that will take to much time to take down or cover over when we move.
  • On top of that, we also need things that will look nice enough to show our house to potential buyers.
That's a pretty hefty list, isn't it? It's enough to make my head spin when I stop and think about it. Or worse, it's enough to make me not want to bother. But I know I won't be happy if that's the option I choose.

So that's why I'm opening up to you all. I'd love some of your tips or ideas. And my husband and children will thank you!

Stop by Life As Mom for more Frugal Friday, where you can definitely find some more solid frugal advice than what I'm offering. Also stop by Hooked On... at Hooked On Houses where you can see some beautifully decorated houses.


Misti of Studio M Designs 11:40 PM  

Hi there- Stopping by from Julia's place. There is so much you can do to add warmth without being sterile for potential buyers. Make sure there subtle art hung in only focal point areas. Not too overpowering. Something that will appeal to both male and female. No clutter, but a few simple accessories will do you good, and make the house easier to envision as lived in to the potential buyers. I would love to see pictures, maybe I can help you better that way. I stage homes, and am curious as to how you have it set up now. started something! Now I won't be able to think straight until I know you have the house just right! LOL

Let me know if I can be of help. My email is Click on my link to find my blog.


Different Dog 12:25 AM  

I see color on HGTV all the time when they redo a place to try to sell it. Just not too bright and scary. Maybe warm neutral tones? I hear also that clean is the number one thing. Clean kitchen and bathrooms. Good luck!

Vivienne 12:53 AM  

I think it would be hard to give you suggestions without a few pix to go by... can you post some?

Mrs. Petrie 1:14 AM  

Wow, that must be so frustrating for you! It could just be that the market is so yucky that there isn't much you can do. I hope you get helpful comments.

Tasha 5:45 AM  

Definitely paint the walls a nice warm color. Something neutral will appeal to buyers.
Why not get some blank canvases and let your kids make some artwork for you? Give them paint in the colors of the room and let them go to town.

Liz@Violet Posy 6:28 AM  

Some subtle art (floral prints from Ikea are always good). Maybe paint one wall in a room as a feature to help it be less sterile.

The thing I always do is walk into your house and think how would a stranger see it? Then I make the changes that I think it needs

Good luck!!

Anonymous,  6:36 AM  

Sherwin Williams Plantation Beige might be warm things up and it's a neutral color.
Check out your end tables and night stands...are they matchy-matchy. A gentle sanding, primer, light latte colored paint and wipe over it with wipe off the stain...this easy antiquing tech. can really make a little wow statement in a room where everything used to match...anyone can decorate with a big budget the fun (and talent) comes when you decorate on a shoestring :)
All Things Heart and Home

Snow White 8:31 AM  

If you're looking to add color without having to repaint -- find a sofa or chair cover in colors that are appealing.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki 9:00 AM  

Paint, throw pillows, a few pieces of artwork, and some vases with flowers are nice!


DesignTies 9:26 AM  

Lots of good suggestions for you so far.

Have you thought of rearranging your furniture and accessories?? That could make a big difference. Make sure your house is set up so it looks as spacious as possible. Any cluttered areas will make it look like there isn't enough storage space.

The best way to really see how your rooms look is to take a some pictures, and then study the pictures. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but really, it works!!

Check out this post on Colour Me Happy -- Maria made some small changes to a living room that made a big difference. Look at how just rearranging and replacing some of the accessories on the shelves next to the fireplace made such a big difference:

Scroll down the post, the living room at the end of the post.

Good luck!!

Kelly @ DesignTies

Mom2fur 11:55 AM  

Don't hesitate to check out thrift stores in your area. You might find some nice things to warm up your home, and the best part is they are cheap enough to give back to the thrift store when you move. One idea is to find a large painting that you love, and make that the focal point of a wall. Pick out one or two colors you love in the painting, then find some throw pillows, a vase or two and maybe some picture frames (to hold photos of your family in a nice grouping) to go with it. You don't have to match the picture exactly--just coordinate with it.
If you want to lay down a throw-rug or two, just remember that green is the 'universal color'--everything goes with it.
Best of luck selling your house. It's a difficult market, but it has to turn around sometime!

Sue 12:53 PM  

I agree with many of the comments... you can paint a nice subtle, warm beige which adds warmth to the room without being unpopular to new buyers.

We are going to be hopefully putting our house on the market in the next few months. The real estate agent mentioned to get as much off the floor as possible to make the rooms feel bigger. We just ripped up the carpet in our bedrooms and put laminate hardwood down and it makes a HUGE difference. We got a really good deal on it to so for both rooms it was about $500 and easy to do ourselves!

Hope your house sells for you soon!

Rue 1:57 PM  

I feel your pain, because we have an empty house that's been on sale for a year on and off. You're getting some great advice from these ladies, so good luck and I hope it sells soon :)


Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting 5:33 PM  

Being in the military, with stark white walls, we have to be creative in what we do.

Perhaps this silhouette framed art project might be up your alley? Or have the kids paint their handprints and frame them in a cluster in the center of your wall?

I also like taking cards people give me and using them in frames.

Perhaps a couple potted plants to make it more lush, and perhaps an inexpensive up-light in the corner, too ;)

ImagineCozy 7:28 PM  

Add a few lamps and turn them on. This really warms up your space. Add a few colorful toss pillows that go with the look you have. Then a few natural elements, a vase of flowers, a pot with twigs or a few green plants. A little warm paint on the wall makes a huge difference.

My site shares a number of ideas on how to make a room cozy and comfortable. Check it out and see if it gives you any ideas.

Good luck ---

Anonymous,  9:56 PM  

We just bought a house, and here is what sold us on it:
*all rooms painted a tan/beige color
*white trim
*simple decor that made the house look appealing...and if anyone had lived would have been enough for them.
*hopefully you guys aren't there when people are actually makes buyers uncomfortable if the owners are there.
*clear out as much of your stuff as you can...possibly using a storage unit to house your stuff until you move. OR, get rid of what you truly don't want or use. If you donate items, you can get a tax right-off if you itemize...

another idea: have a moving sale. you never know if someone would be interested in buying your home.

here's a link of what i'm talking about. i would also suggest looking up more info on home-staging.

hope this helps! =)

Laura Ingalls Gunn 10:04 AM  

Clear away the clutter. As you're moving you can begin boxing up extra items.
For atmosphere add a bouquet of freshflowers and burn a vanilla candle in the kitchen.

Jennifer 11:34 PM  

Our realtor suggested putting up some warm toned pictures. I have to second the IKEA suggestion, they are very well priced and have a nice selection.

Also, I have a friend who painted an "accent wall" in a warm color. It really did alot to warm up the room without overpowering it.

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