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Redecorating for Cheap

Updated on August 10, 2009

Decor Stimulus

Has the economy gotten you thinking you’ll never be able to afford another knick-knack to decorate your home with? Given up on that $500 canvas painting that caught your eye at your local Pier 1? And does your home look exactly the same as it did three years ago?

Then you need a décor stimulus! Don’t worry…this won’t make too much of a dent in your bank account! 

Take a look around


First take a look at the layout of your home. How is the living room grouped? What space do you have to work with that you may not have utilized yet? To test out different floor plan layouts, try online for free to see if and how your furniture could fit differently.


Head to your local library to check out some interior design books for free. You may hate that Victorian style of the room in the picture but you may like the way they’ve grouped the couch and chairs. Just rearranging your bedroom can make it feel fresh and new.

What do you have?

Next take a look around your home. A lot of things you wouldn’t think of can be used as décor. Do you have any hobbies? A random collection of odd items? Think outside the box as to what you can use.

I happen to have a lot of cloth because I like to quilt. I sewed two funky looking quilt squares, framed them, and hung them to add a punch of color in our bathroom. Have a lot of books? Stack them on the floor in corners and by a fireplace to give a cozy studious feel, or put them to use as a side table!

Want to do something with all those old pictures of dead relatives you never really knew? Mount them (with photo safe tape of course!) on funky colors that pop for a retro look. Poppytalk has some great photos of things that make me think, "hey, I could make that!"

Next try looking outdoors for your next items. Collect driftwood (boil small pieces and scrub larger ones in the bathtub) and mount on the wall or stand a few tall pieces in the corner and tie it off with twine. You can also use a drill to make places to set tea lights.Small pieces look interesting in jars or just arranged on a shelf or as a centerpiece.

A few jars of ocean smoothed glass or river rock can be a cheap and very zen decor item.

There are always things to collect outside…pinecones, stones, shells, and leaves. Press a cool looking leaf and frame a few for an arrangement on the wall. Even a framed feather (wash your hands after...I hear my mom's voice in my head...) can look interesting!

Simple Projects

 Here's a few ideas of things I've made by just looking at what I had.

I bought a set of four square corkboards at Target for maybe $8. I used these for awhile for their intended purpose of pinning things to them, but when we moved I no longer had a need for it so they just sat in a stack. When I wanted a focal point of something to hang above our bed, I looked at those, found some leftover material from pillows I had made awhile back, a little bit of batting and a cute button or two and voila--I made 3 fabric covered decor pieces that added a nice touch to our bedroom.

Come spring I wanted to freshen things up again. has duvet covers for as low as $25--that's a great way to instantly change the feel of your bedroom! Our fall/winter colors focused around chocolate browns, tans and deep reds with a few touches of spiced colors.

With a light green duvet cover and $7 worth of burlap I was able to completely change the feel of our bedroom. I bought the burlap ( you can find all different shades) at Joann's for $3/yard. From this I made curtains and a banner that hangs over our bed. Three dollars worth of green ribbon that the curtains and banner hung on tied into the duvet cover and we had an instant summer feel. (Pics to come later)

Use your Creativity

We all may be tightening our belts and cutting back on extra things right now, but don't let that stop your creativity from using what is available to you to give your home a fresh new look.

My grandma did what she used to call "Shopping at the Dimpsty." Don't ask me why but she named trash dumpsters "Dimpsty Dumpster" and would check to see (not inside...I don't think...) what people were setting out there. An armchair, an older TV, and plants that had died that she revived (most infamously Charlie...which started off looking like a stick in a pot and ended up a 6 foot tall flowering shrub in her backyward).

Nowadays might be a better bet--there's a section in there of free stuff and you'd be amazed at what people give away! A pile of old weathered bricks can be made into so many artsy things with just a little plaster! Find a gaudy chandelier for free? Give it a bright coat of spray paint and hang it with a little flair!

Case in point: I just looked at the free list in Seattle and found a rusty old wheelbarrow posted on there. A little cleaning, some Rust-Oleum spray and you've got a cute way to store throws in your livingroom. Or put it in your backyard, drill a few holes in the bottom and plant some flowers in it!

Use your imagination and have fun!


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    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      You are obviously a talented, creative person!

    • anglnflt4ua profile image

      anglnflt4ua 8 years ago from Bay Area, CA

      You gave me some Great ideas...thanks!

    • E. A. Wright profile image

      E. A. Wright 8 years ago from New York City

      Decluttering, keeping fresh flowers around, repainting furniture -- little things can make a big difference.