Interior Design

Design on a Dime

Whether it’s our temporary home in Europe or our actual home in St. Louis I am always looking for ways to save money while decorating. Having our house feel like a home is extremely important to me no matter where we are living. During the hockey season there is always a chance that we could move at the drop of a hat, so spending a lot of money on decorating just doesn’t make sense. Moving from place to place really takes a toll on my decorations and frames, so for me the cheaper I can get them the better.  After all, saving money is why I started refinishing furniture (refinishing anything really) in the first place. Nothing is better than having someone tell me how much they like something I’ve made and knowing how cheap (in price, not in quality) it was for me to do.
During the season every time I buy a picture frame or a vase my husband always says, “Kasey, that can’t come back to the states with us. Do we really need it?”  The answer is always, “Yes”. Decorating and designing is my thing and there is no way I could live in an apartment and not hang curtains and paintings.
Sometimes I just have to get creative and find the cheapest way to decorate. So get creative and if you aren’t creative find someone who is and copy off them.
MB Picture Wall
Let’s start with frames. I have a slight obsession with picture frames and probably have way too many hanging in my house, but I love them and I love the look they give to a room so I just keep hanging them. I buy all of my frames from thrift shops.
In St. Louis my favorite stores to buy anything from are Goodwill, Savers and St. Vincent De Paul thrift store. I’m there at least once a week. They have such unique, quality frames for CHEAP! So many people take old frames to these shops because they are actually ugly, but spray paint works miracles! Never give up on an old frame.


Spray Paint
Pretty much anything can be spray-painted, including picture frames.

  • Put some cardboard down (if that’s your thing… I don’t like to. My garage floor is a beautiful mixture of colors. My father-in-law hates it.)
  • Take out the glass
  • Shake, shake, shake. When spray painting always shake the bottle for a few minutes before you start and then test it on something. If it comes out looking chalky, keep shaking. Very Important step.
  • Hold the bottle 8-10 inches away and spray. If you get too close it will start to run and that looks bad. So don’t get too excited about painting something and get too close. It doesn’t turn out well.

I always use Rustoleum. They have a wide variety of colors and a great product.   Remember, if you don’t like the color you can always spray over it. Try different colors, you never know what you’ll love until you try it.


FullSizeRender-6What to do with all your awesome frames…
There is the obvious…put pictures in your frames. 
And then there are the more creative ways to use frames. 

  • I framed a onesie for my daughter’s nursery and framed some quotes I lettered.
  • Framing maps from your favorite places are a fun alternative to pictures. 
  • Framing scrapbook paper can achieve a unique look. Hobby Lobby and Michaels have a huge selection of scrapbook paper. 
  • For the holiday season coming up frame the wrapping paper that will be under the tree. It is festive, unique and cheap!
  • Chevron, polka dot or any kind of material looks great framed.

What I’m getting at is that you can pretty much frame anything and it can look good.  Now that I have shared a little of my frame obsession let’s move on. 


Another obsession is wine. I love drinking it and I love using bottles and corks as decoration. I love wine bottles as candle holders. You can spray paint them, tie ribbon around them, keep the labels or remove them.
**A trick to getting the label completely off is using lighter fluid. Put some on a rag and rub it on the sticky stuff that is left after you peel the label off. Another great product to use is Goo Gone! Works wonders.


Wine bottles make excellent, cheap vases.  This look is super easy to do.

  • Start by removing the label. Then spray-paint the bottle all gold or any color you are feeling. Let the paint dry.
  • Tape the bottle where you want the glue to stop. This will ensure a straight line. Paint the glue on with a paint brush.
  • Start covering the glue with glitter. Your house may look like a strip club for a bit, and you will probably be finding glitter for months so you might want to do this part of the project outside too.
  • Finish with several coats a clear acrylic spray and you have a cheap, beautiful vase.


I always keep all of my wine corks.  There are a ton of projects when it comes to corks. When I use glue for projects I either use E6000 (a craft glue) or hot glue. E6000 works on almost everything including fabric, glass, fiberglass, ceramics, leather, rubber, vinyl and many plastics. I love it! Hot glue also works well but doesn’t have as strong as hold and has burnt my fingers more times than I can count.

  • Use one of the cheap frames from your favorite thrift shop and glue corks to it.
  • Glue corks to a rounded straw or foam base and make a wreath. Paint the ends of the cork to add some color.
  • Glue corks to the inside of a frame and use it as a push-pin board
  • Glue corks side by side and use them as coasters
  • I see large wood letters with corks glued to them and it looks so cool

Below are some pictures that I got from the internet. I have made all of these at home, but since I’m in Germany I can’t take pictures of my own work. I assure you that all are super easy to make.
TIP: Use an X-acto knife to cut the cork.

Wooden letter from Hobby Lobby or Michaels with corks glued to it


Other cheap decorating ideas
MB Antlers
If you are from the area I am chances are you have some deer antlers lying around. Paint deer antlers to add a modern touch to a country decoration.

  • I spray-painted mine white and hung them. Spray them any color and set them on a coffee table or use them as a part of the kitchen table decoration.
  • For jewelry they are a perfect way to hang necklaces or hold rings.


Christmas Tree BBM 2
I love using twinkle lights (christmas lights). These days everyone can leave their christmas lights up all year-long! (not the colored ones… those are just ugly)  Make a summer night more magical with twinkle lights on your back deck or in the trees. They are a great way to illuminate the backyard.
I love having them in bedrooms. It gives such an enchanted or romantic (depending on what you are going for) feel to a room.

  • Here I put screws into the wall in the form of a star.
  • I then strung the lights making a star and the end product is a cute decoration and good way to light the dark room.

There are so so many more decorating on a dime ideas, that I’m sure in four months I will have to do a part 2! Until then get out there and start spray-painting stuff. (not buildings, that’s just disrespectful)

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