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Budget Living Home Cheap Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to Great Decorating Paperback – May 4, 2004

3.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As any reader of Architectural Digest or Interior Design knows, it's easy to make your home look like a million bucks—if you have a million bucks. But for readers whose budgets tend more toward the Ikea level of home decorating, here are "192 pages of proof that you can live the good life on the cheap." Reminding readers that style is a matter of "attitude, not price," Budget Living's editors give tips for decorating every room of the home, from living rooms to kitchens to bathrooms to home offices, integrating anecdotes from real people who decorated their own homes without going broke. The editors lay out six tenets of low-cost decorating: think creatively, shop at the big chain stores and make their mass-produced items your own, use common items in uncommon places, make things yourself, splurge if you must and, above all, have fun. The book has a magazine-like feel to it, with sidebars, different sized fonts and chatty prose. This format works well, allowing readers to pick up the book at any point and start learning how to shop for a vintage quilt, grow plants in a tiny bathroom, use two rugs to make a room feel like it has distinct sections, or redo kitchen cabinets for less than $250. Although the editors do have a penchant for vintage items (which they tell readers to hunt for on eBay and at flea markets), they're also fans of such typical outlets as Crate and Barrel, Target, Pier One and Home Depot.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Budget Living, named Adweek magazine's "Startup of the Year," Advertising Age magazine's "Launch of the Year," and Media Life magazine's "Best of the Best," is the leading guide to living the good life at an affordable price. Their "Spend Smart, Live Rich" motto has struck a chord with readers, and Budget Living's weekly newspaper feature is syndicated by UPS all across North America.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399529683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399529689
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,741,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Norlander on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a low-level nonprofit manager, and my husband makes less than I do, so while we are very fortunate in world -- and really even in U.S. -- terms, the cost of an average new piece of furniture is a bit beyond our means, and the ideas offered by most decorating magazines and books are laughable.

So, when I paged through this book, I found it very inspirational. The designs presented are truly inexpensive. Yes, some of the sources (like flea markets) are obvious, but the book also gave me ideas like purchasing decorating items from Oriental Trading Company -- something that never would have occurred to me, aside from holiday items. The book mentions occasional splurge items, but they are limited and reasonable. They won't be affordable for everyone, but the ideas are meant as inspiration, not as a follow-to-the-letter guide for readers.

Finally, I'm not at all crafty, but some of the DIY ideas presented here seemed like projects I could actually tackle.

Since I've never read Budget Living before, everything here was new to me. I highly recommend this for people like me who might not be very creative decorating-wise and who have tight budgets. That said, read the other reviews from Budget Living readers -- if you are a subscriber, it sounds like maybe you should skip this.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't have a subscription to the magazine, but bet I'd like it! Also, I don't mind when magazines publish "best of" compilations of articles to a specific theme -

it saves me having to go hunt down those particular issues, which I may not have saved anyway!!

The photos in here are fabulous for examining in detail. Definitely a swell idea book. I found the prices quoted to run the gamut from REALLY low, to what I personally might consider moderately high, but I am more of an "idea gleaner" type girl than an "I want to copy this entire room down to the very tschotkes on the tschelves and not pay a penny more" type girl. And there are so many cool ideas between the pages of Home Cheap Home you'll be inspired and doing the interior design thing yourself as quickly as you can utter the words "Oh yay! Pop Art's still alive"!
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Format: Paperback
The title, something that will grab attention, is misleading. This is not Home cheap home, but should be Home chic home. That would not be misleading. Examples:

p. 15 "... splurges included a $1200 Murano glass chandelier and a cast-iron fireplace." Huh? How is that cheap? The room is made up of cast-offs which is what people buying this book probably are all too familiar with already. Where's the "cheap" inspiration? Gather cast-offs and then spend $1200 on a chandelier.

p. 61 "... with little more than $3,000 ..." If the purchasers had $3,000 for a kitchen re-do they wouldn't be buying a book with the word "cheap" in it. Countertops: $2,000 marble.

p. 66 "... properly restored model [vintage stove] like hers can run anwhere from $4,500 to $5,500." Lesson learned here: get lucky and inherit one like this person did.

p. 69 "... at $560 each [Italian designer dining chairs] they may seem out of character for the frugal French-woman ..." Maybe we can find one of these at our local General Dollar store, where el cheapos are known to frequent.

p. 71 "... A grand total of $1,800 divided by six chairs and a table equals about $200 or so per chair..." $200 per chair? Where's the cheap part? Read on about the fish sculpture that cost almost as much as their dining room set.

p. 73 "... So they called on designer Darren Ransdell ... who transformed their space [tiny kitchen] for less than $3,000. Where's the cheap? Where's the inspiration other than to get out the yellow pages?

And so on. Hold onto your $19.95 for a vintage sock monkey and start a collection as seen on p. 97.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone remember the 1970s magazine, Apartment Living (or was it Apartment Life)? The style and projects in this book remind me of that innovative magazine. I wish the projects had the step-by-step instructions and graphics, but actually they look manageable even without the details.
The book starts you thinking of offbeat sources of art to make your space special. Think of kid's art, instead of pricey modern art, or spray paint glass vases silver to mimic expensive mercury glass. Iron applique letters onto throw pillows to get a monogrammed effect.
The book gives examples for rearranging what you have for greater impact. Read the list of common decorating mistakes to get started. I liked the fun touches (a window seat full of vintage sock monkeys) and the liberating free-wheeling decorating that they advocate.
The projects include turning an ice bucket into a lampshade, painting your own zebra skin rug on vinyl, slipcover your headboard, and making wooden wine crates into storage bins. A particularly striking project turned three hardback books into wall art by folding the pages. This project did include step-by-step instructions.
Don't mistake this for Shabby Chic. Yes, many of the rooms feature flea market finds, but this is not the gentle pastels and rich touches of that decorating trend. This features bold rooms with an offbeat look.
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