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One of the best parts of buying a home is decorating it. Of course, not everyone has an eye for design or the means to upgrade their space. And for those who don’t consider themselves savvy, decorating can feel like a chore.

As someone who’s moved a lot in her life, I’ve learned a few things about perfecting a home on the fly. I’ve also learned how to do it for cheap, but not in a way anyone will notice. Here, I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips for decorating your new home for less.

Buy What You Love

All too often people survey their empty home and feel compelled to rush out and fill it. This is a mistake, and soon they find themselves saddled with things they regret — and a hefty credit card bill to boot. (You can see how your credit card spending affects your overall financial health and view two of your credit scores, with helpful updates every two weeks, for free on Credit.com.) If you focus on purchasing things you love, you’ll be more likely to curate a home that reflects your true style.

Hit the Flea Market

For many, flea markets conjure visions of old women rummaging through boxes of moth-eaten duds. Not so. Antique hunting is one of the great pastimes, and you can always score a deal if you’re willing to haggle. Though you probably won’t want to buy everything, keep an eye out for tchotchkes or objets with character — from vinyl to antique stemware to farmhouse sinks. Word to the wise: Bring cash and try to go with an idea of what you’d like to find so you aren’t distracted. Also make sure to test items out, like electronics.

Just Add Plants 

Nothing enlivens a home like a plant, and I say this as someone who’s murdered more houseplants than I can count. Despite my black thumb, I continue to buy plants because they’re the simplest way I know of to add color and character to rooms without going broke. They also make me happier, and there’s no shortage of cool and affordable planters to choose from. Place a single stem in the bathroom for an elegant touch or set a jade plant on your nightstand to help you de-stress. Bonus points if you hang decorative planters on the wall.

Put Some Paint on It 

Nothing transforms a room like a fresh coat of paint, and you’ll end up saving a bundle if you do it yourself. Of course, you’ll need to shell out for things like drop cloths, brushes and cans, but if you round up some friends (and order some pizza), chances are the job will get done quickly. Remember, if your ceilings are high or you just don’t feel safe, it’s OK to send in the pros. Same goes for homes with decorative features like millwork and molding — you don’t want to mess up those finishes.

Try Consignment Sites

Like flea markets, consignment sites like Chairish and even Craigslist are helpful for scoring design pieces for less. I’ve seen many a popular blogger trick out her home with Craigslist finds, and Chairish makes it easy to check the condition and size of an item before you buy it. As with anything you’re eyeing online, you’ll want to verify it matches its listing and bring a buddy along to pick up the goods, if necessary. Go here to learn more about shopping safely online.

Image: Thomas_EyeDesign

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