Many people think that getting a beautiful look for one’s home usually costs you a pretty penny. But what I have discovered over the years is that you can really get a beautiful look for a lot less than what people might think. To learn how to decorate on a dime I’ve decided to show you some pictures of some rooms that I’m currently working on and how I’ve saved thousands of dollars.

Decorate on a Dime:  Floor Rugs

After finishing paint and flooring, I needed to get back to my architecture.  I knew that installing new hardwood flooring would beat up my base boards, but I had no idea how bad they would be.   Basically the guys who installed the floors had to pry them off with what I call a miniature crow bar.  It’s pretty much standard procedure to take the base boards off.  Often times while they are off people take advantage of the opportunity and paint them while the previous flooring is being removed and replaced.  However for some reason half of my baseboards had been initially installed with some sort of crazy glue and in taking them off, most ended up really damaged.  They all had to be replaced.

Replacing Baseboard Molding

Now many times people often can replace baseboard molding themselves.  It’s a pretty common do-it-yourself project.  It basically involves the following steps.

  1. Remove the baseboards without damaging the wall with a claw hammer or pry bar. Save the pieces as you go to help you plan for the next step.
  2. Measure the baseboards you just removed and add 15% for cutting mistakes. This is how much trim you will probably need to purchase.
  3. Start in the corners and measure the sizes of trim you will need.  Make a pattern or a map noting angles and where pieces of trim will connect to each other.
  4. Use a miter saw to cut the trim at the appropriate angles.  This may vary, but most often it is a 45% angle.  I suggest using test pieces or scraps to help you plan your angles and to make sure that your pieces will fit together nicely.
  5. Once you have the pieces cut line them up and double check that they are in fact fitting beautifully together before you attach them.
  6. If you have the kind you need to finish, now is the time to pain or stain the pieces.  Once they are on the walls this is harder to do neatly.
  7. Attach the painted or trained trim using nails that you sink below the surface of the wood.  Patch in the holes with putty.  Any gaps at corners or on the walls can be filled in with caulk.

However, right at the time I decided I wanted to do this I was working on another do it yourself project and ended up cracking the tank of my toilet.  On my future remodel list I had replace the tile and toilet in the bathroom where I cracked the toilet.  I also had painting my 11 year old paint on my 2 and 1/2 story  living room.  Add replacing my base boards to the do list now made my list quite huge.  I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

Here is where I’m going to tell you and give you a little piece of advice that someone gave me.

Know your limits.

How to Know Your Limits

When looking at any do it yourself project you need to look at the following things.

  • Your skill set.  Is this project something you can easily to yourself.  It is something you need to learn to do, and you are pretty good at working with your hands and doing new things?  Or are you a fumbler that tends to crack toilets because you simply turned the screw the wrong direction?
  • Your tool set.  Do you have all of the tools needed to complete  your project?  What tools will you have to buy or rent?  How much is that going to cost you?  Is that cost going to cost more than a contractor would?
  • Your time set.  How much time do you have to complete a project.  Knowing your skill and tool set is this something that you are going to be able to complete in that amount of time?  Could your time be more valuable else where?

After I looked at all of those questions above I decided that I was completely out of my depth when it came to completing all of those projects.  I didn’t have the right skills, I didn’t have the right tools, and I certainly didn’t have the time at that point.  Also I had one magic trick in my pocket.  My husband knew contractor who was an actual long time friend who would give us a great deal to do all of the work at once.  And that’s what we ended up doing.  He replaced the toilet and tile in the bathroom, he painted my 2 and 1/2 story family room, he replaced all of the base boards downstairs, and he touched up all of the trim in my entire house.

Although it did bother my pride a bit to have to have someone come and do work that I’d rather do myself, I found it to be worth while in the long run.  And also having him there working offered me one more lesson that I’m going to share with you.

Don’t start a big remodeling project in December.  Cleaning up remodeling residue and dealing with a dog who is having a nervous breakdown because of the hammering and banging noises will be the last thing you want to do a few days before Christmas.

Coming in the Decorate on a Dime Series:  Floor Rugs, Furniture, Accessories, Shopping, and more!

Enjoying our Decorate on a Dime series? Check out all of our tips by following our Decorate on a Dime tag.

Kelly Kinkaid (1006 Posts)

Kelly Kinkaid enjoys writing about such topics as stretching a dollar, personal finance, diet and fitness, and living a life well lived. She spends all of her spare time in her many roles including but not limited to soccer, basketball, swimmer, band, and piano mom, runner and wife. You may contact her via e-mail kellyology(at)gmail(dot)com.


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