Having a vacation house or a weekend getaway was always a dream of yours and now it’s finally built! You spent hours going over plans and looking at tile samples and flooring options and lighting fixtures and now…the dream is a reality! It’s a slightly over budget reality but look! There it is!

Unfortunately, like most second home builders you probably spent almost your entire budget just on building or fixing up the house so that it was structurally sound and livable. Now you have to decorate it and make it homey with a fraction of the money you thought you’d have.

Don’t fret! Luckily (and partly thanks to the ever increasing popularity of the DiY movement), there are all sorts of things that you can do to create a beautiful and cozy retreat for you and your family.

Paint It Yourself

Believe it or not, painting rooms can be really fun! (Warning: That link has an auto-play video!) Even better, painting the interior of the house yourself is way more cost effective than hiring someone to do it for you. Plus, there is no better time to paint the walls than before you get everything moved in.

Pro Tip: Use chalk paint. Chalk paint is more expensive outright, yes, but it goes further because you don’t have to do any priming or preparing before you apply it to your walls. It can also be used on furniture and in artwork if you have any leftover.

What Do You Already Own?

The great thing about building a second house is that you already have a first house that’s probably filled to capacity with great furniture and decorating options. Mine that for all it is worth! Go through your first house and really look at what you’ve accumulated and have stopped noticing. Surely there are things you’ve crowded in that would fit in nicely at the second place!

Thrift Shops

Everybody understands that bedding and upholstered furniture should be purchased new, just for safety reasons. Tables, book cases, hutches, storage items and decorative items can be scavenged at thrift and secondhand shops and rummage sales for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy pieces from a department store or specialty shop. These shops are also great places to find cookware and serving ware.

The great thing about the Shabby Chic and DiY movements is that the goal is to have things that are a little bit distressed and things that are well loved. This makes shopping at thrift and charity shops all that much more worthwhile. By honoring your budget, you’re creating a trendy second home.

And remember: with a little work, even a dodgy rummage sale find can be improved to be sturdier and good looking.

Landscaping and Greenery

Everybody knows that fresh flowers and plant life are great additions to any house. With this being a vacation house and one that you will probably only see on weekends or a few times each year, though, keeping live plants healthy can be really expensive and will likely require the help of a professional gardener or landscaper. Silk flower arrangements, though, are a great way to fill your second home with flowers no matter how long you’ve been gone. Plus, artificial flowers have come a long way since you were young. Companies like aquilegia specialize in building incredibly realistic looking flowers and other plants out of silk and similar materials.

Remember: this isn’t meant to be a full time home—at least, not yet. That means that you can take your time to build it into the sanctuary you’ve always dreamed of. You can save up for the bigger things and supplement with thriftier finds as needed.

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