How To Decorate When You’re Broke And Your Walls Are Blank

You’re broke and your walls are blank. Your options are to either live in a stolid existence of beige emptiness and reflect on your bleak 9-5 existence, or you could get creative, head to a thrift store and repurpose random interesting things for the average cost of a latte.

If you choose to skip one of your allotted Starbucks runs to spruce up your place, here are some ideas to help you rock the budget friendly interior decor. So from one group of broke wannabe designers to the next, let’s get those walls filled.

Idea: Frame poems

Approximate cost: $1 for dollar store picture frames

Materials needed: picture frames, a printer, paper

Optional: construction paper, markers, etc.

Break up the monotony of your framed pictures on the wall by framing some of your favorite poems and quotes. You can also decorate these poems with construction paper to make colorful inside frames, markers if you want to handwrite the poems in colorful text, and more.

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Idea: String lights

Approximate cost: $13 on amazon for a set of string lights

Materials needed: String lights, thumbtacks

Hang string lights across your room or around your wall decorations to brighten up your wall and create a cozy vibe in your apartment. You can mount the string lights to your wall using thumbtacks. Try using a battery-powered set of string lights to avoid electricity costs.

Idea: Travel Postcards

Approximate cost: $5-10

Materials needed: postcards from past travels, frames, chalk paint if you’re feeling creative

What better way to decorate your walls than with memories from past adventures? Pick up cheap post cards (I’m a big fan of vintage travel ones), grab a frame at Goodwill or the sale bin of your local craft store, and create a gallery wall. If you’re feeling extra creative (and the frames are super dingy) pick up some chalk paint and color coordinate your frames!

Idea: Used Record Sleeves

Approximate cost: 50 cents-$3

Materials needed: Record Sleeves, thumbtacks or command strips

Ever rifle around a record store and find some beat up little gems for pennies on the dollar? Even if you haven’t heard of or care about the artist, invest in these easy display pieces to add some spark to your walls. Either hang them randomly as display pieces, or put them all in a row as a statement wall, and you’ll have an easy talking piece for guests as well as a less conventional alternative to your old Fall Out Boy posters from high school.

Idea: Frame Sheet Music

Approximate cost: $5 apiece

Materials needed: Old sheet music, picture frames, hooks and a hammer!

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white wooden kitchen cabinet

While rifling through one of the many antique stores close to my home, I came across a heap of old sheet music, for $1 a book. *Lightbulb moment* — Buy the lot, take it home, frame it. Our landing was looking bland AF, but this music (plus some frames, bought in a flash sale at Michael’s) is definitely a talking point now!

Idea: Frame Old Maps

Approximate cost: $10 each

Materials needed: Old maps, frames – you get the picture.

Our stairwell has a gorgeous high ceiling, but it’s very narrow and I was desperate to find something to put there that was interesting, but light enough not to close the space off. I found these frames in a sale at TJ Maxx (but I’ve noticed similar ones in many stores, at varying cost), and I found some old state maps – again in a vintage store! These are the three states my husband and I have lived in, so it’s a personal touch without being an overtly twee gallery wall.

Idea: Hang a Succulent!

Approximate cost: $20

Materials needed: Hanging mini planter, small succulent(s), hook.

I purchased this bronze planter from an Urban Outfitters sale (back at it again with the sale wins!) and added a little $2 plant, and attached it to the wall with a cheap metal hook from Hobby Lobby. This definitely adds a bit of punctuation to an awkward blank space on the wall!



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