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Zero Cash D.I.Y. Awesome Interiors. Easy and Free! Anyone can do it!

Updated on June 3, 2020
Michael Nathan PhD profile image

Michael Nathan, Ph.D,. is an avant-garde Registered Architect and Interior Designer, in private practice. Professor and Amazon author.

Catchy title? Yes. Feasible? Oh yes! Now that I grabbed your attention, let’s see how it’s done. Specifically, how to approach interior design long-term and follow a strategic master plan. In order to be able to remake, refresh or remodel your own interiors, frequently, easily and free.

If you blindly follow interior design fads, which change every couple of years or so, you’ll definitely need the energy to constantly redo your space, time, as well as cash; plenty of cash to be exact. Simply because remaking, refreshing or remodeling your interiors, often, isn’t cheap. However, there’s good news for all of us who are sensible, and have a confident attitude when it comes to interiors (Believe it or not, some folks, need to constantly change their interiors as they’re insecure and feel compelled to assert their identity somehow…).

Rules and Tips

So, here we go. The conditions under which we can change relatively often our interiors, without spending a penny are the following:

  1. Conceive your home in its totality. Think of all the spaces (Living room or Great Room, Dining Room, Bedrooms, etc.).
  2. Whenever you buy accessories, choose items that can fit in multiple rooms of your home. Carpets, Persian rugs, mirrors, table lamps, floor lamps, picture frames, throw pillows, prints, paintings, screens, sculptural pieces, bibelot, etc., chosen should be versatile or multi-functional. Items should be selected based on whether these can be possibly rotated from room to room. This doesn’t imply neutrality or boredom. This requires both judgement and experience which will be gained in time.
  3. The same approach or philosophy applies to furniture. For example, a Bedroom night stand may serve as a Living Room side table. An armchair can easily serve its purpose and fit in different rooms. A free standing tripartite screen can be transported from the Great Room to the Bedroom, for more privacy. A simple wood stool without a back may also serve as a Bedroom night stand (“Π shaped” are the most versatile). You get an idea.
  4. When deciding to change your interior, it can be done by moving, eliminating or reorienting a couple of pieces, or many more; affecting the function and perception of the space. Are you going to just “play” with accessories or with furniture as well? Your decision may affect the mood or atmosphere of the whole space. For example, study closely the photograph. The corner depicted is in a Bedroom, however, the specific composition can easily fit and function in a Living Room. The constituent parts are an armchair in grey (a neutral color), a Persian (Ardabil) rug and a wood screen.
  5. Talking about “mood” or “atmosphere”, lighting should also be mentioned. No other move alone will influence the perception of your space at night so profoundly. Lighting can render a space soft, bright (even harsh if you overdo it), sensual, calming or dramatic. Prefer dimmers instead of ordinary light switches, so you can adjust the light level according to the function or the mood desired.
  6. Even a simple act of grouping prints or photographs you have on different walls into a single composition or “picture wall”, can have an interesting effect on your interior space. Keeping this in mind, try buying similar frames so you may possibly do this down the road.
  7. Should you have spare fabric, you can easily reupholster a simple chair yourself. There are plenty of simple videos to guide you (Note, if you had a chair reupholstered, ask the upholsterer to give you spare fabric to keep; you never know, you may need it).
  8. Last but not least, don’t ever buy a piece that’s bizarre or characteristic of a specific era, because you’re limiting your future options. Buying popular or common pieces that everyone else has, negates your individuality. Instead, do choose pieces that are unique or rare but also inexpensive. Prefer pieces that are timeless (Let’s clarify this: Not conservative or classical).

The Strategic Plan – Final Words

The idea is to spend the money once, in order to buy furniture and accessories that can be easily kept or reused for more than twenty years. Don’t let magazines, bloggers or friends dictate your own taste. In most cases, you know best. Think what suits you and your lifestyle best and proceed accordingly. Abiding by the above simple, logical rules, not only do you avoid impulsive buying that may cram a space but you may be happier as well with the result. And of course save money. So there you have it: This is how to proceed on a strategy and a master plan, approach your interiors D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself), and spend absolutely no money. Plain and simple.


Michael Nathan, Ph.D. – Registered Architect and Professional Interior Designer

Versatile Corner Composition.

An armchair, a Persian (Ardabil) rug and a wood screen, forming a corner composition.
An armchair, a Persian (Ardabil) rug and a wood screen, forming a corner composition.


Contemporary Marble Bibelot.
Contemporary Marble Bibelot.

© 2020 Michael Nathan PhD


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