"It's all about getting unexpected things," said Chris Benz, an American fashion designer who is collaborating with eBay on various fashion collections. He said he has furnished his apartment and office with eclectic eBay finds like vintage Italian turquoise pottery pieces.
PICK AND CHOOSE: Study your space and figure out what pieces of furniture you'll be using more. So if you spend a lot of time in your living room, you may want to spend more on a sofa and an entertainment center that would house your flat-screen TV and books.
It's like investing in good shoes or a handbag, said Pallavi Naidu, vice president of merchandising and product development at Atlanta-based Ballard Designs. Spending more on items that get lots of use means they will last longer and give you more satisfaction.
IMPROVISE: You don't need the real thing. If you don't have money to spend on a granite backsplash for your kitchen turn to peel-and-stick wall tiles. Not sure if you want to invest in a carpet? An area rug could cost less and accomplish the same thing.
REPURPOSE PIECES: Shop in flea markets and even your mother's attic to find pieces that could be reinvented as useful home decor items. And think beyond the original purpose: WSL's Corlett said that old sewing machines or leather-trimmed luggage can be used as tables.
CHECK OUT FINANCING DEALS: If you're strapped and need to stagger payments, instead of charging all at once on your credit card, check out financing deals from various retailers.
Most furniture stores have some kind of interest-free financing deal going most of the time. Just remember to keep up with the monthly payments or else you will wind up paying heavy-duty interest and sometimes extra fees.
WHEN IN DOUBT, PAINT: Often, just a fresh coat of paint will make all the difference in a room.
"Painting is one of the affordable ways to change the decor," Corlett said.