Decorating On A Budget: Prioritizing Projects and Purchases
Moving into a new place is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. If you’re like me, then it’s easy to look around and start thinking about how you can make the space more “you.” You may envision wallpaper in the guest bedroom, new mirrors in the bathroom and curtains for every window. Before you know it you’ve spiraled out of control dreaming and have no idea where to start. Plus, there’s the object of money. While you may have funds for necessary home purchases, it’s probably not feasible that you can complete decorate every inch of your new house right away. Decorating on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean not spending a lot of money on your home decor. Decorating on a budget means prioritizing your home purchases and projects according to importance, your available funds and function. When we first moved into our previous house we sat down and created a “master list.” This was a list of all of the updates that needed to be made and the ones that we wanted to make. Over time that list evolved, but having a reference point and a place to start made all the difference.
Decorating on a Budget – How We Budget and Prioritize Our Home Purchases
During our first week in our new house, Jesse and I sat down to create our preliminary “master list.” I handwrote our home projects list initially, but eventually turned it into a spreadsheet that we both have access to. When decorating on a budget it’s important to prioritize your purchases, so include all big and little projects on your list. Jesse and I both have equal input when deciding where to spend our money. So while he may not care about what the new curtains for the bedroom look like, he does care about their function and price. Every week (or 2-3 weeks) we look over our home projects list and pick our top 3 purchases. We prioritize those items and then we take a look at our budget. We have a specific T-Account for home purchases that shows us how much we have available to spend. (You can learn more about T-Accounts and how we save money in my budgeting posts.) This is our strategy for decorating on a budget. Let’s take a look at our current home projects and see what purchases we want to make, or have already made. *Keep in mind that Covid has affected a lot of these purchases due to delays in shipping and our reluctance to unnecessarily shop in person.*
Decorating on a budget is also important because you never know when priorities are going to shift. Certain purchases may become urgent in order to improve how you live day-to-day, so it’s important to have that budget set aside. For us, this purchase was the kitchen stools. Buying stools was not anywhere near high priority for us, until the kids started playing chase around the kitchen island all the time. Jesse and I became so nervous that they were going to get hurt that we decided we needed stools ASAP. Due to my lingering hip/back problems (thanks childbirth!) we knew that the stools would be upholstered with backs, so they would block the counter overhang on the island. We picked the stools and decided to pay a rush delivery fee to get them in quickly. The stools solved our safety issue because they create a barrier, physically and visually, from the counter. Now the kids give them a wide berth and their little heads are safe. Plus, sitting at the counter has become my favorite seat in the house. I can see everything from there!
We obviously still have a LOT of purchases to make in order to truly decorate and make this house reflect us, but each priority purchase helps us to relax and enjoy our home more.
Decorating On a Budget – Make Your Own Priority Home Projects List
Let’s go through the steps of decorating on a budget again. Remember, this doesn’t mean making cheaper home purchases, just prioritized ones!
- Start setting aside money for home purchases within your regular household budget. (If you don’t have a budget, check out my budgeting series. It includes a download of the actual budgeting spreadsheet that we use.)
- Write down all of the home purchases that you want to make for each room in your house.
- Transfer those purchases to a spreadsheet or organized list.
- Each week, or month, go through and prioritize 3 home purchases.
- Consult your budget and determine which priority purchases to make first.
- Make the purchase!
- Repeat each week, or month, depending on what your budget allows.
Decorating on a budget is a great way to prioritize your house purchases and projects. It allows you to remove yourself from the constant daydreaming, comparison game that we can get trapped in and actually make forward motion. By decorating on a budget, I’m able to take a deep breath and reassure myself that my time to buy XYZ for my home is coming. And it’s coming in a financially responsible way that won’t add to my stress or result in buyer’s remorse.