Ask A Houston Expert: Shopping For Home Decor On A Budget

Marie Flanigan, owner and founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors, has worked in the design business for 10 years. While most of the work with color, texture and form can be seen in luxurious, high-end homes and in businesses, she has generously offered tips for those who want to make their homes beautiful while staying within a budget.
Marie Flanigan
Marie Flanigan Interiors
2525 Driscoll St.
Houston, TX 77019
(979) 574-9686

Marie Flanigan is part of the American Society of Interior Designers as an allied member. She also holds a certificate from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and holds an MBA from the University of Houston and a Bachelor's of Architecture earned from Texas A&M University. She works all over the country, but her business is based right here in Houston.

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Know What You Want

Before you begin shopping, know exactly what you want for your home. Conduct research in home design magazines, in home decorating showrooms and online. Take the ideas you see and make a list before you go shopping either in stores or online. When you make a list, you can save money if you purchase only the things you have written down.

Put Some Effort into It

When constrained by a budget, you will have to put a little more effort into finding perfect home décor pieces, but it is possible. The best places to find home design accents or furniture is to shop at estate sales, flea markets, antique shops and other second-hand stores. Even if a particular item that you find isn't perfect when you pull it from a scratch-and-dent shelf, you can do some refurbishing to brighten it up. A coat of paint or a basic reupholstering job can transform worn-out home décor items to make them look new.

Use the Internet

Online shopping is a great way to get deals on furniture and other home décor pieces, but if you find that an item does not live up to your expectations, you will want to be able to return it. When shopping, take a careful look at the store's return policy. The best offer free shipping for returns or a discount on return shipping. To further lower your cost, look at the initial delivery charges the online store imposes on all purchases. If you're not careful, you may end up paying double the cost of your furniture or other item after adding in the cost of tax and delivery.

Choose Local

Houston is home to local artists who are willing to make deals on their work. While you may not be able to afford a hand-crafted piece of furniture that was made in another part of the country, hiring a local artisan to do the work may save you some money. First, you will not have to pay for the cost of shipping the item from across the country, and secondly, individual artists may make a deal with you on the price of their work because you can talk to the person who made the piece and who sells it. Choosing local artists to do your work also helps to support the Houston-area art community.

Change the Color

According to Marie Flanigan, "Color is one of the most cost-effective changes you can make within your home!" If you cannot afford to get new furniture, change the colors of things around your furnishings. Replace throw pillows with some in a different accent color or repaint your walls for a quick update to your home's décor without spending a lot of money.

Related: Top Spots For Stylish Used Furniture In Houston

Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at