Updating your home décor can improve your mood, but can it be done without taking on a mountain of debt?

When I moved into my new house this summer, I thought I couldn’t be happier. But according to a new study from the people at HomeGoods I might be wrong. The study finds 93 percent of Americans believe a room’s décor will positively or negatively impact mood. So as much as I love my new abode, the basic beige walls may just be bringing me down.

Unfortunately as much as we’d like to decorate, the sad fact is we just don’t have the money for major projects now. We’re still holding an underwater mortgage on our condo, which means two mortgage payments every month plus homeowner association fees. With our finances stretched thin, we’re amongst the 54 percent of Americans who feel home décor updates are out of reach because they’re too expensive. But is that really the case?

According to interior designer and TV personality Genevieve Gorder

Updating your home’s décor doesn’t have to be complicated. Easy, decorative changes that speak to personal style, like adding colorful pillows or a graphic rug, may be all you need to refresh your home and ultimately make you feel happier in your space.

Almost all (99 percent) of people surveyed thought small updates could make them happier without breaking the bank. That’s great, but small updates can really add up to serious cost if you try to do lots of rooms or a whole house at once.  In the first two weekends at our house, two trips to Anna’s had our finances completely tapped out ― and that’s with being frugal, trying to shop strategically, and using coupons and discounts I receive for being a fan.

So how do you do even small updates to your décor without running through all of the free cash flow in your budget?

1. Set priorities for what you want to update.

Buying for your whole house or even just a few rooms at once is almost certainly going to break the bank. The study from HomeGoods finds 77 percent of us have at least one room we feel needs attention. So walk around your house and decide where your home décor needs the most love. Set your priorities and then get started on the first one on your list.

2. Keep spending limited to your free cash flow.

The whole point of going small with your updates is to keep costs down. So the last thing you want to do is put your purchases on plastic. The added interest on your credit cards will end up increasing what you spend on your updates.

Determine how much cash flow you have available each month that can be used on updating your décor. Then set this as your spending budget each month. Determine what you can buy that fits in that budget and then only make those purchases until your cash flow has recovered enough that you can go shopping again without needing to rely on credit.

3. Comparison shop & sign up for exclusives.

Home décor stores are in serious competition for your business. Most of them have free customer rewards programs you can sign up for that will give you access to exclusive discounts. I’m actually signed up with several different stores so I can cast a wider net for getting the best prices.  It means more spam in your inbox, but extra savings are worth going through a few more emails.

4. Never head to a décor store without a list… and an ally.

Hitting up a home décor store without a list is a recipe for walking out with a bunch of stuff you don’t really need and never intended to buy. Look at the space that you want to improve, decide what you need, and then head online to see what’s available so you can make a specific list for your shopping trip.

And if you’re like me, take someone along to keep you on task. I don’t know what it is about décor stores, but I usually can’t make it out without at least one random purchase even when I shop with list. Go with a friend, your other half, or even one of your kids so you have someone there to help you stick to the budget you set.

5. Add some color to your life.

According to the HomeGoods survey, 39 percent of us believe a better color palette will have a positive impact on mood. But if you look at the new push by the corporate décor experts at Cintas, more of us may want to get on board. Cintas as created a new, colorful line of designer restroom accessories for business, because they believe color matters.

So if you have a room that’s just sad, see what you can do to add some pops of color. Adding color to a room’s accessories ― whether it’s colorful throw pillows on your bed, a vibrant new bath accessory set or even new tea towels in your kitchen ― can go a long way to brightening up a room. Plus it’s easier than painting and when you get bored, it’s easier to change it out for something new.

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Meet the Author

Meghan Stewart

Meghan Stewart


Stewart is certified debt management professional and guest writer on Debt.com.

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Article last modified on April 14, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Don’t let drab home décor drag down your mood - AMP.