Ask a D.C. Expert: Shopping for Home Decor on a Budget

July 22, 2014 7:00 AM

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

There’s no place like home. It’s your resting place, the place to host parties and the place to express yourself. Don’t limit your creativity just because you have a budget. D.C.-based interior designer Darlene Molnar offers five great tips on how to shop for home decor without breaking the bank.

Darlene Molnar
2801 M St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 670-3665

Known for her ability to work with a variety of styles and her calming approach with clients, Darlene Molnar opened her boutique design firm in 2012 after several years as a designer with Swanke Hayden Connell Architects. Her Georgetown office specializes in creating chic, tailored spaces through personalized product selection and thoughtful styling. Molnar has been featured in several media outlets including D.C. Modern Luxury, HGTV and Home & Design Magazine. She received her Master’s in Interior Design from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, where she is currently an adjunct professor.

Brighten Up

“Add fresh pops of pattern and color to your home with accessories,” recommends Molnar. H&M Georgetown, known for its modern and affordable clothing, also has a fashionable and affordable home section. Find decorative accents for any room in your home including the living room, kitchen, bathroom, baby room and even outdoors. Choose a brightly colored cushion cover, pillows, decorative candle holders, funky accent pieces like a vase or storage container or wall decorations. H&M Georgetown is also a great source for bright linens and patterned tableware.

A Work of Art

Do you find yourself drooling over all of those magnificent photo spreads of gorgeously decorated walls in HGTV Magazine? “Recreate your own gallery wall with gift wrap!” Molnar suggests. The Paper Source stocks beautifully printed, high-quality gift wraps sold by the sheet. Choose from a variety of options including glitter, patterned paper, chevron, polka dot, ombre and stripes. The shop also offers gift wrap that features an adaption of the 1947 Visitor’s Guide to Washington map. Arrange several framed pieces of varying sizes together to create a bold statement wall.

Related: Best Interior Designers In The DC Area

What’s Old is New Again

Don’t sacrifice style with a small decor budget. Brighten your home decor with amazing finds found at yard sales. Previously owned furnishings help bring character to your home that you may not be able to find anywhere else. Check the paper for estate sales or head over to Miss Pixie’s on 14th Street, which is regularly packed with auction finds. “And think outside the box – a well-worn trunk can double as a coffee table or a use a unique dining chair as a bedside table.”

There’s an App for That

Multitask while you’re stuck on the Metro and peruse apps like One Kings Lane and Joss & Main, which host limited-time sales on name brand home furnishings. “These sites often have a large selection of marked down options,” says Molnar. “Choose from a wide variety of affordable home decor including a new rug to anchor a seating area or a dramatic chandelier to create a focal point.” Other decor items provided on these apps include accent pieces, decorative tableware, rugs, brightly colored pots, canvas prints, miniature statues and picture frames.

Related: Best House Cleaning Services In Washington DC

Ask and You Shall Receive

From elaborate chandeliers and wall art to the most comfortable couch you’ve ever sat on, boutiques and shops look more like your dream house than simply a place to buy a new jacket. Ask your favorite shop about upcoming floor sample sales. “Retailers need to clear their showroom floors to make room for new collections every season.” Befriend the sales associates and find out when their floor models may be up for discounted grabs. Soon that comfy couch may just end up in your living room.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at