Here are some inexpensive décor update ideas that have big impact on your room refresh
My mom’s French Cajun dining room makeover part two is coming at you (here is part one in case you missed it!)! We did a complete overhaul on color and style, but really didn’t spend a ton of cash. Here are the tips I used in this dining room makeover to keep the décor on budget but the transformation big! Don’t miss the shopping guide at the bottom if you like any décor you see, I will tell you exactly where I got it!
7 Tips for Inexpensive Decorating Updates
1. Change prints – Often the artwork on your walls will be trendy and when it’s time for that ship to sail you need to give it a good push out to sea. Replacing artwork, especially larger pieces can be expensive though! The best trick I know is to just replace the print. You can always paint the frame to match your new scheme AND you can even paint the mats inside the frame if they need an update. I have done that before to bring older artwork out of the dark ages. Simply measure the frames you have or measure the mat sizes and look for artwork to fit. The best part is you can shop in your jammies and have new prints shipped to you door! Open up the back of your current frames and reuse the backing board, attach the new print with tape (I use painters tape) and secure the backing. I have a handy tool listed in the source guide that helps with this step! Quick change in a matter of minutes. I chose these Audubon prints because they are perfect Louisiana coast pics that remind me of Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Have you ever had the pulled taffy from there? It’s heavenly.
2. Make your own large sign – Large signs and typography art are all the rage right now but some come at a pretty penny. Make your own. I have a full tutorial coming, but this is a great money saver, plus you can personalize your sign to have meaning. My mom grew up on Pine Street in New Orleans so I wanted to have a personal touch point while still having a fun up to date décor piece. This sign was free, made from old fence posts and stencils I cut out of contact paper with my Cricut. Personal elements make a room special.3. Paint light fixtures– Lighting is often the most overlooked piece in a room makeover. I’m not sure if it’s because it is expensive to replace, people don’t know how to physically replace a fixture or if it’s just overlooked. Here is a solution to all those issues. Paint your existing light fixture.
You don’t even have to take it down. I stood awkwardly on a ladder and after the second coat my arms were slightly sore, but heavens knows I need the upper arm workout lol! I used a chalk paint that adhered and covered easily, then distressed with sandpaper and added dark wax in spots for an aged feel. I added a touch of gold buff to tie the gold tones from the china into the light fixture. It completely changed the room!4. Use plates on the wall – When looking for new artwork don’t forget to rummage through your cabinets and china hutch. Often rooms fall flat because they don’t have enough dimension and texture on the wall. You need variety in size, shape, color and texture. All framed artwork or pictures can be boring to the eye. Throw some antique plates or platters into the mix. Even if they are chipped, discolored or mismatched they will liven up your walls with personality! This is a great inexpensive décor update because all you have to do is shop your cabinets or get some plates from a thrift store! It’s always easy to find a one off plate that has no matching pieces and a wall hanging is the perfect place for a piece like that.
5. Plants – A good pop of greenery is stylish in any room. I always prefer live over faux, but if you really don’t think you can keep a real one alive invest in a good fake one! You don’t need to overdo it but a large indoor plant really makes a room come to life. Try and place it near natural sunlight and be sure to have a pot with a hole in the bottom that sits on a drain pan. Then be sure not to over water. For my mom’s room we stuck her new plant in a large basket to add in a warm wicker feel (see a few pics down). This is a great way to add neautral texture to a room and greenery goes with everything, it’s nature’s little black dress. I almost always have some live fresh greenery in a vase somewhere in my living areas! This arrangement is yard cuttings with a few grocery store roses. Also – remember scale, these tall lanterns were perfect to add large scale fullness to the table with a coastal feel.
6. Chair covers – You may not want to paint your furniture, but it might be ready for an update. You don’t always have to permanently re-upholster chairs to get a new look. I designed these chair covers and my crafty mom whipped them up. I realize not everyone can sew like my mom can, but making these yourself or having someone make them for you is still cheaper than buying new chairs and truly updates the look. You can see another version of this concept here.
7. Drop cloth curtains and pillows – Casual curtains are easy to make nowadays with the use of drop cloth material you can find at the hardware or paint store. My mom used a crisp linen on her curtains, but an inexpensive drop cloth would be the perfect substitute. You can easily make your own paneled curtains like the ones you see here. We used the same concept as my wood and drop cloth curtains in her room, but we added an inexpensive wood shade with long panels framing it. The matchstick shades also add great texture and let in light while adding a layer of privacy.8. Spend $ on rugs, fabric and paint – If you are working hard to makeover your dining room or any other space in your house these are the places it’s worth spending money, use the tips above to stretch your budget. A new rug will REALLY transform a space (here are some great neutral selections of you aren’t feeling bold enough for a pink rug!). Fabric softens a space. Go trendy on small things like pillows and stay classic on curtains and upholstery that is not so easy to change out. If you are patient you can often catch great fabric sales or use coupons at the popular fabric spots like Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. (Here is a list of neutral fabric you might like)
I hope these tips will help you jump head first into whatever décor update project you’ve been dreaming of. You can use so many of the things you have, just envision them with a coat of paint or fresh fabric! Here is a source guide for my mom’s dining room makeover!
Please know this list contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase I might receive a small commission, your price stays the same. Thank you for your support!
Audubon Prints: American White Pelican and Sandhill Crane
Tool to help change artwork
Grey and white lantern
Grey tall lantern
mini boxwood greenery spread through the china hutch
Dresden Flowers China Pattern by Schuman-Bavaria
Linen Fabric selections (similar to what we used on chairs and drapes)
Canvas Drop Cloth (less expensive fabric alternative, still fabulous!)
Paint on chandelier – Amy Howard One Step Paint in Linen
Cain Back Chairs (similar)
Dining Table (love this one!)
For the China Hutch makeover:
- Amy Howard One step Paint in A Hard Man is Good To Find
- Amy Howard One Step Paint in Kimbel
- Amy Howard Cracked Patina
- Amy Howard Dark Wax
- Paint Brush
- Wax brush
- Steel wool to distress the dark wax
Crinoline from Monarch
Intellectual Gray from Sherwin Williams
Hope you enjoyed this makeover as much as my mom and I did and I really hope it inspires you to make some meaningful changes in your décor! Would you be so sweet and share this makeover on Facebook or Pinterest? Thank you so much!
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