Re-Decorate For Free: How To Use Items You Already Have To Create A Whole New Look

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If you think you need to spend a lot of money to makeover your space – think again! We’ve always believed anyone can have a beautiful home, regardless of your budget. In fact, you don’t need to spend anything to give your space a fresh new feel – and today we’re showing you how. 

With a few clever tricks and trips, you can use your existing items to give your home an update that looks polished and pricey – but is totally free. It’s all about taking advantage of what you have and making small moves that will lead to a big impact in your bedroom, living room, kitchen, or bath. So what are you waiting for? It’s time for us to let you in on all the secrets!

Keep scrolling to see our 7 tips for an interior re-fresh (that won’t cost you a thing!)

 

Want even more ideas to improve your space? Check out our posts Laundry Room Refresh: 5 Ways To Make Your Space Look (And Work) Better and Bobby’s Guide To Framing (And The Best Printable Art Starting At Just $5)

Design: Glenn Ban

LAYER Your Art

Try thinking outside the box (or walls in this case). Art doesn’t always have to be hung. You can take your existing framed pieces or photographs and create a dynamic arrangement by leaning and layering art on your mantel, a console table in your entryway, or on a dresser in the bedroom. It’s an easy way to add visual interest and depth (and avoid having to make any holes in your wall). You can also use a mirror as the largest piece in a grouping and pair it with a few pieces of art leaned against it. Not only will it open up the space, but also help bounce light around. Check out some of our favorite printable art and tips for framing here

 

BOBBY’S TIP
Make sure you secure your leaning art with sticky tack or museum putty to make sure it’s stays put.

 

Rotate Your FURNITURE

You can easily give a room a dramatic re-fresh – simply by rotating your current furniture. Try swapping the locations of your sofa and a pair of armchairs, or moving your bed to an alternate wall. You can also try floating your furniture (moving it away from the walls) to create a better flow in space, divide a large space, or create more intimacy. And if you don’t have a lot of space to play with, try rotating out smaller pieces like side tables or stools. See how we floated furniture in our Mid-Century Modernized project here.

 

 

BOBBY’S TIP
Prior to moving furniture be sure to measure each piece to make sure it will fit in the new location. You can also make the job a lot easier with a set of furniture sliders.

FORAGE For Foliage

An oh so easy way to bring life to your home is closer than you think. In fact, it’s right outside your door. Adding cut branches, flowers, and other greenery can really elevate – and add life – to just about any room, whether it’s a large arrangement on your dining room table or a few small leaves in a vase on your nightstand. You can even use the extra pieces from when you trim back your bushes or trees so nothing goes to waste. Click here to see some of our favorite houseplants. 

 

 

BOBBY’S TIP
Use odd numbers when creating an arrangement of flowers or branches (3 stems for a small vase and 5 or 7 for larger arrangements).

Re-Arrange A BOOKSHELF 

The easiest re-fresh starts with re-arranging – whether it’s a bookshelf, open shelves in a kitchen, or built-ins. You can give any room a freshening-up by easily moving around items, or swapping in pieces from other areas of your home. See how we styled the bookshelves in our Neutral & Natural project here

 

 

BOBBY’S TIP
When re-arranging shelves, start with the largest items as “anchors”  grounps of books, vases, plants, and artwork) and then layer in smaller pieces.

Photo: Ferm Living

TUCK IN A Textile

A blanket, quilt or throw can make an interesting addition to your headboard or the back of your sofa. And it’s a great way to introduce color or pattern into your space- without committing to something major. You can also use any decorative textile – like a vintage piece of fabric or cloth – to bring a unique touch that will make your space extra special. Check out some of our favorite blankets and throws here.

 

 

BOBBY’S TIP
If your room has lots of patterns, choose a textile that is more neutral to balance the space, and vice versa if your room is less busy.

Photo: Eric Piasecki
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Design: Dumais

Re-Style YOUR BAR

If your bar set-up is feeling a little boring, try giving it a new vibe with a few easy additions. Adding a tray is an easy way to corral all your bottles and accessories, and bring in a vase with a few leaves (from your yard of course!) for a finishing touch. And if you don’t have a bar yet, adding one can bring a real polish and grown-up look to your living or dining room.

 

Be sure to check out our new series: Make It Werk With Berk– premiering tomorrow on Bobby’s Instagram – where we show you all our tips and tricks for styling a bar cart.

 

 

BOBBY’S TIP
For a more uniform option, you can place your favorite liquors in stylish, decorative decanters instead of displaying the bottles.

 

 

SWAP Lampshades

You probably haven’t given much thought to your lampshades (other than when a lightbulb burns out). But moving around your current lampshades is a great way to introduce a new feel – and level of light – to a space. Bringing in a shade that’s more opaque will make things a little moodier (for a living room or den), while something more transparent will add more light (Right for a an office or bedside reading lamp). Check out our favorite lighting here

 

 

BOBBY’S TIP
There are a number of different styles of lampshades, so make sure yours fit before swapping. CLICK HERE for a complete guide to all the variations and fittings.

 

  1. I love your makeovers of living spaces on QE, have you ever done an 1850’s log farmhouse? My living room has a steampunk safari travel feel. My problem is with the costs of window dressing . Our bay window is south facing and horrible. Any ideas?

  2. These are great ideas! I’m definitely going to give the art layering a try since we’re in a rental and don’t want to have to go back and plug up holes.

    I do have a question; how do you keep things looking crisp when you have pets?

    1. Pets can be a challenge when trying to keep things tidy. A pet hair vacuum is a great way to keep things tidy on a regular basis. I also find that sofas with a loose back tend to look messier when pets lay on them, as opposed to a tight back which is more tailored. Hope that helps you out! xx -B

      1. I have been thinking about redecorating for ages but have been really put off by the cost, but there are so many things I can try now. This will really make a difference. Thank you

        1. Thanks for reading love. Glad you found the tips helpful! xx -B

  3. When we want more than just rearranging or decorating, how do know who to hire to remodel a house? More structural or architectural issues?

    1. You’ll want to hire a licensed contractor and/or architect depending on the scale of your project. You can search on sites like Home Advisor or Houzz. It’s a good idea to read reviews before contacting anyone, and then get a couple estimates from different contractors to compare costs. Best of luck to you! xx -B

  4. Brilliant! This has been my favourite this week (apart from all the others 😀). Best tip how to secure the layered art , and changing lampshades. ⭐️

  5. Bobby, I love all of your ideas! I actually go back through the seasons of Queer Eye to get ideas. Is there any chance, you could do a post about changing the look of small, older homes? For example, mine is a 1,000 square foot bungalow, one picture window in the living room, dinner table at the other end. I try, but have no idea how to perk it up! I love all of the fancy, huge houses, but need inspiration for my little lived in place. Thanks!

  6. Loved these tips! Bobby is my and my husband’s favorite person on Queer Eye. We’re constantly turning to each other and saying “Bobby’s the best of them!” Thanks for being so great! We’re about to move to a new apartment in Brooklyn and appreciate all the advice on decorating.