Too tired or too broke to decorate your home? There are many inexpensive ways you can spruce up the rooms in your house. All it takes is a few dollars, some scouting trips for just the right items, and a dash of creativity to turn your home into a haven.
Emilie Barnes, the nationally recognized home-and-office organization expert, author, speaker, and homemaker, shares with mtl some secrets for fixing up and having fun for $50 or less.
: Emilie, if you don't have a lot of time or money but want to make your home look inviting, what can you do?
EB: There are many simple things you can do to brighten up rooms instantly. For example, you want the kitchen to be a welcoming place, so in spring you can keep a bowl of freshly washed strawberries on the countertop where they are pretty and the kids can walk by and grab a healthy snack. You can also take lemons, wash them, dry them, and store them in a tall, clear glass vase. And you can take fresh cilantro or parsley, cut off the ends, and put the herbs in a glass of water in the refrigerator. They will dress up your refrigerator and stay fresh for using.
: What about the living room or bedroom? If you can't afford all new furniture, what can you do to freshen the look?
EB: Add pillows. Pillows can be inexpensive and they can just brighten up the whole room. If you have pillows that need an update and you sew, make new covers for them. You can also buy a colorful throw or afghan and drape it over your chair, sofa, or even over your coffee table or ottoman.
: What else could you do to a room to change it dramatically for $50 or less?
EB: You could paint it, or even just paint one wall. If you paint a wall and hang a picture on it, you have a whole new look. The trick with hanging pictures is to hang them lower than you think–at eye level. Most people have a tendency to hang pictures too high.
: Okay, we're up to three, but we need five fun fix-ups. Anything else?
EB: I think setting the atmosphere is so important in the home. I light a candle every morning in the kitchen. I've done it for years. Light candles around the house; get good scented ones like maybe tangerine or lemon. They can make your home really nice.
: What can a woman do for herself in her décor?
EB: One thing I have done is set up a quiet corner and made it lovely. Take a chair and throw a scarf or a quilt over it, then add a basket next to it with your Bible in it, a prayer journal, or devotional book. In mine I also have a notepad and pen. You can make a sweet corner in any room of the house and have a place where you can be still.
: Why is making the home a place of peace so important to you?
EB: I think we should stop and ask ourselves, "If Christ came and knocked on my door today, would I feel comfortable inviting Him in?"
Emilie Barnes is a nationally recognized home-and-office organization expert, speaker, homemaker and author of the book Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home.