Cheap Decorating Ideas

This is always the time of year when even our favorite rooms start to look a little too comfortably lived in, and the need to look at something fresh and different becomes very appealing.  Of course, many of us have neither the time or money to do a full interior design overhaul, so here are a few easy Sunday afternoon (or Thursday at midnight) ideas to freshen up your space:

Move it all around:

Move the furniture, lighting, and carpets around into a different configuration.  Yes, there is the possibility that you’ll realize you hate it and need to move it all back, but you still would have had the opportunity to vacuum under that furniture, and if it works, it’s amazing what a change of scenery can do.

Curtain call:

Nothing improves a room like new window dressings, and nothing is easier to make.  If you have access to a sewing machine, it’s literally a few straight lines.  If you don’t, any craft store has seam tape that you iron into the fabric and it looks great.  For wallet-friendly fabric, head over to Jackson Heights and stroll the Sari shops on 74th street; you will not believe the selection and prices!

For kid’s rooms, consider using a sheet with a fun print, sewing pockets on it, and using that as a decorative storage solution; those little pockets will be perfect for furry friends, hair ties, baseball caps, arts & crafts supplies, or any endless assortment of those little things always floating around the room. 

Fall for the wall:

One of the most common decorating mistakes is to cram furniture along every available wall, creating a bit of a “walls closing in on you” effect.  An easy and attractive way to avoid this is to paint a mural on a large wall.  A local Queens artist (and this writer’s husband) painted this fabulous tree silhouette in his dining room; with a can of paint, we opened the room up, created a conversation piece, and have even found ways to interact with it – for Halloween, we added silhouetted ravens; for the holidays, ornaments!  Even for the least artistically inclined among us, a simple pattern or silhouette can be possible; just search online for paint patterns and techniques – there’s everything from stripes to diamond and floral patterns.

Pretty as a picture:

If you have stairs, an odd little corner, or a big blank wall that you don’t feel confident painting, think about making a photo wall.  For best results, pick larger frames that are generally in the same family of colors and materials (it’s not necessary to be matchy matchy!).  When picking photos, look for ones in good focus and without too much fuss going on in the background or edges (any digital photo software will have a crop tool which can make a blah photo look amazing by just bringing the subject closer).  For printing, it’s true that any pharmacy (or the Target on Queens Blvd) can give you decent prints, but if you want a quality matte print, try a local photo shop (In Forest Hills, Continental Photo is a favorite).

Finally, remember that decorating is really just another word for creating a visual environment that you like looking at and that other people feel comfortable in.  Use a pleasing palate of your favorite colors, display any collections in a group for maximum impact, and make sure, above all else, that you actually like the items you choose to display.  After all, you’re the one who has to look at them all the time!

 Great places to score cheap decor in Queens:

Local Dollar Stores

SITE Astoria

Sew Moni Fabrics and Notions

Etsy Locally Sourced Crafts and Decor

Furnitre Market in Astoria