While you are receiving Section 8 aid, you can save money by cutting unnecessary expenses. However, saving money does not mean that you have to maintain a drab home. Here are eight easy tips to help you furnish and decorate your living room—the place where you entertain guests and spend most of your time—without breaking the bank.

  1. Head to yard sales, check out bulk pickup or look at Craigslist: You will be amazed at what you might find in these places. Bulk pickup usually occurs once a month and it’s when people put bulky items they don’t want, usually furniture, out on their front lawn to be picked up by any interested parties, or trash. Of course, furniture that you find through bulk pickup will be free. The website Craigslist has a “free” section that often features free furniture in your area. Keep in mind that you can repurpose or update the items that you see. For example, interesting drawers might make unique and original shelves.
  2. Re-upholster furniture: Learning how to reupholster furniture is a fun and easy activity. Adding new fabric to an old-yet-functional couch, love seat or chair is an inexpensive way to update your living room’s style. Choose colors and patterns that are currently in fashion, reflect your taste or match other colors in your living room.
  3. Paint wood and metal items: Add a fresh coat of paint or finish to wooden furniture, like chairs and tables, that you may already own. Paint can make items look brand new or match other parts of your living room. You can even use painter’s tape to create stripes and other patterns.
  4. Frame pictures and other 2D items: If you already have photos of your family, put them in frames. Most thrift stores carry several different frames, and they don’t all have to match because you can paint frames to match one another or keep them all different for an eclectic look. Family photos and other treasured objects will add warmth and memories to the room. Group framed photos together on a wall, but first arrange them on the floor to find the best grouping before getting out the nails.
  5. Add a plant or two: Plants can add life to a room, and you do not even need to buy one. Simply ask a friend, family member or neighbor if you can take a cutting from one of their plants, and then place the cutting with soil and water in a basic vessel like a vase, pot or cup.
  6. Re-arrange your furniture: You might be surprised by how much moving your furniture around can transform your living room. When you have the time, take a moment to re-arrange small and large items in your living room, and see how you like the new arrangement. Moving furniture away from the wall and grouping pieces together can make your living room seem larger and more welcoming.
  7. Decorate with greeting cards: If you have a collection of birthday or holiday greeting cards, simply attach them to a string and hang them on a wall.
  8. Draw on walls: If you have some artistic skills or a great stencil, you can create a wall pattern using tools like dry erase crayons. Drawing a pattern on the wall costs much less than wallpaper, and dry erase crayons wash off easily when it is time to move out.