A refurbished dining table surrounded by secondhand patio chairs fits within a $1,000 budget.

How to Furnish a Living Room and Dining Room for Under $1,000

by Mary Cockrill

You can furnish a living and dining room with designer-savvy appeal and practical function for under $1,000. It does require a well-laid-out plan, shopping wisely and using your creativity. Because you are saying "no" to pricey furnishings, you are actually saying "yes" to other important things in your life. When friends start raving about your newly furnished spaces, they’ll never know how little or how much you spent – unless you tell them.

1. Plan

In order to furnish your living and dining areas for under $1,000, you need a plan. First, measure the two rooms to get an idea of how much available floor space you have to work with. Next, determine how you’d like the rooms to function. For example, if you want to use your living room as a conversation and reading area, you'll need to furnish it with accommodating seating, lighting and accent tables. Create a list of the furniture pieces you need for each room. Allocate $500 for each room and jot down a maximum price you are willing to pay for each item. You can lump accessories, such as lamps, pictures, toss pillows and decorative items, into one category with a combined dollar amount.

2. Repurpose

Free furnishings help you stay on track for a $1,000 makeover. Take a peek into your attic, garage or other storage areas for stashed items that you can repurpose for your living or dining room. Check other rooms in your home for pieces of existing furniture that aren’t serving a distinct purpose. By moving unused furniture into your living and dining areas, you are repurposing it with an entirely new function. For example, your grandmother’s dresser that’s sitting in your attic provides storage space for dining room linens, silverware, candles and paper products. It also supplies a tabletop for a coffee or dessert bar for dinner guests. Don’t be afraid to combine assorted furniture styles and materials for a tasteful mix of pieces.

3. Refurbish

Refurbishing an old or outdated household item not only saves the cost of a new replacement, but also gives you the satisfaction of accomplishing the work yourself. For example, apply a fresh coat of paint to a grungy or out-of-date dining room table to give it a fresh, modern look. Learn a new skill to help you refurbish a piece of furniture, such as upholstering a vintage chair or sofa. Replace damaged tabletops with glass or reclaimed wood for an inexpensive fix. New hardware can add sparkle to end table drawers and cabinets. Salvage an existing brass chandelier and table lamps by spraying each of them with a fresh coat of metallic silver or copper paint. Cover worn-out lampshades with natural burlap or a perky fabric print for renewed energy.

4. Shop Smart

It goes without saying that purchasing new furnishings for your living and dining rooms won’t stretch your $1,000 very far. Shop at places where you can find furniture and other household items for free or at drastically reduced prices. Look through your local classified ads for free items that you can repurpose or refurbish. Ask relatives or friends if they have old furniture or other furnishings they want to get rid of. Check your newspaper for upcoming garage and estate sales or auctions. Organized websites featuring online classifieds for local communities provide additional resources for acquiring budget-friendly furnishings. Visit wallpaper and paint stores to inquire about discontinued sample books, which are typically free or available to purchase for a very low cost. You can use these wallpaper samples to create inexpensive, one-of-a-kind framed prints for your walls.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.

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