Creating a Beautiful and Functional Home on a Budget

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Crafting a beautiful and functional home is on the to-do list of every homemaker. Between busy schedules, little ones running around, and the constant flow of laundry cultivating a peaceful and beautiful home that actually functions to bless your family can feel like a lot. This article is full of organizational hacks, tips, tricks, decorating ideas, inspiration, and encouragement to simplify your life and space so you can get back to living and loving home again!

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The Joy of Homemaking 

Homemaking is so much more than sweeping floors and picking out paint colors. Homemaking is about creating an atmosphere that feels like home to you. Every home is different because every homemaker is different. 

Check out our previous blog: What is a Homemaker? for more on the role and joy of a homemaker!

If I came over for tea, I would probably learn a lot about you just by observing your home, even if you didn’t share much in conversation. 

In fact, I have learned a lot about myself from my own home. 

I will never forget walking down my hallway one day that leads out to the living room and dining room area of our house. I stopped and looked around, suddenly it hit me- I like blue. After I informed my husband, he glanced around and said- “Yes, I know. We have blue everywhere.” 

a woman- a homemaker- in a dress standing a holding a teacup and saucer

I had no idea. I thought I was a fan of neutral colors, but as it turns out, I prefer blue. 

And the more I thought about it, I knew why. The atmosphere I wanted to create was one of peace and nothing says peace like the color blue.  

The joy of homemaking is not found in selecting the right color scheme or showing off your home. The joy of homemaking is found in feeling truly at home in your house. 

You should feel your happiest and your most comfortable in your own home. 

Different Kinds of Homes for Different Kinds of Homemakers

Comparison is the thief of joy. 

Pinterest, Instagram, and magazine covers have left so many homemakers exhausted. 

Between trying to craft a cozy atmosphere filled with natural light, showcasing a jaw-dropping focal point, and nailing all the small details that create a cohesive look- we are completely overwhelmed. Little space is left for personal style or the real-life needs of everyday life.

I don’t know if they still do this, but years ago there used to be a “Get the Look” page in magazines. On one side you would see a beautifully displayed room packed with built-in cabinets, crown molding, pendant lights, and antique furnishings. On the opposite page, there were websites for where to buy these items and their prices. 

And if you wanted to get that look you could have it for probably around 10 grand not to mention the paint color you needed to complete the look and the price of the contractor and materials to give your room the same character as that one. 

Every home is different. 

I’m in Tennessee and most of our homes are simple. While the farmhouse style may be out in California, it is thriving here because we actually have farmhouses. 

A stack of homemaking, decorating, and cookbooks- including Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines, topped with a tea cups and saucer on a wooden table- for creating a beautiful and functional home

Your home, your location, your personality, and what you find beautiful will always be different than the house next door. But your style- even on a tight budget- is no less beautiful than any other home online or in magazines. 

So let me ask you, what is your style? 

What do you like? What makes your heart beat fast and fills you with a sense of beauty? 

I love the idea of minimalism and too much can cause me to stress. At the same time, I adore antiques and collections and I fully believe there is no such thing as too many books or too many flowers. And my home reflects that. 

What is your home saying about you? You don’t have to be an interior designer to create a home that reflects you! 

Is it what you want it to say? 

The Need for Functional as a Mama

I believe that creating something of beauty is a desire for all women. We get that trait from our Heavenly Father, so it is nothing to be ashamed of. God fills His world with beauty and something within us desires to create a beautiful home just as He has. 

But as Mamas, especially busy Mamas, the need for a functional home is just as essential. 

Somehow though we have bought into this idea that organized and functional cannot go hand in hand with beautiful. 

I beg to differ. 

Balancing meaningful living with your family, homeschooling, hobbies, and rest while also crafting a beautiful home that does not consume all of your time and energy is the great task of the homemaker. 

I hope these tips below will help you find your perfect balance and love the home you have! 

Make the Everyday Beautiful 

I cannot recall who I first heard say this. Perhaps it was Miss Mustard Seed– but it changed the way I decorated and designed my home. (If you haven’t heard of her and you enjoy homemaking content, I will leave a link to her site here! You can thank me later!)

Let your everyday things be beautiful then let them shine as your home decor.

Let me offer some examples of what I mean. 

I use cloth napkins daily- for just about everything. 

Rather than storing mismatched cloth napkins in a drawer on my hutch, as had become my habit- I purchased a cheap set of pretty ones from Homegoods and displayed them in a windmill-shaped napkin holder on my dining room table. (You could easily sew cloth napkins for next to nothing; they are a perfect project for someone just beginning to sew!) 

I also have a small kitchen with minimal storage space, so the hutch in my dining area is not just about having an eye-catching piece, it holds all my plates and bowls. 

a woman arranging dishes on a hutch, antique plates, homemaking, beautiful and functional home

They are right beside the table making it easy for my little ones to set it themselves. 

This is what we mean by functional home design. I didn’t have to spend a fortune to decorate a huge piece of furniture and it helps meet our specific needs!  

Spending a little extra here and there to buy a prettier bowl or a better set of China and then using them as the design elements for your home makes your living space both functional and beautiful. 

Organizing Hacks 

I have five kids, so organization has to be part of my daily life. Otherwise, I would go insane. Literally. 

Organizing doesn’t have to be hard. 

Our home has relatively small closets. There is enough space, but we have to utilize it wisely.  Storage solutions that are made to stack on top of one another are my go-to for organizing small spaces. You can usually find these cheap in any box store, but I will link a set here. Label with a chalk marker, dry erase, or even stick on a label from a label maker- like this one. 

You can also purchase prettier boxes or baskets that match the room if they will be exposed. 

Drawer organizers- like these– also make bathroom and kitchen drawers far more functional- and you don’t have to dig or continually hunt down the can opener or mascara tube! 

You can also use baskets- like these– to beautifully display and store blankets, pillows, throws, or even books. 

a pillow on a bench, evergreens in a mason jar, and an antique wire basket of firewood. homemaking, beautiful and functional home

Hidden compartments under beds can store shoes, Lego boxes, or family games. 

When your home is organized and functional you spend less time cleaning and searching and have more time to spend reading with your littles or grabbing a coffee and catching up with a friend! 

Let me ask you a question. This question is a rough summary of a question in Tsh Oxenreider’s book, Organized Simplicity. I read it years ago and I ask myself this over and over to this day. 

What could you do with less stuff? What could you do if your home was organized and simplified enough to where it didn’t require your constant attention? If someone called you today and said “Hey I feel like God is calling me to be saved. Can you meet me?” Are you fully free to go? Or do you have too much to manage at home?

If your home requires so much of you that you cannot be present with your family and friends or take some time to share the gospel- then my friend, it is time to organize and simplify. It is time to create a beautiful and functional home that gives you a peaceful landing place without constantly begging for your undivided attention! 

A Place for Everything 

I have this conversation with myself and my children all the time. 

We need a place for everything, and everything in its place. 

What if it doesn’t have a place to land in our home? 

Well, that’s simple- if it can’t find a home in our home then it needs a new home- outside of our home. 

With every new thing we bring home, it needs a place to go. 

As homemakers, we are in charge of everything brought into our homes. 

Be that tiger salamanders tucked in your son’s pockets from the well house or be that a coffee grinder from a garage sale. 

Where will you keep it? How much of your precious time and energy will it require? And what is its purpose? 

To be beautiful is a purpose, so long as it is worth taking the time to dust and care for it!

We need a place for everything and everything in its place. 

Thrift it, Gift it or Throw it Away 

Let’s be real, we all have things in our house we don’t need. 

Things we would love to part with, but for some reason, we keep tucking it back into drawers to hold on to for another day. 

Friends, it is time to thrift it, gift it, or throw it away. 

Take it to a Goodwill or thrift store and walk away. 

If it is something really nice that you know someone would love to have- like clothes your little ones have outgrown- gift them to someone else who actually needs them!

And if it is just clutter that keeps moving from place to place around your home- throw it away. 

My husband is the king of keeping old cords. Chargers from phones we had 10 years ago that fit nothing in our home now. Cords from baby swings that went to the dumpster years ago. What if we need this completely outdated and totally useless cord at some point? 

Well, I guess I will have to buy another one because I threw them out. 

books, greenery, and a box of pinecones on a coffee table, living room decor, natural elements, homemaking, simple decorating

I joke about my husband here, but we all have those tendencies. I used to have a yellow and green lemon juicer. Why? One for limes and one for lemons? I have no idea but it hit me one day how silly that was so I gave one to my sister. And you know what? I hadn’t thought a thing in the world about it until I just wrote that example. 

Sometimes we hold on to the silliest things because we don’t ask ourselves why we have it. 

Our well-designed kitchen and perfectly functional living space become a museum to display things we no longer want or need. 

So over the next few weeks, go through your house and ask yourself: “Why do I have this?”

Make everything in your home give you a reason why it is worth holding on to! 

If there isn’t a good reason- thrift it, gift it, or throw it away! And if you aren’t sure, put it in a box and set it in a back room. Mark a date on your calendar sometime in the next month or two. If you need something from that box, go get it, but whatever is left after your specified date needs to find a new home because it is no longer welcome in yours! 

Need help getting your kids to handle their daily chores? Check out Project Clean: Chore Chart Pack from NotConsumed.

Decorating on a Budget 

This is the area where I tend to shine. Not really in the decorating or design choices department, but absolutely in the “on a budget”  part.

Before you open your search tab or get in your car to drive to a store- look around your home. 

What do you have to work with? 

What could have some new life breathed into it with a new coat of paint or a fresh coat of wood stain?

Can the laundry room be rearranged rather than remodeled? Do you really need a whole new couch or could you sew a slipcover or make some new throw pillows? 

Paint and new window treatments are a great way to change an entire room without spending a ton!

My absolute favorite hack for decorating on a budget is to go look around outside and find natural elements to compliment your overall look!

woman cutting branches of greenery, making bouquets, decorating home with natural elements, decorating on a budget

Sure you can find discounted flowers at most grocery stores, but if you can find them in your yard, it is completely free! 

Arranged limbs, dried grasses, and evergreen branches in the winter and wildflower bouquets in the summer. 

Make beeswax candles in thrifted teacups or pottery. 

Bake something beautiful and arrange it on a cake stand or a cutting board on the table. 

Check out thrift shops before roaming TJ Maxx or Hobby Lobby. 

Decorating on a budget can be easy and fun! 

Learning to Love Your Home 

It is easy to love the beautifully photographed and arranged homes on Pinterest, but learning to love and be content with your own home is the sweetest gift a homemaker can receive. 

Maybe you live in a fixer-upper, that is becoming a fixer-downer with how long every little project is taking. What can you do today to create a space you love? 

It may be something simple like throwing a tablecloth and bouquet of pink roses on your dining room table. Maybe you scrub your stained linoleum floors even though you plan to tear them out as soon as you can. Scrubbing, polishing, and adding something beautiful to a “not quite what I want yet” space can do so much to just grow your contentment for your home. 

Maybe you live in an apartment and can’t paint the walls or change the lighting fixture. But you can sew some simple curtains or pick up a couple of floor lamps at a garage sale to brighten up the room. 

Learn to love the home that God has blessed you with even if it is not your forever home. Sew seeds of gratitude for it as you scrub the toilets and arrange the photographs on the mantle. You are the one cultivating the atmosphere of this home, make it beautiful and welcoming! 

Happy Homemaking!

​Being a homemaker is not about creating a perfect place, but rather cultivating a real home. 

Real homes are lived in. They get messy. Our daily routines, chores, and schedules take place within their walls. 

We are grateful for functional design and outdoor space, but the most important things about home are the people who sit around your dinner table. Spending time with those you love the most- getting to be truly present and not just a fixture permanently placed in front of the sink, that’s what home is all about. 

And that is the true gift of the homemaker. 

Creating a beautiful and functional home where your family can escape from the world. A place your grown children will want to visit often. A place where love can blossom and you can grow old happily together.  There is no interior designer or architect secret more profound than that. You are changing the world simply by loving your family and creating a home. 

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” 

Mother Theresa

Happy Homemaking! 

Happy Aiming! 

-Ashley

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