Minimalist Home Makeover: 9 Frugal Ways to Create a Cozy Home That’s Unique to You

Minimalist Home Makeover: 9 Frugal Ways to Create a Cozy Home That’s Unique to You

When we made the move from our big house to our “starter home,” I knew I wanted to make our home feel cozy and authentic to who we are as a family. I didn’t want to spend all my time shopping for brand new things that most of my neighbors also had in their homes. Creating an original home was important to me and now, every day (when the dishes are put away) I feel content and cozy in our little house. I accomplished this more simple look by changing the way I decorated. A minimalist home makeover is totally doable without breaking the bank. Here are 8 frugal ways you can create a cozy home that is unique to you and your family.



*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.

1. Get shifty 

One of my favorite ways to revamp a room is by shifting around some of the furniture from other rooms. I have done this since I was a teenager and in every house we’ve lived in. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more a “creature of habit” so I don’t feel the need to rearrange every week, but I’m still known to get a little shifty from time to time. This is especially great if you are someone who likes change. Switching around rooms is a great way to create something totally new without maxing out the credit card on something new.

So if you’re growing tired of a room’s arrangement, or are ready to toss an old piece of furniture, maybe ask yourself if it can still serve a purpose somewhere else.

2. Shop thrifty

Thrift store popularity is on the rise and that is a darn good thing in my book! Personally, I love shopping thrift stores, because Joanna Gaines does it. Seriously though, this is the best way to really find your own style. Things aren’t strategically laid out for you like they are in most department stores which means when something catches your eye you know it’s because you like it, not because it was designed to be eye-catching.

Shopping at thrift stores really gives you a chance to find unique items that speak to you. No fabulously photographed catalog to try to convince you to buy it. When thrifting, I often I grab items and hold them and think about them and imagine them in my home. Some I put back, some I hang on to. Not only can you save huge by doing this but it really helps create an environment that is unique to you.

Bonus…this is a great way to also help the environment be reusing materials we are saving them from ending up in our landfills! If you are hoping to clear house and make some cash, I highly recommend you use Decluttr if you are looking to find a quick and effective way to make some money on your used stuff!

Other great online thrift stores:

3. Use what yo mama gave you

My mother thinks I have no emotions about my family or the past because I don’t have photos hanging on my walls. I used to be a photographer…so what in the world happened there? Well, the truth is, I don’t like cheesy posed photos. They seem dishonest (trust me…I was a photographer…most are very dishonest) and the candid ones I would prefer to put in to a scrapbook or year book of our lives to look back on like a well organized stroll down memory lane.

Instead, I take the small things left behind by my family members, my mom included; things that I remember seeing in a family members home or items that they made. Anything that made a lasting impression on me and reminds me of that particular person or time in my life. Again, minimalism to me isn’t about not having any stuff…it’s about being very selective in the pieces I choose to keep.

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Grandma’s container, grandpa’s camera, rocks in vase painted by my grandma.

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4. Chalk it up

Chalk paint has been quite possibly the best discovery of my life. While I am what you might call and “artsy” person, I am definitely not a patient person. Scrolling Pinterest, you will no doubt come across all of these great DIY home projects in which all the furniture looks amazing in the end thanks to chalk paint. I have always loved the idea of this, but have known I don’t have the patience for it. By that I mean I don’t have the patience to clean all the nooks and crannies, sand down the old wood…then wash again… I try to be this patient, and I can usually make it through a quick cleaning but after that all bets are off. That’s why I turn to chalk paint every time. Chalk paint is very forgiving when it comes to get ‘er done people like me.

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I have used chalk paint to spruce up old frames of my grandma’s, Mason jars, cake displays, dressers, bowls, frames…you name it and I would be happy to chalk paint it. In fact, I kind of have to stop myself from over-doing it. When using chalk paint, although minimal prep is required, I do recommend getting yourself a good brush to avoid streaking. If you plan on doing distressing, make sure you have a good sander and be sure to REALLY get all that sawdust off. Otherwise it might leave streaks. (Not sure how I know that!)

Fun fact…I distress almost everything I chalk paint for 2 reasons:

  1. Because I love that vintage look.
  2. Because I have been a stay at home mom for almost a decade. I know things don’t stay nice. May as well beat my kids to the punch.

Here are some of the best quality items to make sure you have when you are ready to start chalk painting.


5. Fresh paint

Not to be confused with chalk paint! When we bought our house the living room and kitchen walls were red and brown. Tom and I knew we would want different colors through the house so we made sure to paint RIGHT AWAY! While painting can be a very time consuming process, it is usually relatively inexpensive and makes a HUGE different when it comes to the appearance for a room.

We made sure to paint our kids room’s as well. Even though we loved the simple grey color, we wanted to instantly make their rooms feel at home and inviting to them.

6. Original artwork

Have you ever looked at artwork in stores?! Maybe I’m just a total cheapskate frugal enthusiast but my jaw literally drops to the floor when I see some of the prices on a giant piece of artwork designed to look like paint blobs. Don’t get me wrong, I love the paint blobs…that’s why I check the price, but those things are spendy! That’s why I tend to gravitate toward creating my own artwork. If you are a Joann Fabric fan like I am, this is the perfect chance to take full advantage of those coupons and you can often get additional money back by using your Ibotta app! Read my full Ibotta review here.

Another way to never get bored and still have fun artwork is to get a chalk board. We have one that I tend to change with the seasons. It keeps things fun and different and I am still able to always give my own personal touch!

Creating your own chalk board is very easy too! You simply need a large picture frame or mirror and some chalk board paint! In fact we painted an entire wall in our son’s room to be a chalk board wall!


7. Repurpose

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about fully gutting and repurposing your furniture, although, if you can do that, you are my hero! I mean when you have something that you feel has no more purpose or use in your house, take a moment to think about if it really does have a different purpose somewhere else.

As I was going through our kitchen to declutter, I came across this old, round cake pan. I already have newer cake pans, so I know I didn’t need this one anymore. However, our coffee grounds were always spilling by our “coffee station.” What if I used this pan to keep everything together and prevented my counter tops from always being dirty. Naturally, I checked with my Instagram followers to make sure everyone approved of this brave interior design move I was making! Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments! All I know is, I really enjoy not having coffee grounds all over the place! Plus my souvenir Friends cup needed a nice home!

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8. Mix it up

My new favorite “style move” is also huge when it comes to saving money! At a recent trip to Target I found myself stressed because there were so many cute bowls on the clearance rack. They were all different and unique and I liked them all. Then I began to realize, they all really went together nicely, even though they didn’t match or come in a set. I have taken the liberty of linking directly to Target’s dinnerware section so you can browse a bit. While there is a lot of gorgeous stuff, I recommend keeping those eyes peeled for the times when Target drastically reduces prices on the loose dinnerware. That’s where I strike gold.

When I first brought home my mixed up bowls, I hesitantly told my best friend about my new strategy to have all mismatched dinnerware. Of course, she gave me even more faith behind my decision when she said she hates when plates or bowls break and she feels this obligation to have to buy the whole set again! I never thought of that! Mis-matched also means replacing your broken stuff is that much easier and more cost effective!

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9. Work for what you want

This one is my favorite. Yes, we painted our house when we first moved in, we even got a few new light fixtures but there were a few things we didn’t get: an entertainment center and bar stools. Having no bar stools was tough because in our old house we had gotten used to gathering around the island to have breakfast. Now our island was deserted. But, I had my eye on some perfect stools and since we were in the process of paying off our debts, I didn’t want to take any funds away from that. So I saved. I waited and saved for 4 stools that wound up costing a little over $200. That might not seem like much, but the old me would have just charged them if the funds weren’t available. Charging and digging debt was the exact opposite of the direction I wanted my life to go and so, I didn’t do it.

Holding our and delaying gratification for a piece (or pieces) that you truly want in your home is always worth it! If you find something that you just have to have and you just can’t afford it…save for it. Those stools do a lot more than give us a place to gather for breakfast now. They serve as a reminder that patience and perseverance pay off!

Debt Payoff and Savings Posts

Wise Money and Budgeting

BeFrugal – Be Frugal is an online resources for the best coupons around. In stores, online or in restaurants. After you make your first purchase, BeFrugal will instantly give you a $10 bonus, plus $10 for every friend who starts saving with you!

Dosh – Dosh is an app that links up to your credit cards (or qualifying debit cards) and gives you money back on purchases you make. It works like other cash back apps by refunding you money on qualifying purchases. Only you don’t have to keep track, it scans discounts and gives you money back automatically!

Financial Peace University – This is the best course out there to help get out of debt and get right with money. Dave Ramsey created Financial Peace University to help others get out of debt and stay out. You can access his Financial Peace University at Home DVD Course or search to find courses near you.

Fun Sized Budget Bundle- This is my very own customized budget bundle. This bundle has everything I use to create a smart budget, revise it when needed, plan our vacations on a budget, pay off our debts and build up our savings! Get the bundle on sale for only $10.

IBotta – This is a totally free app that pays you $10 just for signing up. With Ibotta you get paid for the things you already plan on buying in stores and online! It’s easy to use and also pays you $5 when you recommend to friends. Read my success story with Ibotta here.

IGrad – A financial literacy college course, IGrad that covers topics like budgeting, financial aid and entrepreneurship. The best part is, it is not just for college students. You can access this great resource no matter what age or stage in life!

Love and Money – Online courses created by Brightpeak Financial to help couples work together to create a financially stable home and open up with one another when it comes to budgeting, saving and getting out of debt.

Target Debit Card – If you shop at Target as much as me, you should definitely take advantage of their debit card if you aren’t already. All it does is remove money from your regular checking account like a regular debit card, but saves you 5% on your purchases every time you use it!

Earn Extra Income

MasterClass – If you are hoping to work your way into entrepreneurship. Browse this great online resource of classes taught by professionals in the fields of writing, directing, acting, cooking and design.

Uber – Become a driver with Uber. Earn when you want, chill when you want. Get paid up to 5x daily with Instant Pay, along with chances for additional incentives in your city. Get signed up with Uber.

UberEATS – Earn extra money when you need it, day or night. Deliver food instead of people.

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25 COMMENTS

  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

      Awesome!

  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 🙂

    Semalee
    http://nailingjellotoatree.com

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Feb 18

      Ahhhh Christmas. It’s like Armagedon. haha.

  13. Melissa Javan | 20th Feb 18

    Interesting

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Feb 18

      Thanks

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