Last week I shared with you guys that I’m participating in the $100 Room Challenge this month. To sum it up, it’s a month-long challenge where a bunch of bloggers each refresh a room in their home for $100 or less. The goal is to show how, with a little creative thinking, anyone can update a room on a real-life budget. Fun, right?

My $100 Room Challenge Project: The Kids’ Shared Bathroom

In my last post, I revealed my plans to give the kids’ shared bathroom a colorful, travel-inspired makeover — you can read all about it and see my design plan right here.

And while I talked a lot in that post about the design choices I’m making for the space, what I didn’t really dive into is how I’m going to accomplish all of that for about $100.

Now, my husband will be the first to tell you that I am not exactly frugal. Sure, I get jazzed about a good coupon or a nice throw pillow that’s on clearance, but by no means am I some super bargain shopper. (Right, honey?!)

So when I start a project, I usually begin by ultimately mapping out everything I want to do, and then I go back and identify areas where I might be able to scale something back, or find a less expensive alternative. Having my grand vision in front of me first helps me visualize my new space, and then I am able to quickly decide what the must-have items are, and which don’t make the cut.

All that said, let’s look at the decorative elements I earmarked for this project, and how they’re (literally) adding up…..

The Bathroom Refresh Budget (So Far)

White paint for the walls: $0, as we have a can of white paint that’s left over from a previous project

Pottery Barn wall decals: $33.10 — lucky for me, I purchased the decals on Premier Day with a discount, and used a $50 gift card that had gotten lost in the abyss that is my purse to offset the cost

Colorful bath mat: $19.99 — also on sale, and from Bloomingdale’s

Colorful VW bus art print: $6.49 to buy the file, and probably another $10 to print (thankfully I already have an old frame I can use)

Vintage post cards for wall art: $1.10 each from Zazzle, and maybe even cheaper with a coupon code (not sure how I’m going to display these yet, but I love them so they’re 110% part of the design)

White tassel shower curtain: I love the Serena & Lily version, but it’s waaaaay out of budget for this project; I’m considering getting this one with blue tassels for $41.69 instead

Seagrass wastebasket: $0, as we already own one that looks similar

New hardware for vanity: This seems like a decent deal for jute knobs ($19.99 for 12), but I don’t need a dozen; I might make a run to Hobby Lobby, as they usually offer good prices on different drawer pulls

Potted succulents and decorative accessories: $0, as I plan to shop our home for those items

Anticipated total: $133.46

Ouch. I’m already over budget, and I still need to beautify the builder-basic mirror — I’m thinking I’ll just frame it myself with a few pieces of scrap wood and a can of stain — and figure out what I’m doing about shelving. Either these two to-dos can wait, or I can re-prioritize these tasks and put something I’ve listed above on the back burner.

Man….why can’t this be the $200 room challenge? I’d be so much better at that. (There, I said it.)

Three Ways to Refresh Your Home and Stick to a Real-Life Budget

Okay, while frugality admittedly isn’t one of my strong suits, I do think I’m pretty creative when it comes to decorating without blowing my 401K. And as someone who refreshes her home a lot, here are three not-as-obvious tips that’ll help you create a beautiful home while sticking to a real-life budget:

  1. Make a plan. It sounds simple, but let me tell you — impulse purchases used to be the death of me (and my credit card). I’d fall victim to “Oh, it’s cheap so I’ll get it!” or I’d make a purchase without thinking through exactly where it would live in my home. When you have a plan and know exactly what you want in a specific room, you stop making buying mistakes and instead spend your money more wisely on the stuff you’ll actually use and love for years to come.
  2. Shop your home before buying something new. Before running off to the mall, walk around your home, look in closets and storage bins, and see if there’s decor you already own that could be moved to another spot. I do this often, especially with smaller accessories like potted plants, books, and vases. Sometimes moving things around is all you need to do to breathe new life into your space.
  3. Find credit cards that offer additional discounts or cash back at your favorite stores. To be clear, I’m not suggesting you go out and sign up for a bunch of store-specific credit cards, but take some time to dig deeper into the offers associated with different cards — even those you already have and may not use as frequently. For example, some offer cash back deals at select retailers, and others — like my Chase card — offer points to use when I’m shopping on Amazon.

What other money-saving tips do you swear by when it comes to decorating your home? Share ’em in the comments!

Stay tuned for next week’s post about bathroom refresh progress. Painting starts this weekend……wish me luck!

Wanna see what the other $100 Room Challenge participants have been up to this week? Check ’em out!

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