how to decorate on a budget: Small changes with big impact
Follow along to see how I was able to use small changes with big impact to transform my home. The story of my decorating style is really a story about my couch. It’s not a fancy couch nor an especially remarkable couch (although it is rather comfy.) It’s not actually ABOUT the couch but how I DECORATE the couch. And how you can too. Let’s explore the possibilities together.
Small Changes With Big Impact: Here is My Story
About 12 years ago we bought an ivory slip-covered couch from Pottery Barn. I hadn’t really defined my decor style yet, so I decided to keep things simple (and safe) by choosing a neutral palette. This decision has served me well. Not only is neutral a good idea if you don’t know what direction your decorating style may go, it’s also a great idea if you like CHANGE, like me. It also can be a smart and practical choice for anyone wanting to make their furniture choices LAST. The other key factor determining my decorating decisions is that I have a very low budget, especially since my husband and I started our own business about 5 years ago. I can afford small changes, ie. new pillows or small accent pieces but new furniture is pretty much out of the question.
Flash forward to about a year and a half ago when I started my Instagram account. I was interested in updating my decor and sharing decor ideas but again, I had a a no-spending budget in place and was struggling to think of ways to bring new life to my old space. Here is my pictorial account of how I was able to satisfy my decor-loving appetite and still keep my hubby happy with our budget. You’ll see how I transformed my home by small changes with big impact.
One Room, One Year; 11 Months, 13 Looks
Post holiday, and I was just happy to be enjoying less clutter with the holiday decorations gone. Keeping things simple, I put away all the red. I was fine with allowing a few holiday theme pillows in neutral tones to remain. The Christmas orchid was a gift and was the perfect way to transition away from holiday colors.
Small Changes with Big Impact: January
Just when I thought we were done with red for the year, my son’s Amaryllis bloomed. Consequently, we made an exception, hence, small changes with big impact.
Spring comes very early in California so by February I was itching for a change. I finally got the new wall color up. I used Valspar Modern Gray which brightened everything up. Soft creams and whites were exactly the mood I was feeling. More small changes with big impact: I found new pillows from Target and refreshed this vase with faux spring buds.
Small Changes with Big Impact: March
With Easter just around the corner and flowers starting to bloom I was feeling festive. Therefore, I chose pink and blue to celebrate the season. All these small changes with big impact were decor items found at Target.
Next, after all that color I was pretty desperate to get back to my calming whites and neutrals. These fun geometric black and white patterned pillows and small decor items on the tray were my small changes with big impact for the month.
Small Changes with Big Impact: May
My favorite small changes with big impact? Fresh flowers. The other? PILLOWS. I couldn’t resist these new pillows from Target. The vases also play along with the color scheme. Flowers, pillows and a vase equal small changes with big impact yet again.
With so many gorgeous flowers out this time of year I couldn’t resist. I added another change mid-month: Lavender roses. When I found these of course I had to change up the decor to match. The whole scene took on a very romantic feel. I love how one small change can take my room (and my mood) in a whole new direction.
The arrival of new pillows from @sovintagechic was all the excuse I needed to change things up AGAIN. I reverted back to a neutral mood. Small pops of blue glass and the wooden tray/box give a vintage feel.
Don’t we all get feeling very patriotic in July? The Fourth of July was the perfect excuse to bring out my Pottery Barn red striped pillows and don some decorative flags. Neutral green boxwood helped balance the added color. Can you see once again how small changes with big impact are all you need?
Next, with temperatures soaring it felt nice to keep things light and crisp. So I chose pops of yellow which contrast nicely against black and white. A couple mini topiaries bring in more white and add distinctive green as well.
Small Changes with Big Impact: September
You can see I like getting a jump on the holidays, and with the first week back to school I was all over changing the mood for fall. It may still have been in the 90’s out, but inside I was in the mood for pumpkins. Small changes with big impact like this festive basket filled with faux greens and monochromatic pumpkins.
Finally, October arrived, and I swapped out whites for creams and neutrals. I added lots of texture. This ombre tassel throw really transformed the space. I also added some pops of orange, fresh golden mums and some darker accents like this galvanized tray. These were my small changes with big impact for a fresh fall look.
And how about one more for the road? I just made these changes because, well, do I even need to say it? I’m addicted to change. This update was completely FREE because I shopped my house and stole this coffee table from my little-used living room. Then I headed outside to gather these plum branches from the front yard.
For more budget decorating ideas, read HGTV’s article.
Small Changes with Big Impact: Recap
As you saw from these pictures, I transformed my home by making small changes with big impact. Nothing was big, nothing was pricey, and yet the room seems really different from month to month. These small changes can be easily summarized:
- flowers (real or faux)
- small decor items (usually on a tray)
- pillows (and throws)
It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Draw your inspiration from an item, a mood or a color and follow my easy examples. You’ll be loving your fresh new looks, and not breaking your budget. Also, be sure to read our blog post “Budget-Friendly Decorating Ideas” for other money-saving decorating tips.
Love, love this post!!! It is so inspiring!!! Thank you so much! Can not wait for your Christmas decoration! 🙂
Eszter, You are such a sweetie pie! So lovely to see you on the blog and we are thrilled you liked this post! This is Julie writing, so I can brag about Jodie. I swear she inspires me every single day!! I cannot believe her creativity and skills to decorate as she does AND, most impressively, on a budget. I’m super proud of her. We will both doing a big Christmas tour so definitely look for that! Thank you again for your kind message. We hope you will continue to enjoy our blog. Blessings to you, Julie (and Jodie)
Norma Busbee says
Thank you !! Your ideas and decorations are gorgeous!!! Thank you again!
Oh Norma, you couldn’t be more welcome! Sharing our photos and ideas with you is our sweet joy! Thank you, sweet friend, for coming over to our blog, for reading, and of course, for leaving your ever so kind reply! It makes it all worthwhile to know people are getting something out of what we are doing. With gratitude and blessings from us both, Julie & Jodie
Donnamarie Larkin says
oh how I love love this blog~!! such simple changes make /change the style feel of the room like that and not expensive. I love love this idea and will be taking this with me when we get our keys to our new home in just 3 weeks here. I am going to stick with neutrals for our living rooms and thought before by just adding accent pillows etc with touch of color, but now i def want to add the extra extra touch with flowers etc and keep changing it up. Love the pics you posted and this blog, Thank you and Thank you for “March Madness” Much love~~ Happy Saturday
Shelby Dillon says
Your home looks amazing! Love love your style! And such a good and interesting post. Thanks!
Oh how I love this ever evolving room. The blue and yellow pillows from target is when I really took notice of your decor style!! You made me want to add blue to the yellow that I had at the time ????????
I’ve March madness nightly reading,
Jill Stephenson says
Jodie and Julie,
Good evening!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog on small changes with big impact. It is rather amazing that we can change the look and feel of a room with flowers, pillows and other decor. It was not until I started following you two , I realized I had a keen interest in design and decor. Thank you for your daily inspiration through your blog and IG accounts.
God bless you both.
May your week ahead be prosperous and memorable.
What a simple and easy way to change the whole look of a room. June is my favorite and I love how you add color by something as simple as glass and flowers.
Rhonda Comus says
I love this blog post. I like how you did monthly tips and ideas. You girls are so creative and I love your faith in Him. God bless you both. ????
Tess Ray says
Wow, Very inspiring! So many pillows! Where do you keep them when they are not in use? Lol My Farm Cottage lacks storage!
Thank you for such a kind reply! So glad you were inspired 🙂 Pillows can take up a lot of room if you’re not careful. I have gotten pretty smart and now I try to just buy pillow covers. They take up relatively no room to store and you save money in the end. Hope to see you back here often! Blessings, Julie & Jodie
Judi C says
We are in the market for a kitchen/family room makeover! You have just given me a great idea for a neutral couch and many ways to decorate around the holiday or month! I am so impressed with your
decorAting talent! Like you, I am trying to be thrifty! As I grow older, I’ve gotten a little bit more practical! My kitchen…I’m ok with basic cabinets, but when it comes to the appliances,, I want the Cadillac stove and refrigerator! Love to cook and bake! Happy Easter… stay healthy and safe! Blessings to your family! 💕
We are so glad you enjoyed this post. Sounds like you have a fun project on your hands. Good luck with your kitchen/family room makeover!
Stay safe and healthy sweet friend!
Lots of love,
Jodie & Julie
Jodie & Julie,
This is an absolute perfect way to illustrate the way to make a fantastically different decor for each month!!
You nailed this one!! I enjoy each of your posts. You both are such talented decorators!!
Aw that means the world to us Kathleen. You are so kind! Thank you for all the love on this blog post.
Lots of love,
Jodie & Julie
Thank you for this inspirational design tip. I’ve always wanted to swap out my home decor with the seasons, but you’ve taken it one step further with a fresh look each month. You make it all look so easy. I look forward to the day when our stores reopen (Covid lockdown) and I can put your advice to work.
FYI – I’m Canadian and we don’t have as much choice in affordable options as you Yanks. Even online shopping is challenging with the dollar difference and customs fees. When cross border shopping and holidays outside the country return, I’ll be making my way to my two favourite stores for easy-on-the-purse shopping: Target and Kirklands.
Once a month change-ups sound like us! We used to just change for the seasons, but now that we create content for Instagram and our blog, and it’s part of our job, we don’t need any excuse to change things up. You’re right it can get pricey. But that’s why we reuse as much as possible and reinvent in new ways. Hoping your stores open up again soon. Blessings, Julie & Jodie
Lancia ( wistfulmay in IG) says
Omigosh I loved this decor “how to” so
much!!🌟🌟🌟. I will be going back to
it time and again for ideas and
inspiration. I’ve been stuck and my budget is limited and this is so helpful.
Yay! We love to hear it so much sweet friend! Our greatest hope when we write our posts is that even one person is inspired or helped. It makes all our work worthwhile. Thank you for letting us know. It means so much. Blessings, Julie