Please, pretty, please, I’m begging you to do a blog post on the topic of affordable home decor ideas.
I mean, like everyone else, we’re stuck at home. And, our income just went down by 30%. But, now that I’m here all the time, it’s just so sad. I’m feeling down, and I think that a big part of it is the decor.
Plus, I find myself feeling tired all of the time.
But, I’m getting enough sleep. I rarely go outside, but when I do, I wear my home-made mask. I steer clear of everyone and wash my hands the second I get home. But, still every time, I feel exhausted or have a slight headache, I’m thinking the worst; that somehow one little bug got in there and has now taken up residence and is in the process of multiplying billions of times.
I guess the health issue doesn’t have anything to do with the need for some affordable home decor.
Or, maybe it does. After-all, I imagine that other people are feeling this way too. I just want to feel better in my home. I want to make it my sanctuary. Although, some days, it’s all I can do to get up, and just do basic living. But, maybe if things look better, I’ll feel better, too.
I mean, Laurel, aren’t we all anxious? Sometimes it feels like no matter what I do, I’m going to get sick with this dreaded illness.
I’m curious about your take on some of this and also, of course, any ideas you have regarding the affordable home decor.
PS: I saw your little ad at the bottom of the Hot Sales page to click on if I’m shopping on Amazon. Gosh, Laurel. Why didn’t you do that sooner? I probably make at least one purchase a week from Amazon for one reason or another. And, if you can make a little money from my purchases and it doesn’t cost me anything extra, hey, why not?
Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words. And, also the plug for the Amazon link. As always, I love to find great bargains. And, Amazon is a wonderful source for affordable home decor. And, just about everything. But, I have also seen a few rip-offs. (like in this post about a company way over-charging for imported furniture) I’m saying that just to warn folks to research before making a purchase.
So, I love talking about affordable home decor.
Decorating no matter how one slices it, can be expensive. But, there are things that people sometimes do that are not helping the situation. We’re going to be discussing some of those, as well.
But, the very first thing I have to say is HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY TO LAUREL HOME! EIGHT YEARS!
Next up, I have to say a word about the sluggish feeling you’re experiencing, Donna and others.
* And folks, if you do not want to read anything about the virus, I fully understand. So, if that’s you, I’m going to put a big string of orange asterisks *********** to where you can skip ahead to read the topic of this post.
I do a LOT of reading.
I mean, a LOT. And, I looked up that very topic of fatigue at this time. The reason is because I, too, often feel a kind of lethargy that I have not felt in quite some time.
However, what I read is that if you are feeling unusually tired and out of sorts, it is NORMAL. This is a challenging, stressful time. One cause for the fatigue is the constant changes and decisions are very taxing to our nervous system.
So please try to be kind to yourself, as well as others.
After Tuesday’s post, I was treated to a comment that I had to delete–immediately. This woman, a NURSE, for God’s sake, said that most designers, including myself, are lazy. And, she said I’m lazy for no longer answering comments. Gosh, I’ve only answered 13,750 of them!
Of course, that’s hardly the point. And, I do feel guilty for not answering all of them, like I used to. It is not laziness, in this case. Like everyone else, I’m just trying to get through each day the best that I can. I know that you guys love me and I love you too. And, even if I’m quiet sometimes, it’s just because I’m taking care of myself. There’s no one else to do that. I’m putting on the proverbial oxygen mask first so that I can then be refreshed and come back and help others put on their masks.
Speaking of masks.
I had to go out today, and my Karen Kane masks have not arrived just yet, so I made a home-made mask. (if you’d like to see some cool masks for sale go here)
Yes, that’s a piece of fabric that I ironed into thirds and stapled. It’s the same fabric (L’arbre Chinois by F. Schumacher) I used here for these draperies.
You can get Arbre Chinois here
For the mask, I also inserted a folded paper towel in the center section for added protection. The ties are from the cheap earbuds they give you on an airplane. Haha. That’s all I had, but they worked. I poked a hole through the fabric with a Phillips-head screwdriver and double-knotted the ties.
And voila! I’m ready to greet my public.
But, sad to say, there are too many people out and about and not social distancing. And they are NOT wearing any kind of face mask. Really? It has to be one or the other and preferably both, right now.
It makes me crazy!
And, I’m pretty low on the neurotic scale. But, there is an exceedingly contagious virus out there that has killed to date, over 8,600 people in my state, alone in the last five weeks. And, most of them within 20 miles of me.
Plus, there are still over 155,000 active cases. This is JUST in New York State. How many of them are going to die? In fact, not to scare you guys, but did you know that if you have to go on a ventilator (intubated breathing), only 80% make it back? That’s right. All of this talk and worry about not having enough ventilators. But, if you need one, you only have a 20% chance of surviving.
And then, what about the possible repercussions of having this disease?
Could there be lifelong debilitating syndromes like chronic fatigue, subsequent cancers, dysautonomia? The latter is often caused by a severe virus.
I don’t mean to scare you further than you already are. But, this is reality, and I feel we must face it head-on!
This virus destroys cells. Lung cells. I’m sure y’all know this, already. Can they come back? Probably. I’m not a doctor or scientist. But, I do know this from my own experience. Our bodies are very clever. Now, that they know that there could be some sneaky crippling invaders who manage to get by the normal defense system; our bodies will think that EVERYTHING is an invader. Hello, more auto-immune disorders? You do not want to get one of those. Of course, I hope that when the disease resolves itself, none of that happens.
Note: I later found this article in the Washington Post which confirms my suspicions.(please note that this is disturbing to read)
My soapbox point is that I wish that EVERYONE was taking this evil seriously. It sucks for sure, but it’s going to suck a lot more if we don’t get a handle on it. And, it takes everyone taking it seriously to do that.
Okay, I’ll shut up now. I just had to get that out. Of course, I know that all of you are responsible adults. And, you’re probably sitting there shaking your head in agreement, particularly if you live in one of the urban hotspots as I do.
* Now, that we’ve had our semiweekly coronavirus update, let’s dive in with 18 affordable home decorating ideas.
1) My first recommendation is to CLEAN and PURGE.
(I should follow my own advice. haha)
It’s not all that different from getting your home ready to put on the market for sale. Please check out this post that shares my philosophy on how to do so.
For some ideas about organizing, please read this post where the fabulous mother and daughter organizing team of Done and Done came by and did a much-appreciated number on my place.
Please also follow their blog for some fabulous ideas. That links to their own post about quick fix home decor and other ideas I hadn’t thought of. OR, if you’re in the New York metro area, you can hire them or their associates to help figure out your organizing.
2) Another way we all know adds freshness and is relatively cheap if you can do the work yourself, it is with a new paint job.
However, if that’s just going to be too much, you can wash the grime off of your walls. Here’s a tutorial that looks pretty good that explains the best way to do that.
Please, however, test first in an inconspicuous spot.
OR, wash walls in the main living spaces and paint only the guest room. For some excellent bedroom paint colors, you’re probably not using, click here.
Of course, if you can manage the painting project and, you’re struggling with your paint colors, please consider getting the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection
3) The next idea is to take your upholstered furniture and PAINT it.
Yes, you can paint fabric.
I did, which you can read about here. And, I didn’t even use fabric paint. However, I do recommend that you do. And mine was only a color wash. To cover stains, the paint needs to be opaque.
Here is a post giving a terrific tutorial about how to paint an upholstered chair.
And, if you’d like to see many more ideas and tutorials about upholstery painting, click here.
Also, if you’d like to learn about ways to score some cool free or nearly free furniture, click here.
If someone were to ask me the number one decorating issue or mistake that people do, it’s lighting.
One time, I was in a hotel room. There was a flush mount bright white LED ceiling light, and then two BRIGHT WHITE LED sconces between two queen-sized beds.
The absolute worst.
And, there’s no excuse. Hotels all have interior designers, and that one should be shot at dawn. Okay, I’m sorry; that’s a tad harsh. I meant, shot at dawn with a blast of ultra-bright LED lighting!
Seriously, it is one of the most horrible ideas ever. I feel that artificial lighting should be warm and resemble candlelight. So, if doing LED lighting in a residential setting, my preference is for 2700 up to 3000 kelvins and no higher. However, that’s my opinion.
There are two situations that I can think of that require such bright lights.
- An operating room
- An airport runway
So, if doing LED lighting, what should you get?
Great question. LED lighting is measured in kelvins. And, the most yellow sold for residential is probably 2200 and the highest about 6,000. But, there’s higher and lower.
For residential and that would go for a hotel too, I would recommend 2700 – 3500 kelvins at the coolest.
I’ve never understood the so-called “daylight” LED bulb. I’ve never seen daylight that’s so incredibly bright white. After all, isn’t the sun yellow?
But, in all of my years of experience, I’ve discovered that most folks don’t get their lighting right either.
Like a lot of things that aren’t that great, but everyone does them anyway, are recessed down lights. AKA: “high hats.” Aside from the kitchen, and maybe a hallway, they are largely awful. You can read a post here where we discuss this.
Of course, 95% of you almost definitely have them. Me too! (but only in my tiny bathroom).
Here is what I recommend.
Generally, even if you have time and are not doing a significant renovation, leave them and put them on a dimmer– very dim.
Then, supplement generously with table lamps, floor lamps, and possibly sconces.
Please check out this post on inexpensive lamps
And, another favorite post about chandeliers that look more expensive than they are
There are also a lot of great looking and affordable flush mount and semi-flush mount fixtures here.
For more helpful posts on getting your lighting right, click here
Premium Flicker Flameless wax candles from Pottery Barn can add a soft glow to your tables or mantel.
This, of course, is more for the fall or winter season.
One of my favorite ways to add accent lighting in any space is the very skinny floor lamp from Wisteria. I’ve specified this lamp that you can tuck in anywhere. And, it is surprisingly sturdy.
Also, Wisteria is a great place for home furnishings. And right now, they’re having a great sale. And the Skinny Floor lamp is 25% off.
5) Pillows and Throws
One of my favorite posts is this one about throw pillows. Throw pillows are one of my favorite affordable home decor pieces. They are an excellent way to update any room with upholstered furniture.
And, for some terrific sources for pillow covers and other home furnishings, please check out this post on the top Etsy sources. This was updated only about six weeks ago.
These wonderful accent pieces can wake up a tired, date room. Check out Mark D. Sikes’ portfolio. It’s sooo beautiful!
Another helpful post is this one all about 50 classic and timeless accessories and home furnishings
A recent post about how to get FREE art is one of my new favorites.
One of my favorite sources for mirrors is Wisteria. And, right now, most of them are on sale. Mirrors also brighten up a space and add a touch of sparkle.
Above is for the gorgeous extra large Venetian Mirror from Wisteria.
This is a good post about using mirrors in your home.
9) Sea Grass Rugs
From a job, we did a few years ago.
If you have a hardwood or tile floor, you can get a seagrass rug. They are always stylish, exceedingly durable, and cheap! You can find links to some good ones in the hot sales widgets.
Also, this is a great post about using seagrass rugs layered with Oriental rugs.
10) Beautiful bed linens and maybe a new bed or headboard if it’s in the budget.
Serena and Lily still has their entire line on sale. That includes all of their gorgeous linens. I wouldn’t call them budget, but they’re excellent quality. You can see some of my favorites here.
This post shares some of my favorite online sources for bed linens.
For more bedroom ideas, on the blog, click here
11) Luxurious bath items.
Fluffy towels from Pottery Barn
And, really, everything you could want for your bed and bath and at great prices right now.
Elemis, one of my favorite brands, is having a 25% off sale.
I am addicted to this lime and ginger salt scrub. It is divine, and I just ordered a new tub of it and a bunch of other items to try out. I was introduced to the line when I went on this Bahama-drama cruise two years ago. I bought everything they pushed on me. Haha. But, I’m so glad I did!
Another fun thing I found are these awesome shower curtains. There are HUNDREDS OF THEM. And, they’re on sale right now at Society6. That’s a new brand for me. They have a lot of interesting home furnishings with a BoHo bent.
Also, this link will take you to all of the Chinoiserie designs.
I made a small widget with a few of my favorites to give you an idea. But, like I said, there are hundreds of these shower curtains. They’re not for everyone; but, might work for some of you. If you click on any image, it’ll take you to the product page.
House plants are another terrific affordable home decor idea.
I love this post about houseplants that purify the air!
12) Fresh flowers
Well, fresh flowers and blooming branches are always a terrific and relatively inexpensive decor idea. And, Mom’s Day is only four weeks away. This is a great time to start thinking about what you’d like to order. I mean, if the stores aren’t open, it’s the only way. This is why we’re exhausted. It’s having to think ahead and go out of our comfort zone.
Or maybe beautiful blooming plants. Hands down, my favorite source for stylish cut flowers and blooming plants is Terrain. Above is only a small sampling of what they sell.
13) Style your bookshelves
This is an old post, but it has some inspiring images for styling your bookcases.
14) Style your coffee and other tables
William McLure’s wonderful coffee table. You can read more about this vintage table here.
This is another post about styling your coffee table.
15) Spruce up your kitchen appliances
Remember this fun post about kitchen appliance upgrades. That is, without buying a new appliance! So, a most affordable home decor project.
16) Paint a dated kitchen floor
This is a very recent post that includes a cool painted kitchen floor.
17) Update your dining room chairs with paint, and maybe slipcovers.
via @missmustardseed on Instagram – via @countryliving
18) Add some wallpaper
Collective & Co.
These aren’t cheap, but a lot less than Gracie, which, of course, is gorgeous.
One of my favorite posts is this one about less expensive sources for Chinoiserie wallpaper and panels.
Of course, I adore my Mural Sources wallpaper. It looks and feels hand-painted, but it’s not.
Well, I hope that gave y’all some good ideas for some affordable home decor.
PS: Below is the banner I made, that Donna mentioned, which if you click, it will take you to Amazon. No worries if you can’t manage it or forget. I know that you can get groceries from Fresh Direct and Whole Foods on Amazon. I haven’t tried it. Has anyone had any luck with that?
PS: Please check out this week’s newly updated hot sales