Decorate for the holidays on a budget

Published On: Dec 02 2012 08:55:51 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 03 2012 05:40:00 AM EST

The time has come to deck the halls and trim the tree in your home.  But if you’re tired of the same old holiday décor, getting a new look could not only be expensive but time consuming.  Angie's List says you can transform your home into a winter wonderland and offers creative and budget-friendly tips.

A small budget shouldn’t prevent you from creating a new holiday look using your old decorations.  Hiring expert help can be less expensive than you might think, and it could make a world of decorating difference. One trick? Find a designer who offers consulting services so you can get great, professional ideas but save money by doing the actual work yourself.

Also, talking with landscapers, handymen and roofers to help hang your lights could save you some time and keep you from having to climb those dangerous ladders in the winter months.

Angie’s List Tips:  9 Affordable do’s for decorating your home’s interior:

  1. Go to the pros: Many interior designers/decorators offer consultation in addition to the actual decorating. Save money by hiring the advice but do the actual work yourself. Don’t wait, though, it’s the busy season for decorators. Call now and be clear about your budget and expectations, so you don’t waste time with a decorator who’s not interested in consultation only.
  2. Take stock: Before you meet with anyone, take stock of the decorations you already have and show them to the decorator. He or she may suggest new ways to use your existing décor or affordable ways to supplement. Have your friends and family do the same thing. You may find you can swap décor and give everyone a fresh, new and affordable look this season without spending a dime.
  3. Using sentimental objects: If there is a loved one in your family you’ve lost, but still want to honor, use something they may have left you as part of a center piece for the holidays.
  4. Use nature: Go outside and use evergreen branches, pine cones or berries they can make beautiful arrangements and not cost you a penny.
  5. Pick a focal point: Choose one part of your house to highlight, whether it be the dining room table, entry way, mantel or tree. You don’t have to have every inch decorated to make your home look good.
  6. Get the service scoop: Designers won’t likely hang outside lights, but they may suggest companies that do that.
  7. Hire well: Do your research on what services the designer offers, look at his or her portfolio and check qualifications
  8. Ask about costs: You could have a designer come to your house for an hour to show your ideas or you could hire the designer to do all of the decorating. Make sure they know your budget beforehand.
  9. Selecting a tree: If you are a fake tree person maybe spruce it up with new colors. If you go to a tree farm, know your budget and talk to the experts there about what would go best with your décor and home.

There are companies who offer hanging lights outside as a seasonal service – such as landscapers, roofers, and handymen – and other companies who specialize in holiday decorating. Exterior decorations left out too long after the holiday season will not only annoy your neighbors, but can pose a fire hazard. Holiday lights are seasonal and should only be up for a limited time.

Angie’s List tips: 9 do’s of decorating your home’s exterior:

  1. Consider hiring help. Every year the holiday decorations get more extravagant, and houses these days have more difficult roof lines, so it’s challenging to hang the lights and decorations yourself. Also, they can help you with a design that best fits your house.
  2. Check rules and regulations: If you belong to a homeowner’s association, ask what decorations are allowed to be added to your home’s exterior before you hire.
  3. Call early in the season to get scheduled: Meet in person and share ideas so no one is surprised or disappointed by the final design. Ask to see photos of other homes they’ve decorated to make sure their designs are in line with the style you want. How creative do you want to get? Do you want a theme with your decorations or do you want to remain traditional?
  4. Is the company qualified? The holiday decorating company will likely access your roof to hang lights- check that the decorator is insured to protect against any falls or accidents – otherwise it falls back on the homeowner.
  5. Ask about costs: How do they determine the price – by square foot or by the hour? Don’t forget to ask about the cost of materials- are you required to purchase the company’s lights/decorations – or will they hang your pre-existing decorations?
  6. Installation process: Ask if you’ll be required to be home during installation. Generally, the company will need access to your home’s power sources. Check if your display will be on an automatic timer, or if you’ll have to manually plug in the display.
  7. What is your timeline? Figure out when you’d like the house decorated by and for how long? Some people want to flip the switch right after Thanksgiving and keep the lights up through January; others are just looking for a couple weeks.
  8. What’s their maintenance policy? If a bulb or timer goes out, do they have staff available to return to your home and fix/repair the decorations?
  9. After the fact: Will the company come back and take down the lights? Also, some companies will store your lights for you, so ask about the service.

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