17 Ways to Decorate on a Dime

With decorating, as with clothing, it's not so much what you have as what you do with it.

from Penny Pincher's Almanac

Neutral walls have gone the way of the dodo. Color is in and is gloriously vibrant. Let your walls make as much of a statement as your furnishings (for a fraction of the price).

To create a sense of flow from room to room, select a dominant color for your main room, then pick up different shades of the same color and use them in subtle ways throughout the house.

It’s no great surprise that desert colors — oranges, reds, browns, and yellows — are often used in decorating in the Southwest or that deep greens, earthy browns, and dark reds show up in mountain homes. Those are predominant colors in nature in those regions. The dominant natural colors of any part of the country can be used to subtly tie the interior of one’s home to the world outside.

8. The Effect of Color on Space
You can fool the eye with the way you use paint, making a room appear either larger or smaller just by the choice of color. Cool colors and lighter tints tend to make walls look farther apart; rich, dark colors bring walls dramatically closer, creating an intimate look even in a large room.

9. Color Moods
Different colors tend to elicit different emotions, although the relationships can vary from culture to culture. By and large:

Cool colors. Shades of blue, green, purple, and similar cool colors tend to have a calming influence — excellent for bedrooms if you want to create a soothing haven.

Warm colors. Shades of red, orange, and yellow tend to have a strong, dramatic, inviting effect — a look you might want for a living or dining room.

Light, bright colors. Lighter shades of yellow and the spectrum of whites can be cheerful and sunny — great in a kitchen or family room.

10. Papering Your Walls
Although paint is the easiest way to add color to your walls, wallcoverings have come back into their own. Wallcoverings are easier to hang than ever before and come in a wide variety of styles. If you have walls that are in less than perfect condition, a wallcovering can disguise the flaws without the expense of replastering.