I hate spending money on home decor. Especially since I typically get bored with it but can't justify switching it out if I've spent any money on it.
I've never taken the time to figure out what exactly in our house we've spent money on but I do know it's not much. I can count the pieces of furniture we've purchased on one hand. I've been known to pull furniture off of curbs as close as next door neighbors. No shame.
Nearly everything in our house is someone else's junk (and some of it literally from the dump) so I always (always) laugh when someone says our house looks cute. I laugh extra hard when they ask for help decorating.
I would be horrible at helping you decorate.
To prove that point, here are my biggest decorating tips:
1.) Stay alert while driving.
Yes, it's important to stay alert to watch for deer and other crazy drivers but I'm actually talking about keeping your eyes peeled to the curb. Some of my favorite pieces are off other people's curbs. I get slightly nervous when someone new (usually a photog client I don't know very well) compliments a curb piece as I'm hoping it wasn't off their curb. When I met my SIL's SIL and she told me where she lived I about died of embarrassment because I had recently snagged a couple end tables off her curb. Since getting over that incident, I've taken on a little Garth Brook's attitude (Shameless…) and will go right up to the neighbor's house and grab their good junk before trash day. One neighbor was in our house and complimented a piece I had snagged off her curb. She didn't even recognize it anymore. No shame.
2.) Gladly accept junk with gratitude.
My uncle is a trash man (among other titles he carries in my small hometown). Once in awhile he will bring my mom straight up trash. I questioned her reasoning behind accepting all of it and she said you never turn down the true junk because they might stop bringing you the good stuff. Words to live by my friends. When people know you love junk, people love to unload their junk on you. Sometimes, it might actually be junk. A few times I've gladly accepted pieces I thought I could work with only to have them sit in project purgatory with no plan working out for them. They ended up on my curb. But you never turn down the junk (even if it really is junk) cause they might stop giving you the good stuff. Along those same lines, I've accepted pieces I had no clue what to do with and those have ended up being some of my fave projects. (Some friends gave us some HUGE windows when they replaced theirs. I had no clue what to do with them so they sat in our basement for years. When I finally had an idea to use them, I was so glad I hadn't gotten rid of them!) We've been blessed with the best junk from people!! I swear nearly everything we get a compliment on in our house is a hand me down from someone else! (Thanks junk suppliers- you're the best!!) :)
3.) Hoard craft supplies.
Some of mine is 10+ years old but still works great. Save those little scraps. Save the ribbons off cute packages (especially the Lisa Leonard ones). Heck, I even save the brown packing paper that comes in the mail. You can use all of it! I swear! (Even though it may take a decade or so to come up with a plan for it.) ;)
4.) Know your limits and stick to 'em.
I have lots of rules on how much I'll spend (or rather, won't spend) on items. My favorite price is free. My second favorite is clearance. I'm not likely to spend more than that unless it's something I really want. If I'm on the hunt for something I come up with a price in my mind that I'm willing to spend on it and I won't go over that price. (That is if I've absolutely exhausted all my sources for finding it free.)
5.) If possible, marry a patient man and move to a house with plenty of storage.
Okay, this one might be too late for some of you but my biggest assets in DIYing on the fly are having a (very) patient man and a (very patient) storage room. DIYing with junk takes time and patience. Time to find the right pieces, time to figure out what the heck the plan is, time to finish (or you know, start) the projects. Time. And lots of it. I wasn't kidding when I said finding the mini trees was like winning a treasure hunt for me. I've been searching for them literally two years. I'm currently on the hunt for Christmassy scarves. If you have some you want to unload and want to save me the two year hunt, I'll gladly accept them with gratitude. ;)
So those are my best decorating tips. Maybe not what you were expecting but definitely rules to live by if you don't mind living in a house full of other people's