How to Set A (Realistic) Home Decor Budget

Budget is almost a dirty word isn’t it?

We don’t really like to talk about money sometimes and we all have a few hangups about it, but I’m here to tell you that a home decor budget will help you decorate your home with a plan and without guilt.

A budget sounds constraining, but it can actually be freeing.

A home decor budget will help keep your expenses within your comfort zone and it can challenge you to be creative when you find a piece that inspires you, but might be more than you want to spend.

Create a Home Decor Budget that's realistic and one that you can live with

Ways to Set a Realistic Home Decor Budget

One thing I know for sure is that decorating your home can be expensive.  If you don’t start with a plan you can easily blow through all kinds of money so I will always recommend that you start with a plan.

A budget can help you fill your home without emptying your bank account. and it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a small budget or a large one.  Your budget will help you make the hard choices on your decor.

First let’s just take a minute and realize that everyone’s budget will be different.  There are lots of variables from the size and condition of the house to the needs of each family.  So take a breath and don’t worry about what Betty is doing.

Of course your budget is going to vary according to whether you’re furnishing a brand new space or you’re just updating a few things in an existing space.

You may have been saving up for awhile for a project, or you might still be putting money back for a project and good for you!

So let’s talk about the ways to set a realistic home decor budget and then let’s get started decorating.

Start with a Wishlist

Start off with a wishlist for your space.

Collect inspiration and ideas of how you’d like your new space to look and feel.  What colors and inspiration can you use in the space that you’re working on?

Don’t worry too much about the costs at this point since you’re just working on a wishlist.  (Remember, this is NOT a shopping list!)

I like to create a board on Pinterest for each project and add all kinds of inspiration to it.  Not just furniture ideas but sometimes I’ll add travel destinations or landmarks.  This helps me remember the feeling that I want the space to have.

The feeling is always relaxed and comfortable.  I want everyone to be able to grab a drink and put their feet up in our house.  I want you to feel like you’re on vacation when you’re here.

If you need help creating an idea board for your project on Pinterest check this out for some tips!

Make a Plan

Your plan is the vision of what your space will look like when it’s finished.

Getting everything down on paper (or a spreadsheet) will help you visualize what needs to be done.  Your plan needs to include everything from the floor plan to the paint and light fixtures.  Even if it’s not going to be changed or updated, it’s still part of your overall decorating plan.

Think about how you want the space to function and list what you need by priority.  If it’s a living room then the seating is probably a priority.  In an office a desk or workspace are a priority.  If it’s a bedroom the bed and bedding will be the priority.

When you’re creating a plan, be sure that you’re specific  – don’t just write down “more storage” be specific about what kind of storage you need.  Is it bookshelves or a filing cabinet?  Not just a “bed” but the size and all the parts that you need.

One you’ve figured out your priorities for your room it’s time to create a budget.

Your Home Decor Budget Spreadsheet

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

Figure out what you can comfortably spend on your project first.  Whatever your number is the goal is to figure out how to accomplish as much as possible within your budget.

Assign a dollar amount to all the items that need to be purchased on your plan.  Your plan might include some existing furniture or you may only be adding a few items but it’s important to get it all down on paper so that you have a plan.

You may have to spend some time researching some items so that you know what they’re actually going to cost.

When to Save and When to Splurge

If you’ve fallen in love with something out of your price range try to pinpoint what it is about that item that you love.  Is it the pattern or color of the fabric?  Is it the curve on the back of the sofa?

Once you determine what your favorite part of the item is can you find a way to create it in another spot?

If that wallpaper pattern is what you love could you find a matching pattern and make throw pillows (or have them made) out of it?  Could you frame a small section of it and use it as art, or line a bookcase with it?

I have found many times that the colors and patterns that I’m craving are much more suitable for throw pillows.  Then I can easily switch them out when I get tired of them.  I  prefer to stick to solids for my bigger more expensive pieces.

It’s also a lot easier for me to stomach expensive fabric for a throw pillow, but the same fabric in curtains is jaw dropping.

It also helps to consider the room.  I’m willing to invest more money in my master bedroom and our living areas than in our kids rooms.  The kids rooms change as they grow so I can have fun with colors and patterns in these spaces and know that we’ll switch them out eventually.

How Will This Room Serve Your Family

It’s always important to consider how you want a room to feel, and what things are most important in a room.

If you’ve got teenagers that want to play video games, can you have comfortable seating and a storage bench to keep their game controllers and headsets in when they’re not using them?

Choose what’s most important to you and your family.  After all, you’re the ones using this space.

And don’t feel like every piece in your room has to be perfect!

Be sure to set a realistic budget for your home decor project.  Here's how

Be realistic about your Home Decor budget

I know that at some point we’ve all thought “if I only had (insert object here) it would be perfect.”

Yep, we’ve all been here.

And I’m here to tell you that you can have a beautiful home without breaking the bank.

All it takes is a little planning.

Think about the amount of money that you are comfortable spending on this space because you don’t want to feel guilty when you walk into your freshly designed space.

Don’t Spend You Whole Budget on One Item

There are definitely times when we have to “make do” with some items.  I’ve been stopped in the middle of a project before and had a half finished room for months before I got back to it.  (True story – I had an extension ladder in my living room for 6 months).

Life happens and the most important thing is to enjoy the space you have.

If you spend all of your budget on a fantastic sofa and then you can’t afford any other seating then you’ve robbed yourself of enjoying your space.

There’s always a give and take with a budget.  Take that hand-me-down sofa and add a slipcover or a quilt to it and move on.  Make it work for “right now” so that you can keep moving forward with your decor, while you’re saving for bigger ticket items.

Make your home be the best that it can be right now.

Remember that it’s first job is to serve you and it can certainly look amazing while it does that, but having a pretty sofa all by itself doesn’t make any sense now does it?

Comparison Shop

You’ll need to spend some time researching all your ideas.  You may get lucky and find some great places to find some money in your budget by comparison shopping.

If you’re flexible you may be able to find some designs that are very similar for a better price than your wishlist item.  This can help you achieve the overall look you want without spending all  your money.

Don’t forget to check second hand, thrift stores and online.  I’ve had some great successes with online marketplaces lately.  Especially when I know exactly what I’m looking for and don’t mind spending some time searching for it.

Stick to your Home Decor Budget

This is by far the hardest part.

Well it is for me anyway.

It’s also the most important part.

Our homes are never perfect.  Our homes and our lives change and our decor will too.  So don’t let that “perfect” sofa that you’ve been dreaming of keep you from creating the best home that you can right now.

You’ll have to juggle and rethink your project sometimes, that’s part of the fun of decorating.  You’ll find a great item that you can’t live without and then rethink other key parts of the room.  It’s part of the process and if you keep your budget divided by line item it will help you see where you can cut if you add something that’s above it’s allocated budget.

Your home is your happy place and decorating it should be a fun journey, not a stressful job.  It takes time to find the perfect pieces and build up your decor so take your time and enjoy the process.

Traci Signature | My Simpatico Life Blog
Budget is not a dirty word!  It's a great way to help you decorate without guilt.  Here are the steps to setting a realistic budget so you can get that project done.

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