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How to Make Your Home Decor Shopping Faster, Easier, and Less Expensive

Y’all decorating can be expensive.  I absolutely ADORE shopping for home decor and turning this house into our home with all of the DIY home decor projects we’re doing, but it can’t be done for free!   When you Shop for home decorating ideas and decor involves SEVERAL trips to stores.  One thing I can definitely say is to not limit yourself only to stores you’re familiar with or that are “popular.”  I shop everywhere for home decor so that I don’t limit myself and miss some fabulous pieces because I didn’t think I would find anything at a particular store and that includes shopping online.

Shopping for home decor

How to Shop For Home Decorating Ideas and Decor

I want to share some tips with you today that will make your home decor shopping faster, easier, and less expensive as I make my trips to the stores!

  1. Remember your mood board

    I love mood boards because they help me stay focused.  I can have many ideas for a room and sometimes those ideas don’t really go together!  Before I start a room, I look for inspiration and create a mood board.  If you aren’t familiar with mood boards, they are a collage of images that represent a mood, feel, or aesthetic for something; in this case, a room.  

    I’m still working on it, but this is the mood board I created for my bedroom closet. A mood board helps you stay focused.  There are so many pieces of amazing decor out there and as you’re shopping, you will find so many pieces you love!  The problem is not all of them can go into your house.  I’ve been looking for a bench for my closet for a few months.  I also thought about one for our first-floor family room.  

    Shopping for home decorating ideas

    While on one of my many trips to Home Goods, I found a bench that I absolutely fell in love with!  I wanted to buy it, but my fiance and mood board were my voice of reason. The bench I fell in love with was faux cowhide.  Y’all, there is not one single room in my house in which this piece would work!  I so loved it, but unfortunately, it had to stay at Home Goods; clearly my Texas roots were taking over!  

    My experience above is why you need a mood board.  Think of it as your voice of reason. When you see something you absolutely love, your mood board will help you make that yay or nay decision saving you time from running back and forth to the store to return items you shouldn’t have purchased to begin with and so you don’t shop for home decorating ideas and decor you don’t need.

  2. Make a list of everything you may want in a room

    You probably have many rooms you need to decorate just as I do and it can become a bit overwhelming at times, can’t it?  To keep myself from buying up everything and feeling overwhelmed, I went room by room and made a list of what I want in each room.  Now, this took some time and thought, but it has been a time (and life) saver!  I made a spreadsheet on a Google Sheet so that when I’m out and about if I see something I like, I check the spreadsheet to see if there is anywhere the item may work in my home.

    The list may change, but it’s good to have an idea to know what you need.  I’ve found it’s when you aren’t looking for something, that’s when the best decor pieces pop up out of nowhere!

    Shop for home decorating ideas

  3. Take measurements

    Taking measurements is a HUGE!  I can’t tell you how many times I depended on my memory (which isn’t always a good thing) to know a size or guess if something will fit, only to drive back to the store, stand in line to return the item, and buy the correct size. Had I taken the time to measure the space beforehand, I’d have saved myself a lot of time.

    I know this isn’t always possible, especially if you’re already out and happen to see something.  Depending on the store, you may not have the time to go home, measure, and go back to the store so I keep a tape measure in my purse at all times.  Yes, I know that is crazy, but it sure comes in handy!  

    Stores such as Home Goods, Ross, or Marshall’s may only have 1 or 2 of an item.  By the time you have a chance to go back to the store, that item may already be gone!  While you may not know the exact measurement of the space at home, you’ll at least have an idea and you can make an educated guess, rather than flying by the seat of your pants!

  4. Keep all of your receipts and pay attention to the refund policies

    Every store has it’s own refund and exchange policy.  Make sure you’re aware and understand them because everyone’s return policy is not liberal!  I keep a small manila envelope in my purse to hold all of my receipts until I am 100% sure I am keeping an item.  Until then, all bets are off and I need to make sure I can return the item should I decide it’s not a good fit.  

    I purchased 5 benches for my bedroom closet until I found the one I wanted!  Can you imagine how sad I would have been had I lost the receipts and not been able to return the other 4?   My fiance thought I was crazy because every couple of weeks I was bringing a new bench home but I settled on the one! 

    Some stores require you have the receipt, the original tags still be attached to the item, and also impose a time limit as to how long you can return the item even if you do have the receipt and the tags still attached.  I love the stores that you don’t need the receipt because they can simply swipe your credit card and if you have purchased the item, their system is able to pull it right up if your purchase was made within the last 30 days. 

  5. Shop for sales and use coupons

    When you shop for home decorating ideas, there is nothing wrong with keeping an eye out for sales and coupons.  Money doesn’t grow on trees so I’m all for finding a bargain.  Several stores have weekly sales on different items and I keep an eye out for those because you just never know!  I don’t leave my house before checking for sales and coupons.  

    Some retailers offer coupons and advanced notification of sales if you sign up for their email list.  I know you’re probably rolling your eyes because you already receive too many emails, right?  I understand and so do I.  Awhile back, I created a separate email address whose sole purpose for existence is to receive those promotional emails.  This has worked out great because my personal email box isn’t flooded with emails so I don’t miss the important ones.

  6. Don’t be afraid to shop at thrift stores, garage sales, and consignment shops

    Thrift stores, garage sales, and consignment shops are full of hidden treasures so don’t discount them!  Remember that when you shop for home decorating ideas, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure (with some vision and DIY skills)!  I can’t tell you the number of decor pieces I’ve gone to throw away and a friend says, “No, I want that!  I can use it for __________.”

    When shopping in these places, keep in mind that a decor piece can be re purposed. For example, a dresser could be used as a buffet table of a bathroom vanity.  Go in with an open mind because there are limitless possibilities with a little imagination!

    As in all cities, some locations are better than others but check often and frequently for great finds.

  7. Can you make it?

    With each room, just as I do, I’m sure you have a budget.  I recently re-did my laundry room and gave myself a $150 budget.  No, that’s not a large budget, but I was very pleased!  Let me tell you, that wasn’t as difficult as it may sound to shop for home decorating ideas and decor to fit that budget, but in the end, I was able to make all of my decorations rather than purchasing them.  As much as I love all of the wonderful decorations, they can add up quickly!

    I did some shopping with my coupons and sales and was able to make the shelf and the decorations on the shelf for less than $30!  Yes, it may take a bit longer than running out and buying it already made, but it was fun, therapeutic, and I got EXACTLY what I wanted!

  8. Use what you have

    Each time I’m ready to tackle a room, I have a bad habit of immediately heading to the store to shop for home decorating ideas and decor.  Bad idea.  Why?  Because once I’ve decided what I want and need, I should head to my shed and to the closet in my craft room to see what I already have. With the combination of 2 households, E and I have a lot of stuff!

    What’s your first plan of attack when you are going to work on a room?  I recommend checking to see what you have first, before heading out to the stores to purchase more of what you already have.  Imagine how much time and money you’ll save just by doing that!

Having a beautiful home doesn’t have to leave you broke, nor does it have to take more time than necessary, if you take the time to plan things out ahead of time.  I’m sure like me, you have many things happening and anything you can do to make things easier is always a plus!

How do you make your home decor shopping faster, easier, and less expensive?  Where are some of your favorite places to shop for home decorating ideas and decor?  I’d love for you to share your tips in the comments below!

See ya later!

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49 Comments… add one
  • Tiffany 03/23/2017, 7:03 AM

    First time reading your blog and some really good tips here! Tiffany x

  • Grace 03/24/2017, 9:22 AM

    I am so bad at going in and just buying without taking other things into consideration! This is a great list to help me stay on task!

  • Nicole 03/24/2017, 5:31 PM

    I have never done a mood board, but that sounds like a great idea to keep me focused on what a room’s theme is going to be. Thanks for all these home decorating tips, I need helps like this in my life. #HomeMattersParty

  • Sahana 03/25/2017, 7:25 PM

    These are all great tips that I should keep in mind while I am shopping for my next home decor project. #HomeMattersParty

  • Paula from Her Life Is Love 03/27/2017, 10:31 AM

    Hi Lynn, I definitely agree with your point about using what you already have. I did a major clean out of my home last season and came across a lot of things I forgot I had! I found great ways to keep the ones I love and show them off around the rooms of my home, rather than hiding them away in storage.

    • Lynn 03/30/2017, 3:51 PM

      I love it when that happens. It’s like you got a new item! πŸ™‚

  • Donna @ Modern on Monticello 03/27/2017, 12:23 PM

    You are speaking my love languages! As a professional Interior Designer I can’t decorate a room any other way than with a mood board and lots of online searches. And no, you don’t buy something unless it is exactly right. Awesome post! #HomeMattersParty

    • Lynn 03/30/2017, 3:54 PM

      Thanks Donna!

  • Jeannee J Taylor 03/27/2017, 1:28 PM

    Super great advice for any size project Thanks for sharing! #HomeMattersParty

  • Michelle 03/27/2017, 1:53 PM

    So many great tips! I am a huge Homegoods shopper too. One of my favorites, along with Hobby Lobby! #homemattersparty

    • Lynn 03/30/2017, 3:54 PM

      I’m such a sucker for Hobby Lobby. When I go, I won’t take my purse-only a certain amount of cash because if I could take one of almost everything in that store, I would! πŸ™‚

  • Emily 03/28/2017, 8:17 PM

    Great tips, I love Home Goods but it’s kinda far for me, so I always try to know what will work for my house before I go. #HomeMattersParty

  • Lorelai 04/03/2017, 4:10 PM

    These are fantastic tips! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

  • Dionne Abouelela 05/02/2017, 12:32 PM

    I have never used a mood board before for shopping! What a brilliant idea. My husband thank you. πŸ˜‰

  • Delaine 05/02/2017, 12:42 PM

    Okay so I have no experience at all with home decor. I normally just see them around social media and fall in love, never thought so much details and planning goes into it. Very helpful, these tips will come in handy when I have my first home.

  • Carissa 05/02/2017, 1:44 PM

    First time I read your blog! Honestly the advice you gave I never ever thought of! I mean my plans are to eventually buy a house and really decorate it. But your advice made me think “this could save me a lot of money!” Thank you!

  • Sheila Joy 05/02/2017, 7:00 PM

    I love all these tips! Decor can be SO expensive, especially when you can just make it yourself! I really do love T.J. Maxx and Homegoods for small things and IKEA is reasonably priced as well!


    • Lynn 05/08/2017, 8:32 PM

      Yes, it can be Sheila! I was just at Homegoods today looking for pieces for my mantle. I’m really trying to stay away from that store, which would make my husband very happy! πŸ™‚

  • Lauren 07/14/2017, 12:11 PM

    I am so bad at decorating … you have some great ideas here that actually sound like something I can do. I get intimidated so I dont even start, but this was great!

  • Shelby @Fitasamamabear 07/14/2017, 2:05 PM

    I always screw myself with lack of measurements. Then I estimate, fail and have to return lol good tips!

  • Jenn JG 07/14/2017, 2:26 PM

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! I love home depot. Always sucks me in and I tend to spend more than I planned.

  • Michelle 07/14/2017, 2:59 PM

    Taking measurements is very important. I also bring my tape measure with me to the store because sometimes sizes are not indicated or are inconsistent.

  • tonya @ www.tonyamezrich.com 07/14/2017, 3:05 PM

    i love your tips especially about the mood board and keeping receipts! i’m so bad at keeping them organized, and keeping them in general!

    Tonya @ http://www.tonyamezrich.com

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:53 AM

      Thanks, Tonya. Yes, it does take some getting used to, but after a few times of having to keep something because I didn’t have the receipt, I said to myself, “Lynn, you have to do better!”

  • Rachel Ritlop 07/14/2017, 7:39 PM

    I love decorating my home ! I’m still no where near done haha!

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:50 AM

      Hahaha, Rachel, I feel the same way! πŸ™‚

  • Sincerely Ophelia 07/15/2017, 12:34 AM

    This is awesome and really helps! Love this.

    XOXO //
    SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:50 AM

      Thank you!

  • Andrea Florescu 07/15/2017, 1:17 AM

    It’s fun to give life to old stuff! I’m all for reusing things you have

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:50 AM

      Me too Andrea! If I don’t have to spend more money, I’m all for it!

  • Kuleigh 07/15/2017, 7:53 AM

    These are really good tips, Lynn! I always have a million pins on Pinterest to reference for when we’re shopping for home goods. I even use one private board as an ongoing wish list of items I come across on the internet that I think might fit our list of items we’d like to purchase!

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:49 AM

      Don’t you just love Pinterest, Kuleigh? It helps so much with decorating. I do the same as you with the secret boards. I like being able to have things in one place.

  • ananda 07/15/2017, 11:22 PM

    such great tips! i always feel lost when shopping for home decor, due to a million ideas i have! πŸ™‚

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:45 AM

      I’m the same way Ananda. I have to make myself focus and choose one thing. Thank goodness for lists!

  • Kat 07/19/2017, 7:58 PM

    This is a great list! I’m not very crafty, so I’m glad there are cheaper options out there! Thanks for the advice!

  • Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups 08/02/2017, 7:31 AM

    These are some great tips! I had never considered a mood bird to help you stay focused on how you want to decorate a room.
    Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups recently posted…Finding balance and dealing with mom guiltMy Profile

  • Keri 08/02/2017, 8:15 AM

    I am a big fan of using what you already have! It is amazing how moving a few things around can make a huge difference. These are great tips to remember!

  • Paula @ I'm Busy Being Awesome 08/02/2017, 11:49 AM

    Wonderful tips! I love home decorating, but it can get so expensive. Your suggestions will certainly help with that. I’m also really interested in this idea of a mood board; I’d never heard of one before. What a neat idea!

  • Christine C 08/02/2017, 12:19 PM

    These are some REALLY great ideas! I particularly like the mood board and spreadsheet ideas with the list and measurements. Thanks for the tips!
    Christine C recently posted…Celebrate Life ~ Our Favorite Weird, Wacky Holidays in AugustMy Profile

  • Jillian 08/02/2017, 12:37 PM

    LOVE shopping at thrift stores. You can find so many treasures.

  • Jenna Urben 08/02/2017, 3:09 PM

    I’m still at the mood board making phase but I can’t wait to use all these tips!!

  • Lisa 08/02/2017, 4:44 PM

    You are so organized, no wonder your projects always turn out divine! I have never used a mood board but I can see how it clarifies and keeps the project or makeover on track. Great thoughts Lynn!

  • Marie 08/02/2017, 8:49 PM

    I love TJMaxx. They always have such cute and unique stuff. I also love IKEA for odds & ends and items I could personalize further. I love the mood board for your master closet. We just recently bought a new home and are in the trenches making it our own.

  • Cyndi 08/02/2017, 10:18 PM

    You’ve hit on some of my very favorite decorating ideas–thrift stores and consignment shops, using what you’ve got and making it yourself. I also “shopped” my mom’s house when we returned to the US after 12 years overseas. She has about 4x as much stuff as she will ever need, and she was more than happy to send some of it my way. This is an especially good practice if you are looking for things like Christmas decorations where sentimental value is important.

  • Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries 08/02/2017, 11:29 PM

    Love these tips! I made a mood board when I was preparing to move into my apartment. It helped me so much!
    Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries recently posted…5 Songs That Remind Me of High School | Christina Pilat @ From Under a Palm TreeMy Profile

    • Lynn 08/04/2017, 4:02 PM

      Cory, I just love mood boards. Aren’t they the best?

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