Guidelines: Budgeting for Home Decor and DIY

5 Guidelines for budgeting HomeDecor & DIY projects - the tough and honest self talk - a designer at home

Everyone's home journey is very, very different. Some choose to decorate, some choose to DIY and others choose both or neither. I do think that decorating a home is a necessity. Happiness is important and there is a correlation between happiness and surroundings. Home is more than surface level so it can be hard for each person to determine how much of their budget should go to the home décor and DIY part of the budget pie. It's going to end up being different for everyone but here are 5 guidelines for determining what to budget for your home décor and DIY projects.


5 Guidelines for Budgeting for Home Decor & DIY Projects

  1. Explore the impact your own home has on your mood.

Pay attention to how you feel in other's homes (and note whether or not they've decorated). What restaurants do you enjoy visiting? What spaces in magazines or online are you drawn to? If you have very specific feelings towards particular spaces and you catch yourself feeling differently in decorated versus undecorated spaces (and how they're decorated), then the way your home looks and feels should take priority. If you aren't drawn to anything in particular and you don't notice changes in your mood in different places, then your priority would be low.

A generic and rough list of Budget priorities for me would go in this order: Shelter, Food, Bills, My Son, Health and Wellness, Home Décor/DIY/Improvements, Entertainment (and the list goes on and on)

2. Impact on How You Live life

The next area you should explore when determining how much of your budget to spend on home décor and/or DIY projects in what impact it has on how you live your life. Do you enjoy hosting dinner parties but don't because you don't have anything on the walls? Or maybe it's more extreme and you don't have guests stay over (but you want to) because you don't have a bed for them.

Will life be enjoyable and fulfilling if you make tassels for a basket or a geometric light fixture?

If you don't invite people over because you aren't satisfied for any reason of the state of the public spaces of your home, you either need to prioritize doing something about them OR be easier on yourself. I can't decide this for you, but creating a list of what you want to do in your home and beside it writing down why you don't can help give you clarity on what impact having a decorated home has on your life.

3. Personal Worth Of the Results

Do you go out and buy something for your home, bring it home and display it and feel anything? If you feel dissatisfied, there could be a few reasons for that. 1) You're trying to fill a bigger void than what 1 small thing can fill. 2) You didn't love the piece to begin with. 3) You don't actually love decorating.

If you don't actually love decorating (and decorating can be hanging posters of your favorite sports teams, don't get me wrong here!), then don't budget much to it. Instead consider decorating by buying "cute" but practical pieces that you already need. Like pots and pans with a fun color or bath towels with pattern.

4. Resale Value

If your neighborhood isn't raising in value, even the houses that have had renovations done, you should skip the decorator tile. I can't truly tell you that your personal enjoyment is worth the potential loss in resale value. Just because you're saving yourself money to do it yourself doesn't mean what you do spend in materials is worth it. You just can't ever know what the future holds. While some will disagree and tell you to have fun with the home you have and enjoy it- If you had to put your home on the market tomorrow and you had absolutely no money for some awful reason, will you want it looming over you that every potential buying is walking away because you put in something you enjoyed?

On the other hand, if the monetary risk is smaller, say you got that decorator tile for less than the basic tile. Or a DIY light fixture that doesn't cost $100 in materials. I'm a realist and I understand when something is too much. There are so many other ways to DIY and decorate and just have fun than taking on a huge financial commitment.

DIY projects should make sense financially. Decorating should make sense financially. Don't price yourself out of paying bills, out of your neighborhood, or out of reversing and going in a different direction.

5. Personal Journey

Everyone's personal journey is different. You're going to experience different financial situations, changes in what you enjoy and changes in experiences. You know how Jon Acuff's saying goes, "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle." How about "Everyone's middle is different, embrace your own middle." Your beginning and on is different, your middle will be different because of it. If you have a lot of excess income and you actually enjoy decorating and creating things, than you know how much you can spare. If you don't have so much, embrace the things you can do, really hone in on your creativity and celebrate what you make and do.
Be honest with yourself, are you creating it because it's cheaper and you love to make things?

Will you be happier making something versus other things you could be doing instead?

If you hate creating things, can you wait until you've saved up a bit or it goes on sale?

If you wait to buy it 2 weeks from now, will you still love it in your space?

Is it the item you've been needing to mold the atmosphere of your space?

Is it essential to your journey?

Does it make financial sense?

There's no special formula with an exact number for every case. I think 2 books I'd highly recommend for those in this journey who are feeling constrained by time or money are Love The Home You Have and The Nesting Place. They're very encouraging with lots of practical ideas and tips for those journeys. Even if you do feel like you have a comfortable budget, those books are fantastic. But you could also have fun with Styled or Sarah Style.

If your considering decorating, feeling frustrated by DIY or are curious what a home decor and DIY blogger would suggest when creating a budget for either/or answer these questions: Does it affect your mood? Does it impact life in your home? Are the results rewarding? Does it affect future or current financial stability? and Does it work in line with your personal journey? And gauge your budget from there.


  1. Great tips, especially the one about waiting 2 weeks. I use that one myself-unless I'm in Home Goods!

  2. Wonderful tips in regard to DIY and budgets. Really useful information.

  3. Really good tips, I think using these can take the scary factor and the idea that decorating a home costs a ton of money.

  4. This is a great post, Corinna! I think I have finally admitted to myself that I'm really not very crafty, and my DIY attempts usually end up as a waste of time and money. Also, I think the 2 week rule is SOOOO important. I've realized lately that if I hold off on buying something or doing a project, I will often wear out my interest in it just by thinking about it and perusing inspiration photos. On one hand, I find it kind of scary that visual fatigue can set in that quickly, but on the other hand, it can be a good way of gauging the longevity of something in your own home.

  5. Yes, waiting bit for a sale is definitely one I need to work on! I'm kind of an impulse buyer....

  6. Great tips! Everyone's home should definitely make them happy no matter what their decor style!

  7. These are awesome tips and they're so important to think about! Thanks for sharing!

  8. corinna.ah@gmail.comFebruary 23, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    Thanks Christina! It can be a tough topic for someone just getting into these things. I hope these guidelines make it as easy as possible.

  9. What a great list of suggestions! I left my home "un-decorated" for a good part of 8 years, and recently I've finally started to find what I love, based on what I see in other spaces that I love, so I can't agree more with your first idea. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Thanks Jenny! I hope you enjoy the journey going forward :)


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