This post is sponsored advertising content with my friends at State Farm®. All views are, as always, my own.

Ever since I started my blog back in 2008, I have always been trying to make decorating accessible to everyone. My friends at State Farm recently shared some easy ways to decorate your home on a budget, and I wanted to build on this and share some of my personal tips, as well as examples from some of the projects I have worked on.

1. Don’t Replace the Sofa – Give it a Refresh!

Sofas can be one of the most expensive furniture items to buy, so instead of shelling out thousands, give your old, upholstered sofa a refresh instead. First, get a clean hand towel and make it slightly damp, it should be just wet to touch and no drips. Then, wipe over the surface of the sofa with the hand towel; you will see a surprising amount of dust and lint come off. Next, grab your hand steamer, you can get them from big box stores for around $20, and steam the sofa. The steam will help release wrinkles, as well as help to kill any bugs and bacteria and will make the fabric look newer.

Once cleaned, it’s time for the fun part: choosing some new throw pillows! They are very affordable, and this is great as they should be replaced often to keep a sofa looking fresh. Along with new throw pillows, you should also choose a new throw. Fold the throw blanket neatly into a rectangle and then drape over one arm for a stylish, layered look. Throws and pillows are a great way to add a pop of color, pattern, or texture to your existing sofa or armchair. They’re also relatively inexpensive, and you can find them at all home goods stores. I love to swap mine seasonally; it helps keep my house feeling fresh and current.

2. Painting Trick to Make a Room Feel Larger

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to change the look of your room, we all know painting a wall is a great option. However, a single feature wall or painting with darker colors can often make a room feel smaller – I think we have all experienced, or know someone who has had, a dark paint disaster. I know I have!

Here is my trick to get it right: paint a wall only three quarters or half height all the way around. This makes the ceiling appear taller, which in turn makes the room feel bigger. Plus, you will also save a lot of money on paint! With this approach, feel free to explore rich and darker colors and then use a lighter color on the ceiling as it will help the room still feel light and bright. Check out the bedroom I designed below, where I used a dark green on the bottom half of the room to give it a cozy and cocooning feel. The green is rich, but the room still feels open and spacious due to the half height painting trick I used. You can see the full effect of this in my before and after Reel of the room.

3. Renters Wood Paneling Cheat

This Simple Insights article from State Farm makes a great point that many who rent can’t decorate due to their lease. That means no painting, or wood paneling. Boo! With the trend for organic minimalist growing ever-popular, many people want a chic wood-paneled wall to create that elevated look. A recent client of mine was a renter who couldn’t paint and even if they were allowed to do wood-paneling, it would have been way out of budget. However, I used a nifty cheat! I found peel-and-stick wallpaper that as its ‘pattern’ had a wood panel effect printed on it. I hung it behind my client’s bed and the transformation was dramatic. It instantly added texture, warmth, and elevated look to the room. It also made the ceilings feel twice as high thanks to the vertical lines. Check out my IG Reel from the spacehere. The peel-and-stick wallpaper was easy to put up; it took around three hours and cost a couple of hundred dollars. The best part is, when you have to move out, or perhaps you feel like a new look, you simply peel the wallpaper off the walls. That said, it is always a great idea to test your wall and follow the instructions of the manufacture carefully.

4. Get creative with lighting. 

Lighting can make a big difference in the look and feel of your room, but it is all too often overlooked. I have a guide that can help you make sure your lighting is on track. You should always have at least three sources of lights in a room. Normally they are:

  1. Overhead or ceiling lights.
  2. Eye level lighting, these could be floor lamps or sconces.
  3. Ambience lighting, such as table lamps, lanterns, light strips, or candles.

Lighting has never been easier or more affordable to add to your space. I am going to assume that you have your overhead lighting sorted as most homes have ceiling lights! A great way to add eye level lighting is with wall sconces. These instantly add architectural detail and create a space which feels more elevated and lived in. You may be worried that wall sconces will be expensive and messy, with new wiring and a call to an electrician needed etc. Well don’t stress! Lots of battery lightbulbs (LED bulbs that screw into a sconce but are powered by a rechargeable battery) are now available. You can simply buy a hard-wired sconce, cut off the wires, and attach the sconce to your wall. Then, add a remote-controlled battery light bulb and you have a working sconce without having to cut open your walls. This same idea can work with table lamps when you don’t have a plug nearby or wish to place it on a bookshelf, for example. Now, you can leave the table lamp unplugged, screw in the battery light bulb, and you have a new source of light. 

I hope these budget decorating tips have been useful. Let me know what changes you are going to make in your home! Thanks again to my friends at State Farm for the tips and sponsoring this content!


Will Taylor

Will is a self-confessed gentleman hooked-on-hue and his motto is: beige is boring! He works as a freelance author, creative consultant and lifestyle blogger. Will has been blogging about his love of colourful design, fashion and travel since 2009, engaging an army of colour lovers across the world with his quintessential make-you-smile style.

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.