There is no better feeling than coming home from a long day to a cozy home. Being able to kick back surrounded by comfort is the true meaning “home sweet home’.
But, what can you do when you have champagne taste on a beer budget?
Do you have expensive taste but don’t have the bank account to match?
Here is a secret that I learned when I was styling my house, you can make anything work no matter what budget you have.
There are plenty of ways to stretch your dollar when trying to create a cozy home. So, don’t throw away your dream board just yet!
Here are some hot tips to create a cozy home of your dreams – even when money is tight.
Bring The Outside In
When I think of cozy, I think of a home filled with plush fabrics and fuzzy pillows. I also think about an indoor oasis that feels like an extension of the outdoor space. Bringing nature into your home is a great way to make stuffy spaces feel open and truly brightens up any space.
But, how can you bring some nature into your living space without cracking your bank account?
Here are some of the best ways to lighten up your home with a little bit of greenery:
If you’re anything like me, you were born without a green thumb.
While I may not be the best candidate for being a “plant parent” there is one thing I excel at. Taking care of cute succulents is something that I can do with ease and trust me – so can you.
Succulents are not only great to look at, but they are also super easy to care for.
One of the best things about succulents is that there are so many ways to incorporate them into your home. This helps to make them less of a chore and more of a conversational art piece for your cozy home. My favorite way to use succulents is in a little garden.
A collection of succulents from all sizes and colors will bring some much-needed joy to your space.
You can even find cheap terrarium-style cases that will showcase all of your beautiful plants.
A single succulent plant will only run you around $3-5 a plant. The price will be more if you choose to buy one that already comes potted. But, there is an even cheaper way to get the same effect. Check out local thrift stores for mason jars and short vases.
This will bring your total around to $6 for each plant. Not too bad for someone with a limited budget and no green thumb!
Another low-budget option for your soon-to-be-cozy home is planted palms. Planted palms look like small palm trees that are potted in a large urn-style planter.
These large palm planters will run you around $25 per plant.
While this can add up quickly if you are getting multiple plants, it will be totally worth it.
This is especially true if you try to imagine the palm plant as more than just a plant. Palm plants grow to be large and lush. The bright green leaves do a great job of hiding things as well.
More than that, palm plants work well to help separate spaces.
So, if you’re looking for an expensive and creative way to separate rooms, give plan plants a try! You will love coming home to a cozy home full of lush greenery.
Herb Wall Garden
One of my favorite ways to use greenery as a way to bring some serious cozy to your home is to use herbs. Fresh herbs are the perfect addition to any home.
This is because they have so many purposes.
They look great hanging, they taste awesome and they can bring the home a nice welcoming smell.
My favorite way to use herbs is to make them into art! You can buy vases that hang on the walls like shelves for less than $5 a pot online.
Herbs are already very inexpensive plants. You can get a collection of parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro for around $2 a pod.
You will feel so welcomed in your home when you are met daily with the fresh smell of herbs.
If you’re anything like me, you love to open your home up to your friends and family. Entertaining is one of the main reasons why I wanted a home of my own.
However, in order to make people feel comfortable and cozy in your home, you have to provide enough seating.
While large sectional couches are a great option, they often come with a pretty hefty price tag.
But, did you know there is a much better way to provide seating for your guests while keeping your budget in mind? Floor seating is a great way to add some seating to your home while helping it to feel warmer and more welcoming. We’re not talking about dated floor seats or gamer style chairs either!
Eastern countries have really embraced floor seating.
It is a great way to gather people around one common area. From there, you can your guests can commune over food and conversation while feeling perfectly at home.
Floor seating can be achieved using sturdy pillows on the floor. But, there is an even more elevated way to give you extra style points.
Floor “poufs” are often seen in Moroccan style homes. These sturdy but soft floor cushions offer more comfort and support for your guests. Best of all, they are the fraction of the cost of traditional chairs. The best part about floor poufs is that they are made out of fabric.
So, even by simply placing them on your floor, you are adding an extra layer of warmth and comfort to your home!
Fake It Till You Make It
I am not a big fan of leathers and furs, to begin with. Besides the obvious environmental reasons, raw materials like these are tremendously expensive.
This is why I prefer to stick with faux materials whenever possible.
Faux-fur has caught a bad reputation for looking cheap and cheesy. But, I think with the right combination of complementary materials and creativity, you can have a classy and cozy-looking home!
One trick I have for picking out the perfect faux-fur for your home is to stick with light colors. The darker and more colorful the fur is, the cheaper it will look. My favorite faux-furs are ivory, cream, and off-white.
However, I also love more trendy hues like rose, blush and even light grey. You also want to make sure that you are picking a color profile that compliments your home’s color scheme.
So, if you use a lot of dark warm wood features in your home, stick with a softer cream-colored fur. Cooler toned homes like blues should use rose of grey colored furs.
The key to making any home warm no matter the budget is balance! Now that you have your color profile nailed down, it’s time to do a little bargain shopping.
The best way to use faux fur is as an extra textile element in your home. This can be done in many different ways. My favorite way to achieve this is by using a variety of faux-furs in different colors and sizes as throw blankets around the home.
A nice cream-colored fur over your couch just screams “come and relax”.
Switch Up Your Lighting
One of the most important things I have learned while decorating my house is that lighting is absolutely everything. You can completely change the feeling of a room with a low-budget switch of a light bulb.
However, there is a way to take your lighting just one step further without having to re-wire your home.
This can be done by using a combination of smart lighting in your home. Smart lights are bulbs that connect with your home’s WiFi so that you can completely control the feel of your home through lights. All you need to do is purchase a smart light kit and download the SmartHome app to your phone.
While you can add these light anywhere to your home, you want to pay extra attention to the parts of your home that are the most welcoming to you.
Areas like the living room, kitchen, dining room, and bedroom get top priority.
This is because these are the commonplaces of entertaining and also where you will be unwinding at the end of the day.
You may think that smart lighting is an excessive cost, but in fact, they will save you money in the long run since they are energy efficient. I have had smart lighting in my home for almost 3 years and have yet to have changed a bulb once! From your phone, you can adjust the level of light as well as the tone of light.
I love switching from cool to warm-toned lights at night.
Being able to switch from bright to dim lights during a dinner party is a sure-fire way to impress your guests and make them feel at home!
Comfort In A Paint Can
One of the best tools that you have to transform the feeling of your home one a tight budget is a paint. This isn’t such a far-fetched concept if you think about it! Experts say that colors are specifically tied to emotions in our brains.
For example, blue often evokes the feeling of calm while orange and red can make us anxious.
So, one of the best ways for you to make your home feel more comfortable is to switch up your color scheme with paint. Best of all, with paint, the more small and subtle the change, the better.
This means that you don’t need to re-paint your entire home in order to make a difference.
My favorite way to utilize this trick is to focus the new paint color on one specific wall. This is an old designer trick known as a “featured wall element”. Painting one wall with a contrasting color brings major style and comfort to any boring space. But, I like to take it one step further.
Creating a patterned feature wall is the perfect way to elevate your home’s style. Best of all, this can be easily achieved at very little cost. All you need it your paint colors, some painters tape, and a little bit of imagination.
Even something as simple as a grey and white striped pattern can take your home from dull to stylish and cozy!
Warm Wood For The Win!
One of my favorite ways to warm up a room is to introduce a really special piece of furniture. Reclaimed and upcycled wood pieces are a great way to add a little bit of sophistication and warmth to your space.
However, it is also important to remember that not all warm0toned furniture is created equal.
It is very easy to go from classy to dated with the wrong choice in tone!
So, how can you tell the difference? My trick is to look for a piece that has a reddish undertone. But, you don’t want the red to show through. It is also important to know the difference between red and orange-toned furniture. Orange-toned pieces will be a little lighter and can make your home look very dated.
Think about the furniture that you would see in a home from the late ’60s.
That is not a good look!
Once you know the tone of wood to use, it is time to pick out the right style. I love pieces that are made to surprise and inspire. Pieces that you never thought to use in your home. Like vintage wooden mailboxes that were once used in apartment buildings transformed into a delightful coffee table.
To me, this is the best way to make your home your own while still showcase a touch of whimsical comfort that you will love.
What’s Really Important
For me, a home is most cozy when I am surrounded by things that remind me of what is really important in life.
Best of all, this can be done at little cost to you! At the end of the day, you want to be able to relax in a cozy home without having to break your budget. So, what is the best way to use memories as a means of making your home cozier?
Here are some great tips to try for yourself:
The Family Wall
Something that I have done in every home I have lived in is created a “family wall”. This is the best way for me to bring my family with me wherever I live.
So, what exactly is a family wall?
A family wall is a designated wall in your home that is completely dedicated to your family and their history. Best of all, this helpful-tip costs very little money to pull off and will leave your friends stunned!
You will want to start by collecting pictures of your family. Try to not only focus on the family that lives with you. Get help from your family to collect shots of older families members.
I personally love to find candid shots that really showcase that person’s individual personality.
Once you have a collection of photos, the real fun can begin. While you can buy frames new, I like to find gently used or antique frames. This helps to keep the cost low while adding a little bit of whim to your space.
Frames of all different colors, sizes, and materials will bring depth and warmth to your home.
Best of all, you will be able to spend each cozy night surrounded by family, no matter how far away they are!
Have you ever made a memory box? You know, those shoeboxes full of memories from one specific event. Special events deserve much more than to be sitting in a shoebox in the back of your closet.
So, how can you showcase special events in your life that will also help make your home feel cozier?
Give shadow boxes a try!
Open up your memory boxes and take stock of the things in front of you. Next, you will want to purchase some shadow boxes. Shadow boxes will run for around $10 from craft stores so stock up! Now comes the best part, putting your shadow boxes together.
Shadow boxes are large picture frames that have a few inches of depth so you can place bulky items in for display.
You will want to arrange the items on the board backing and secure with hot glue before completing the box. There are so many beautiful variations of shadow boxes.
I’ve seen beautiful wedding boxes filled with flowers and lace. I have shadow boxes for each of my children with their footprints and the clothes they were wearing when they left the hospital. Shadow boxes hang just like traditional frames on the wall.
What a beautiful way to showcase a special time in your life!
Textiles, Textiles, and Textiles!
Nothing says cozy to me more than a giant plush blanket on a cold night. There is truly something special about wrapping yourself up in a large blanket of warmth. However, blankets are not the only way to bring some cozy warmth to a seemingly lackluster home.
This is done by using a mixture of textiles and textures.
Here are some of the best ways to use fabric in your home to help it radiate coziness:
Big Chunky Blankets
There is nothing I love more than the feeling of being buried in a large chunky blanket. This comically large blankets may look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but trust me – they are amazing!
These blankets are often made using a technique called “arm knitting”.
Artists use large woven yarn and their arms to create large “chain-style” blankets that you can sink into. Throw blankets are such an essential part of making a home feel cozy.
But, why settle for just plain throw blankets?
You can find these styles of blankets at craft fairs and local shops and are the best addition to any cozy home.
Looking for the same type of style but don’t want to pay artisan prices? You should become an artist! These type of blankets are fairly simple to make. You too can become a pro by just watching a few videos on arm knitting. You can even buy large yarm in bulk online for a pretty decent price.
The only thing better than losing yourself in a big chunky blanket is knowing that you made it yourself!
Plush Rugs and Sheer Curtains
One easy mistake to make when decorating a house is overusing the same style of fabric. However, when you are on a budget, you don’t always have many options when it comes to fabrics.
One thing I would encourage you to do is to try to at least try not to get the same material of rug and curtain.
If you have hardwood floors in your home, a simple throw rug can really bring some warmth to your home. However, a plush rug would be even better!
Shag rugs have caught a bad reputation for being dates. But, there are making a comeback in a major way. One thing to keep in mind is the color.
I love a blush-colored shag rug. Pastels and creams really open up space!
Looking to take it one step further? Pair your plush rug with some sheer curtains. You want to avoid putting heavy fabrics with heavy fabrics. So, if you are using a plush shag style rug, opt for a lighter, more sheer curtain. You can find sheer curtains at any store. However, the best way to get the same effect on a budget is to make your own!
Curtains are the easiest thing to cut and sew. You can easily find discounted sheer fabric at craft stores and transform them into your own special-made curtains.
Your visitors will love the laid-back cozy feeling of your home and will love the care that you put into making your own stuff!
Throw Pillows Are Great
I love throw pillows. Some may even say I’m obsessed. You can’t turn a corner in my home without seeing a throw pillow. And, why not!
Throw pillows are a great way to help a room feel welcoming and the more the better. However, if I am no controlled, I will blow a whole budget on throw pillows.
So, what is an option for throw billows when on a budget? You can easily find throw pillows that will keep your wallet in check. Stores rotate home merchandise depending on the season. What was in last season is more than likely on sale this season. This is where patience comes in handy.
Wait until the right moment to buy those pillows.
Try to focus on pillows that have different textures. Use a variety of fluffy to solid pillows to add some depth to your home. Can’t find the right style you need for your home?
Make your own!
Pillows are another sewing project that takes very little skill. With a little bit of fluff and some time, you can make pillows out of whatever fabric you want.
Want to stretch your budget one step further? Try making pillows out of “found” items. You can find vintage fabrics for a steal at thrift stores or even use fabric that you have like old curtains and clothing that no longer has a purpose.
This is a free design hack that also is extra nice on the environment too!
Open, Bright and Cozy
When we think of cozy, we tend to think of cold nights with a warm fireplace going and a cup of cocoa. But, you can totally make a home feel cozy even in the dead heat of summer!
This can be done by making the home feel larger than it is. This is also a great tip for those who don’t have as much room in their home as they wanted.
Making a home feel open and bright will help to make people feel welcomed. The best part about this trick is that it is about making small changed to an already existing design scheme.
Here are some of the best, and low-cost ways, to help your house open up to make it feel cozier:
Have you ever walked into a small space and were surprised by how open it feels?
Next time you do, look around you! Chances are you will see several mirrors being used in place of artwork. This is because mirrors give the illusion of a large open area. Using little ways to trick the brain into thinking a home is lusher than it is is the trick that you are looking for.
Best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune on mirrors.
There are plenty of ways to do the mirror illusion trick while living on a strict budget. First, you can purchase a “college” style floor-length mirrors. Big boxed stores sell cheaper items that are geared at dorm-living students. Instead of installing them vertically, tip them to the side.
This will give the illusion of a wider room with more space. No one will even know that you used a cheap mirror for this effect!
One thing I love to do is to repurpose older mirrors to give new life. Thrift store mirrors can be spruced up with a little bit of cleaning and paint. This will give you unique pieces that no one else has! Make sure that you place to mirrors on opposite walls.
This allows the light to bounce around making the home feel more open and airy.
Here are some of the best ideas we have come by where people use mirrors in small spaces!
Cozy Is In The Air
My biggest pet peeve is walking into my home to smell what was cooking the night before. Most people find that it is harder to relax and unwind when there is an odd smell in the home. A cheap solution to controlling the air in a small space for a low cost is to invest in some great scents.
At most times, I have a candle or two lit in my house. This brings warmth and cozy scents to an otherwise bland space. But, not all candles are created equal.
If you have been candle shopping recently you may have noticed that the price of these jars of goodness has spiked in price.
One tip I can give you is to always buy your candles from the sale section. You can even find a great selection of never-been-used candles at thrift stores! Just keep in mind that you are more than likely purchasing candles from previous seasons.
This has never bothered me, however. I will take a crisp fall scent at any time of the year.
Lighting Is Everything
All of the work you do to make your home cozy on a budget will mean nothing if you don’t have the right type of lighting to go with it. Nothing transforms a home better than good lighting. But, how do you know the difference? First thing you want to do is remember the overall theme of your home.
More importantly, the color theme of your home.
If your home is filled with cool-toned decorations, use cool-toned lights with blue undertones. Warm-toned homes should try to go with light warm-toned lighting.
Changing lightbulbs is an inexpensive fix for any home that will completely change how your home looks and feels.
Want to take it one step further? Invest in smart lightbulbs! These bulbs connect with your wifi to that you can adjust them right from your phone. You can change the tone and even the dim the lights by using a pairing app on your phone.
While smart light bulbs are not as cheap as traditional bulbs they last 10x’s longer.
This will actually save you money in the long run and elevate your home from a place to sleep to a place to completely unwind.
Wrapping It Up!
One important thing to keep in mind is that everyone has a different definition of what comfort means. While for some it can mean being surrounded by plush fabrics and soft lighting – for others, it means having a simple and clean space that is perfect for entertaining.
This is why it is so important to completely understand what comfort means for you. What do you want your home to look and feel like when you open the door at the end of the day?
Design tips and guidelines are just that!
They are no strict rules that you need to follow. In fact, the more you customize this process to your needs and wants, the better the outcome will be. Be creative and have fun! Decorating your house doesn’t have to be stressful and more importantly, it doesn’t have to be expensive! So, test yourself and really open yourself up to trying new things.
You may be surprised to see just how cozy your imagination can be.
I truly believe that you don’t need a tony of money to have some serious style. This is especially true when it comes to the decoration of your home.
There is no reason why you should have to go bankrupt just to have a cozy home to crash at when times are stressful.
Everyone deserves to have a place that they are truly proud to call one no matter what their financial situation may be like.
With these special tips, you can soon have a home that you will be proud to have people visit. However, it is also important to remember that coziness is also a state of mind. While everything around you might not be perfectly how you want, your outlook can help see what’s not there.
So, relax and enjoy your hard work in a home that is warm and cozy -you’ve earned it! Take care.
Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.