Living, Loving, and Decorating on a Budget


Living, Loving, and Decorating on a Budget

Moving in together is the step that takes your relationship from a budding romance to a serious partnership. However, when you’re just starting your life together, there’s not a lot of money to go around. How can you create a chic love nest that reflects both of your tastes and sticks to a budget? These tips will help you get started.

Create a Shared Budget

Finances are one of the biggest sources of strain in any relationship. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid discussing them — in fact, just the opposite. Take this opportunity to tackle money talk head-on by creating a shared budget for home decorating — or in general. Not only will you avoid overspending, but as the New York Times points out, you’ll also gain a new level of openness in your relationship so it’s easier to broach financial conversations in the future. Try using a shared app that can help you both track your spending. Look to apps like Mint or GoodBudget, which provide easy access to money management.

Shop Secondhand

You might not be able to afford the one-of-a-kind, handcrafted furniture set you’ve been drooling over, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for cheaply made furniture. To score quality pieces without stretching your budget, scour estate sales, flea markets, consignment shops, and websites like eBay for deals on vintage furniture. If you’re willing to refinish and reupholster blemished furniture, you can save even more.

Name Your Deal-Breakers

If you simply can’t live with sports memorabilia decorating the living room or he detests all things mid-century modern, let it be known now. It’s better to make your deal-breakers known early in the decorating process than to allow your partner to get his heart set on something, only to shoot it down later. However, that doesn’t mean you can veto any design choice you dislike. Reserve your veto power for one or two things you simply can’t compromise on and seek middle ground for the rest (like keeping that sports memorabilia to one room, as BallQube suggests).

Embrace DIY Upgrades

Great design doesn’t need a big budget if you’re willing to contribute some elbow grease. Whether it’s repainting dull, faded walls, giving builder-grade cabinets a makeover, or installing floating shelves to hold your houseplant collection, there’s a lot you can accomplish with a few tools and some building supplies. Stick to projects you’re confident you can complete and look for discounts and coupons at home improvement stores like Home Depot.


But don’t limit your DIY upgrades to things like shelves and cabinets! You can also take your DIY game to the next level — and save money at the same time! — by putting together your own floral arrangements, making your curtains and pillowcases, and crafting your own picture frames. You can step up your money-saving methods by shopping for crafting supplies at stores such as Joann and looking for coupon codes to help you keep everything under budget.

Leave Room for Change

As your relationship grows and evolves, so will your tastes. That’s doubly true if pets, children, a pay raise, or another big lifestyle change is in your future. Choose versatile designs for your most expensive items like couches and tables so it’s possible to reinvent your decor in the future without spending money to replace everything. When you want accents, stick to things like art prints, throw pillows, and paint colors that are relatively easy and inexpensive to change.


Sticking to a budget is difficult when you’re decorating a new home, but it’s hardly the toughest part of decorating with your significant other. From meshing design tastes to deciding whose stuff to keep and whose to toss, there are a lot of compromises to make while decorating as a couple. Remember to approach decorating as a team, not as adversaries vying for control, and you’ll set the stage for cohabitating bliss.


Image via Unsplash

Image via Unsplash

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