10 Frugal Ways to Create a Cozy Home That’s Unique to You

When we moved into our smaller house, I knew I wanted a home. Not a perfectly decorated, Pinterest-worthy house but a home that was cozy and unique to our family. And of course, since we were flat broke at the time I also wanted to do it on a budget. Plus, I was determined to create a unique space that showed the world exactly who our family was and where our values were. I no longer wanted a home that looked like it fell right out of an HGTV show.

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Designing your own minimalist life

I am a big believer in creating a minimalist lifestyle that feels unique to you in every aspect. If you are just getting started on your minimalist journey, come join my FREE 10 Day Minimalist (Un)Challenge to get ideas on how to simplify every area of your life from your home, to your schedule to your money!

Know the difference between cozy and cluttered

First of all, let’s clear something up. There is a big difference between cozy and cluttered. When I was younger I felt obligated to fill every shelf, have thousands of throw pillows, and all-around over-style.

It wasn’t until we went through selling 2 houses in 3 years that I learned to really love finding coziness in simplicity.

Think about houses during the staging process of selling. They are clean, open, and really cozy and welcoming.

Cozy doesn’t have to mean that you fill every nook and cranny with books, blankets and all things plush and fuzzy. Instead it means choosing the things that bring you the most joy and allowing them to shine by not over-crowding them.

Focus on your favorites

The best place to start when creating a home that is unique to you and your style is by looking at the items that are you absolute favorite.

Maybe that’s a piece of furniture, a blanket or (like me) a table lamp that looks like a frog.

When you go from room to room decide on your must-keep favorites. This makes it a lot easier to build a space around those items.

Taking the time to focus on your favorite things can also help shed a light on the things that are your not-so-favorite. The things you held onto for too long or that you keep out of obligation.

In order to truly show the world your unique style, allow your favorite pieces to shine bright, and let go of any obligation or need you have to hang onto items that don’t fit the bill.

When it comes to decorating your house, it should definitely feel like a home. And home should be unique to you and your taste! - 10 ways to make it happen!
In order to truly show the world your unique style, allow your favorite pieces to shine bright.

Display art unique to you

So often people head to Target or Kohls to find new wall hangings or paintings. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have an IKEA photo in our dining room. However, what I encourage you to do is get a little original with your art.

For example, we have pretty white frames hanging on our walls with some of our children’s artwork in them. This way we’re not cluttering the fridge with paintings and crayons and instead showing our kids how much we care by proudly displaying our favorite drawings of theirs.

When it comes to decorating your house, it should definitely feel like a home. And home should be unique to you and your taste! - 10 ways to make it happen!

Refurbish what you have

Instead of shopping around for new furniture try giving your old stuff a new spin with some fresh paint.

The refurbishing paint kits I recommend are either Annie Sloan or Rustoelum’s Cabinet Transformation. I have refinished parts of our home with both of these things and let me tell you if I can do it, anyone can!

Opt for heirlooms instead of knick knacks

Instead of picking up a brand new decor item that is designed to look worn and vintage, why not look into what your family already has in store.

You’d be surprised what grandparents and parents hang onto (for way too long). In our home, we have vintage cameras, vintage flour, and sugar canisters, and my grandma’s old mirror. (Oh, and that frog lamp was hers too.)

There is so much uniqueness in old items, especially if they are coming from your family.

When it comes to decorating your house, it should definitely feel like a home. And home should be unique to you and your taste! - 10 ways to make it happen!

Shop thrifty instead of trendy

Maybe you can’t get your hands on any family heirlooms. Still, take the time to browse thrift stores for inspiration before scrolling the internet or pacing the aisles of Target.

Most things we see online or in stores are designed to make us want them. At a thrift store, you really know an item speaks to you when it stands out above everything else!

Display natural photos vs. posed

I kind of gave this idea away already, but instead of the typical family happy in a field, why not try that time your son smashed cupcake on his face? How about that photo where you’re laughing so hard you almost peed your pans?

Those images are the real you. They tell the story of your real life. Why not display them in your home to give it a more unique feel than anything else possibly could? There is a lot of beauty to be found in natural photographs.

Get pallet inspiration

Are you one of the millions of people who feel nervous about color? I get it. I think that’s why I tend to gravitate toward all white. Mixing color schemes can be a nerve wracking thing.

That’s why I say take your favorite items and build your home around them. Browse Pinterest for color schemes that match them so you can get inspired on how to better fill your space. 

You can even just upload a photo of your current couch, comforter, or curtains to a website called Canva (it’s a graphic design website) and it will give you a color pallet based on the photo that you upload!

When it comes to decorating your house, it should definitely feel like a home. And home should be unique to you and your taste! - 10 ways to make it happen!
Browse Pinterest for color schemes that match them so you can get inspired.

Let everyone have a say

If you are living with a partner or kids, let them have a say in the space. Especially the kids with their own bedrooms.

I think there is always a serious struggle with letting go of the desire to have a kid’s bedroom look perfect and polished. Call me crazy, but that’s a pretty unrealistic expectation.

I’m not saying you need to give them total rein. Maybe it means letting them choose their bedding, their wall color or both.

If you are going to create a cozy home that is unique, then make sure it’s unique to all of those who live in it.

Create a savings plan for upgrades

There will always be times when we want to make changes to our house that take a little more time and money. If you have major upgrades you are wanting to make, then make sure you are saving for those upgrades starting right now!

If you know the cost of the project and a deadline you want to have it done by, take the total cost divided by the number of months before you want it done and you will have your monthly savings goal! Voila!

My biggest encouragement would be to automate your savings goal. We automatically save to several savings accounts through CapitalOne360 and I highly recommend them!

At the end of the day, remember, your home is your sanctuary. It should be all about you.

Browse Pinterest for color schemes that match them so you can get inspired
Browse Pinterest for color schemes that match them so you can get inspired



  1. Bri | 15th Feb 18

    Great tips you’ve proved. Thank you.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      You bet.

  2. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups | 15th Feb 18

    Great tips! I love moving decorations from room to room to mix it up.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      Me too! It’s such an easy way to create a whole new space!

  3. Jen | 15th Feb 18

    I am all about the repurposing! Love your cake pan story! Sound like something I would do! Great tips!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      Thanks Jen, I’m pretty proud of having found a cute little place for it!

  4. Nicole | Glamorously You | 15th Feb 18

    Awesome tips! I love shopping from thrift stores or on Etsy. Everything is so much more unique and personalized 🙂

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      Yes! I love shopping small businesses as well!

  5. Kristie Gonzales | 15th Feb 18

    So proud of you, lil cuz! Because of reading your articles, I am going through my stamping room and getting rid of things I don’t absolutely love! If I don’t get warm and fuzzies, it is going to the for sale or trash pile!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      YAY! It makes life so much more clear when you only let in the stuff that means the most. I went through the kid’s rooms today and got rid of anything that didn’t give me the warm and fuzzies! HAHA!

  6. Wendy | 15th Feb 18

    I’m a big fan of charity shops for all kinds of things. I was looking for some plates a couple of years ago and the only place I found what I wanted was the charity shop. Pop them in the dishwasher and they’re good to go.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      Me too! I’m cool with a dishwasher and good as new mindset!

  7. Jen | 15th Feb 18

    I love your tips! I’ve been known to get a little “shifty” myself and I love the difference that new paint color can make. I recently started working with chalk paints and have even painted a few pieces of furniture that we had considered getting rid of. New paint makes me love them even more now and it was way more economical than buying new furniture!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      I love that!! It’s like getting a whole new piece of furniture with out being wasteful or spending unnecessary money!

  8. Ashley Welborn | 15th Feb 18

    Thank you for the great tips! Definitely gonna use some of them!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18


  9. Maegan | 15th Feb 18

    Lol, hadn’t thought about distressing as beating your kids to the punch! I love this take on minimalism because I feel like lots of minimalism bloggers buy high-end decor that I can’t afford. I’d like to highlight a few of our family heirlooms better.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      Yeah I’m more about getting creative and buying pieces that speak to you…and yes…beating my kids to the punch! lol

  10. Aline | 15th Feb 18

    There are some great advice, thank you for sharing!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Feb 18

      Thanks so much Aline.

  11. Bailey | 16th Feb 18

    Hygge has inspired me SO much more to shop secondhand. It makes a big difference!

  12. Semalee | 16th Feb 18

    You’ve reenergized my journey towards minimalism. I live in a small house with my husband and 4 children and we have stuff EVERYWHERE. I’ve been slowly cleaning out the clutter for months, but Christmas set me back big time! I thing I am ready to get back at it now 🙂


    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Feb 18

      Ahhhh Christmas. It’s like Armagedon. haha.

  13. Melissa Javan | 20th Feb 18


    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Feb 18


  14. Chris | 14th Mar 18

    Huh. These tips are actually great and different than the same old same old I often find on my quest to stay frugally inspired while we pay off debt. Love the mismatched dish idea and decorating with special objects. Great post! Glad I stumbled across it!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Mar 18

      Chris, I’m so glad you benefited from this post! I really try to avoid the same ‘ol things we hear all the time! I appreciate you sharing!

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