Do you sometimes find yourself looking around your space, wishing you had a few extra thousand dollars for new furniture, paint, lighting, and accessories? Hopefully someday that will happen for you (and me!) but in the meantime, what can you do? Well, plenty, actually. Just in time for the weekend, I give you…
5 Ways to Refresh and Renew Your Home’s Decor…for Free!
1. Open the Windows
Depending on the time of year you may not want to actually open the windows, but definitely open the blinds or shades and let in as much light as possible. You’d be surprised what light will do for your mood, and for your decor.
Yes, you can probably see your surroundings just as well with the windows darkened and the lights on, but there is really no substitute for natural sunlight. Take a few moments to go around the house and open up all the curtains, and maybe even the windows themselves to let in some fresh air. Take a deep breath, and get ready for the next step.
Alright, you knew it was going to come down to this sooner or later, right? After you’ve lived in a space for a while, things have a tendency to accumulate. As items come to us (gifts, books, papers, trinkets, letters, magazines, etc.) we usually find it much easier to find a place for them, rather than taking the time to decide if they are worth keeping, and if so, what else is ready to go away.
Now is that time. You may find it easier to do this with one small space at a time, and it may be unrealistic to do it all in one weekend, but just decide which area you are going to deal with and go for it. Even de-cluttering a bookshelf can give the whole room a new feel.
Here’s my favorite tip for de-cluttering: Organize a swap with friends. The idea is to clear out the decorative things that may no longer suit you and ask if any of your friends are ready to do the same. (Sort of like a garage sale, but without all the work.) Get together, bring all your things, and see if anyone else could use them. You may find a whole treasure trove of decor this way, all for free! Plus, it gives you incentive to let go of a few things, knowing they’ll go to a good home.
Even if you don’t swap with your friends, you can try using your own decor in different rooms for a new look, as long as it doesn’t just add to the clutter there!
When I was in college and had no money, my roommate and I spent many a happy Saturday rearranging the furniture. Well, it made me happy. I’m not so sure she’d agree, but she sure was a good sport. It beat studying anyway, and when we were done, we’d feel like we had a whole new room. Our dorm rooms were tiny, and I’m pretty sure we came up with more creative ways of rearranging two beds, two desks, and two dressers than anyone in the history of the school.
*If you don’t have a willing roommate handy, invest less than $10 in a set of furniture sliders. They really work!
You may look at your bedroom or living room, sure that there is no other way of rearranging that furniture. My first question would be, do you need all that furniture? You may find that you can let go of a piece or two that aren’t really earning their keep. If you don’t want to actually get rid of a piece, try it in a different room. Then you’ve redecorated two spaces at once!
Secondly, if you can’t imagine how else you would arrange the furniture, try just flip-flopping everything. You’d be surprised what a difference that can make, and sometimes just getting out of your rut can open your eyes to new options and possibilities.
Finally, if your furniture is against all the walls, try pulling some pieces out into the center of the room. “Floating” a seating area gives the room a whole different feel.
4. Clean (Just a Little!)
Now, y’all who know me by now know that I hate to clean. I cringe a little to have to add this to the list, but it really does make a difference. And just think, if you love to clean, you probably are already doing these steps. For those of you who are rolling your eyes at me, let me give you a short list of cleaning “cheats” that will make you feel better about your home, without getting dragged into an all-day cleaning session. (I can think of no more profound waste of a Saturday!)
- Make the beds.
- Fluff the sofa pillows and fold or tuck any throw blankets.
- Stack the magazines/books on the coffee table. Corral small items in a tray.
- Pick up (and put away) everything off the floor that is not actual furniture.
- In the kitchen, do the dishes and put everything away. Aim for as much empty counter top space as possible.
- Wipe hard surfaces with a clean damp rag, to make everything look fresh.
- Light a candle!
5. Raid the Garden
Regardless of the time of year, you probably have something nearby on the other side of your walls that would add a nice natural touch to your home decor. In spring, it could be lovely flowers for a fresh table arrangement. In fall, perhaps you can collect leaves to scatter artfully on the center of a coffee table or in a wide bowl. Wintertime branches can make a lovely clean arrangement to freshen up your space without even using color. Even a large mason jar of sand or rocks (yes, I live in the desert) could be part of a table centerpiece of collected items. Use your imagination and think outside the box, or house.
It’s not rocket science, I’ll admit, but with these few changes, I promise you’ll feel a bit better about your space. And think of all the money you saved by doing these projects rather than going out shopping, which can now go into your savings account for the big remodel budget!
Have any other ideas for refreshing/redecorating with no budget? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below so we can all benefit from your ideas too.
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