Going for gold
Looking for a cheap decorating hack? Buy yourself a can of gold paint!
Almost everything looks better when you gild the lily (or the shell, the stone, the pine-cone and the seed-pod) and you can use them to dress up a dull corner.
Go for a walk along the beach and gather up some interesting sea shells. No time for a beach stroll? Go to that well known hardware store (in the garden section) and buy yourself a bag of assorted shells for around $8. Don't worry if any of the shells are broken or damaged - that makes them even more interesting. Then get out the paint and go nuts! Once the paint is dry, drill holes in the shells with a fine drill-bit and thread with fishing wire. Suspend your golden shells from some interesting dried branches for a magical arrangement (I've used twisted willow and sprayed it silver for this one).
These come up amazing when sprayed gold or silver... they are such a sculptural shape. Even imperfect cones look a million dollars. Arrange in a basket or under the Christmas tree for a festive look.
Again, you can buy pebbles at your local hardware store if you don't have the time or patience to go scavenging. The good thing about buying them is that they come in a range of amazing colours. Try dark brown or even black, and don't coat them completely. The dark colour of the stone peeking through will provide an interesting contrast. Use pebbles to fill an empty cylinder vase or any other shaped glass vessel would make an interesting piece for the table.