An unlimited decorating budget is the stuff dreams are made of, but unfortunately for many of us, that particular dream is unlikely to come true. Don't worry, not only is it easy to furnish a living room on a budget, but it's also easy to accessorize without spending a fortune.
Shop at Second-Hand Stores
Second-hand stores are your friends. Whether it's a local antique store, a consignment shop, or a salvage shop like the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, second-hand stores are great for finding inexpensive accessories. The key is to picture items away from all the other cheap stuff in the store and imagine them in your space. When you take something out of context it can look entirely different.
Paint is the number one tool for transforming old items into something new. If you have old, outdated bowls, vases, picture frames, or anything else accessory-like you can give them a brand new look with a coat of paint. You can also use paint to create new accessories like the artwork to hang on the walls.
Look to Nature
Nature provides countless opportunities to create interesting and inexpensive home accessories. Collect some pinecones and display them in a glass bowl; gather tall sticks and place them in a vase; collect leaves and press them into picture frames and hang them on the walls. And if you really want to up your decorating ante spray paint all those items gold or silver. All of a sudden you'll have luxe accessories that barely cost you a dime.
Gold always looks expensive. If you add a few touches of gold into your living room it will suddenly look like you spent a lot of money. But here's the secret—it couldn't be easier to incorporate gold in an inexpensive way.
Make Your Own Art
These days it seems almost silly to spend money on art when there are so many chic and fun ways to make your own. Frame wallpaper or fabric samples, make a collage out of washi tape, frame vintage postcards—the options are literally endless, but here are a few ideas:
Display What You Already Have
One of the easiest ways to accessorize a room for free is by using items you already have. For instance, why hide your jewelry away in a drawer when you could decorate with it? Mount some vintage brooches in a shadow box, hang necklaces on a decorative ladder, or display just about anything in a pretty bowl. You can also take old china and display it. Hang pretty vintage plates on the wall or even display your silverware. A silver bowl or gravy boat looks very pretty when filled with flowers.
Throw an Accessories Party
You've heard of clothes exchanges? This is the same thing except it's for home accessories. Have your friends over and ask everyone to bring some home decor items they no longer want. It could be pillows, dishes, knick-knacks—whatever. Put them all together and let everyone sort through them and take what they want. All those items that don't get claimed can be donated.