Babies and small children bring so much joy into the world, but they also bring mashed vegetables, snotty noses, melting chocolate, and cracker crumbs with them. What is a young mom to do when she is trying desperately to maintain a comfortable home, but every new piece of furniture is stained with an unknown substance or scarred by teeth marks before it has even had time to become outdated? How can moms make their homes nice on a limited budget and still stick to their green principles? The answer may be easier than you can imagine.

Home Decorating Tips for Green & Frugal Moms

By Caroline Smith

Use Slipcovers

Modern slipcovers for sofas are not like the old sheet-like throws that your grandmother unsuccessfully tried to keep from sliding off the couch. The slipcovers available today have the following qualities to help any mother perform a makeover on the interior of her home:

• They are eco-friendly.

• They are easy to wash in a machine.

• They come in trendy styles and fabric patterns.

• They can be made to fit most furniture.

• They hide stains and torn upholstery.

• They are cost-effective compared to buying new furnishings.

Have a Swap Meet

Stretch Slipcovers will make a radical change in the way a room looks, but the finishing touches are also important when you are working on a home makeover. A swap meet with friends is a great way to obtain some free accessories. First, invite friends and neighbors to bring all of their unwanted decorating items to your home, then clear out your own clutter and find items you no longer have a use for that your friends might like. These items might include some of the following:

• Pictures or frames

• Cushions

• Comforters

• Curtains

• Mirrors

• Vases

• Placemats

• Candles

Once everyone has arrived with the items from their attics or cupboards, explain that they can take one item for every item they have brought to exchange. This is not only a great way to save items from eventually going to a landfill, but it is also a wonderful way for everyone to get free items to brighten their own homes. As a bonus, everyone gets spring cleaning done at the same time.

Go Secondhand Shopping

If the swap meet does not result in all of the accessories needed to finish your home decorating projects, it is time to take the search further afield. Visits to thrift shops and yard sales usually result in some special finds which will cost less than half the price you would pay in a retail store. Although these sometimes require a little repair, painting, or polishing, they can make a great difference in finishing out a room and it can be very satisfying to give new life to old furniture.

Make Your Own Artwork

Another valuable idea is to use family pictures as free artwork for the walls. They can be blown up to any size and placed in unusual arrangements to provide great conversation pieces or they can be placed in unique frames and scattered around on table tops. Even old black and white photos of family members can add a personal touch to the new décor.

Frugal and green decorating is certainly a challenge, but it is not impossible when you are really determined. With some creativity, a little money, and several hours of time, you will achieve more than you ever dreamed.

*Caroline Smith, Professional Writer, has generously offered her home decorating tips to Tiny Green Mom readers.*