I love switching things up at home and experimenting with decorating
styles, but like most of us, my decorating budget does not allow for
purchases made on a whim. Instead of spending money (and cluttering up
my home with more stuff), when I want a change I first try to use what I
have in a fresh way. From new furniture
arrangements and easy DIY makeovers to ideas for creative reuse, there
are many ways to update your space that do not require cash. If you are
ready for a home makeover without spending a dime, it’s time to shop
Also known as “use what you have” decorating,
shopping your house entails searching your own home for forgotten
treasures and looking at what you already use with fresh eyes. Get
started with these three steps:
- Do a walk-through of your home, exploring every nook and cranny for forgotten items. Note anything you would like to have repaired.
- Take photographs of everything.
It is easier and faster to see what will work where if you can hold up a
picture, rather than dragging furniture from room to room.
- Remember to remove, not just add, items.
If a piece of furniture or a decor item has been rubbing you the wrong
way, move it out, try it in a different room, paint it or sell it — but
don’t let it just sit there.
Here are 12 creative ways to kick
off your shop-your-home makeover. Feel free to add your own ideas to the
mix in the Comments section.
Shop your kitchen for pretty organizers.
Bowls, creamers, cake plates and serving trays can all make fabulous
organizers for everything from jewelry and makeup brushes to office
supplies and mail.
Give an old twin bed new life.
An old twin bed frame (or even just the mattresses) languishing in the
basement can easily be transformed into a chic daybed with the addition
of a pretty coverlet and an armful of pillows. The key to making it look
more sofa-like is to cover the mattress with a fabric you would not
normally find on a bed. A vintage Moroccan wedding blanket, a heavy
linen coverlet or anything with pretty trim would be sublime.
Dress up your walls with dishes.
Have a pile of pretty dishes hiding out in a dark cupboard? Bring them
out where you can appreciate them by creating a wall display. Try
incorporating one larger platter in the center to anchor the
arrangement.See how to hang a plate collection
Put an unused desk to work. Placed
behind a sofa floating in the middle of the room, a desk provides a
convenient spot for sorting mail or displaying a few favorite objects.
You can also try using a desk as a console table, an entryway organizer
or an unconventional bar cart.
Stop before you buy that changing table.
(the long, low type) are usually the perfect height for use as a
changing table and have the added bonus of ample storage in the drawers
below. Later, simply remove the changing-pad top and fill the drawers
with your little one's clothes instead of diapers. 6 Great Uses for a Vintage Dresser
Give mismatched accessories a cohesive look.
Wondering what to do with the random assortment of vases, bowls and
other trinkets unearthed from your attic? Assuming none are too
valuable, try unifying the collection with a coat of white paint
When you are finished, group the items together in one spot (on a
bookcase, for instance) rather than scattered throughout the room for
the most impact.See how to make over knickknacks with paint
Create a unique display space with a spare coffee table. Just
because you bought that table to use in front of the sofa doesn't mean
that is the limit of its potential. Try using a coffee table (longer,
narrower versions work best) pushed against the wall to hold artsy books
or a pottery collection. Or use it as the focal point in a yoga or
meditation corner with a candle and other special objects placed on top.
Swap out your current coffee table. Changing
your coffee table is a quick way to freshen up your living room. Look
around your home for things you might be able to use instead, such as a
wooden or leather bench, a steamer trunk or a pair or stools or side
Cut a table down to size.
Before you give away an old table, consider whether you would use it if
it were shorter. Kitchen tables, consoles and simple desks can all be
shortened to become wonderful coffee tables.
Reuse architectural elements as decorative displays.
If your basement or garage is crowded with old windows, doors and
shutters, think about how you might use these creatively around the
Window panels can house photographs, or you can fasten
them to a base to make a unique table. Shutters and doors can stand in
for your headboard, while old brackets can hold up floating shelves.
Need more workspace? Use an old dining table as a desk.
Try that dresser in another room.
Dressers are one of the most versatile pieces of furniture, providing
both display space and storage. Try using one in the entryway with mail
on top, scarves and hats in the drawers below.
Or put one in the
dining room to use as a buffet, with linens housed in the drawers. If
you are a crafter, try painting your old dresser with chalkboard paint
and keeping supplies organized by writing with chalk on the drawer
fronts.See how to make your own chalkboard paint
If you have an old dining table you no longer use, consider swapping it
with your desk for more room to spread out. Also, be honest about how
you use (and how you wished
you used) your home. If you hardly
ever use your formal dining room but seriously need more space to
dedicate to your home business, why not give in and make your dining
room the office? On the rare occasion you want to host a dinner party,
you can always clear away your work materials.