Decorating on a Budget

DismalsCanyon

Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things, decorating! Yes, decorating can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Today I’m going to talk about doing so with a modest budget. It helps to be creative and crafty, but it’s not required.

The top picture that you see is one that I took at Dismals Canyon in Phil Campbell, Alabama. I chose it because I am planning to have it printed at Walmart so that I can hang it on my wall at Berry Cottage. I can print it as a 16×20 poster and buy a frame for less than $20 and it has meaning to me and my family. If you enjoy taking pictures and want to show off your artwork, there are many options for printing. I chose Walmart because I can upload my pictures and drive there to pick them up. No waiting.

I buy all of my furniture from second-hand stores and on Facebook marketplace. I buy my mattresses at Wal-Mart because I’m terrified of getting bed bugs. There are ways to check for them, but I personally would rather avoid them.

A simple way to dress up a room is with new curtains and throw pillows. If you have a sewing machine you can use sheets from a thrift store if you can’t find inexpensive material that you like. Just cut out your pattern or the measurements you need for what you’re making. Remember to leave room to hem it. You can also use old clothes and sheets to make a throw or a quilt.

If you like figurines or you’re looking for holiday decor, Dollar Tree is awesome! My mom has an adorable Christmas village that she bought piece by piece there and you can’t tell. They add new ones every year so you can add to your collection.

You can also repurpose furniture. For instance, there were two dressers in the Berry Cottage when we bought it. One is tall, but the other is perfect for our TV. I use the drawers to store DVDs, games, and CDs (I still have CDs and cassette tapes, but the cassettes stay in my 1999 Toyota). You can paint furniture to fit your decor and even change the knobs to give it a new look. I’m considering it with our new TV stand, but I kind of like the retro wood and brass look.

OldDresser

This picture was taken when we first bought the house so this room looks very different and all of the trash has been thrown away.

What are some of your favorite ways to decorate on a budget?

Progress at Berry Cottage

KidsBedroom

We got the floor installed in the kid’s bedroom and I was so excited that I couldn’t wait for the tools to be put away before taking pictures. Look closely at the flooring. It looks like hardwood, even in person, but it’s not. It’s sheet vinyl that I bought from Lowe’s for $.37 a square foot. It’s grooved and has knotholes just like real hardwood, but for a fraction of the price.

We also put in the window unit. The house has never had central heat and air and we chose not to put it in to save money. We’re planning to buy a natural gas heater before it gets cold. We were told that the gentleman who owned the house before us kept the house warm with one brick on a natural gas heater. He only had one air conditioner so we’re assuming he liked the house very warm, which we don’t, so one brick may force us outside until nightfall.

KidsBedroom(2)

We also had a new wall put in. The old wall had been eaten by termites. Fortunately, there wasn’t any new damage or evidence of living termites. We are going to have the house treated as a precaution since most of our walls are going to be the original shiplap that hasn’t been destroyed. This wall will be getting trim put on it to hide the seams and add interest since it’s vinyl and can’t be painted easily. The black on the left is the five panel door we had installed months ago.

Our next project is putting in new flooring and paneling in the hallway. I will share that with you once it’s done. We are doing this remodel on a super tight budget, but we’re so excited with how it’s turning out. I can’t wait until it’s finished, it’s going to be my happy place.

Remodeling on a Budget

RemodelOnABudget

Recently my husband and I were talking about what our trailer needs. It’s twenty years old so the list is pretty expansive (and expensive!). We still have a long time left until it’s paid off (which is a long story), but it’s not worth much. So we agreed that while we want to make it comfortable, we don’t want to invest a fortune.

The above picture is our home a year ago. It hasn’t changed much, but we are hoping to fix that with shutters and some paint. Along with a few other ideas we’re tossing around.

A big thing is the outdated and undersized HVAC system. Add that to the aluminum siding and lack of insulation and you understand why it’s hot inside and our electric bill is high. In case you don’t, I’ll add the missing piece, we live in Alabama.

We could replace the furnace, exterior unit, and the broken ducts for around $5,000. That we don’t have. Instead, we are going to use window units on the back and portable units on the front since they’re not as unsightly. We discussed propane for heat, but our floorplan isn’t set up where it will work well. Basically, our TV and Xbox will melt while our bedrooms and bathrooms freeze. We are looking into infrared heaters and an infrared fireplace for the living room.

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We’re also looking into window awnings and shade cloth until we can put on vinyl siding and a good metal roof. Our current roof requires cool sealing which is what you typically do with an RV. We are hoping to eventually put on a real metal roof.

Another problem is the furring strips on the walls that they do in manufactured homes to save money instead of spackling and putty. We’re going to take them off, spackle, and putty then repaint. It will feel like a house and a home then.

If you live in a manufactured home and you’re in need of inspiration I highly recommend going to Pinterest and putting in your dimensions along with “manufactured home”. In my case I put in, “16×80 manufactured home”. I found a similar floor plan that with minimal effort would give me a full laundry room and a pantry. So we are going to take down one wall and build two plus add two doors to our home. I’m ecstatic! This will give us two things that we have wanted for about $1,000 or less once we’re done. This also makes our space more usable.

What I am looking forward to most is my children’s bedrooms. We decided to put our 12 and two year old boys together in the large 15×9 bedroom and give our daughter the 8×9 bedroom. To maximize her space we’re going to build her a loft bed with a desk and a swing where she can sit and draw or do her school work. She’s four so she pretty much designed it herself and I think it’s going to be an amazing space. Our oldest is getting my 90 year old mahogany bed and the little guy wants a John Deere tractor bed. I’m going to try to build it for him.

I will write posts as we accomplish goals and let you know how things are going and how things are working. I’m hoping to put a lot of pictures on Pinterest, too, in case anyone wants to copy our ideas. We’re hoping to get started soon, but it may be November with everything going on. Which is fine since it gives us time to make sure that we’re doing what God wants and not just what we want.

 

What Makes a House a Home?

HouseOrHome

This is a pretty simple question that could have millions of answers because home can mean something different to each person. It could be something as simple as where your family lives, your address, where your belongings are located, and any combination of these things.

For me, it is where I worship and talk to God the most (I’m only at church four hours a week), where my family lives, and our piece of land. The past few days I have realized that in spite of the problems our current home has, I love it. It may be an old tin can, but it’s where I brought my last baby home, where my kids have pretty much grown up, and where I have grown in Christ the most. To me, that’s worth far more than I’ve paid for the house.

If God chooses to allow us to stay here, I will be grateful for the rest of my life. If He doesn’t, we own the land and we can figure something out. My husband loves alternative, preferably off-grid, housing.

Tent

My point is, home is what you make it. It can be an apartment, an old house, a manufactured home, or even a tent. If you’re glorifying God that’s all that really matters. Yes, your home is a way of glorifying Him because that’s where you spend most of your time with Him. Or it may be your car if you travel a lot.

Of all the things that we as a society take for granted, I think the home is the biggest one. When was the last time you thanked God for the space you live in? Or do you think the size isn’t right, it’s not perfect, or you don’t like your neighbors? I have said those things about almost every place we have lived and we have moved as a result. I can’t remember the last time, before now, that I just thanked God for the blessing that is my home.

As a final note, if your house has problems, you will feel better if you fix them. Organizing does wonders, too. I’m horribly disorganized and our home was a mess! It’s still not perfect, but I love it anyway and I’m fixing it.

Three Bedrooms in a Cottage?

Three Bedrooms in a Cottage

For those who don’t know me, I love Pinterest. I spend more time there than I probably should. Especially since we bought The Berry Cottage. There are so many amazing ideas there and it’s so easy to find inspiration in an instant!

Last night I was looking at cottage plans (because that’s what I do) and I found one that looks a lot like our cottage. It’s the Bayside III by Beaver. What really struck me is that, unlike our home, the Bayside III is three bedrooms. All we have to do to achieve this and have our own bedroom is remove a bookcase at the end of the hallway. There are only 16 square feet of difference between the two.

This means that my husband and I can have a nice, cozy bedroom and a comfortable living room. Yeah! This means more time on Pinterest looking at creative decorating ideas! Especially for my daughter’s room. She has some great ideas (especially for being four), but I think we can take her ideas and make them better.

Now, I did say bedroom and not a master suite. So we will be sharing the bathroom with our three children until we get tired of it and add a bathroom off the kitchen.