12 Ways to Redecorate Your House with What You Already Have

There's something rewarding about freshening a room or making an item that's been ignored noticeable once again.  Parts of life can be a bit repetitious, and small changes can liven things up.

You don't have to plan a shopping spree to redo your home.  For the most part, you can give yourself a new view with what you already own.

home refresh

A new view

For many years, I was one of those people who can't pass up a HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, or even the Target pillow or lamp aisles.  I regularly visited antique stores within a 50-mile radius.  I shopped at craft fairs and quilt shows.  And I kept my husband busy painting, wallpapering, landscaping, installing windows and a French door... and more.

All of this greatly contributed to the five-figure credit card debt we had back in 2012.  And none of it added to my satisfaction, because I was never satisfied.  There was always something else the house "needed."

I still like a pretty house.  But my ideas about what's required to make my home pretty have changed.

Quick and easy ways to rejuvenate your home

1.  Start by eliminating.

When it comes to decorating, most people think of what they need to add.  But it's easy to improve your rooms by creating more space.  Your home will look bigger and function better, and you'll feel more relaxed with less clutter.

Start by choosing items that are your absolute favorites.  Whether that's a piece of furniture, a decorative item, or the handmade quilt on your bed, these are the pieces that show your unique style, and you want them to shine.  You'll also notice that some things are your not-so-favorite, and those are pieces you should let go.

Next, make one surface naked: the coffee table, dining table, kitchen counter, or someplace else.  Give your eye a place to rest, and enjoy a space that's open and ready for life to happen.

Go around each room with a basket and pick up everything that belongs somewhere else.  Enlist your family to put things away, and make a plan that from now on, instead of just putting things down when you're done, you'll put them away.

Tip:  If something has no designated home, either find one, or consider whether this item belongs in your home at all.

Finally, remove unnecessary furniture.  You know what I'm talking about:

  • the chair no one sits in
  • the table that simply catches clutter and dust
  • the broken futon you shoved into the spare room in case you needed it someday
  • the huge Victorian whatnot from Grandma's house

You might like the space more than you like the piece, and who knows?  Maybe someone else will love it.

2.  Rearrange furniture.

Maybe it's obvious, but one way to design a whole new space is to move things around.  Now that you've created a little more room (see #1), you have even more options for arranging everything else.  Try the sofa or your bed on a different wall, move the piano or the bookshelf, and get creative with everything else.

As a bonus, take time to clean baseboards and vacuum under those rarely-moved pieces of furniture.  Your space will look, feel, and maybe even smell fresher.

Tip:  Sprinkle some whole cloves on the floor and vacuum them up to spread their sweet and spicy fragrance throughout the room.

3.  Enlarge your windows.

Natural light will lift your spirits and add to your energy.  Don't worry if your windows are small.  You can fool your eye into thinking they've grown by using these tricks:

  • Get rid of things on the sill, and wash the window.
  • Extend curtain rods so more of the window is exposed when curtains are open.
  • Remove extra layers, pelmets, and valances.  Dress windows lightly.
  • Hang a mirror adjacent to or across from the window to reflect light and the view.

4.  Display some heirlooms.

You love your family treasures, don't you?  They mean so much, and remind you of your loved ones.

That must be why you have them safely tucked away in closets and in boxes in the basement.

The truth is, it can be hard to admit those things aren't as important to us as we think they are.  We "have" to keep them, but we never look at them.

I challenge you to find a couple or a dozen special heirlooms and use them in your living space instead of big box store knickknacks.  Chose something from Mom, Dad, or Auntie Marge, and display it prominently so you can see it and remember them regularly.  Then consider taking everything else to the the Goodwill.

5.  Clear the walls.

When people want to sell their houses, professional home stagers tell them to remove most wall décor and personal photos.

Yes, it helps potential buyers have an easier time imagining their own things in the room, but it also makes the space feel larger and lighter.

Try pruning excess from a gallery wall and putting the focus on a few favorites.  Cull a few family photos (not just from walls, but from tables and shelves), or choose your favorite vacation photo to be enlarged, printed on canvas,* and hung as a statement piece.

Even puttying and repainting old holes can be rather satisfying.  You might even buy a can of paint and cover one focal wall with a new color.  It will really wake up your room.

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.

light and bright dining

6.  Renew old pillows.

If you've ever browsed the pillow aisle at Target, maybe you've had the same reaction as me.  $60 for two pillows to toss on my couch?  I don't think so.

I've told you we're not shopping, but one answer to new pillows (which can make your whole couch look new) is pillow covers.  Amazon has lots of very affordable covers in almost any design and color you can imagine.

If you're committed to not buying anything, you can always sew some new pillow covers with fabric you have.  Or DIY some fun covers from favorite old t-shirts.  Sarah at Sezen Your Life has an excellent tutorial.

7.  Refurbish light fixtures and hardware.

If you have some cans of metallic spray paint (I'd use Rustoleum), you can quickly and easily update a light fixture, lamp, or hooks and door handles in an afternoon.  Remember to do this in a well-ventilated area, applying several light coats for best coverage.

This could change the entire look of your kitchen cabinets, your bedroom chandelier, or every lamp in your living room.

8.  Style your books.

First, declutter.  (I like to keep shelves about half-full.)  Then dust everything and arrange as you like.  I put my beautiful leatherbound classics together (some were my father's).  I also lay a few books on their sides to make pedestals for decorative items.

Add a few favorite ornaments.  Don't crowd – you want everything to look curated and special.  I have polished geode bookends, a lovely amethyst specimen, a couple of small (faux) succulents, and my mom's English Blue Willow teapot.  You might use some cherished photos, your Uncle Don's vintage cameras, and a hand-carved wooden box that holds remotes.

9.  Add flowers.

What's blooming in your garden?  It's late May, so you might have roses.  I have day lilies, star jasmine, and agapanthus (lily of the Nile).  Only agapanthus works as a cut flower, but a single head is stunning in a tall vase.

Many grocery stores sell flowers cheaply, so you can enjoy a fresh bouquet often.  Carnations, for example, come in a variety of colors, last a long time, and have a delicately spicy fragrance that's believed to reduce anxiety and promote positive feelings.

You can even air dry a special bouquet, corsage, or boutonniere, then display it in a vase or hang it from a hook.  If you like, surround it with an antique-store frame so the flowers look like art.

10.  Use your garbage.

No, I haven't gone crazy.  But before you toss those glass jars, think about how you could use them for decorative storage.  Ideas include dried foods on a kitchen shelf, paper clips and push pins on your desk, shells or old buttons as a bookend, or votive candles on the coffee table.

Before you toss old sheets or cloth shower curtains, think about whether you can use them to recover dining room chair seats (it only takes a good pair of scissors and a staple gun).

There are tons more ideas online, and you could probably definitely go too far collecting garbage to repurpose.  This is not a license to go looking for free junk by the side of the road!  But if you already own it, and think it's just trash, think again.  Donating and recycling are great options, but some items might be repurposed to give your home a little facelift.

11.  Make a switch.

Are you wishing you could redo your living room and master bedroom?  Here's a quick fix that's absolutely free!

Simply swap wall décor, curtains, rugs, and/or toss pillows.  Go a step further and switch end tables for bedside tables and a side chair for the bedroom settee.

This is my favorite method for giving rooms a fresh feel without buying anything new.  I even notice and enjoy my old belongings more because they're in unfamiliar settings.

If your elementary school children are in separate bedrooms, why not have them share for a while?  Arrange the two beds on opposite walls or at right angles in one corner, and put one dresser in the closet to maximize livable space.  Then turn the other bedroom into a play/study/hobby room, with desks, a bookshelf, and maybe some beanbag chairs.  Declutter down to favorite wall art and decorative items, mix them together, then divide them between the two rooms, creating an eclectic look that expresses both kids.

12.  Increase your curb appeal.

Yes, do mow, trim, wash, and sweep.  Clean and neat are what you want to see.  Then:

  • Repaint the front door with high-gloss paint, and replace the welcome mat if needed.
  • Update light fixtures and door hardware.  (Rustoleum to the rescue!)
  • Buy a flat of flowering annuals and add them to a border or an attractive planter.

It's easy to give yourself the feeling of a fresh start.  Try one of these simple projects today.

Learn how to do a home tune-up, how to undecorate, how to make the most of fewer collections, how to fix your areas of biggest complaint, and how to start with a clean slate.  Discover the colors, details, and signature touches that matter to you.  From slight tweaks to a completely new look, Comfortable Minimalism is packed with ideas and projects that will make your home the stylish, welcoming haven of your dreams.

Includes "A Clean Slate: 8 Questions to Uncover Your Style," a fun and informative Style Quiz, and a linked Project Index.


  1. I had some toss pillows in the living room that no longer matched our color scheme. I put them into some mix n match pillow cases from beds we no longer owned for a whole new look.
    Linda Sand


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

3 Questions to Help You Recover Your Minimalist Motivation

Why You Should Make "Less is More" Your Mantra for Life

10 Minimalist Habits No One Talks Enough About

15 Clever Ways to Zero-Out Clutter in Your Kitchen

The Easy "Multiply Your Savings" Plan