Creating a Home, On a Budget

Decorating your living space doesn’t need to be expensive.

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Setting up a home, whether it’s a small studio or four-bedroom ranch house, can be quite a daunting task, especially when you’re on a budget. In her book Making a Family Home, Shannon Honeybloom offers dozens of ideas for creating cozy, welcoming, and even educational spaces. The good news is that the vast majority of her suggestions don’t cost much at all. I recently chatted with Honeybloom over E-mail about how to give your home a make-over without breaking the bank. Excerpts:

Many of your ideas don't involve spending lots of money. Do you think it's possible to create a great family home on a budget?

Absolutely! In fact, I think instead of shopping and adding things to our homes, most of us need to de-clutter and simplify our homes. The most important aspect of a family home is the people that live there, not the things in the home. It helps all of us to emphasize the love and caring and nurturing and nourishing aspects of home life and de-emphasize the 'accumulating lots of stuff' aspect of home-making. In fact the most important things for our home and our family can't be bought -- spending time with each other in our homes, and showing our love for each other by paying attention to each other and caring for each other.

Do you have any specific tips for creating a home without spending a lot of money?

When you design your rooms, think about fostering relationships, encouraging connections, and promoting family activities. For example, instead of arranging the furniture to focus on the TV, arrange it so that some chairs are close together to promote conversation, and perhaps set up a game table in the corner with a stack of games to encourage family fun.

Could you give some examples of projects people could undertake to create their homes for little or no money?

The best decorating items are things that have some sort of meaning to us -- things that remind us of loved one, or of a happy time, things that echo our memories back to us.

For example, it doesn't cost anything to collect a few stones from the river bed where you had that family picnic, and line them up on the window sill, to remember that happy afternoon. Or to pick up that battered conch shell from the beach and bring it home to remind you of the happy honeymoon.

Handmade items often cost much less than things we bought, and mean so much more. Those potholders your children make are sure to touch your heart, and you can frame that handmade mother day's drawing and hang it in the kitchen. It will bring a smile to your face every day!

Vintage items can be picked up at second hand stores and refurbished, often for less than it would cost to buy new. Not only is money saved, but buying vintage is also a green choice. Plus, items with a history sometimes have a homier, cozier feel than brand new ones.

What is your favorite part of your house?

I enjoy all different parts of my home, and at different times I like different rooms (bedroom when I am exhausted and kitchen when I am hungry)! I really like my living room. It is bright, comfortable and colorful and filled with memories.

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