When it comes to home decor, keep an eye on bottom line

QUEEN OF FREE: CHERIE LOWE

By Cherie Lowe

I have very few goals when it comes to my house.

  1. I want the people inside its walls to feel well loved.
  2. The floors cannot be sticky.
  3. The decor should be simple, warm and cheery.

I’m unlikely to land an HGTV show or on a home show tour. However, I do like living in a space with a bit of spunk and style. And I love creating spaces comfortable for the people who dwell and visit there.

The expense of home decor adds up quickly, though. Between the furniture, window coverings, rugs, wall art and accent pieces, it’s easy to spend a pretty penny without even realizing what you’ve done. If you’re looking to recreate your favorite room or add a subtle touch or two to an existing space, there are plenty of ways to breath new life into your decor without overspending.

Hit the clearance

There’s no need to pay full price when it comes to home goods. Clearance deals abound. It’s a great idea to cruise the clearance now and again, looking for a bargain. Don’t forget to browse home improvement retailers, too.

We’ve been lucky enough to find rugs and carpet at a fraction of the price in the clearance bin more than once. In fact, we once were able to purchase two large identical area rugs for less than the original price.

We used one and put the other back in storage. When the first wore down a couple of years later, we pulled out its twin. Don’t forget to check the stores’ online retail presence, too. Clearance bargains abound there as well. Whether you’re shopping online or in store, search for coupons to take a deal from good to great.

Consider second hand

Furniture can be tricky. If you’re purchasing second hand when it comes to upholstered goods, you’ll want to be sure you’re well acquainted with the seller. Does someone in the household smoke? Do they own pets? And of course unfortunately, you’ll want to check for bedbugs, too. If the piece of furniture passes your rigorous litmus tests, you could score a phenomenal deal.

Have your eyes peeled during garage sale season. For items like tables, chairs, dressers and accent pieces, don’t forget that you can easily spray paint a piece to give it new life.

Use your network

Four or five years ago, a friend of mine’s son was moving off to college. He wanted a futon bed, but was low on cash. I posted a quick online status asking if anyone had one they were looking to unload. Within 15 minutes, he had three to choose from and didn’t end up spending a dime. The owner merely wanted him to come and haul it away.

My guess is someone you know has what you’re looking for and even if they don’t it’s worth trying. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Use your social media networks to ask if anyone you know is looking to get rid of or sell furniture and home decor items. You just might be surprised with what you discover.

Make the most of coupons

On a regular basis, we receive coupons good for $10/$10 from both Kohl’s and JC Penney. These offers bring out my inner bargain warrior. I head to the store to see what I can purchase spending the very least amount of cash. In the past, I’ve burned way more time and energy than necessary shuffling through the clothing department or looking for jewelry.But now, when we receive one of these coveted coupons, I know exactly what to buy _ towels. I use the $10 to buy a very nice bath towel. I switched our household over to white towels only a couple of years ago because it’s easier to match than other colors and it makes laundry a snap.You don’t have to purchase towels like me (and eventually we’ll have enough and I’ll go on another quest). But consider using these offers for home decor items instead of random clothing that you don’t really need.

Ask for help

If you’re like me and you’re visually challenged when it comes decorating, it’s time to call for backup. Few of us can afford to hire an interior designer to rethink our space. However, we all have that one friend with fabulous taste and style. Ask someone with new eyes to rethink a room and help you rearrange what you already have for a fresh approach.Be smart about the home decor purchases you make. Choose classic colors and designs over the newest trend. Go for pieces that will last more than one season. Above all else, make sure you LOVE whatever you purchase.Whatever you bring into your home should fill you with life and joy and not bored indifference. Wait to buy something you truly think adds both to your home instead of purchasing something mediocre.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. She is the author of “Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.” Send questions, column ideas and comments to newstips@dailyjournal.net