Knick-knacks – are they necessary or a waste of money?  Well, it all depends, but sometimes, we want to fill a space – like an end table, coffee table, or shelf – and so rush to buy that special something that will fit the space.  If you love the item, then great!  Your purchase was a good one!  But if you buy something simply to fill space, here are some budget decorating tips that will save you money by allowing you to use everyday items as decor objects.  And my guess is that you probably have all five of these in your home right now…

Decorating on a budget with 5 everyday items



Most people have books and they’re probably tucked away in a cabinet or shelf somewhere for future reading or reference.  But books look great when used as decor!  Instead of hiding them away, consider using them as “filler” on your mantel, table, nightstand, etc.  If I don’t love a book’s cover, I simply turn it around so the pages face outward.  Or, you can cover it in fabric for a whole new look {instructions HERE}.

A few books on the mantel help to fill an otherwise empty space!

Fireplace mantel decorated with vintage books and crystal


Not only do books add great texture and dimension to your home, but they can also be used as a base to give other items a bit more height.  Simply stack them up for a unique base!  When stacking books, I like to mix sizes and often, stack them slightly askew.

Coffee table vignette with books and branches

Christmas fireplace mantel display


Even if you keep your books in a cabinet, don’t feel like you have to line them up side-by-side.  Feel free to break up with books with other items, or even lay some books down!  Doing so will create more of a stylized look to your cabinet.

Styled bookshelf


Wooden Cutting Boards

This one might sound a little silly, but wooden cutting boards {or breadboards} can be quite beautiful when incorporated into your home.  As a bonus, if your board is out on display, you don’t have to worry about storing it!  I use a mix of vintage and new cutting boards.  There’s nothing fancy about any of them; I simply chose them because I liked the way they looked and I liked the size.

You can layer a few together along your kitchen backsplash to help break up the lines of the tile.  {Okay, maybe this isn’t the best picture to illustrate this idea, but if you look closely, you can see them in the background on the left side.}

Fall farmhouse kitchen decor


I’ve even placed an entire collection on display on my mantel!

wooden cutting board collection on mantel


Similar to books, cutting boards also make a great base for other objects.  I frequently use a cutting board on my dining room table to create a large, sturdy base for my centerpiece.  Even a small centerpiece will look larger if used on a base!

French spring dining room


Dishes can be beautiful and as such, don’t always have to be stored in a closed cabinet.  An empty corner can easily be filled with a collection of dishes.  I used to “store” some of my platters on the wall as a decorative display.


Now, my teacups are on display!

If you have an empty wall, consider making a display with your plates and/or platters.  Even your kitchen can be decorated with a beautiful display of dishes and cups!


Dried Flowers

Whether you have store-bought flowers or stems clipped from your garden, do your best to preserve the blossoms because they’ll come in handy in the future!  My personal favorites to use in decorating are roses, lavender, and hydrangeas because I like the way they look when they are dried.

You can create a bouquet of dried flowers, or you can simply sprinkle dried flower heads in among other items for a touch of color and an organic shape.


With their large flower heads, dried hydrangeas can make a beautiful centerpiece or accent to any decor, so consider adding them to containers or grouping them together in a vase.

French farmhouse fall dining room



Baskets not only provide storage, but they’re beautiful to look at!  I love when an items serves a dual purpose, don’t you?  Plus, baskets come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, and styles that you’ll easily be able to find one that meets your needs and visually works in your space.  A beautiful basket tucked away in the corner can instantly fill an empty spot.  A messy collection of magazines can easily be organized and stored away in a basket providing instant character and charm.  Shallow baskets are great for grouping items together on a coffee table, under a console table, or even under a bench.

French Farmhouse foyer decorated for Fall


A grouping of baskets on top of a hutch and help visually expand the height of furniture.

French spring dining room



Before you buy something new, look around your home to see what you might already own that you can pull out of storage and put on display in a creative way that will add character, interest, texture, and dimension to your decor without costing a dime.








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  1. Love these budget friendly decoration ideas! I am totally impressed with your work. Really you are so talented. I got some great ideas from your article. Thanks and keep sharing.

  2. Thank you for these great ideas! I use books and baskets everywhere, and just this year tried my hand at drying hydrangeas. I love that picture of your mantel; it’s warm, welcoming and looks effortless. I’m inspired to be on the look-out for old cutting boards.

  3. Norma Rolader says:

    Awww so many great ideas in a homes decor design You have done a great job Thank you God bless

  4. Books, plates, baskets, flower heads: all important in my home’s decorating design. They all make me happy whenever I look at them.

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