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Three Rs of Budget Decorating: Refocus, Rearrange & Rotate

Updated on August 17, 2014

Decorate Without Spending a Dime!

While it's fun to purchase new home accessories, it can be equally satisfying to save, especially when we have limited cash - or no budget at all. You can make a dramatic difference in a living space using what you already have. I call this challenge the three Rs of redecorating: Refocus, Rearrange, and Rotate.

Here, you'll find ideas for making noticeable changes that can be accomplished in just minutes or in a few spare weekend hours. You won't implement all of them, of course, but can pick and choose according to your own style and what is at your fingertips.

Refocus in Sixty Minutes

Identify the focal point of your room. Is it a piece of furniture? A fireplace? A grouping of plants or wall hangings? Windows count, too! When you have identified your focus, you can do the following:

Change the ebb and flow. Introduce a taller plant, sculpture, or lamp stand into the focal group; this will add eye-catching appeal to the horizontal landscape. Avoid blocking a view, however, and stick with slender items, if possible.

Make it cozy. Gather up favorite quilts and throws. Roll them in bundles and tie them together with a scarf or ribbon. Pile them in an extra basket or make a free-flow group in a corner.

Add new accent colors. Go through dresser drawers in search of old silk scarves. Use them as decorative tiebacks on drapes or arrange them over cushions or on the backs of chairs.

Bring Mother Earth indoors. Go shopping in your back yard and in your neighborhood. Look for dried grasses, twigs, pinecones, and interesting objects to create a natural display. Place them on the coffee table or tie the twigs and grasses together and hang.

Bring Nature Indoors

Bring Nature to Indoor Decorating
Bring Nature to Indoor Decorating

Rearrange Your Day

Rearranging furniture can make such a difference. Begin by removing small and mobile objects from the room. Now, you can focus on the larger pieces before you bring the smaller items back into play.

Group your sofa, loveseat, or chairs with guests and entertainment in mind. Angle a chair or sofa and create space between furniture and walls. Bring a hallway table into the living area. Center it behind the sofa and add photos, a plant, and candles.

Change the appearance of other groupings. A bookcase that is filled to the brim can acquire a new look. It's time to pack away a few of those novels - at least temporarily - and open up the shelves. This is a terrific spot to artfully intersperse a favorite collection (and what a perfect time to give the books a dusting). Make random space on each shelf for one or two items such as a childhood toy, empty cigar boxes, or a unique souvenir plate.

Reunite like items that are scattered throughout your home. Organized groupings will have greater impact without adding clutter.

Rearrange photo and art groups. For higher ceilings, don't be afraid to go upward with larger works, especially if they're bold.

Rearrange a Bookcase

Rearrange a Bookcase
Rearrange a Bookcase

Weekend Rotation

The Japanese method of styling involves rotating objects for the seasons or for occasions. A new piece or grouping always replaces an old one, which is stashed away for future use. This eliminates clutter and adds an ever-changing appeal filled with emotion and personality.

Go through the other rooms in your home and look for items that can be rotated into the living area. Don’t limit your list to small objects; furniture can just as easily become subjects for rotation. Create a cozy corner with a writing desk that has been tucked away or place a bedroom rocking chair near the fireplace.

Scope the outside of your home as well. An outdoor shelf can be used as a bookcase or for natural displays – such as the sheaf of twigs and grasses - and collectibles.

Make trades. Exchange bedroom lamps for those on the end tables.

Spend some time in the garage and attic – you may find forgotten special treasures or family heirlooms that can come out of hiding. An old clarinet, saxophone, or trumpet placed on a stand will make a great conversation piece.

Your sewing kit can be a treasure trove of ideas, including border tapes, decorative trim, and material scraps. With a little glue, you can easily redecorate lampshades that will complement your existing color scheme.

Remember: the key to avoiding clutter is to put something away each time you find a “new” treasure. With a little imagination and foraging, you’ll soon have a redecorated space without spending a dime!

Rotate Arrangements; Change Heights

Rotate Arrangements; Change Heights
Rotate Arrangements; Change Heights

Key Tips for Redecorating

No matter how you decide to redecorate, keep these tips in mind:

1. Strive for flow as you plan changes.

2. Keep focal, secondary, and accent colors in balance.

3. Make the space usable and comfortable without appearing cluttered.

4. Study the balance. Paired objects often bring a room together: a lamp on either side of the sofa or plants on either side of a bookcase, fireplace, or entertainment center. When creating a grouping with multiple items, use odd numbers of pieces to maintain artistic balance.

More No-Cost Tricks

Save Money with These Bonus Decorating Tips

--In winter, move your seating closer to the fireplace. Or move chairs from the bedroom to create a conversation grouping.

--If things don't work, just move them back. This is a no-commitment, you-can-always-go-back way of decorating.

--Double up - move a bookcase into the dining room. Use it as a display shelf with fewer books on it.

--Use trays to create mini-tablescapes in other rooms. In the bathroom, create a 3-D montage of soaps, bath oils and a handtowel or washcloth, for instance.

Great Books on Budget Decorating

Save Money & Have Fun with DIY Ideas

Thanks for stopping by! - Feel free to share your own decorating dilemmas and hints.

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    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Love the ideas here....I'm a big advocate for using what you have decorating. :)

    • ItsMeEmilyD profile image


      5 years ago

      Loving the awesome and inexpensive ways to change things up!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Very good ideas that got me thinking!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I like your R's.

    • JJNW profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      YAY for being frugal! * Blessed by a SquidAngel *

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 

      9 years ago

      Excellent tips, especially during the recession!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      9 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Interesting lens! Lots of good tips. 5*

    • MBradley McCauley profile image

      MBradley McCauley 

      9 years ago

      I'm very impressed. Not only is it a well done lens but the information is fantastic. I clicked over to several of the links and I am even more impressed.

      I gave you a 5--would have given more if I could have.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      10 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      You've been busy since I was here before. Another beautiful lens and very informative. I like the idea of quilts & throws rolled & tied and put in a basket. We still have cool nights in the summer and I don't put these away ... so this is a good idea. Thanks. 5 stars, fan, favorite and lensrolled.


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