Why We Won’t be Spending a Lot to Decorate The New House

We moved into our new home at the beginning of January and have been settling in. The initial offer for our house that was submitted was accepted month ago, but we then had several subsequent negotiations to settle at the price and date we settled upon.

There was another offer on the house when we originally put an offer on it, which the sellers had not yet accepted because the offer was contingent on the sale of the other buyer's house. In the market that we're in right now, that may take awhile. The sellers were investors and were just holding the property and wanted it sold as soon as possible before the new year, so they took our (lower) offer.

We didn't want to pay rent at the old dump apartment for January so we moved in within a month.

In any case, it's coming together in that we have been able to do some of the work that the house needed (re-insulate the attic, remove the asbestos (that wasn't us, we hired a company), install a door, put in a kitchen).

I've been seeing an interesting trend when I tell my friends and family about the house. Everyone seems to talk about how much fun I'll have decorating, or ask me what my accent colours will be. 


Aside from the fact that our days have been filled with insulating and measuring and floor laying (and therefor not having time to think about decorating), there are a few reasons that we aren't going to spend a lot of money to decorate our new house. Here's why:

Generosity of Family Members

Upon finding out that we are moving into a larger living space, a few family members jumped at the opportunity to give us furniture that they were no longer using. As of right now, we have people offering to give us a dining room set and hutch, a TV stand, coffee tables and end tables, newer mattresses, organizers, and everything in between.

My dad moved in with his girlfriend, leaving them with a bunch of extra furniture to get rid of, and when my step-grandmother passed  away last year my step-dad and aunt had a bunch of furniture they need time find homes for.

Upcoming Wedding

Since we bought the house, I don't know if we will have the energy or the funding to get married in 2013 like we'd originally wanted without sacrificing some of our other goals (travel, saving, investing) but we will be tying the knot within the next two years (probably year and a half).

With a wedding comes wedding gifts, and we will be able to register for the things that we want to decorate our new house then.


I've done a few things to our existing decor (from our various apartments) to make it mesh better with the house. Luckily these things were free.

I don't like a lot of clutter by nature. My mom's house didn't have a lot of knick-nacks when we were growing up, and I got used to the minimalist decor. So, what we do have, we will keep and make do.

I painted a black frame white (our house has bright white moldings and window frames) and will cover the painting inside of it with an interesting looking fabric. I used a wine bottle as a vase for a silk flower that I had, which looks really cute. We have some candles and other things that we have out, and some furniture I'll paint (eventually).

For some of the other things (we do need an area rug), we'll just use our Ikea gift card from the kitchen event.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

I could spend all of my extra money on curtains and art and pictures, but that wouldn't make sense for us. We have many financial goals that conflict with decorating our house to the nines, and it's simply not important to us at this time.

The only reason we'd do so, is to keep up with the proverbial Jones'. Essentially, we'd be doing it for everyone else, not ourselves. And that's messed up.


We may be the exception, but these are the reasons why we're not spending a ton on decor any time soon.



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30 thoughts on “Why We Won’t be Spending a Lot to Decorate The New House

  1. We ended up furnishing/decorating our new house over a period of 3 years. It was just too expensive and we didn't really need the extra bed or sofa.

    We have only just started putting painting and photos up everywhere in the last few months.

  2. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses! You can make decorating cost as much or as little as you want. If you reuse some of the old color schemes from your apartment, you can reuse the decor as well.

  3. #1 was the biggest reason we did not pay much to decorate our house. All of our parents jumped, without us asking, at the opportunity to help us decorate our house. After seeing the cost for window treatments, I am glad we did not pay for them! 🙂

  4. That is great that you are able to live in the house with little work. I'd wait to feel the place a bit more anyway, once you know where you spend the most time, where the sun lights the room, etc. it is much easier to decorate accordingly.

  5. For awhile now, we've wanted to redecorate the house, but we never had time. Now that we have time, we decided that our house is fine the way it is. No need for us to redecorate a whole house when we most likely will be moving next year into a new one.

    I'm with you on this!

  6. Couldn't agre more with all of it. When my wife and I moved in together we got all this furniture and stuff from other people, so we didn't need to buy much (unless we were going to be super picky about the decorating). And for all the other reasons you say, you'll be married soon, don't want to keep up with the Joneses, and best of all, wanting to DIY, I think it's great that you don't worry about decorating!

  7. Sounds like you're doing very well on the furniture acquisition, which is awesome!
    The married part is also huge, because you'll end up with a bunch of new stuff and it sounds like life isn't going to settle down very much for the next little bit.

  8. Decorating can be fun we decorated together BUT we are far from finished renovating our home. What's the rush really? You both have all the time in the world to decorate and do what you want to your house. Sometimes we are in such a rush to get things done and for what reason? Enjoy your new home Daisy!

  9. Whenever we move (Three times in the past 3 years!) I always decorate within the first few months. However, I can't imagine decorating a whole house in that amount of time.

    Decorating is important to me, but it doesn't have to be important to everyone. You obviously have other priorities, so don't feel like you have to spend money on something just because it's important to others.

  10. I learned that when a lot of people were asking me about accent colors in my apt, they were just looking for a hint of what to get me as a housewarming gift.

  11. The Happy Homeowner

    I enjoy decorating and consider it (and DIY) a bit of a hobby, but I would never do it at the expense of my goals, etc. I try to do the things I like/want at the cheapest possible price.

  12. Jennifer

    Have you ever read the blog 'young house love'? They are dyi 'ers who have renovated and decorated their house on a budget. The biggest thing I have gotten out of their blog, and others similar - is the magic of painting thrifted furniture. It is amazing what some paint can do!!
    It has made me realize that in some ways I much prefer 2nd hand furniture. It helps to ensure the decor isn't too 'matchy' as it would be when you buy a set from a store.

  13. Good for you. I didn't spend much on decorating my place after I bought it too. My furniture is all hand-me-down, and the rest would probably make Martha Stewart weep, but whatever. It's a starter home, I have my whole life to gather furniture so why rush it now?

    Although, I do loathe the parquet floor in my bedroom. That stuff will be covered up sometime soon.

  14. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy

    That is wonderful that so many are generously offering to help, Daisy. The financial burden of decor really is astounding. I told the boy to whisk me away to a remote monastery somewhere with a bare room. A comfy mattress and a writing desk would be nice, however. Other than that, I will be content to live with total blissful austerity. ;P

  15. I'm glad to hear that you won't be giving into the pressure of others who think that's it's normal to spend thousands of dollars decorating and buying new furniture etc. When we moved in to our new condo we bought blinds (I don't like people watching me) and paint (it's amazing how much a fresh coat can change the look of the room). We still have our old furniture and have bought a few new pieces second hand for cheap.

  16. I think it helps to just live in a space for a while first, before you make decisions on how you want it to look. Then you can see which rooms have cool light, which ones warm light, and choose paint colors accordingly. With time, you grow into a space and can see how you really use it, not just how you think you will use it at the beginning of living there.

    We were in our house for a few years before even painting the walls. Of course, we had 3 small kids at the time, 2 of which were newborn twins. I was just plain too busy to think about decorating.

    Enjoy your new place!

  17. You can definitely have such a cute house without spending a ton of money. Investing and saving are definitely more important than decorating. I love to make my house cute though and that's where thrift stores, hand me downs, and refinishing a few things for a few bucks comes in. If you have IKEA, they have such inexpensive curtains, etc. Overall though, you're def on the right track and the SMART track. Plus, you'll definitely definitely definitely get a ton of stuff for your wedding! That is for sure! 🙂

  18. My wife was an interior design major her freshman year before switching to psychology. Needless to say, one of the things she was most excited about was decorating the house. That's not to say we've spent a ton of money. We plan on painting every room and she did pick a color palette for each room, but it's more an over-time thing for us. The paint makes a HUGE difference and was relatively inexpensive. Blinds cost almost nothing, curtains a little more expensive (we bought a few but will be installing in a month or so). New light fixtures can be as cheap or expensive as you want, and I personally cared more about swapping out the old light switches and outlets than anything, which also is relatively inexpensive to DIY.

    All in all, we wont' be spending much on decorating but still have and will be able to make lots of changes.

  19. Julie @ Freedom 48

    Good for you for keeping the decorating to a minimum! We too hate clutter and nick nacks. Although we've done a ton of renovating and updating in our house (mostly painting and modernizing), we have spent very little on "decor". In fact, the "artwork" we have over our sofa in the living room is a $15 canvas I purchased, then painted with leftover kitchen paint, and stuck a $20 tree/bird decal on it. It works for us =)

  20. Decorating a new house shouldn't really be expensive. With the economic recession we continuously have, there are a lot of ways to save. We just have to be patient enough to do DIY stuff and resourceful as well.

    1. Post author

      I live in Canada, so things are substantially more expensive than in the States - we haven't been having the same recession you have been. But I do like my DIY!

  21. Your reasoning kicks butt. 🙂 We moved into our new house last October and have spent a ton of money, but not mainly for decorating. T

    The big expenses were getting blinds on all of the windows ($1350) and having the back yard sodded ($600). We also spent $1650 on getting a projector and 100 inch screen as well as surround sound in the media room. We spent $75 re-staining our breakfast nook table and $500 on 6 new chairs and 4 counter stools. We already owned all of our other furniture except the dining room set that my in-laws then gave us and the $220 7 foot memory foam beanbag chair I just purchased for the media room using Amazon gift cards from Christmas (so it cost us $50).

    So yep, tons of money spent, but we're actually done for now and very little of the stuff we spent on was just for looks. Every chair, stool, and sitting spot have been used multiple times since we have 10-20 friends over every week or two. Decorating was not as high on our list as just having the basic stuff we wanted to make our place useable for guests, lol.

    Congrats on the new place and good luck on all of your goals!

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