Giving your home a refresh doesn’t have to involve bank loans or substantial renovations. In fact, there are countless ways you can update how your home’s look and feel that are incredibly affordable — free! Get started with these eight clever ideas.
1. Feature your fireplace.
A fireplace is often the focal point of a room. If it’s not a working fireplace or it’s not in use, you and your guests end up gathering around a blank opening.
Take this as an opportunity to create a styling “moment” with shape, color, or texture. Bring interest to this focal point with a stack of books, an interesting vessel, an indoor plant, or even a collection of candles that can be lit to provide a mini-fire effect. Each of these ideas will fill a space that would otherwise be blank and boring.
2. Rehang your art.
It might be time to reassess your whole art collection — and we mean everything hanging on your wall, all the way from oil paintings to tiny prints or even the kids’ art.
Opinions differ about where to hang your best pieces: in the bedroom where you can enjoy them morning and night, or in your living area where guests will be impressed, perhaps. It’s up to you, but what is important is that you match the scale of each work to the space it’s in and to the wall it’s on, especially if you’ve invested in a statement piece.
If you’ve collected lots of smaller pieces, could you hang them in groups or create a gallery wall? Balance is key. Are there any bare or crowded walls? Even if you do nothing but move artwork between rooms, the different light will give you a new appreciation of them.
3. Change up your display.
If you shop your own cabinets, we guarantee you will find some treasures. Use these forgotten items to create new vignettes, or refresh your existing displays. Shapely perfume bottles are great in the bathroom or on a bedside table.
Remember the basics when it comes to the art of display: odd numbers of objects work better, use a tray or board to corral like objects together, and avoid the cluttered feel that comes with large numbers of tiny objects.
4. Use your lamps.
Lighting is one of the easiest ways to create atmosphere, so it’s an area where you’ll be able to make a real statement. Obviously your ceiling lights are fixed, so pull together all your other light sources, including lamps, your Christmas fairy lights (draw the line at anything red and flashing) and candles, and place them around your living and dining area as well as your entry. The aim is cozy, which means setting the tone with multiple lamps at different height levels.
5. Swap rooms.
This one’s a little more radical, but it’s worth exploring. Think about the current configuration of your home (looking at a floor plan can help) and consider whether swapping rooms could provide any benefits.
If you have an open-plan kitchen and living area, this might mean flipping the living and dining areas around within that space. If you have a series of smaller rooms, you might swap a living room for a bedroom or have family members swap bedrooms.
Think about the orientation and aspect of each room; if you’re wasting the best outlook on a spare room, take it over as your own bedroom. If your living room is overtaken by toys but your home office is pristine (and unused), repurpose it as a playroom. Or, have the kids share a bedroom and create a homework and playroom zone for them.
Remember, the changes don’t have to be permanent; the aim is to match your home’s floor plan to your family’s routine and lifestyle.
6. Re-style your shelves.
This is an easy win. After awhile, your bookshelves become part of the background, so changing their look can refresh your whole perception of the room. If you’re lucky enough to have lots of books, use them to your advantage.
Color code them by spine color and arrange them like a rainbow. Try horizontal stacks rather than the usual vertical arrangement, or a mix of both. Break up an expanse of books by removing some and replacing them with curated vignettes made up of small artworks, ceramics, or collectibles.
7. Go green.
You don’t need us to tell you that indoor plants are big. In fact, we’re now seeing actual potted trees indoors. The difference they make to a room is incredible. They’ll need nurturing, but the benefits are worth it — so cut some clippings and get growing!
Bring foliage from your garden inside, or go for an evening walk with pruning shears and see what the neighborhood has to offer. Set yourself up to succeed by adding greenery to the rooms you live in: the kitchen, living area, and bedroom. You’ll have more time to enjoy your plants and you’ll notice if they’re not doing well.
8. Subtract something.
We all know Coco Chanel’s maxim about removing one accessory before leaving the house, and this kind of editing also works for interiors. Here’s a trick: Take photos of your room from several angles to help you see the space with a more critical eye.
There is a fine, and personal, line between clutter and artful display, and taking away some “stuff” can allow the space to shine again. This may mean removing a piece of furniture or taking out an accessory that no longer fits.
A general Marie Kondo-inspired declutter and good clean will help, too. The key to the editing process? Revisit your original scheme for the room and pare things back to stay true to this vision.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.