Friday, May 10, 2013

Redecorating on the Cheap: Printables

Yesterday I posted about how I spruced up my apartment for free. Today and tomorrow I'd like to post about how I added some pizzazz to my place by spending very little money. I was able to use some things I had around my house to keep it low-cost, but you may need to purchase some of these items to make it happen.

I have five 5x7 frames in my dining room from Ikea. They have floral prints (also from Ikea), and they've never really been my favorite. I just put them up because I already had them and didn't want to spend more money at the time. I went on Pinterest and searched for "free kitchen printables." I chose these ones, from Questionable Domestique.  They are legit, and not stolen! Holla! They are also super fun. I like that they're neutral, so they'd work in almost any kitchen/dining area (mine are connected, so the kitchen theme works in the dining room).

The prints are available in both 4x6 and 5x7. If you have a better printer than I do, you could print these at home and keep it even cheaper. I chose to upload them to the Biola print shop (where I did my wedding invites) to have them printed and cut.

Inspired by how great I think these will look, I started looking for seasonal printables as well. I already had an 8x10 black frame, so I searched for prints in that size. I collected ten different prints that I liked, and again had them printed at Biola. I put all ten in the frame so that I don't have to go searching for them when the time comes; I can just take the back off and rotate the correct one to the front. I found most of them on a site called Over the Big Moon in the printables section. I also searched her blog for various holidays. I searched Pinterest for the holidays I didn't see on this blog. Here are a few of my favorites:

I liked this for January because all the other one's talked about snow...doesn't really work for Southern California.

I used a 40% coupon from Michael's to get a picture frame stand for under $5. I set up my frame on the corner of my dining room table, and I think it will be really fun to have a rotation of prints all throughout the year.

These two changes really added a lot to my dining area. I find that buying wall art or decorations can be SO expensive, but with these blogs giving away prints, it really keeps things affordable. If you don't have a printer, you could also upload the jpg files to your local drugstore photo department, which would keep the cost low as well.

Have you used free printables before? There were also a lot of fun ones that could be used for party favors and decorations, so I will probably use them again in the future. Hurray for creative bloggers who are kind enough to give things away, right?

I am going to attempt a craft this weekend as part of my cheap decorating scheme. If it comes out, I will take pics and post about it. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Redecorating for Free

So after my shower on Sunday (which was great! People were so generous, including my aunt who gave us the money for our table, chair, and linen rentals as a gift!) I suddenly became very dissatisfied with the decor in our apartment. Something about having some nice, new things made me annoyed with all of my old decor.

When we moved in, I did decorate. However, most of my stuff was just what I had from my old apartment. I was feeling very blah about it, so I decided to do some redecorating. BUT, obviously I didn't want to spend much since we are paying for the wedding.

So, here are my ideas for how to spruce up your home FOR FREE. Holla! I'll do another post on some of the cheap upgrades I did (spending very little), but let's start with the things you can do today to make your place look better without spending a dime!

(Of course, it would have been awesome if I took before and after pictures...I didn't. Boooo.)

1. Organize your books by color. A friend of mine did this, and even though I thought it looked great, my Type A personality just couldn't handle it. I had all my books organized by genre, alphabetically by author. (I know, I know.) But aesthetics finally overtook my need for library-like order and I did it. I did a blue shelf, a red shelf, and half green, half yellow shelf, and a black shelf. My other bookshelf in the spare room contains all my other books. It does NOT look pretty. But this one, in the living room looks great! I also have a million frames, so I put the ones that are these colors on the shelves. I took the random collection of candles off of the top of the bookshelf so that it would have a more clean look. Finally, I printed a 4x6 photo of a quote from Dr. Seuss (from "Oh, the Places You'll Go"). I searched for "free Dr. Seuss prints" and found one that's super cute. If you have a photo printer, this would be free. I paid 21 cents at Walgreens for the print. This looks SO MUCH BETTER than it did before.

2. Declutter the bathroom. I used to have a bin with all sorts of bathroom products on top of the toilet tank in my bathroom. But, after I put out my new bath and hand towels I got at the shower, I thought the bathroom could use some sprucing up too. So, I reorganized under the sink and made room to keep that bin out of sight. Then, I grabbed two blue candles that I had laying around (anyone else have a candle surplus??) and put them on the back of the toilet. I kept a couple of rolls of TP there ('cause let's keep it real), but even that tiny change made it look better in there.

3. Vacuum the couch! Freddie cleaned out the vacuum hose that had lost its suck (and no wonder! So gross how much dirt was trapped in there!), so I used the opportunity to put on the brush attachment and clean the couch. It made a surprising difference in how it looked. I also flipped all the cushions, which made it look much fluffier and inviting. So, if you are the type who keeps up with this, than this tip doesn't apply to you. And maybe you all do. But if you're like me and let things slide sometime, this is a chore that's worth doing.

Tune in tomorrow to get my tips for low-cost decorating tips!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wedding Plans: Saving Money on Invitations

We've done lots and lots of wedding planning lately! Our biggest update is that our wedding invites have been sent! Here's how we did invites on the cheap!

First, we went to Etsy and perused their invitations. We found some really cute ones with a flag banner and little birds on them that we liked. They are very simple, but cute. The cost to personalize them and have the file emailed to us as a pdf was $12. I went ahead and added on the thank you notes and programs as well, which were $5 and $10 respectively. So, we spent $27 on that part.

Then, I went to the print center at Biola, the college I went to. They worked with us to print our invites and thank you notes, which included the cutting and folding as well. Including tax, I paid $45 to have them printed. I haven't had the programs printed yet because I haven't figured out what I want on them. That's my project for this month!

I ordered envelopes for both the invites and thank you notes on Amazon for about $15. So, we've spent a total of about $90 so far, BUT that includes our thank you notes and the program design. I'm guessing our programs will cost another $20 or so to print.

I addressed the envelopes myself and didn't do the double envelope thing. Honestly, people are just going to throw them away and my writing is semi-decent, so I was fine with that. Invites just aren't something I care too much about, and the envelopes are definitely at the bottom of my list of concerns.

We also saved by making our RSVP online, rather than printing another card, buying envelopes and putting stamps on them. I used to make a website that includes a map of our location, our registry info, and an RSVP form. All of the RSVP's go straight to my email. We figured only our grandmas might have trouble with the online RSVP, but we know they're coming, so it should be fine. :)

We could have kept it super cheap if we ONLY did invites, but I figured since we'll need thank you notes and programs anyway, it made sense to go ahead and get it all at once, so that they will all coordinate. I'm happy as well, because I think we will spend the same amount on all three things that many people just spend on invites.

I think the fiance spent about $20 on stamps as well. But, there were a few extra that a stole to send out thank you notes for my shower.

How much did you spend on wedding invitations? Are you traditional-wanting the double envelopes, calligraphy, etc.? Or are you more like me?