While I’m a design freak, I’m a frugal sort of design freak. Which is why these 10 Tips to Decorate Without Spending a Dime were relatively easy to articulate. The no-cost decor ideas are common sense reminders that we can make fresh changes around the house without getting ourselves in a tizzy. And I’m all for preventing the tizzy and welcoming peaceful living! You’ll also see peeks around our house, where I try to keep the mood natural, serene, uncomplicated, and minimal yet warm.
10 Tips to Decorate Without Spending a Dime!
Wondering about the paint color we used throughout our home? It’s the color in the bottom left: Benjamin Moore WHITE
In case you are considering white quartz for your kitchen…see this.
Shopping your house and using what you already
have is not an earth-shattering new concept;
yet we sometimes feel paralyzed
and clueless as to where to begin.
We may feel overwhelmed about confronting
all the “stuff” stored in a basement, garage, or closets.
It’s okay if you feel less than confident about beginning the process.
As you move through the discomfort, your confidence will grow. If it helps, think:
MICHELE SAYS I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS,
AND IT WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
Because it will.
Pick One Room.
You’re going to begin with just one room,
so maybe pick the one you have dreaded addressing.
Why that one?
Because it can only get better, and that added confidence
just may carry you into the next project.
Identify Your Style and Color Scheme.
I know this may sound oversimplified, but it’s a way to get started.
Okay, first begin by sitting down with post-it notes, and a pen.
On a post-it, note the decor style you’re after for the room, and on another, the color scheme.
Going neutral? Tone on tone? All-white? Colorful and bold?
Don’t worry about the colors of your existing furniture at this point.
If you want to use pastels yet have a huge brown sofa
in the space, don’t freak out.
You can work with it!
Unsure about what interior design style you desire?
Take time to peruse inspiration from the
archives of Hello Lovely
or Pinterest to identify the best fit.
Identifying the design style you’re shooting for
makes it possible to execute the next steps.
Prep the Room.
Step One: Clear as much as you can from the space.
Clear out small furniture, accessories, art, lamps, etc.
to be able to see the space in its barest state.
If you plan to paint, this is the time to do it.
Shop my home
Step Two: CLEAN that room
Clean that room as if George Clooney, Princess Kate, and
the Dalai Lama are coming for dinner.
Make it sparkle!
Step Three: Snap a photo.
Take a photo of your clean room.
Step Four: Study the photo,
and you may be surprised how it guides you.
For example, you may see from the photo that
the furniture arrangement lacks symmetry or balance.
You may decide your curtains aren’t hung
at the right level or the wall color is wrong.
(Changing the height of your window treatment
takes a little effort but costs nothing and could make
a significant impact!)
On a third post-it note, jot down specifics with
which you’re unhappy and that disturb your eye
(i.e. coffee table is out of scale).
Also, note whether you feel better or worse
about the room in its minimal state.
Your emotional response at this juncture will
help to guide you in the next phase.
If you suddenly feel much better at the
minimal décor stage , this is important information.
i.e. You can still create an English cottage style
look for the room with florals, vintage, and country
accessories, but maybe it will be
“modern cottage style” with less clutter.
If you feel uncomfortable and as if you can’t wait to
layer on the art, books, and objects in the room,
this reaction too informs your next moves.
Step Five: Decide on furniture placement.
Do you have a friend who has a knack for this?
Are you tired of its current placement and
anxious to try a new arrangement?
Go for it!
Shop Your Home.
As you shop your house for décor items,
decide whether the object/accessory/art is one
you want to see everyday…if it is, it will probably
work regardless of style since the last thing you want
is for every piece to say “I’m country,” “I’m modern,”
or “I’m rustic.”
An interesting mix is always going to be preferable.
Consider tweaking items that aren’t quite right.
For example, an inexpensive painting you picked up
at a garage sale years ago may be the wrong color,
but if it’s the right size, maybe paint over it!
Creating original art for the room is a great way to put your personal stamp on the room and add interest.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of furniture meant for other rooms…maybe that bedroom dresser can function as a
console table or bar and that stool can serve as a side table.
Don’t Forget the Garage.
When shopping your house, don’t forget to check the garage.
You may find an industrial object, ladder, or something weathered and rustic to bring contrast into an otherwise pristine space.
Know what’s awesome about shopping your house?
When in doubt, simply try it out!
Plus it burns calories to shop, doncha know.
Consider These No Cost Decor Ideas.
Flowers and Branches From the Yard.
A stack of books can become a side table
Craigslist “Free” Section.
Castoffs from family/friends.
Original Art (or prints from magazines
or books for prints slipped into existing frames).
Lazy No-Sew Slipcovers
(dropcloth, bedspread, quilt, coverlet, or fabric
as a casual, unfitted “slipcover” for a sofa or chair?)
With certain design styles, (cottage, shabby chic, boho, etc.)
this loose fit look may work.
Pile on the pillows (experiment with unexpected color combinations)
BONUS no cost decor ADVICE FROM AN INTERIOR DESIGNER FRIEND of HELLO LOVELY:
“When I had my interior decorating business, it turned out most of my clients had rather small budgets which meant a “shop your home” approach. I actually loved doing that more than a ‘from scratch’ room because what the clients currently had gave me great insight into who they were.
My favorite times were when I’d say “May I have permission to shop your home?” and I’d find things they’d forgotten they had! I would often place accessories and furniture in rooms they’d never thought of using them or repurpose their use, making them look and feel new. Sometimes, with their permission, I’d paint all sorts of items.
One of my favorite stories: A new client said the only room in her home she truly liked was the bathroom. Immediately, when I saw it compared to her other rooms, I could see what she loved about it. A great starting point. The first big thing we did was to completely repurpose two of her rooms. We moved the too-big-for-the-space table and chairs into the adjoining room that had nothing but a small piano, a wicker chair and footstool in it. That room became the formal dining room, which was wonderful because it had a French door to the backyard. I purchased floor to ceiling soft, wispy semi-sheer curtains, a few new accessories, and the room was transformed! She was so excited because now she had a true dining area to entertain family and friends.
The small area that was previously unusable because the table was too large in the kitchen space, now held the wicker chair, footstool and a little side table I ‘confiscated’ from another room. For under the wicker furniture, I also borrowed a beautiful sisal rug from another room to define the morning coffee/quiet time area we’d created. She loved it all! And eventually I re-styled every room in her house. She worked in a very stressful occupation so it was imperative for her to come home to calm. (I must add that eventually I’d “shopped-out” her house and had to buy a couple things! Haha!)”
Thanks for touring our home and considering these decorating tips. Please share any tried and true no cost ideas in the comments!
Peace to you right where you are.