Decorating on a Single-Income Budget

13 years ago, I married my best friend. A handsome young man who was responsible, intelligent, and good with money. We honeymooned in Belize, returned home, and both went back to our jobs, he a police officer, myself a social worker. Upon our return, I experienced ongoing "tummy issues" and chalked it up to the international cuisine. I just figured it would take a while to "work things out" if you know what I mean. Only after about a month of complaining to co-workers, they began to say things like, "Do you think you are pregnant?". Who me? No way! I just got married, and besides, after my second surgery to remove endometriosis, Doc said I might not even be able to have babies if I didn't start soon...That was FIVE years ago! Well, lucky for us, Doc was wrong. We went from newlyweds to expectant parents in what seemed like the blink of an eye. 

We bought our first house together. A new construction home in a nice subdivision that had only been lived in for 6 short months! And with a baby on the way, I was thrilled to find a move-in ready place to call home.  

Only as time went on, my inner creative started to rear her ugly head. "This house isn't you.", she would say. "You would have never chosen that shade of green, or any of these colors for that matter." 

Like a little devil sitting on my shoulder, I tried to conceal her. I'd turn my head and remind myself how lucky I was, and what a nice home it really was. But I couldn't shake it. It wasn't mine. The previous owner made the selections- they were her, whoever she was. But I was still working and busy growing a baby, so I decided to focus my energy on one room...the nursery (with Pepto Bismol pink walls, mind you).

Now, if you remember correctly, my husband is a money guy (which equates to tightwad). And I say that in the nicest way possible. So when I broke the news that I wanted to stay home with our baby (as in, not return to my paid job), it was initially a little hard for him to swallow. But after many long talks, we decided we'd make it work, under one condition: we would have to be very selective with our spending. Enter Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. Yep, we did it. And we graduated with honors. Remember how I also said my hubby was intelligent?

Meanwhile, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and became an envelope carrying, stay-at-home mom. Then one day while strolling through a local shop full of refinished furniture and rustic home decor, I leaned over to take a peek at a price tag and can vividly remember wanting to gasp. I fought the urge and trudged on. More tags with more high prices. And here I thought that by buying old furniture that had been refinished I'd save money! Remember that this was at least a decade before Fixer Upper came about, and farmhouse decor was not nearly as popular as it is today. I had given up the dream of the Pottery Barn sofas, but was feeling mighty defeated about the fact that I couldn't even afford the spruced up cast offs. That's when it happened...the angel appeared on my other shoulder and gave the devil a swift kick! I can do this! I can find good deals on old furniture and refinish it myself. Heck, I probably already had something I could use!

And the madness began. My inner designer that I'd been suppressing for so long came flying out like a rodeo bull hot out of the chute!  My new mission in life was to decorate our home on a shoestring budget.

And I did just that...without even changing the ugly wall colors (because I didn't have enough cash in my envelope to buy that much paint). I worked with what I had and it turned out so good that when we went to sell the house, I had multiple realtors approach me about staging homes for their clients. Not only that, potential buyers were always asking if they could buy the house fully furnished! 

*Below is an example of one of the rooms in that house, along with a few of the ways I saved money. Please keep in mind that these pics are 12-13 years old and the style is now completely out of date...the point, my friend, is that you can decorate a room without breaking the bank. 

Save Money on Home Decor

Then came our next home-our proudest accomplishment, biggest transformation, and greatest before and after to date! And if there is one thing I regret in my life it's that I didn't document the renovation on my blog. 

So stay tuned, because I believe in the old saying...

Better Late Than Never!

Next post: Our 100+ year Old Fixer Upper

(Because we were fixer upper before Fixer Upper was cool.)


Ok, so now that I've shared my story...I'd love to hear from you! Please tell me your biggest decorating fears in the comments below.

Quick Question for you before you go...

How to decorate on a single income budget