Whether you’re transitioning from a style you don’t love anymore to a new one, or want to decorate from scratch, decorating on a budget can be a challenge.
But it can also be very rewarding.
Let me show you 10 French country decorating ideas on a budget.
1. Know your unique decorating style
The first thing to ask yourself is: do you really know your interior design style?
Do you struggle every time you pick out a piece of furniture or accessories for your home because you just are not sure what your style is?
If you came to my blog, it’s surely because you must be interested in adding a French flair to your home.
But, there are several French « sub-styles » that you shouldn’t mix.
I teach my students all the basics of French design in this course, it’s the only step-by-step strategy to decorate your home the French way from start to finish.
And if you want to know what are the three main French country sub-styles, you can read this.
Defining your unique decorating style will make your overall design look more cohesive, but most importantly it can help you stop making mistakes when purchasing furnishing and accessories for your home.
You should always declutter before decorating. Because no matter what awesome piece you bring back home, it will never work in a cluttered space. And you’ll feel lost and disappointed.
Decluttering is the first and often skipped step of the decorating process.
What is decor clutter?
Decor clutter is an unnecessary item that can be removed without hindering everyday life.
So before diving into any design project, you should always remove the pieces that you don’t love or that you don’t use. Literally getting them out of the rooms is the way to go.
Because a wonderful thing happens when the clutter starts to leave your home…
You can see where you have actual needs. For example, if you get rid of some of the smaller pieces on your living room floor, you may realize that you really do need a rug to make the space look cohesive.
And it costs absolutely nothing to declutter, but it still moves you closer to a home you love.
3. Set a budget
Decorating can be expensive, particularly if you have to do a whole room or a whole house all at once.
A decorating budget will be your most important tool in making sure you don’t empty your wallet while filling your house.
The first thing to do is to collect inspiration and ideas about how you’d like your new space to look and feel. You can use Pinterest for this (I have a lot of French country Pinterest boards just here).
Then you can create a list of items you want to include.
The second step is, to be honest about your regular expenses and really figure out how much you can spend on this project.
The third thing to do is prioritize your purchases. Because no matter what your budget is you might not be able to pay for everything all at once, so you need to decide what you need first.
Getting everything down on paper will help you visualize what needs to be done.
I created a made-for-you worksheet to help you determine your project budget and track your expenses in my « Decorating with a budget » e-book. This guide also packed my best cost savings strategies so you can decorate your home the French way, even with a small budget. You can check it out here.
4. Decorate in order
Anyone who’s decorated a home, or even a room, knows that your choices early on can influence those later. That sofa won’t go with the existing flooring, those curtains will clash with the sofa, those pillows will fight with the curtains, and so on.
Each choice you make limits the options for later additions to a room.
Actually, there’s an order to decorate your home that can make everything so much easier. I share the complete plan in my e-book (whether you start from scratch or just want to add a French feel).
When you decorate in this order, you will be able to visualize your space and avoid costly mistakes along the way.
5. Use the furniture and decor you have
There’s a good chance you already own furniture which you want to integrate into your new home rather than completely replacing.
So one way to decorate for free is to rearrange your furniture and see if it doesn’t just give your eyes something new to look at. Just try something different — split up your sectional, put your bed on the opposite wall, or change the end table to the other side of the chair.
You can also swap furniture or decor from room to room.
It can give the space a new look without spending any money.
6. Make a plan
With a task as overwhelming as decorating a home, it helps to go in with a plan.
And when you add budgetary constraints to the mix, that plan should clearly prioritize which decorating projects are on the top and which can wait.
In the French Country Design ebook, you’ll have access to a « room assessment » worksheet that will help you determine what you need to better plan your room design.
7. DIY when you can
Upgrading your home doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. There are a lot of projects you can handle yourself that could add a real value to your home, like painting an accent wall, redoing your bathroom floor, or simply updating fixtures.
For example, a great way to turn a classic piece of furniture into a French one is to paint it with chalk paint (this paint is great). This will add a perfect weathered effect that will make it look authentically French, at practically no cost.
I share more than 25 room-per-room DIY suggestions in my « Decorating with a budget » e-book. All these could enhance your French country home without breaking the bank (you’ll also find all my budget tips to add a French flair to your home).
8. Keep it simple
A beautifully decorated home isn’t one that’s full to the brim with decor. It must be simple and pieces should have been chosen with intention.
One way to lighten a space is to quiet it.
By that, I mean taking out all the unnecessary things in the space. Keep in the room only what you need for the room to function. So the main furniture pieces, the main lighting, things like that. Take everything else and put it in the guest room, a family room, whatever, a space that you’re not using.
Then, you can pull pieces back into the room, one by one, using only what you really love.Need help to find the perfect coffee table for your living room without breaking the bank? Why not check out ‘The Best Affordable French Country Coffee Tables‘
9. Go vintage
If you’ve been following me for a while, you have already heard me repeat that there can’t be any French authenticity without a great dose of vintage.
And it turns out that it usually costs less. Good news, right?
Antique stores and estate sales are both excellent ways to snag a stellar deal on decor for your home, especially when it comes to things like art, vases, frames, and kitchenware.
But you can even find larger items like furniture and mirrors.
Here are some stores where you can find French vintage:
My French shop – You’ll find vintage pieces like copper cookware, dinnerware, candle holders, champagne buckets, etc. but also French linens and market bags!
Rejuvenation Antiques – one of my favorite vintage shop. There are so many things I’d like to buy there!
One Kings Lane Vintage – Did you know that One Kings Lane had a vintage section? They have many beauties, perfect for a French home.
1stdibs – one of the best online store to shop vintage items. You have to spend time to find objects at a reasonable price but do not be discouraged too quickly, it can be worth it!
10. Let me help you
Do you dream of a beautiful French Country home but feel it’s impossible since your budget is limited?
If your answer is “Yes,” you’ve landed in just the right place.
You do not need to hire an expensive professional decorator to create the home of your dreams. In fact, you can train yourself to decorate your home, on a small budget, in just a few hours.
I packed my best cheap decorating ideas in this new e-book. It’s full of examples, photos, sources, and everything you need to know to create rooms you’ll love, for less. You can learn more here.