30+ Frugal Living Ideas For Your Home

by Renate Hering-Shepherd

Vintage Cloche & Seashells

Vintage Cloche & Seashells

A while back, I had an e-mail from a site visitor, saying: "How do I decorate on a low budget? I married a frugal guy." I loved it! Here's my reply: Frugal living is cool. Many people live frugally as a lifestyle choice, not out of necessity.

If you're living the frugal life, that says

  • You're opting out of the myth that 'more' and 'new' is always better
  • You know that you aren't what you have
  • You're creating your own life, not one that looks like a TV commercial.

Here are some basic frugal living ideas for your home:
  • You buy less
  • You buy plain and simple and then add your personal touch
  • When something breaks, you repair it
  • You shift your possessions around the house to create a new, fresh look every once in a while
  • You find creative ways of transforming what you have
  • You use - and value - things that are free, or inexpensive
  • You recycle what you have into new decorative uses
  • You enjoy the simplicity of things
  • You appreciate the choices you can make every day
  • You carefully choose things that give you joy and enhance your life.

The money you save, you can splash out on something that's really important to you and adds serious quality to your life - say, a state-of-the-art mattress, a glorious desk chair (if you do office work at home), a mind-blowingly beautiful worktop for your kitchen, or the hi-fi of your dreams.

(All these are, of course, decidedly non-frugal living ideas, but they will give you long-term enjoyment and, in the case of the mattress, healthy sleep as well.)

Here are a few frugal living ideas for transforming what you have:
  • Give a wall (or a piece of furniture) a lick of fresh paint
  • Exchange door or drawer handles for something really beautiful
  • Cut 'windows' into cupboard doors, set them with (frosted) glass and add some lighting inside
  • Instead of glass, use fabric or chicken wire to cover the new openings
  • Exchange the feet of a chest of drawers or the legs of a table
  • Exchange a table top and keep the rest
  • Slipcover seating furniture
  • Cover the floor with a (large) rug to change the look & feel of the whole room
  • Cover a table with a gorgeous tablecloth that reaches the floor, or cover it with quality oilcloth, tucked and stapled into place underneath the tabletop.

Frugal Living Ideas for free and inexpensive things you could use in your home:
  • Make 'roadside' bouquets (if there are no flowers in bloom, pick foliage and grasses ... they're gorgeous.)

  • Instead of buying a whole bunch of cut flowers, add just a few (in a narrow vase) to a cluster of green potted plants, for a splash of color.

  • Use old-fashioned milk bottles (or other vessels with timeless shapes) as vases and containers - you can achieve a lovely 'minimalist' look with that kind of thing. Fill them with
    • sweets in colorful wrappers
    • pebbles
    • beautiful bare winter branches
    • small photographs
    • white and brown sugar cubes
    • anything else that strikes your fancy and happens to be the right size.

  • Replace some of the pictures on your walls with new ones. Choose images that lift your heart. Or get creative! (Some whacky frugal ideas for new things to put in your frames:
    • fun Japanese packaging
    • photos of steaming espresso cups on brightly colored cafe tables
    • interesting flat things from your favorite color family ...)

  • You'll find more frugal living ideas and tips in the articles about Country Decorating on a Shoestring and Frugal Living Ideas for French-Style Decor.

And last not least, here are some frugal ideas for savvy recycling:
  • Glasses (vintage or new) filled halfway up with sand, make great candleholders for simple white household candles (just stick 'em into the sand).

  • Cracked bowls, cups and other pretty containers that can't hold liquid any more can still hold fruit, earrings, soap, a sponge, kitchen tools, and the like.

  • Lidless cans can be covered in fabric or giftwrap and hold plants, pens, or a glass container with flowers inside.

  • If you have a small purse or bag that you're not using any more, fill it with sand or pebbles and turn it into a unique doorstop.

The beauty of the 'frugal decorating' concept is that when you limit spending, when not all is freely available ...

... you get to use your own brainpower, creativity and inventiveness.

And you get a sense of the preciousness of the things around you, of what you love and what is really important. And you end up with a home that's not just full of frugal ideas but also has a unique flair – your own.

(Click here for an overview of all things frugal: Cheap Home Decor Ideas.)

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