When we were starting out as a young family, funds were tight. I had the benefit of staying home to look after my children which in hindsight I was so glad that I could do. Even my kids have commented that it made a difference in their lives when they compare the attention their friends didn’t get from their parents. Since money was tight, we didn’t have a lot to spend on decorating our house. Our house was pretty simple and really still is to this day.
HAND ME DOWNS
Hand me downs are more than just clothing. Consider accepting furniture from other relatives, friends or neighbours. Furniture is expensive, and when you are just starting out, it could really make a dent in your budget to have to buy furniture for every room. The only thing when we were married that we bought new was our bedroom set and that was a gift from my in-laws. Our couch, chairs, bed frames, area rugs, and tables were among the items of furniture that we accepted from others. Sometimes a family member was redecorating, so we accepted the furniture they no longer wanted. We have still done this to this day having just inherited my mother-in-law’s and father-in-law’s leather couch, loveseat and over-stuffed chair along with my father’s dining room table and chairs. Funny enough, we have some of the best pieces made from oak and maple, things that last a lifetime.
My husband loves garage sales. They are a plethora of household items that are usually still in good condition. We have always and are still decorating our home with items from garage sales. We have found some interesting pieces from these sales, especially if the seller is older and is trying to downsize. They have to let go of some of their lovely pieces in order to move to a smaller place. They just need a new home and someone to love them just as much as the person selling them. My husband, a few years ago, came upon a 43-piece white dish set originally bought from Ikea along with a teapot, creamer, sugar pot and small everyday glasses for $20.00. We use this set everyday and the extra plates I have stored until we need them. Even when I’ve had company, I use these dishes because they are plain white and go with any type of decorative table. He’s found beautiful metal candle holders that we have hung on an outside wall on our deck. He just came home last weekend with some copper pots which I plan to use for planting some flowers to decorate the backyard.
WHEN YOU HAVE THE MONEY
When you are able to save enough money, start slow with making changes to your house. Buy items that will last for a long time. The first thing we spent money on in the house we are in now is changing the first floor powder room to a full bathroom with a shower. Some of our family thought we were crazy since the powder room was in the front hallway. They told us, “You can’t put a full bathroom there.” This said with much disgust and incredulity. Well, with four kids, we needed a second full bathroom and the kids were not about to go down to the basement to take a shower. You know, the monsters live down there! So, the hallway it was. My brother, a general contractor by trade, helped us plan a bathroom that is so streamlined to fit into our front hallway that no one even knows there is a stand-up shower in this bathroom until you walk into the room itself. We’ve used that bathroom everyday for the last 18 years. When we could spend some more money, we changed our first floor sliding glass door, which you had to be a bodybuilder to pull open, into a garden door. It added value to the house and made it look more attractive. Every few years, when we had some more money saved, we’d pick a project to improve the house. If something can be done by my husband, he does it himself – often by looking at YouTube videos to see how to accomplish something. Wait until you have the money saved to complete a job. The job doesn’t have to be grand in order to make your house a bit more appealing.
THE PROBLEM WITH WANTING A MAGAZINE SPREAD
I’ve been in homes that are, I will admit, beautifully decorated. The furniture matches with the paint on the walls, which goes with the artwork too costly to touch, which goes with the knickknacks on the table that have to be dusted every couple of days, that goes with the rug that you better not wear your shoes on. The house is gorgeous, but not lived in. Because the owner has invested so much money into decorating, you feel you can’t touch anything, and literally, sometimes you can’t. Especially if your kids come to visit too. You worked hard to get your home, live in it, use it, make it comfortable – not messy, comfortable.
Not everything has to be done right away when you finally are able to own a home. Take your time. In taking your time, you can also see what really needs to get done and what can wait. Usually an idea in your mind ends up evolving into something better once you have the time to think it over. If household items are offered by others, take them and use them. Even if you only use, say a couch, handed down to you by someone else for a short time, eventually you can buy a new one more to your liking once you have the money to pay for it.