I love this time of year.  Here in Southern California, we don’t have much of a changing of the seasons – it’s more indoors than out.  Homes transform with oranges and reds, wreaths, decor, and very soon after that, twinkling lights and Christmas trees.

But to be honest, I’m also terrified of this time of year.

Why?  Because we’re on a budget – an extremely tight budget.  That means that as a wife and mother, I don’t always have a chance to purchase pretty things to decorate my family’s home, and that’s a scary thought.  No one wants to be judged as lacking, especially by family and friends that visit during the holidays.

But we’re a proud family.  In order to beautify our house to our own satisfaction, we do what we do best: get creative!  So before our family makes the indoor holiday changing of the seasons, I wanted to show my lovely readers exactly how we normally decorate the heart of our home – the living room – on a tight budget.

Let’s start with this little beauty above the stairs, which was originally a black bench we got from my mom.  It had a large hole in the top fabric, so we recovered it in fabric that matched our tastes a bit better.  I totally would have created a tutorial, but after picking out the fabric together, my sweet husband surprised me with a beautiful, completed bench one day after work.  But don’t worry, it’s totally easy to DIY!

All you need is some cute fabric, a staple gun, and a screwdriver.  Simply unscrew the hinges and take the top and bottom apart.  Then staple the fabric on the underneath of both the top and bottom – one at a time.  Pull it tight over the top of the existing fabric (the old black fabric, in our case), then staple on the other side.  Once the fabric is in place, poke holes in the fabric where the hinges belong, and screw the hinges back into place.

Simple as that!  We even gave our bench a double-purpose.  Not only does it offer some adorable extra seating, but it also acts as our filing center.  Much cuter than an old metal filing cabinet, don’t you think?

Below the bench is a set of stairs leading down to a landing.  That table was at one point an old, beat up dining room table that no one wanted.  The price was right up our alley (red: free), so we took it, sawed it in half, and painted it a bright, minty blue.  Very beachy.  ^_-   I’ll be talking about the items on top of the table tomorrow during, “Accessorizing Your Home on a Tight Budget”.

Beside the bench is an old wicker chair that used to be white.  Well, it was white, but when we got a hold of it, it was this dingy gray beige.  Like an old sock.  From the 80’s.  That hadn’t been washed in all that time.  Yuck.  But the price was right (free again), and it’s amazing what some cleaning materials and a coat of paint can do.

Beside the wicker chair is another freebie (I’ll show you why in a minute).  I thought the trunk was the perfect size for a side table, but the God-awful maroon color had to go.  Again, paint to the rescue!  Join me tomorrow for, “Accessorizing Your Home on a Tight Budget” for for info on the items on top of the trunk.  But are you wondering why the trunk was free?

The side was missing.  But seriously, who cares?  You honestly can’t even tell after the paint, let alone when the wicker chair is in place.

The matching wicker chair is across from it’s mate, next to my Beachy Chic Side Table.

To end our tight budget tour, here is the art I bought (GASP) from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  Yes, I did indeed buy something.  But don’t fall out of your chair just yet – it was 60% off.

Framing the dirt-cheap seahorses are part of my shell collection, tied with some simple twine.

I then hug the string-o-shells with a few nails, allowing it to drape around the artwork.  Check out my Succulent Shell Wreath tutorial if you’re wondering how the holes were done.

I hope this has been a little inspirational for people who are struggling like us.  Don’t loose hope.  Don’t give up.  You can have a beautiful home – all it takes is a bit of creativity, and sometimes a little elbow grease.  Join me tomorrow for the next article in this series, “Accessorizing Your Home on a Tight Budget”.  Until then, my Lovlies!  Cheers!!