The Best Budget-Friendly Design Secrets, According To 17 Influencers

Television at center of symetrically placed chairs, lights, and artwork


The wonderful thing about interior design is that transforming a space doesn't have to cost a fortune, as long as you know what you're doing. Just trust the experts. Below, 17 influencers share their budget-friendly tips and tricks for elevating your surroundings without spending all your savings, or compromising on taste.

  • 01 of 17

    @bobbyberk — Pillow Cases (Not Inserts!)

    Solid dark blue and geometric patterned throw pillows on sofa


    "Invest in pillow covers—but not the inserts. A lot of people don’t realize that when you're shopping for decorative pillows, the inserts aren't part of the package. You're usually charged separately for the inserts. If you end up buying the inserts from a showroom or high end store, they can set you back as much as the covers themselves. Purchase one set of inserts from a big box store online for a much more affordable price and put new pillow covers on them every so often. Another helpful trick is to buy inserts one size up from the covers to make the pillows look and feel fuller. So if you have a 16” square pillow, grab an 18” square insert." — Bobby Berk

  • 02 of 17

    @em_henderson — Frequent Thrifting

    Adding brown pillow to mix of blue and white bedding


    "Thrift and thrift often. The 'often' part is the real secret. It’s rare to find everything for your place (especially at a great price) in one trip to a flea market. But I PROMISE there are affordable treasures to be found—you just have to be willing to hunt, and hunt often. Flea market, garage sales, estate sales and online…look through it all." — Emily Henderson

  • 03 of 17

    @houselarsbuilt — Repurposing Rug Pads

    white crib in a blue room


    "I love using rug pads for more that just rugs. I use them to keep things sturdy and not slip, like my baby's changing table and a blanket draped over his crib." — Brittany Jepsen

  • 04 of 17

    @thejoshuatreehouse — Vintage Books as Design Accents

    People resting their shoed feet on table in rustic room


    "We love going to our local flea market and collecting old books in themes (for us they’re usually desert or plant related). They bring a space to life and are usually only about $1-$2 each." — Sara & Rich Combs

    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17

    @graceatwood — The Power of Paint

    Woman dressed in black wearing sunglasses standing on street corner


    "Paint is the easiest way to spruce up a space. I painted my ugly plywood floors and it was the best thing I did for my apartment. It was time consuming but only cost a couple hundred dollars and it changed the whole space. Another thing you can do is switch out the hardware on your cabinetry." — Grace Atwood

  • 06 of 17

    @lovelyindeed — Plants

    Airy living room with blue, red, and yellow accents


    "Introducing plants to a space instantly makes it feel alive, fresh, and open. Keep an eye on yard sales or estate sales for great pots at a killer price. If purchasing plants is outside your budget, you can always ask friends or neighbors for clippings that you can then nurture into wonderful, full-grown plants." — Chelsea Foy

  • 07 of 17

    @apartment_34 — Lighting Fixtures

    Small chair, coffee table, and floor lamp in room corner


    "Lighting is like your room’s jewelry. You can jazz up even the most basic of spaces with good fixtures. And they don’t have to expensive. Everyone from Target to CB2 is offering great looking lighting at really affordable price points these days." — Erin Hiemstra

  • 08 of 17

    @liagriffith — DIY Pillow Covers

    Two pillows with DIY blue covers with white animal decal


    "I like to make my own pillow covers that I can rotate throughout the year depending on the season. Swapping out the covers doesn't require buying new inserts and it's an easy way to automatically refresh a space." — Lia Griffith

    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17

    @handmadecharlotte — Crafting

    A stack of colorful mugs with paint and texture applied


    "If you see an item of home decor, furniture, textiles, or almost anything, stop and consider how you can make your own version. Sometimes the DIY approach to a project is obvious, but if not you can always do a quick Pinterest search to get some ideas. Whether it's refinishing a piece of thrifted furniture, stamping your own pattern onto fabric, or adding trim onto simple curtains, there are so many ways to save a few bucks and still end up with an amazing end product." — Rachel Faucett

  • 10 of 17

    @bradytolbert — Vintage

    Piece of vintage furniture with upper cabinets and drawers below

    Photo by Tessa Neustadt for Brady Tolbert 

    "Everything But The House — buying vintage is no secret but I have fallen in love with the ease and selection that Everything But the House offers. I am constantly finding myself up late at night swiping through the auctions and placing bids on items. I’ve scored quite a few finds from there." — Brady Tolbert

  • 11 of 17

    @thecraftedlife — Upcycling

    Person standing in front of dark green upholstered curved sectional

    Photo by Mary Costa for The Crafted Life

    "Work with what you already have! Instead of running out to buy a new chair set, maybe you can paint the ones you have a new, fresh color. Or maybe try reupholstering. There are so many options when it comes to upcycling existing home items—so many ways to transform a piece, and, by extension, your overall space, without investing in anything new." — Rachel Mae Smith

  • 12 of 17

    @clutterhealing — Air Cleaning Plants

    Tall potted plant on floor next to low shelf

    Photo by Kristen Lo for Clutter Healing

    "I love plants! They are really affordable and you can find so many interesting pots nowadays. Not only do plants add a pop of color to the trendy all neutral spaces we see nowadays, but they also help clean the air! I'm all about a little help when it comes to a clean and clear home!" — Lili Pettit

    Continue to 13 of 17 below.
  • 13 of 17

    @organize_it — Fresh Hardware

    Woman wearing sunglasses sitting in a car


    "Replacing hardware is a simple yet cost effective way to add a personal touch to any area of your home. For example: door knobs, hinges, drawer pulls, etc. Any of these things can be swapped out relatively easily and the impact of this subtle change is immense." — Rivka Davidowitz

  • 14 of 17

    @heywanderer — Placemat Throw Pillows

    Dining nook with table, white bench, and two throw pillows


    "Make your own throw pillows. We figured out a genius way to do this that is really inexpensive and only takes a few minutes. You can use a placemat and stuff it with filling from a throw pillow you find at a thrift store. Pillow inserts and stuffing can be expensive but you can get throw pillows at Goodwill for $1-3. Just make sure to wash them first. Because this is so easy and inexpensive you can change your throw pillows seasonally." — Casey Freeman & Savannah McNeill

  • 15 of 17

    @talirothdesigns — Kondo + IKEA Storage

    Person wrapped in white flowers from the waist up


    "The best budget-friendly design secret is to go through your home and Marie Kondo the hell out of it. Only keep things that bring you joy, and put the other items that you NEED in storage. This is free and you can totally do it yourself. For your wallet's sake, purchase your storage pieces at IKEA." — Tali Roth

  • 16 of 17

    @withinthegrove — Paint

    White kitchen with dark blue cabinets


    "Paint can instantly transform a space. By painting interior doors, creating a bold accent wall, flipping a piece of furniture, or even painting the ceiling as a 5th wall you can completely alter your environment in the best way. Using paint to overhaul a space will have a huge impact—on your home's design, not your bank balance." — Elizabeth Rishel

    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17

    @ohsolovely_blog — Digital Art

    Small artworks in various shaped frames hung on bedroom wall

    "I love printing digital art files and putting them into a clean and classic white matted frame. My go-to frames are Target’s 11x14 brushed brass with white mats. You can find free (or very affordable) art prints all over the web. I love adding in thrift store frames to the mix and creating gallery walls, which add a lot of personality to a space on a small budget. I’m a bit gallery wall obsessed." — Audrey Kuether