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bedroom furniture in dark brown wood with gold handles from aldi

Budget Decorating Ideas: Decor to Skimp On at Home

You’re on a budget. You want to decorate one room (or multiple rooms) in your home. You only have a limited amount of hard earned cash and you want it to go as far as possible.

The obvious starting point in getting bang for your buck is figuring out where to skimp and splurge. The splurge stuff is easy. I could bore for your hours on the items I think are worth investing in (a blog post on this is coming soon). But the skimp part can often be tougher.

Not anymore. In this post I’m going to share some budget decorating items I don’t believe you should spend much on. If you’re tight on cash, of course. If money is no object, I’m more than happy to help you spend it and you should probably contact me immediately so we can line up our shopping date.

But if you’re wanting more decor for less, take a look at the below.

kmart round mirrors on grey painted wall
These Kmart mirrors are where it’s at.


If you have the funds and want to create a focal point in a room with an elaborate mirror, then by all means we gotta spend some of your mula and get something smashing.

But if it’s a mirror for a bedroom wall, entryway, kids space or hallway, I just can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on something that bounces your reflection back.

You can go to IKEA or Kmart and get one for under $50 in most cases. It seems bananas to me to spend any more, unless, as already stated… it’s going to be the wow moment in the room.

mid century coat rack from west elm with gold trim
This West Elm coat rack is at the top end of the scale at $299

Coat Racks

While we’re on the subject of entryway styling, coat racks are another item I don’t think you should be spending much on.

I opened up an interiors mag the other day to see a coat rack priced at almost $1000. Now, I’m sorry, but what could it seriously be made out of besides gold that would warrant such a price? It holds jackets and hats. Enough said!

If you ever work with me and I suggest you purchase a coat rack for hundred of dollars, please ask me to leave your home immediately and never return.

tanda modern grey concrete candle
Seriously my fave candles ever.


You know me; I’m a decorating nut. In this post I revealed my secret shame (how many scented candles I actually own) so you know I love them. But it seems utterly bonkers to spend $100 on a candle.

I remember moving out of home when I was 21 and buying my first candle from Crabtree and Evelyn. It was $80 at the time. Within a week the wick got caught in the wax and I had to throw it away. The lesson; candles shouldn’t cost a lot.

If you want affordable candles that are honestly the best thing you’ll lay nostril on, check out Melbourne brand Tanda Modern. I will sell my first-born child to secure any candle they make.

ikea white entertainment unit with TV
IKEA is the go-to for entertainment units.

TV Units

Struggling to afford the entertainment unit, rug, sofa and coffee table for your living room? The first item to cut down on is the TV unit.

The reason I say this is because the unit is a piece that’s almost redundant these days. It doesn’t need to hold much in the way of storage, so something sturdy is no longer required. It’s also something you won’t even see much.

When you sit down to watch TV, that’s precisely what you’re doing; looking at the TV (not the unit). Put your precious pennies into an awesome sofa instead.

Oh – and mount your TV to the wall. It always looks 100 times better like this.

white and grey wall clock from target with blonde timber frame
This Morgan clock from Target is only $20


Designer clocks might look cool and all, but I really don’t see the point in investing money in something that only tells you the time.

You can get uber-cheap options at IKEA that look amazing, so avoid forking out buckets of cash on a clock and put the money toward some fabulous art instead.

fiddle leaf fig print by atelier lane
This fiddle leaf fig print by Atelier Lane is amazing.

Plants & Flowers

OK, so this one is clearly going to reveal my bias because you know I suck bigtime at keeping greenery alive. It’s the very reason why I don’t think you should be spending a tonne on indoor plants.

I did this myself with my fiddle leaf fig purchase (read about that horror here) and emerged from the ordeal with a dying plant and $150 worse off.

With so many awesome fake options on the market lately (check some out here) it makes no sense to me to buy indoor plants unless you’re particularly skilled at keeping them going.

three piece white kids bedroom setting from amart furniture
Amart Furniture do 3-piece kids sets for $489

Nursery Furniture

Please, parents, don’t send me letters. But I do believe that spending large amounts of money on nursery furniture is a foolish approach. Unless you’re planning on keeping it to hand down to younger siblings.

Children outgrow cots and beds so quickly that it’s really not worth spending thousands on these items.

Ensure they’re sturdy, safe and comfortable for your little one, sure, but don’t get sucked into brands trying to take thousands of bucks off you in the process.

matt stewart indian headress art on master bedroom wall art incy interiors eden bed

Art Prints

I’m a big believer in original art. Supporting local is something I adore doing too. So I like the idea of finding an artist you love and saving up to buy one of their original works if need be.

Likewise for limited edition artwork runs. It’s nice knowing that you own one of 50 or 100 pieces. And they’re signed.

What I don’t see the point in is spending truckloads on prints that are not limited edition, not original, and that everyone can buy en masse. The brand might be winning, but you certainly aren’t.

I’m a huge fan of Matt Stewart and Sabi Klein for original, amazing art. And I also adore The Pretty Addicted for lower-priced and chic-as-hell prints.

blush faux fur throw on charcoal and blonde timber armchair with exposed white brick wall
Lorraine Lea’s blush faux fur throw = divinity.


A throw is the last adornment on a sofa or bed. And in most cases, you don’t even use it. It’s something that’s purely for show. So I say you should avoid throwing money away on one and invest in the bedding that’ll touch your skin.

Cushions are different because there’s a comfort level involved with cushions. It’s all about getting the right filling (more on that here) and cheap cushions are often nasty as hell.

But a throw.. meh. I don’t think they should cost the earth.

stainless steel cutlery from kmart


I lusted after black cutlery for so long. Then I finally got it. I loved it, I leered at it, I looked longingly at it every time I stacked the dishwasher.

Six months down the track it’s fading and chipping, and looks ghastly. Buyer beware when it comes to coloured cutlery. You’re better of just going good ol stainless steel.

pink and grey faux fur cushions anf throws from lorraine lea

Am I Wrong?

I’d love for you to weigh in on budget decorating pieces. Are the items I’ve listed above something you believe you should invest in? Drop a comment below and let me know what you think.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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9 Responses

  1. I am here visiting the UK for 3 weeks to help my daughter “ do up” her very recently purchased large place in Oxford. So much old character, but have got to work modernising it in in certain places, kitchen, lounge and outdoor entertaining area. I have been ready your past 3 weeks posts but this weeks is one that we have stuck to. Must say the house looks a treat not over done and not too expensive, although we both have expensive taste….restrain is a big word.thank goodness our house in Aus is complete or my hubby would send me back to the UK!

  2. You’re too kind Chris, thank you!! And you’re totally right about all of these – there are so many great budget items that look amazing too!

  3. I agree 100% I spend big on the main furniture pieces to last but accessories which change with the seasons we are spoilt for choice – good old Kmart in the pic. above lets us indulge, we who have champagne tastes on a water budget lol – thanks for all the inspiration

  4. As a plant lover who lives in a house that borders on a jungle and even I spend big on plants – better to buy small and have them grow (or not) in your home. My monstera was 10 cm tall when I got it – it is now 1m. Most I’ve ever spent in an indoor plant was $30 for my fig (which is now almost as tall as me!)

    1. I meant to say I NEVER spend big on plants – my phone doesn’t like your new comment box – can only see 4 words at a time – so I can’t read what I’ve read before I post!

  5. Agree with all
    Of these – except for a kids bed. We bought one which fingers crossed should last for the next 10 + years! It’s fun being able to spend $100’om a whole range of little knick knacks!

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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