Hello and welcome to the Front Porch!

Thank you for dropping into Front Porch Mercantile, we love that you are here and hope you can find some inspiration from our posts.

We’re here to help and inspire you, turn any intimidation into inspiration and help you re love your home affordably!

We have two retail locations, offer diy workshops, custom furniture painting, painting tips and we try to offer lots of help and inspiration right here on the website.

Our stores are located in Moncton NB and in Lunenburg NS – you can read a little about them here if you would like.

Here is our Top 5 under $20 budget decorating ideas to start you off!

5 budget decorating ideas for under 20$

Welcome! If you are new around here we are super happy you found us, if you’ve been around awhile, you know I like to inspire, decorate, paint and share ideas, tips and tricks with you all.

We love to re-love our spaces, make our house a home, reimagine our furniture and make sure everything in our home gives us joy, but, we always seem to be on a real life realistic budget. Hands up if you know what I mean or have been there?

I’ve had to learn how to decorate on a budget. I am not an interior decorator, and often reach out for help but since we’ve been married we’ve re loved SEVEN homes and in the past, including TWO cottages (you can read about some of that crazy fun here and here), all on a shoe string budget.

Some of my favourite “decorating” tips always seem to be a surprise to people so I thought I would share them with you!

I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience on some items.

#1 Wall Paint

Hands up if you are surprised about THAT! The paint lady suggested paint. Seriously though, a coat of paint in a room is LIFE CHANGING. A gallon of paint of any brand is a great investment. We have completely changed a room just with paint.

Paint is power in a can people. My best advice on wall colour – don’t fret about shades of any one colour. Just pick one. (This is Ballet White by Benjamin Moore) because so many asked :)

a budget cottage renovation from Front Porch Mercantile

#2 Dimmer Switches

Yup – silly little thing, but add a dimmer switch to your kitchen light, dining room light, bedrooms and bathrooms. They are inexpensive to buy and easy to install. If you don’t know how ask a friend, I promise someone knows how to. Here is a link for a how to install.

I promise you this is a game changer if you like a calm soft light. Dimmer switches are one of the first things we install in our houses when we move in and was the very first DIY project we ever did way back 30 years ago when we bought our first house. We recently installed 3 at the new beach cottage.

Dimmer switches are one of my most favourite ways to add ambiance to a room
Use a dimmer switch like this for instant atmosphere

#3 Paint Your Furniture

Ok, WOW – HUGE surprise here folks right? The lady who paints furniture suggests painting your furniture! :)

Who saw that coming?

Seriously easy, inexpensive and changes the look of your room significantly. Keep what you have, just change it up. Look at your furniture, does it give you joy the way it looks? Is it still in good condition? Do you have an afternoon free? PAINT it! It’s REALLY not that difficult. Truly. Honestly. I promise. Paint your kitchen table, bedroom set, end tables, china cabinet, book shelf. You CAN do it!

re love your furniture on a budget - paint it!
Beautiful Milk Painted piece from Miss Mustard Seed

Wondering WHAT furniture paint or paint style is right for you? Check out our comparison of our 3 favourites here. (we don’t sell paint anymore, but still love these styles of paint).

What's the difference? Milk Paint? Acrylic Paint? Chalk Style Paint? What IS the difference?

Here are a few how to’s you may want to have a peek at too.

I pinky swear promise it’s not that difficult and you will wonder why you waited so long to change up that ugly brown piece sitting over there in the corner.

PAINT your furniture. Do it. It’s not scary. Be brave.

#4 Declutter

I know, I know. But really, this isn’t just under 20$ this is FREE and may even make you some money if you sell unused pieces of furniture and knick knacks.

I know you don’t want to. You’re officially mad at me. But, if you are looking for a fresh new look in your home, its really amazing what removing pieces of furniture, knick-knacks and “stuff” can achieve.

We recently renovated our family’s beach cottage. With crazy small budget. LIKE CRAZY. (think whole house under $300) I have not done a full post on the beach cottage yet, but we did completely change the look by removing heavy drapes, dried flowers, heavy furniture etc (we didn’t buy any new furniture just removed some extra pieces) we sold and donated tons of stuff and used the money from the pieces we sold to buy the wall paint, dimmer switches and a few new accessories.

Power TIP: Take 15 mins a day for the next 2 weeks and declutter one drawer, one corner of your living room, one cabinet in your kitchen or start working on a closet, it’s like eating an elephant, one bite at a time, you CAN do 15 mins, you may not get the whole closet done, but that’s ok, 15 mins, put the timer on, get rid of all the stupid stuff that has collected there, you will FEEL lighter, calmer and like you are in a new house. I PROMISE this works and is a secret decorating tip even though its not decorating.

Here is a closet cleanup I did awhile ago, you can read about it here (the before is totally making me burst out laughing, but that is what it looked like – forever)

Closet before / after Front Porch Mercantile

And I did a messy pantry at the beach cottage here.

we cleaned and organized our cottage pantry in one afternoon with a very small budget

A great book that we love n decluttering is this one from Kim Eagles. You can find it here. 

(disclosure and you know- being honest – Kim is my sister, she kinda rocks, and well you should check her out)

#5 Buy New Dishes, Towels and Kitchen Linens

I know what you are going to say ” you can’t do this under 20$” But yes you CAN..kinda.

Look around your space, are your towels unmatched and yucky? Have your tea towels, dish cloths and linens seen better days? Are your dishes mix matched and chippy or maybe matched but tired looking?

Ya, mine were too.

People keep telling me how fresh and lovely the cottages feel. One thing they always comment on is the how neat and orderly it is. Its decluttered (see #4) and it feels new, even though the cottage is old. Fresh linens in the kitchen, all matching dishes stacked neatly in the cupboards and bathrooms with matching new towels. Easy. Peasy. Affordable.

Get kitchen towels like this here.

From Buckets of Burlap this pretty kitchen tea towel just makes the space so lovely
From Buckets Of Burlap a beautiful kitchen towel makes this kitchen sing

We also love these from Ikea. We like them so much we made inexpensive curtains from them. You can see that here.

Inexpensive Ikea towels freshen up a kitchen so beautifully For the cottage reno’s I bought inexpensive all white dishes (like these) piece by piece every time I was at the store, it didn’t take long, and I didn’t notice the cost when I just added a few pieces at a time. Alternately, buy a few new pieces and add them to your most FAVOURITE vintage pieces. Ot hit up garage sales and buy up some white ironstone bit by bit.

white dishes stacked neatly help keep things visually lovely and decluttered

I did the same for towels, every time I was at the store, one pretty towel or facecloth at a time. I would watch for sales, no tax days etc and buy 1 or 2 towels until I had all pretty matching towels. Even my husband has noticed how cohesive and “spa-like”  our bathroom and linen closet feel. (he doesn’t usually notice anything) ha ha

simply adding new towels and decluttering can help decorate your space

Just some simple inexpensive things you can do!

These simple, inexpensive things are a wonderful start to “decorating” your space. I donated all my old dishes and towels and threw away the old dish linens. Now, my spaces feel organized, clean and pretty. I love a calm space, my life is busy and having calming cabinets, pretty towels, painted spaces, up dated furniture that makes me smile all help my house feel like a home.

Bonus tips :

  • Surround yourself with things you love, really look at your knick knacks and pictures on the wall, whats on your bedside table? Does it give you joy? No? Replace it.
  • Looking for a lovely inexpensive way to add a little farmhouse style to your home? Try planking a wall. Its expensive and easy to do. You can see how we’ve done it here and here
  • Buy all new hangers for your closet, ditch all unmatched hangers and replace with all white or better yet wooden hangers like these. Do one closet a month. Seriously calms a closet down.

I hope these ideas gave you some ideas on how to decorate on a budget. What’s your favourite budget decorating tip? I’d love to know, leave me a comment and let me know!

We’ve got lots of fun things on the blog. Take a tour around!

Thanks so much for being here! I’m super happy you found us. I would LOVE to hear from you, tell me what kind of inspirational posts you would like to see or tell me, what is something YOU are struggling with in decor or DIY? Send me an email, I’d LOVE to know!

Thanks for popping in and welcome to the Front Porch!