Redecorating a home can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and most of us don’t have that kind of cash to hand. So, we have to get creative and revamp our abodes without deep pockets. All we have, of course, is our creativity and drive to get the job done. Oh, and you can use these 40 tips, all of which can completely transform a space without breaking the bank.
This update won’t cost you a dime – but it does require a bit of elbow grease. Decluttering any space will make it look sleeker. Interior designer Javier Fernandez gave an example to Insider in July 2020. He said, “Look at your dining room. Is the dining table stocked high with mail and projects that you had planned to get to? Well, there’s no time like the present to clear and organize it.”
39. Make a statement with your light fixture
You might be surprised to learn that swapping out a room’s light fixture is a quick DIY project with a big payoff. A statement piece dangling overhead becomes an instant focal point, and it makes everything look more expensive. Better yet, you don’t have to spend a ton to make such a glowing upgrade. Insider says that adding cylinder or drum shades to existing fixtures can make a huge difference.
38. Frame new photos
Picture frames allow you to display your family’s most precious memories. But maybe your in-home galleries only feature moments from decades ago. If so, you can breathe new life into any space by swapping out the photos with more recent snapshots. Print a few out and switch them to see for yourself.
37. Stick to neutral hues
When in doubt, the website Family Handyman suggests keeping it simple – at least, as far as color is concerned. Paint your walls in a neutral shade, and match that vibe in fabrics and accessories that you add to the space. You can also do it gradually – as you replace furniture, swap what you have for tans, whites, beiges and grays.
36. Gather branches and wildflowers
You might, in fact, have some fancy looking home décor in your backyard. Head outside and gather some wildflowers or fallen branches. Gather your finds in a vase, and you’ll see how the colors of the blooms or rustic feel of the sticks transform your space.
35. Opt for bold accessories
Go big or go home, right? That’s one way to make your home updates look extra luxurious. Insider recommends choosing bold, brightly colored accessories so they make enough of an impact. Think things like lamps, coffee table books, decorative boxes and knickknacks – if they stand out, they will make your home look much more expensive.
34. Move pillows around
Changing up your pillow arrangement can have a huge impact on the way your home looks, according to designer Christina Nielsen. She told Insider in July 2020, “Rearrange them on your sofa, swap in a pillow from another room, eliminate some pillows to create a sleeker space, or stack pillows on top of your bedding – preferably all white – for a crisp effect.”
33. Re-paint your cabinets
Even if you don’t have the funds for an entire kitchen or bathroom renovation, you can still totally transform either space. All you’ll need is a paintbrush and a bit of patience to paint all of the cabinets. The job will cost you hundreds of dollars. And this in stark contrast to what designer Rushda Hakim claims is the average price to replace these kinds of built-ins – over $5,000!
32. Deep-clean the carpets
You can clean your carpets for free or by renting a heavy duty cleaning device. Either way, removing dirt from your floors will refresh the entire space. Interior designer Courtney Turk explained to Insider, “By giving your rugs a deep clean, it will refresh your home and also help to prolong the life of your carpet as well.”
31. Add a functional side table
Do you have some stretches in your home that just feel… empty? Well, an end table or an accent table can fill the void. These tiny surfaces can add function to, say, the space between chairs. Or, put one next to a seat you already have in place. Either way, the new piece of furniture will give you a stylish place to stack accessories, hold drinks or place a reading lamp.
30. Hang one big piece of art
The bigger the art, the better – especially when you’re trying to get the biggest bang for your décor bucks. The Spruce recommends looking for a piece that’s big enough to span the length of your headboard or sofa. A sizeable, abstract print or painting will make a big impact – especially if you choose something patterned as opposed to pastoral.
29. Go for the gold
Grab a bottle of gold spray paint and you’re halfway to creating a glamorous vibe in any room, The Spruce claims. You’re not going to airbrush the walls, though. Instead, transform your accessories such as vases, knickknacks, picture frames. Or you can make even more of a statement by re-painting an end table, mirror’s edge or bookshelf. No matter what, adding a metallic touch will give your space an instant flash of luxury.
28. Construct faux built-ins
IKEA furniture is far from custom. That said, you can be strategic in your next haul from the big-box store and create a built-in without any custom woodwork. All you have to do is pick up as many bookshelves as your space can fit, according to Family Handyman. Installing them side by side by side will make it look like they were cut and constructed for your room specifically.
27. Add depth with mirrors
Mirrors don’t just help you perfect your outfit before walking out of the door. No, an extra-large looking glass or a wall filled with them can completely transform your space, too. Spend a few hundred dollars on expansive panes and watch as they add visual depth and reflect natural light.
26. Revamp the bannister
You can make a huge impact by switching out your old bannister for a new one or revamping what you have with a coat of paint. Interior expert Kate Watson-Smyth explained why to Ideal Home in June 2020. She said, “Little details like touch points, light switches and nice colors on the bannister, those are the things that people remember because they interact with them.”
25. Make walls shine
Don’t worry: we’re not suggesting you wash your walls. Instead, pinpoint some of the duller facades in your home – the ones that could use a bit of pizzazz. Then, Reader’s Digest recommends measuring the walls in question and picking up enough lustrous wallpaper to cover it all. A neutral-toned, shiny wallpaper catches the light and looks luxurious no matter where you hang it.
24. Reorganize your bookshelves
Standing your books upright on shelves? Try something different to give your living room, office or bedroom a more elevated look. Designer Courtney Turk suggested via Insider, “Stack them on top of one another, and add in a few favorite pictures or vases you may have stored away to create some depth and character on the shelf.”
23. Make wires invisible
You might not be an electrician, but you can still do something about those messy wires dangling from your TV, cable box and DVD player. And, once you do so, you’ll have a neater space that looks much more put-together. Try running your wires behind furniture or folding them into a drawer. Even gathering all of the wires together so they look like a single strand will look way better than what you have now.
22. Modernize cabinets with fresh hardware
An old-school set of hardware can seriously date your cabinets or furniture. In fact, you won’t realize how true this statement is until you swap out drawer pulls and door handles for something with a more modern finish. Best yet, this project is cheap, quick and it comes with a big payoff – win, win, win.
21. Ditch dingy linens
Instantly make your bedroom feel more expensive by pulling dingy sheets, blankets and pillows off of your bed. If a wash won’t restore them to their former glory, then replace them with a tried-and-true staple. After all, white linens always look crisp and luxurious. There’s a reason why hotels always have snow-colored bedding, you know.
20. Go thrifting for antiques
It’s no secret that antiques and heirloom pieces make your home feel more unique. But buying such items can break the bank – unless you know where to shop, that is. Hit up your local thrift stores to see what vintage wares other customers have left behind. You’ll often find great artwork, barware, mirrors and other statement pieces to instantly elevate your space.
19. Angle your furniture
Moving furniture around is a very efficient way to change the look of just about any room. Interior designer Christina Nielsen explained to Insider, “Adjust the lines of your room by angling your sofa and chairs differently – making sure natural light is the highlight here to enhance the spatiality of a room.” Play around with your pieces until you have a new setup you like.
18. Coordinate colors – or match them perfectly
An almost monochromatic room would be boring – and some experts say that combining almost-but-not-quite-identical shades looks cheap. Reader’s Digest recommends choosing a base color, and then coordinating it with hues that are three shades lighter or darker. You could also make everything the exact same color, as this looks just as good design-wise.
17. Turn down the lights
Low lighting can instantly make your room feel luxurious and intimate. That’s why every single home will look better in a low-level glow. And you can make this look easily achievable with a simple DIY project. Simply install dimmer switches in place of traditional on-off levers.
16. Hang a ceiling medallion
Victorian interior designers used to hang ceiling medallions to draw the eye upward and make it catch a glimpse of a statement light fixture. But we’ve come to appreciate the ceiling medallion in its own right – an ornate accessory that wraps around the base of your overhead bulbs. So, The Spruce suggests hanging one overhead for instant added elegance.
15. Craft new cushions
If you want new throw pillows, it’s time to dust off your crafting supplies and get creative. Pull out bits of lace and fabric, as well as buttons, thread and another adornments, Insider recommends. You can use all of it to redesign your pillows, as well as blankets, curtains and other tapestries in your home.
14. Create a gallery wall
Gather picture frames from around your home, or pick up a gallery wall kit at your local home décor store. With enough photo holders at the ready, you can create a focal point in your bedroom, living room or office. Interior designer Aurora Martial told Ideal Home, “You can go for a very orderly neat look, say four lines of four, or go with different size frames and mix them.”
13. Let floor-length curtains flow
Curtains can add color and richness – they’re a great, inexpensive way to make your home feel luxurious. But you’ll only achieve that goal if you purchase drapes in the right size. They should graze the floor, designer Rushda Hakim told Insider. Otherwise, too-short tapestries will end up looking cheap.
12. Shop your closets
You might have forgotten some of the treasures you’ve hidden away in closets, cabinets, attics and basements. So, shop your own storage spaces to find pieces you wrote off before but could fall in love with again. Interior designer Javier Fernandez told Insider, “You’ll likely find something you put away a while ago. Now, with fresh eyes, you can see how it might work in one of your rooms.”
11. Pick the same paint for walls and trim
Mix things up by ditching the classic white trim, painted walls combination. Instead, brush the same shade onto both areas for a sleek, more modern finish. Interior designer Clare Barnes shared the merits of such a treatment with Realtor.com in 2017. She said, “Avoiding contrasting trim is easy on the eyes, adds more focus to decorative accents and accessories, and simplifies the room’s architectural details.”
10. Layer your lighting
Many novice designers make the mistake of having a single lighting option in a room. But a variety of light sources adds depth to any space. So, Realtor.com suggests having an overhead option, as well as a few tabletop lamps you can turn on and off – depending on the mood. Set out some candles, too. The flicker of a wax taper creates an even more palpable ambience.
9. Roll out a few rugs
Hardwood or tile floors add texture and color to your home, but they’re not as cozy on the feet as carpet. Get the best of both worlds by rolling out an area rug for an instantly inviting feel. The same goes for other spaces lacking in soft furnishings – adding throw pillows or blankets to your couch, for example, can soften up the living room.
8. Finish it off with crown molding
Crown molding will be the cherry on top of your interior design sundae. The woodwork – easy to install on your own, by the way – finishes the gap between your walls and ceiling. Plus, you tend to find such a feature in more expensive homes, so adding it to your place will boost the luxury factor, too.
7. Stick to the rule of threes
Maybe you’re superstitious and believe that bad news comes in threes. Well, in the world of interior design, it works oppositely. According to The Spruce, trios are a very good thing. So, go for the triple when you hang art or display knickknacks. There’s no real explanation as to why this works so well, but when you try it, you’ll see for yourself.
6. Tile the backsplash
A weekend of DIY can help you transform your kitchen – no demolition or renovation required. Instead, Reader’s Digest recommends revamping the space by installing a tile backsplash on your own. Some tiles even come with a mesh backing, so they’re incredibly easy to adhere in straight lines.
5. Use leftover paint to create an accent wall
You don’t have to spend a dime on an accent wall so long as you have leftover paint, according to interior designer Javier Fernandez. Crack open the cans, mix them up and use what you have left to paint an accent wall. If you’re feeling extra creative, use the same supplies – plus a bit of painter’s tape to outline it – to create a pattern on the ceiling.
4. Harness natural light
Mirrors have the potential to reflect natural light and brighten your space. And you can let in more natural light by throwing back your curtains during the day, or by hanging sheer panels instead. Either way, the combination of mirrors and unobstructed sunshine will warm up your home in a way that overhead lighting never could.
3. Pot a houseplant
A little bit of greenery can go a long way in home design. So, invest in a few planters, then fill them with leafy green foliage, succulents or other plants which are easy to care for. No matter which variety you choose, you’ll be bringing in a bit of freshness that can transform the look and feel of your space.
2. Don’t skip on curb appeal
Grab a bucket of bold paint, a brush and get to work – you have a front door to transform. Choosing a non-traditional or otherwise bright hue will make your abode stand out from the pack. Finish the job by installing new house numbers that work with both your eye-catching front door and your home’s exterior finish.
1. When all else fails, go simple
A minimalist look will always feel high-end and expensive, even if you don’t break your decorating budget. You can achieve this sleek style by adhering to the “less is more” principle, according to Rocket Homes. Ditch extra-large or unused pieces of furniture, as well as any accessories that feel more like clutter and less like design assets. Cut down, and you’ll have a contemporary feeling space – no purchases required.