When you’re broke, you don’t have a lot of money to spend on your space. But that doesn’t mean you can’t personalize your home. It’s all about changing your expectations.

A home renovation that promises sweeping changes to your space is better left until you have more financial security. Wait to tear down walls, modernize your bathroom, or replace kitchen appliances until you pay down your personal loans and build up some savings.

Admittedly, paying off personal loans and saving money is hard, but they are integral steps to getting the house you need. Don’t let the siren call of credit cards and lines of credit convince you to jumpstart a renovation too early.

When you’re already broke, personal loans and lines of credit debt can make a bad thing worse. So, put down the line of credit. While you find the motivation to keep paying it off, focus on the little things you can do without a lot of upfront investment.

1. Become a DIY Artist

Paintings purchased from stores or artists can be prohibitively expensive. So, why not try your own hand at making art? Scroll through your favorite décor shops to find inspiration and focus on a design that suits your space. You don’t need fancy materials or equipment — the stuff you find at dollar stores is good enough.

Don’t worry if you aren’t artistic this way. You can create a stunning gallery wall using postcards, pages from old books, and family photos. You can frame them using inexpensive frames found at dollar stores. Paint them all one colour to give them a unified look despite their different styles, shapes, and sizes.

2. Give Old Furniture a Facelift

Like artwork, furniture is another big expense. You can skip the price tag of a new side table or couch by giving these existing pieces facelifts. Try your hand at sanding down wooden furniture and applying a fresh coat of paint or stain. You can instantly transform an old couch or chair with a slipcover — either purchased at a store or made from discounted fabric.

3. Shop Second-Hand

Thrift stores, online marketplaces, and flea markets are goldmines for budget-conscious decorators. Explore these treasure troves for unique finds like vintage vases, mirrors, or even furniture. With a bit of cleaning and, if necessary, a touch of paint, you can transform second-hand items into stylish statement pieces that won’t break the bank.

4. Get into Peel-and-Stick Tiles

Gone are the days when you have to grout new tile to change up your shower stall, kitchen backsplash, or bathroom floor. Now, you can transform outdated or dirty tiling with peel-and-stick products. You can find stylish adhesive tiles that are renter-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about leaving behind damage or residue.

5. Change Your Lighting

Your choice of light fixtures and light bulbs is the quickest way to change your space. It’s the most dramatic change for the price, too.

  • Swap out old and dusty lampshades for more stylish options found online.
  • Invest in warm lightbulbs, playing around with unique Edison bulbs for intrigue.
  • Don’t forget under cupboards — adding string lights here is an easy way to create a warm and inviting kitchen.
  • Learn how to wire sconces and ceiling lights so that you can update these fixtures to something trendier. You can find cheap replacements online that won’t set you back too much.