I’ll be the first to tell you: I don’t love the idea of stuff. I throw away any trinket or piece of paper that makes its way into our home. Too often, Adam is looking for something and, upon realizing it’s nowhere to be found, he knows the answer is: it met its demise in the trash.
But, that doesn’t mean our house is a study in minimalism. I like things that add a bit of art, interest, beauty to our decor and I enjoy switching it up every few months.
Difference Between Clutter and Decor
So, where’s the line between clutter and decor? My thought process is, if the piece is intentional, it’s not clutter. If it’s just something you ended up with or you’re keeping just because someone gave it to you, then it’s clutter.
That vase that came with your birthday flower arrangement last year? Clutter. The vase you picked up at the flea market because it caught your eye from two booths over? Decor. The dish that you ended up with because your old roommate left it behind? Clutter. The dish that you found at Target and felt like it spoke to your aesthetic? Sure, it came from a big box store, but that’s decor. Look, it has nothing to do with price, provenance, or value, it’s whether it means something to you.
Budget-Friendly Decor Items That Make a Big Impact
Now that we’ve gotten the difference between clutter and decor out of the way, plus, we established decor doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, here are a few budget-friendly decor items that have found a place in my home.
Burl Wood Box: This handy little box is perfect for storing items like matchbooks that might otherwise get scattered about. And, at the price point, you won’t find a better option.
Black Ceramic Bathing Beauty Lady: I lusted after this little dish for months and months before finally snagging it from Salt & Sundry in their DC Shop Small sale. She’s the perfect home for a few shells that Adam brought back from his travels in Saipan.
Amethyst Crystal: A little something sparkly is never a bad thing and crystals are an inexpensive way to add a bit of texture to any table vignette. I grabbed this one at a little boutique in Austin, but you can find lots of options on Etsy.
Ceramic Incense Holder: This didn’t arrive until after I took the photos, but I love the speckled black and white ceramic look and the sculptural design of this incense holder. It’s a piece of art when it’s not in use.
The Best Places To Source Decor Items on a Budget
Of course, my favorite places to source budget-friendly decor items is a massive antiques mall or thrift shop. You can’t beat combing through aisles of cast-offs looking for the gem that will make your coffee table or shelf complete. Literally, I think this is what I’ve missed most about social distancing: antiquing. And, when it comes to books that are just as lovely to look at as they are interesting, you can’t beat a secondhand book shop. A well-worn title tells a story that something from Amazon just can’t.
However, if the hunt for a previously loved item isn’t really your thing, I also love scrolling through Etsy. You can find the most interesting ceramics, vases, and sculptural pieces from artisans who look to Etsy to sell their wares. And, yes, while I try to avoid Amazon, yes, they do sometimes have great budget-friendly buys — that’s where I found that burl wood box that inspired this post anyway