Decorating Your New Home without Going Broke
Not thrilled with the plain walls and slightly uneven windows of your most recent on-base housing? It’s time to make that space feel like home and you can do it without breaking the bank.
Give the walls some life
If you are living in base housing, you have a number of options available for giving your walls a personal touch. At many installations, you are allowed to paint (and leave) with an approved palette of colors. At most, you have options to paint as long as you prime or paint back to white before your move out inspection. I know it feels like added work, but it is an inexpensive way to make the space your own.
If you are looking for easier move-out option, try temporary wall paper and non-pasted wallpaper. Megan, Marine wife and blogger at The Homes I Have Made, tried a number of different temporary wall decor options and is offering the details. In my current on-base home, I opted for removable wallpaper to give my long, narrow home more character. The application was simple and it has lasted a year with no problems, even with dogs and kids and daily cooking in the kitchen.
On the floor
There is something about the floors in military housing — white hospital tile, scratched faux wood vinyl. It has earned a less-than-positive reputation. Fortunately, there are easy options available in the form of area rugs. For those at CONUS duty stations, there are a number of online retailers that now offer an incredible array of rugs at reasonable prices like RugsUSA and Wayfair.
Budget tip: If you’re looking to minimize the cost, consider indoor/outdoor rugs. They will have a shorter pile (not be quite so thick) but are easy to clean, usually stain resistant, less expensive than indoor rugs and will go on significant sale at the end of the summer!
Add some life
Flowers add a luxurious feel to a room but we all know that buying fresh flowers gets expensive. Keep an eye out for sales at craft stores and combine those with email coupons to put together displays of faux flowers. Try using them in wall-hanging planters. If people aren’t getting close to them, they are less likely to realize they are fake! If arranging flowers sounds daunting, browse Pinterest for designs you like and use those images to build your own collection of artificial flowers.
Don’t forget shade-loving houseplants either. Just be careful if you have pets to make sure your plants aren’t toxic.
Military and rental housing often features small or awkward spaces. One way to add the perception of more space is to use mirrors. Here are some links to some budget-friendly DIY ideas:
- Reframe a cheap mirror for a luxury look
- Go oversize without the supersized price tag
- Get the Farmhouse look
Use your vertical space
When space is at a premium (let’s face it, military housing isn’t rarely generous on the square footage), it gets difficult to decorate. You need all that space for the stuff you use which doesn’t leave a lot of room for decor items.
The solution? Go vertical. Using floating shelves, you can create the room to include the little touches that make a house feel like home.
See it in better light
The standard overhead lighting isn’t the most flattering. Instead, start collecting standing and table lamps to scatter throughout your space. The softer, more eye-level light creates a cozier mood and they’ll move with you as you PCS!
Look for deals on a lamp base that you love (the clearance and return sections of home improvement stores are a great place to look) and snag inexpensive lamp shades since they are less likely to survive the movers.
Making each house a home can feel like a never-ending task. As soon as you get things just right, you’re bound to start hearing talk of orders! There’s no need to stress out about a magazine-cover home but it’s worth a little time and effort to create a comfortable, welcoming space for your family to relax.
About the blogger
Kristen is an Army wife since 2006, herding her 8-year-old son, two dogs and one horse through military life. When she’s not wrangling the Tricare appointment line or building communities online in her role as a digital media strategist, she listens to podcasts, spends an hour longer than she said she would at the barn and Googles the stuff her science-minded kiddo talks about. She celebrates all those spouses creating their own definition of military spouse success at White Gloves, Optional and shares her own trial-and-error attempts at balancing home, work & all that other stuff, too!