New year, new you, new home—well, if you had the money for that last one, that’d be the case anyway. But if the holiday season has you tightening your purse strings a bit, you’re not alone. And yeah, maybe you can’t buy a new place or splurge on a whole bunch of new stuff either. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your space look different. There are plenty of no-cost design changes that can help refresh your space, and these eight freebies made our list.
1. Shop Your Home for “New” Accessories
Take the lamps in your living room and swap them out for what’s on your bedside tables. You can do the same thing with other non-installed decorative items around your home, from vases and plants to throw pillows and blankets.
2. Colorize Your Books
Yes, we know this is controversial, but hear us out. If you haven’t arranged your collection by color yet, sort your books by spine shade and give that ROYGBIV game a go. Or edit your books on display down to a tight color palette, and put the outliers in baskets or bins. This will bring a bit of visual harmony and calmness to your space. Or if the rainbow look isn’t for you, you could reorganize to find a system that works for you—genre, alphabetical by author, etc.
3. Feng Shui All Day
Take some time to rethink your layout, applying some of the basics of feng shui to it so energy-wise, your home’s flow is better. For example, if sitting at your desk means your back is to the door, change that so you’re facing it (this is called a place of power). Keep bathroom doors closed. Make sure your mirrors are in a spot where they’re best reflecting natural light. A bunch of little tweaks can make your space feel more and harmonious for you—and anyone else who walks through that door.
Seriously, we say this all the time. But all that stuff is making your space feel claustrophobic, and it’s dampening the energy in there too. Make like Coco Chanel, and instead of removing one accessory before you go out, remove one thing you don’t need from each room you walk into—the bigger the item, the better. Donate all your cast-offs in good condition to charity.
5. Swap Bedrooms
This won’t really work for those of you (like me) in one-bedroom apartments. But if you’re feeling like you want to shake things up and your roommates or family members are down for it, try swapping bedrooms with someone. This may be easier said than done if there’s a big disparity between the sizes of sleep spaces in your home. If the stakes are low though, why not? You’ll be forced to rethink your layout and belongings, so welcome that change. And if you live alone and have multiple bedrooms, even better. You’ll have your pick of the litter!
6. Remove Your Blinds or Heavy Window Treatments
Not saying you should do this all throughout your home—especially not in private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms. But if you have a rear-facing kitchen window where sunlight just streams in, for example, give it a chance. Or maybe you have a big living room window. Just take the blinds or curtains off and fully embrace this feature.
7. Repurpose Old Clothing and Accessories into Decor
Turn a favorite old college or high school tee into a pillowcase. Use scrunchies or hair ribbons as curtain tie backs. Instead of wall art, hang necklaces off of pushpins. The more creative you can get, the better.
8. Take Your Upper Cabinet Doors Off
Have you always loved the look of open shelving in a kitchen? See if you can make your kitchen look airier by removing a set of upper doors or two. It won’t work in every case or layout, but I’ve seen this done before in low budget renovations, and it’s a quick way to take 10 years off the age of your kitchen. Be prepared to sort and toss mismatched dishes though. Hope neatness is your strong suit.
See? Sometimes design doesn’t cost a thing, folks. What else would you add on this list?