How To Add Character To Your Home On A Budget

I have often found myself searching through home decor magazines and always wonder... "How can I get my living room to look like THAT?!" Every page is filled with rooms which look perfectly put together yet comfy and lived in all at the same time. Being that the living room is the first room that you see when you enter our home & where we spend the most of our time as a family, watching TV, playing, reading, etc... it becomes the room which I analyze the most. I feel as if it is never done, and quite possibly never will be. Over the past few weeks I have gathered magazines and inspiration to "spruce up" our living room and add some character & on a BUDGET!


Living in Military Housing, there are many things that can be hard to overlook, like the plain stark white walls for example. In most military housing areas they allow you to paint, just as long as you re-paint back to the original color before moving out. For many military families, this seems like a huge daunting task since we never know how long we will really be in one home! In our home, we have painted a few accent walls, but in our living room, we have vaulted ceilings, so painting would require a large ladder and scaffolding, so paint is out of the question! Searching through my inspiration magazines/ and online inspirations, all of the rooms had been painted. So, my challenge: create a living room with character & warmth without the use of paint. Just because you may live in military housing does not mean that you have to live in a world of "plain". Bring in color with your accessories!

Here are my shopping savvy tips for saving money on a room re-do:
First, start by shopping your own home. This is the best way to SAVE MONEY!! Go around your home, see if there are accessories in which can be better used and put together in another part of your home. Maybe you have picture frames sitting in boxes? a mirror under the bed? Candles hidden away in a closet? You may be surprised what you find!

Second, shop at consignment stores, thrift stores or re-sale shops. You would be amazed at the treasures you can find & all that fit within budget!

Third, head off to TJMaxx, Home Goods, Marshalls, Target, Wal-Mart or any other store where you can get a good bargain on home decor items to finish off the room.

Here is what the room started out as before


a little plan, a little boring, but overall. . . not so bad
& here is is AFTER


COUCH: Living Spaces ($799) OTTOMAN/TABLE CUBE: Craigslist ($20)

add in some new pillows, rug, mirror, ottoman/ table cube, and accessories and you have a whole new look! And all on a budget


MIRROR: Craigslist ($30)
YES only $30! We bought this awhile back and have been storing
under our bed, but we finally found a good use for it!



CHAIR: Living Spaces ($199)
PILLOW: TJMaxx


SEASHELL DECOR: TJMaxx ($14.99)
TOPIARY: Consignment ($10)


MIRRORS: Home Goods


DISTRESSED CANDLE HOLDER: Home Goods ($4.99)
on clearance because 2 glass panel was missing


PILLOWS: Home Goods & TJMaxx ($14.99-$19.99 each)


BASKET & GREENERY: Consignment Store ($8.99 for both)
WHITE CANDLESTICK: Home Goods ($8.00) <-- another clearance section find



MERCURY VASE: Home Goods   
GOLD CORAL: Home Goods ($2.00) <--- YES only $2! 
This is what I mean by a good deal! There were some pieces broken off when I found this in the clearance section. All I did to fix it was paint the white parts that were showing with some gold metallic paint and it looks brand new


DECORATIVE BASKET: Consignment Store ($6.00)
TABLE: Target  CURTAINS: TJMaxx ($14.99 for both)


PICTURE FRAME: re-used from another room 
NAUTICAL ROPE DECOR: Home Goods ($9.99)
BURLAP BASKET: TJMaxx ($7.99)


WOOL RUG: from TJMaxx - (Orig: $399 On Sale: $99.00)

Whatever room you may be wanting to re-do, money doesn't have to stand in the way. Simply re-arrange what you have, and change things up a bit! Make your home your sanctuary.

Come see how I decorated my daughter's nursery on a budget too! HERE

http://www.simplyciani.com/2012/07/madisyns-shabby-chic-nursery.html

112 comments so far

  1. you have a beautiful home! i love what you did, thanks for sharing :)

    Kailie
    Kbreit.blogspot.com

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  2. Where did you find that accent table? I know that you said Target, but I have searched their website and cannot find it. I love the look of your home. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Thank you so much!! I found the table here: http://www.target.com/p/avington-living-room-collection/-/A-10760190 but it is currently out of stock online :( Maybe try in-store!

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  4. Your home is beautiful! I have been searching for a couch just like it. I see the web page, but did not find your couch there, does the couch have a "name"? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Paloma! The couch is from Living Spaces. It was a floor model on sale but they have more configurations like it that you can order in-store. I would suggest going to LivingSpaces.com and finding a location near you. I love shopping there for furniture, they all work on hourly wage so there is no pressure as you shop around and no sales people in your face, plus they bring you soda, coffee and cookies as you shop!

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  5. Love the redo! Thought it looked pretty nice before too.... I am a bargain shopper and I love rearranging my stuff. I find myself moving one item and hours later I have move all kinds of things around for a whole new look. Hacen't done that in a while and your blog just inspired me to go after it!!!!

    Kellene

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  6. I found your blog on Pinterest and I am hooked! I simply LOVE your ideas, especially the shop your own home idea...genius! I like how your living room got pulled together with layers and a variety of textures. I would love to see more of your home and hear your ideas...keep up the great work!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Cindy! I plan on uploading more as we get some more projects done so keep checking back & thanks for reading :)

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  7. Great job! Thanks for sharing! I'm on vacation this week (hanging out at home) and looking around my house and seriously looking for some inspiration. I certainly found it here! Can't wait to get started on some of your ideas tomorrow. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I would love to see the result!

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  8. I love these ideas! :)

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  9. Love this! It's amazing the difference a few little things can make. The room looks BEAUTIFUL. I love it!

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  10. Found you on pinterest today and adore your room re-do;) As a fellow USMC spouse I am familiar with the woes of white walls. Currently stationed in Korea, the apartment walls here were solid cement, so we had to get crafty with all our pictures and adornments as well;) You did a fabulous job and I can't wait to read more!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Lindsay! I love knowing that other Military Wifes' can take something away from my blog for decorating in in their own home. Just because we live in Military housing doesn't mean it has to be (completely) ugly :)

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  11. LOVE the redo...there are bits of our house that are "done" but not "finished up" love the ideas and thank you for saying where you got everything .... i will never look at clearance the same again!!

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  12. I, too, feel like I'm always looking at magazines thinking "how can I make my room like that?" ESPECIALLY on a budget... I have to say, you have done such a great done, and officially have me asking, "how can I have MY room look like that?!" You really do have to have an eye for things, obviously...I don't think I could just go into TJMaxx and find the things you're finding, or at least not buy them because I don't think I have the eye for that. Any tips?

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    1. Thank you so much for reading :) My tips would be to just jump right in & go shopping! Although clearance items cannot be returned, don't be afraid to go into a store, purchase the items that you LOVE and take them home. Remember, any items that you do not like can be RETURNED! Many people feel fear about purchasing items for their home because they worry about how or where that item in the store will fit into their home. Best suggestion is to take it home and see! With stores like Marshalls, TJMaxx and Home Goods I have often walked away thinking about an item in the store that I just loved and when I went back and decided to purchase, it was gone. Many items in the clearance section can be fixed by yourself. Another tip for clearance items is once you get up to the counter ask to see if that is the lowest price on the item that they will offer. Many times if you speak to a manager they can take an additional 10% off just to get it out of the store! Hope that helps & happy shopping!

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  13. Enjoyed finding your blog today! You have a very Pottery Barn-escque style to your decorating. I love that you do things on a budget. Very well done! You should check out my blog, I like to style and create on a budget too. I also am married to a Marine :)
    http://bliss-athome.com
    xxx Kristin

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for reading Kristin! I took a peek over at your blog and LOVE it already! I would love any tips that you have about the blogging world, as I am VERY new to all of it & your blog looks amazing :)

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  14. Hi Jennifer. I found your website the other day and have been STALKING it constantly ever since! I was once a military wife and know what it is like to live on a budget..heck, I still do. I have a living room that I am having trouble pulling together. Would you entertain the thought of letting me send you a pic of it and give me advice? I would SO appreciate it!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes I would love to!!! Send the picture to: jennifermciani@gmail.com & thank you so much for reading

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  15. Oh thank goodness I found some military wives who also wonder what to do with our endless white walls! I love living on base (NWS- Charleston, SC), and the new housing is great, but the endless amount of white is daunting. I'm so glad I found a fellow Marshalls/TJ Maxx-aholic. I love this post. I also recommend base thrift stores, if you have one. They're usually cheaper than Goodwill! Fridays are a great bargain time here, because it's the day to get rid of large items that don't fit in the trash. I just wander around - found large picture frames, a bench, desk- so much stuff. Get creative! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Lauren! I love knowing that other military wives in the same living situations are reading my blog :) The bease thrift store is a GREAT idea & I never even thought of that, thanks so much!

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  16. Hey, Jennifer! I finally got the pics sent to your email. Please let me know what you think! LOVE YOUR BLOG!!

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  17. You are a girl after my own heart with all those clearance finds! I love your taste, too. I'm your newest follower! XO- Kayli
    www.headoverheelsdesign.com

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  18. One more place to search for great finds are your family members and friends who are trying to get rid of "stuff". They would rather give it to someone who will use it versus just tossing it to the curb. I have found some of the neatest stuff this way and the owners were just "over it" and wanted it gone. As you said, sometimes all it takes is a little paint. Great Blog......but, you just gave away ALL of my secrets to shopping!

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  19. Looks great!!

    -Fotini { http://glamorousbride.blogspot.com }

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  20. Great post and your living room looks beautiful - thanks for the tips!

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  21. I love this. It's gorgeous. I'm planning a wedding and have to save as much that I can. I still enjoy decorating my home at the same time though. You did an amazing job! I'm going to share this with my friend, who is also a military wife.

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  22. I'm a new follower. Love your simple tips! I will keep check back! Check out my blog at http://acountry-galsdomesticjourney.blogspot.com and follow me if you like it! Thank you!

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  23. Thanks for sharing. You have a gorgeous home and I really love your style. Love all of your tips. I love shopping my own home, but shopping at HomeGoods is even nicer sometimes. ;) Hope you will stop by my blog and say hello. Have a great day! :)

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  24. I love the irony of the repaired coral sitting on a book titled Unbroken. Beautiful room!

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  25. I love this blog.You are very creative and love sea affect.Chech out my blog on relaxnchic.blogspot.com.

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  26. Your living room looks beautiful! I do a lot of the same things as you do. I live in a parsonage (we do not own our home either). It's amazing what you can find at thrift stores, TJ Max and Target. You've done a wonderful job of using these items to make your home look wonderful and cozy.

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  27. Hi! I love your decorating style! Thanks for sharing :) I'm also a Marine wife in socal and I'm dying to know what consignment stores you go to around here! I have lived here for 6 years and have yet to find one worth picking through. Thanks in advance for any tips!

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  28. I love these ideas and I just added them to our pin board! Great ideas. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

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  29. It was a great transformation! Love how you made use of the mirror. The pillows are also wonderful picks to make the coach and living room less "blah". I feel like there is a seaside theme going on there, which is so fresh!

    I will be decorating our home soon, so your ideas are very helpful, especially the BUDGET part. Home decor can cost so much money if you are not careful! I was flabbergasted at the deals you found at Home Goods!! I will definitely be making a trip there very soon.

    Check out my blog if you have a chance: lilhoneydreams.com

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  30. Beautiful......your tips and decor were top notch! Just joined your site...would love to have you visit me at pinecreekstyle.blogspot.com

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  31. i am in LOVE with that couch! can you send me the link? i have been wanting a sectional! great work i love everything you do!!
    -ashleigh

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  32. gorgeous transformation! found you by way of Pinterest. LOVE your style! I'm your newest follower!

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  33. I love the blanket on the couch! Where did you get it?

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  35. I'm a retired military wife. You have great tips:) and a good eye for detail!

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  36. Wow That is absolutely awesome .... It's such a pretty home decorative accessories.

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  38. Love this post....just goes to show: Budget decorating can look great....and effortless!! I find it gives me a sense of achievement as well! This is exactly the sort of thing I like blogging about...nicely done! thanks for posting!!

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  39. Your room looks so beautiful!! I love all the added touches.

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  40. Great post! I found a pin that brought me here. We were military and now are foreign service. We will have those white walls forever. Thanks for the tips!

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  41. Wonderful ideas! Thank you for sharing. I like your design sense.

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  42. Wonderful post with simply gorgeous and inspired ideas

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  43. Spectacular photos and great inspiration! Looks like a million bucks without spending a million bucks! :)

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  45. Wow, great tips! And you shop at all of my favorite places! :o)

    Tania

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  46. JUST NOW found out we have a Good Homes store 5 mins away from me!! Yay! Happy happy! :)

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  47. You do what you can to make a temporary house feel like home. You move around a lot when you are in the military, so you are always transferring between houses. The good thing is is that they provide you with the military housing.
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