It’s lots of fun to hit the home decoration stores and pick up anything that catches your eye.

While it’s easy to take a step back from major purchases like sofas and fireplaces, it’s the little things – accessories, paint, bric-a-brac – that eventually chew through our budget.

If money is a concern, as it is for most of us, create a decor budget and plan ahead of time.

The Big Stuff – 40% of your budget

If your home decoration project involves renovation, start with the materials you’ll need. Plaster, wiring, plumbing, wood, lighting fixtures, tool rental or purchase, etc. Create a buffer by factoring in at least 10% for emergencies, like if you find mold or need to hire an exterminator.

If renovations are not required, go ahead and split this part of the budget up between the Soft Stuff and the Accessories.

The Soft Stuff – 40% of your budget

This is where you cost out furnishings, draperies, paint, floors or carpeting, and other features that are not structural in nature. If you’ve redone the bedroom, consider your color-scheme sheet and comforter set and lamps to go into this category. Basically, include anything that makes up the decor of the room.

The Accessories – 20% of your budget

This is where home decoration gets expensive. The brightly colored cushions, the pretty candlesticks, and that vase you know you don’t really need can cut into your budget. Yes, accessories can bring a room together, but choose wisely. Ask yourself if you want it because it will really improve the living space, or just because it caught your eye. Can something similar be found elsewhere at a lower cost, or even second hand? If you pay top dollar for something, like art, will it retain or increase in value?

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