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 Budget Living Home Cheap Home : A Room-by-Room Guide to Great Decorating

When it comes to decorating with sophistication and flair, great style doesn't have to come with a big price tag. The editors of Budget Living magazine, the leading experts on living large and spending small, give readers the lowdown on design and show how to transform a home into a haven-without breaking the bank. From tiny studios to sprawling houses, this innovative do-it-yourself guide will inspire readers to add color, wit, and chic style to every room in the home. From floor plans and storage opportunities to quirky finishing details and small-scale projects, this book teaches you everything you need to know, including:

  • How to use color to energize and unify your home
  • Where to find distinctive pieces that bring panache to any room
  • What you can do yourself-and when to defer to the experts
  • How planning ahead and thinking creatively can save you thousands of dollars
  • Why sometimes the smartest thing you can do is splurge on something you really love
  Date Published 5/4/2004

Average Rating: Rating Average
  
 Ratings 
 
Rated By: Joanna C. Kelley
From: North Carolina
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Reality Check, Please!
"Home Cheap Home" is published by Budget Living Magazine (which is one of my new, favorite magazines.) I have purchased three issues of Budget Living, and found many of the decorating ideas already published in the magazine, published again in "Home Cheap Home". This is an annoying redundancy I have noticed a lot in books published by magazines -- note to publishers: We do notice!!! That said, "Home Cheap Home" is a pleasant enough, realistic approach to decorating on a "budget". I do think many books and magazines need a reality check on what the average consumer's idea of "cheap" and "budget" are, since recovering a thrift store sofa for $1,200 would leave many of us gasping for air and eating nothing but Snack Ramen for the next three months. "Home Cheap Home" is REALISTIC budgetwise for those of us who are forced to think of Pottery Barn AS the expensive stuff. The book relies heavily on flea market and thrift store looks and finds, and if this isn't your bag, this isn't the book for you. I did enjoy some of the decorating/craft projects, especially the book-folding thing -- very funky! There were not a lot of new source ideas, Budgeteers already know to shop Target, Ikea, eBay, the fleas, and rumage sales. (If you have shopped for secondhand junk lately, you will have noticed a lot of the prices are less than budget friendly, and the day of the fabulous $10.00 Goodwill sofa has gone the way of drive-in movie theaters.) Still, "Home Cheap Home" offers up a fun approach (if not exactly fresh) to decorating within ones means. Like the magazine "Budget Living", one of the most delightful things about "Home Cheap Home" is that it never takes itself to seriously. And,when your end tables are cardboard boxes covered with sheets, this is a welcome attitude.
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Budget Living Subscribers: This is a pass
As a subscriber to Budget Living, I would say that a fair amount of this book has already been published in the magazine. I haven't even read all of the issues I've received yet and couldn't help recognizing at least half of the photos and such when flipping through the book. I ordered it sight unseen, which I now regret. If I'd looked at it first, I probably would have passed because so much of the content is recycled. Shame on the editors for milking a good thing for all it's worth!
Rated By: shelz123 "shelz123"
From: Columbus, Ohio
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Can't wait to decorate my own apartment in "cheap chic"!
I'm a huge fan of the magazine Budget Living, so I was thrilled to hear about this book. And it did not disappoint -- the book is GORGEOUS, really high-quality production and design, and the ideas are fabulously fun. There is a bit of overlap from the magazine, but the book goes into greater depth than the magazine is able to ... and it offers a lot of great new ideas, too. Spread the gospel of Budget Living!!
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Just a rehash of what's been in the magazine
This is a ripoff. I see what's budget about it. It was cheap for the magazine to create because it's just a rehash of what they've published before. This is a major disasppointment. Don't buy it.
Rated By: Jennifer Denon
From: Louisville, KY
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: There isn't anything new here
As a fan of Budget Living, I was super disappointed when I got this. I looked through it and expected new ideas but what I saw were things that have already run in the magazine. I feel cheated and angry. I gave the book to my hairdresser.
Rated By: tommie van deusen
From: San Francisco Bay area
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: If you read Budget Living magazine, don't buy this book
If you read Budget Living magazine, don't buy this book. All the editors did was scrape together rooms and projects they've already published. This is old stuff, and I'm not happy I bought this book.
Rated By: A reader
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Save your Money
An extreme disappointment from a great magazine. I truly expected more from them.
Rated By: DecorGirl
From: Buffalo, NY
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: If you want a stylish house for less $$, read this book!
I read every issue of Budget Living, and I loved this book. Their message -- you don't need a lot of money to create a stylish look -- is so true. They created some amazing looks ... and gave me some wonderful ideas for decorating my new apartment.
Rated By: MichelleFromPA
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Proves That Cheap can also be Stylish and Chic!
I love the new wave of books and magazines coming out that focus more on personal style and budget, than on decorators' styles (and budgets!). This book is fun and cool, and doesn't make you feel embarrassed for shopping at Target, Ikea, or Crate & Barrel for furnishings. I read Lauri Ward's "Use What You Have Decorating" and now I have the design basics down pretty well; and this book is kind of a follow-up to that: buying items within my budget. However, I also feel inspired to break some of the Ward rules after seeing the way others use their personal style in decorating.

The best thing about this book is the way different styles are mixed up, yet still come together and look cohesive. I was a bit lost when it came to decorating since I like a little of everything: Vintage, Retro, Modern, Urban, Industrial, Casual, Whimsical, Bohemian, etc...but I'm also drawn to neutral colors. Now that's a decorating dilemma!

I also like the way the book encourages readers to use their imagination and get creative with their talents. I don't have seamstress or carpentry skills, and not much of a DIY'er, but I was inspired enough to buy some poster boards and make a few collages (and even hang them up!). There are only a few projects featured in Home Cheap Home, and they look like they are pretty easy to do. I like the "Etched Words on a Drinking Glass" project and plan to give it a try. I think they should have featured more easy projects like that.

To sum it up: For those looking for an eclectic approach to decorating, this is a good one to check out. However, I gave it a rating of 4 because I think they should have added more than just compilations from their magazines (as others have already said).
Rated By: scrabbler
From: VA
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: home chic home, not cheap
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.
Rated By: S. Salehnia "crafty chick"
From: seattle area, WA
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: not a bad book.......
although some of the stuff they talk about in the book is pretty pricey (re-doing a couch from goodwill for $1000 is not cheap to a college kid). some of the ideas are really awsome. this book is really good if you dont subscribe to the magazine (since when ive looked through the magazine at stores i notice alot of the same projects and ideas in there). i thought it was pretty good otherwise.
Rated By: K. Norlander "kate0311"
From: MN
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Very helpful
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.
Rated By: Beatrix Strong "Bea"
From: Virginia
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Chic AND cheap decorating (with a grain of salt)
This book goes unmatched for style amongst the "cheap decorating" genre. It's main attraction is what it can inspire.

I LOVE the featured projects, such as the 99 cent vases that you can make look like expensive mercury glass, framing fabric scraps and covering cheap photo mats with fabric, and a hanging light made of different sized lightbulbs. They are all cheap and easy to do.

One of the BEST sections of the book (pp 30-33) is the part that shows how to transform a couple's living room using only the pieces they already have and a list of 10 "Do's and Don'ts." The transformation looks fabulous!

Although some of the price tags on the individual pieces can seem quite hefty, the book says right off that one of the keys to great decorating is "knowing when to save and when to spend." Also, why not make over your kitchen without those $2000 marble countertops? The rooms in this book never completely depend on one expensive item, you can take them or leave them. Overall, a fantastic book...you must take it for what it can inspire and what tips it offers for creating a wonderfully cheap room, not as a collection of price tags.
Rated By: budgetista "budgetista"
From: virginia
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: the hip budgeters cameup with a homeguide!!!!!
a great book from my favorite magazine, gives good ideas you can find on the cheap
Rated By: MlleEmily
From: Australia
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Very good, but don't buy if you have a few of the Magazines already
This is a resonably good book, but I can understand why it has disappointed so many people who bought it- it is recycled magazine content from it's first year or so of publication.

The magazine didn't come out in my country until recently so I hadn't seen this content, and this book ended up being a very cheap way of perusing the old issues- I got my copy for $1 from amazon sellers.

It isn't particularly cheap style; it's just not high-end. You could sort of cynically think of this as a book aimed at those people profiled in David Brook's 'Bobo's in Paradise'- people who, back when schlepping through their liberal arts degrees, had no idea that one day they would earn anywhere near $70,000 a year, and who also had no idea how little that would end up being. A lot it is too rich for my blood, but I still like looking and it does give a sort of aspirational/inspirational shot in the arm without sending me plunging into despair as I would if I thumbed through one of Martha's tomes.

It has a kind of retro-ironic aesthetic and there's a fair amount of do-it-yourself stuff. It all looks pretty perfectly done though.
Rated By: anon
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: It's not cheap but..
I don't know how they can call this "home cheap home". $1750 for an outdoor table & chair set? $450 for an orange lamp? $1400 for a red carpet runner? $1200 for a chandelier? I could go on & on.
Plus most of the projects they talk about were done by professionals-things powder coated, reupholstered, etc. The book kept saying they had things done because it's hard to do yourself. Not what I was looking for.
Over & over again they talked more about splurges-the book should have been called "It's not cheap, but..."
Rated By: Virginia Allain
From: Poinciana, FL
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Make Your Place Unique
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.
Rated By: S. Fishburn
From: Fort Collins, Colorado
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Kinda like a nice big jar of eye candy for your coffee table
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"!
Rated By: S. Fishburn
From: Fort Collins, Colorado
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Kinda like a nice big jar of eye candy for your coffee table
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"!
Rated By: S. Fishburn
From: Fort Collins, Colorado
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Kinda like a nice big jar of eye candy for your coffee table
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"!