Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Living Room

by Kelly · 7 comments

in A Frugal Home,Series

This is the fourth in a five part series entitled ‘Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the…’. We have been looking at five different areas of the house and at five different ways to save money in each area. With all sorts of prices on the rise, and the need to make your money stretch even further than before, frugality is more important then ever. Stay tuned tomorrow for the final installment, or better yet, subscribed!

1. Furniture

I’ve said it before (and before) and I’ll say it again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on furniture for your living room to look nice. In fact, used furniture can be a better bet if it means that what you buy is of higher quality. Look for something that is structurally sound; the covers can be replaced or the piece can be reupholstered if needed.

Another frugal idea is that less is more. Not only do rooms look larger with fewer things in them, but you spend less time cleaning and less money furnishing. Look around you; what items do you use and what items do you have? Which leads me to…

2. Zones versus an all purpose area

What purpose is your living room serving? And is it serving that purpose well? Do you want your living room to be a place for the family to come together, an all-purpose center of the home, or a relaxing oasis at the end of the day? My living room is my house’s room of all trades: it must serve many purposes. I make it do so frugally by defining specific areas and making sure there’s lots of storage. Each piece of furniture serves a purpose and also has storage. For example, three of my husband’s five (yes, five!) guitars are stored under or behind the couch. Doing so has allowed my husband to indulge in his favorite hobby without requiring an extra room or paying for storage.

3. Decorations

Decorating your house does not have to be an expensive proposition. Paint can be found inexpensively in the mismatched colors bin at the hardware store and fabric isn’t that expensive either. Don’t know how to sew? Try to barter services with somebody who does, or learn to do it yourself on the internet.

Look at the objects in your house that you love. What are they? Why do you love them? Is it the color, the shape or size or the sentimental attachment. Can you reproduce that feeling in your living room? What about moving the object to a more prominent place?

Try redecorating your room just by rearranging what’s already in it. In most cases you have this furniture because you like it, maybe all you need is to use it differently.

4. Entertainment

Your living room is an area for living. If it is beautifully decorated to your tastes (not a magazine’s), zoned and organized so that it works for you (not an organizing expert) you are more likely to spend time in it. Time spent at home is (usually) pretty frugal.

How do you spend your time? What do you like to do? Are you on the internet? Watching a DVD? Indulging in a hobby? Folding laundry? (Probably not.) How did you acquire that DVD or those scrapbooking materials? When you think about the kinds of pastimes you enjoy, do you feel frugal?

Here are some frugal ideas for entertainment. Go through your DVDs and pull out all those that you haven’t yet watched; then plan a series of date nights for after your kids have gone to bed. Or you could invite a bunch of friends over for a game night, to which everyone brings a board game and something to eat. Go through your hobby or crafting materials and make a list of projects you wish to accomplish. Pull out the materials needed for the first project and leave them in an area you can easily get to. It’s not a hobby if you never do it. Finally, read a book you checked out from the library, or read a book to your kids.

5. Entertainment Systems

Do you have a fancy new TV and video system? Or did you buy what was onsale at Target ten years ago? Maybe your entertainment system comes from Freecycle? I think you can guess which system is the most frugal.

Actually, it all depends. What are you using it for? If you watch loud action-adventure movies as a family tradition than it might be worth it for you to save up to pay cash for a big, muscled system. If you only watch the evening news from time to time then a Freecycled system might be best.

To find entertainment systems or other electronic equipment frugally, think about looking at different sources. There’s a fairly well developed expatriate network in the area where I live and so I have bought all my TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos etc from people returning to their home country. Typically people are here on a three to five year contract- they buy new stuff when they arrive but can’t take it back with them due to things like different voltages. This might not be an option for you of course, but try to think of an equivalent that does; maybe you have a cousin who likes having the latest model but only keeps it a year, maybe there’s a factory warehouse in the next town over.

Where ever you buy your entertainment system, you should not forget to unplug the system at the wall when you’re not using it. Doing so will save money, and electricity.

What are your frugal tips for the living or family room? Share them with us in the comments! And make sure to stay-tuned for tomorrow’s, final, installment, or better yet, subscribed!

Previous Installments

  1. Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen
  2. Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Bedroom
  3. Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Bathroom

{ 7 comments }

1 Frugal Wench August 21, 2008

I’ve enjoyed your series. I don’t like living rooms that aren’t liveable. My mother kept her LR pristeen in case of company for years, and stuck my dad back in a tiny bedroom to watch t.v. He finally moved the t.v. into the LR and said exactly what you said “Living rooms are for living in”. Of course, it took him 20 years to get the nerve to do it! LOL

2 FruGal August 21, 2008

I’m with you on the fact that decorating doesn’t have to be expensive. We have an awesome feature wall in our living room covered with artwork in mis-matched vintage frames. Shop for cool, cheap frames on ebay and charity stores (don’t worry about what’s in them, you can replace it), then use them to frame artwork prints you like. You can buy cheap prints online, and also check out the gift shops in art galleries and museums. They sell prints for about £3-£4 each). It looks bright, colourful, and original, and the whole wall cost about £100 all up (and there’s over 15 different frames).

FruGal’s last blog post..How frugal is too frugal?

3 David August 21, 2008

Craigslist is one of our favorite places to get furniture from – sometimes you even get practically brand new designer pieces for almost nothing! Great post, enjoying the series….

David’s last blog post..Home Gardening: Determining The Best Date For Sowing Seeds In The Fall.

4 Budget Mama August 21, 2008

Great post! I agree with things being simple, it really does make things spacious. BTW-I love that your husband has 5 guitars. I see my son has a budding guitar interest-he will get his first one for Christmas.

5 Dana August 22, 2008

I do like to keep the livingroom somewhat respectable. The kids stuff is overwhelming at times.

Great Series :)

Dana’s last blog post..What’s that?

6 Ann at mommysecrets August 28, 2008

I really liked your series on frugal living – thanks for taking time to post so many ideas in so many corners of our homes!!

Ann at mommysecrets’s last blog post..Date Night on Youtube

7 Ann at mommysecrets August 28, 2008

I really liked your series on frugal living – thanks for taking time to post so many ideas in so many corners of our homes!!

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