Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
If you’re trying to create a new look in your bedroom or living spaces, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on new furniture or a remodel. With a little bit of imagination and some effort, you can decorate a house on a tight budget by repurposing what you already own and making smart purchases that make a big impact for a small amount of money. If you’re crafty or willing to tackle a few easy DIY home projects, you’ve got even more options for low-cost home decor.
When you’re ready for a new look, here are 30 easy and cheap home-decorating ideas for your bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining room.
Cheap decorating ideas for the bedroom
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, and here are some inexpensive ideas to make this space your own.
1. Change up your bedding
Your bedding often dictates your bedroom’s color scheme. For winter, pick a richer shade for your comforter or duvet cover, and buy sheets or accent pillow to match. When you switch to a lighter blanket for summer, choose a pastel shade and find sheets and accessories to match. A well-placed pillow or throw blanket can help make your bed a focal point and completely change the look of the room. If you’re crafty, you can transform old fabrics into new pillows, quilts or decorative items.
2. Add a mirror
Especially if your room is small, a mirror will make it seem more spacious. A large, heavy mirror leaning against the wall will open up the room. A decorative wall mirror or arrangement of smaller mirrors can add interest to a bedroom wall — as well as help you do your hair in the morning.
3. Swap the furniture
Is your bed under the window? Move it against the opposite wall for a whole new look to your room. Move the desk to the living room and bring an armchair into your bedroom to create a reading nook (or a place to throw your sweater). If you simply rearrange the room’s furniture or swap furniture between rooms, you can create a whole new look without purchasing a thing.
4. Organize with style
My bureau is always cluttered with hair accessories, makeup and stray pens. Purchase interesting boxes and containers in a colorful or eye-catching theme to store your small items.
An even more budget-friendly idea is to repurpose items you already own. I keep bobby pins and hair elastics in a sugar and creamer set that used to belong to my great-aunt. Get crafty to make keepsake boxes; you can even turn old magazines into bowls to store bracelets or lipsticks. You will have transformed mess into style.
5. Dress up your nightstand
Most people’s nightstand is an afterthought, but it won’t cost you much to redecorate one small corner of your bedroom. Upgrade your bedside table to one with more personality, or score a yard sale find and refinish it with paint and stencils for a unique look. Choose an alarm clock with retro style or a pop of color. Fun picture frames or flower vases with crafty, not tacky, fake flowers can brighten up your nook.
6. Add themed accessories
Head out on a thrifting spree and look for fun accessories you can transform while sticking to your budget. One designer told us she buys every single hobby horse she can find and repaints them for a decorative touch in children’s bedrooms. She also buys old cowboy boots and paints them in wild colors as accessories in Western-themed rooms.
Can you transform old shell necklaces into beach-themed decor, or make a collage of old postcards because you love travel? A little creativity will help you add those touches to make your bedroom more you.
Cheap decorating ideas for the living room
Living rooms are high-traffic areas, and you can make them functional and fashionable with these tips.
7. Play musical chairs
By that we mean, move the chairs (or sofa or end tables or shelving units) around the room until you have a new winner. Sometimes the way your furniture is placed is not the only option, and you might be able to open up the room or create new nooks on the cheap, with some simple rearranging.
8. Experiment with slipcovers
Slipcovers are a perfect way to change the look of your living room on the cheap. You don’t need to spend hundreds buying a new couch or getting all the upholstery refinished. Cover your sofa with a light cotton or linen slipcover for summer, then remove or replace it as the weather turns chilly. If you’re tired of that sage sofa, see how it will look in blue, pink or brown. A new hue for your central seating might make you see your living room in new light.
9. Throw on the throw pillows and blankets
Throw pillows can completely change the look of a room. Your taupe/beige/cream color scheme gets a summer lift from turquoise or hot pink pillows. Come fall, switch them out for rich rusts, oranges or reds. A comfy throw in a seasonal color also can enhance your color scheme.
All of these accessories can be picked up cheaply or even for free on online Buy Nothing groups, at garage sales or in thrift stores when your neighbors redecorate.
10. Switch out lampshades
Don’t forget lighting when you want to redecorate your living room on the cheap. Switch out your current lampshade for a different one and change the tone of your living space. Ikea sells affordable lampshades separately from the lamp bases. Or find cheap lamps at yard sales and Goodwill, reuse the shade, and discard or give away the base. You might even be able to switch shades between lamps in different rooms of your house for a free way to change things up.
Another cheap decorating trick is to change the bulbs in your lamps — they come in colors now! And different bulbs can give off warmer or cooler light. You might find you like the new light better.
11. Rotate the art
Do you have framed artwork sitting on the floor in your spare room or unframed prints collecting dust in your basement? Now might be a good time to show them the light of day, as a cheap redecorating idea for your living room. Or, the art in the guest room might actually look better in your living room. If you don’t have art on hand, you can find inexpensive prints or other wall art at discount stores. Or repaint used frames and make a wall of family or travel photos, or even frame pretty fabrics you pick up on the cheap. You might be surprised how rotating your art collection makes you see a room differently.
12. Accessorize on the cheap
Accent pillows, vases, picture frames and vases can all be found at budget prices or for free. These accessories can pull together the decorating theme you envision for your living room, without you needing to go furniture shopping.
Vases (we all have a bunch stored somewhere) can make great accessories and don’t necessarily have to hold flowers. I have a fat, round one I fill with red glass Christmas tree ornaments for the holidays and it looks gorgeous. Or learn to make your own silk flowers from fabric scraps and put them in your vases to bring more color to the room.
13. Make a statement
If you want a new look but can’t afford to repaint or redecorate an entire room, consider creating an accent wall that will be the center of attention. Paint a single wall in a bold color to be the focal point in a room. With just one wall to redecorate, you’ll need fewer cans of paint and can likely do the work yourself to save money. (Read our tips for how to save money on paint.)
Or skip the paint and hang a large painting that makes you smile over the fireplace or in another central area. A large statement mirror will also draw the eye. You can get creative with arrangements of multiple smaller wall hangings or photos, or even a themed corner or book nook that will capture the attention of your guests when they walk in.
14. Repurpose used furniture
New furniture is expensive, but if you can breathe new life into used pieces, you can refurnish your living room for less. Bookshelves can be painted to redecorate a room; if you don’t have any, you can often find them discounted on Facebook Marketplace or at a thrift store.
If you’re redecorating on a budget, you might actually be able to buy a better (gently used) sofa or chairs for not much more than a slipcover would cost you. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for a lower price; sometimes, they’re so set on getting the old stuff out of their house quickly that they’re willing to make a deal. (Get more tips on how to get the best used furniture deals.)
15. Color-coordinate your books
Everyone who has seen “Home Edit” knows about organizing your books in rainbow colors. If your living room has bookshelves, try this trick — and then pick up some small, colorful tchotchkes to dot around the shelves. It will make your bookcase a conversation piece rather than a piece that never gets a second look.
16. Add shelves
Adding floating or corner shelves not only can change the look of a living room wall, but it gives you a place to create a themed collection that shows your personality or style. Perhaps you want to display your modern aesthetic, your personal pottery portfolio or collectibles from your travel.
Cheap decorating ideas for the kitchen
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, so keep reading for some tips on how to make it a place for you and your family to enjoy.
17. Update your cabinets
If you can’t do a full kitchen remodel, consider swapping out cabinet handles and doorknobs for an affordable update. I replaced the existing hardware on the cabinets in our black-and-white kitchen with red knobs for a pop of color to draw the eye. You can also paint your existing cabinets to change the tone of the room.
18. Organize your countertops
Use countertop accessories to declutter your kitchen and add more style to your kitchen without spending a fortune. A nice paper towel holder means you’re never frantically searching for a cloth after a spill, and decorative containers keep pantry staples like flour, sugar, and coffee within arm’s reach. A mug tree brings your festive drinkware out of the cupboards to show off your style.
You don’t need to waste your paycheck at Bed Bath & Beyond; seek inspiration from what you already own. I keep kitchen utensils in a pottery vase given to me by a friend; another editor uses a retro tobacco jar to hold wooden spoons. It’s a cute look and inexpensive to change out when you want a budget-friendly new look for your room.
19. Create a command center
Create a “command center” to organize the important things in your family’s life and breathe new life into an unused wall. Use Pinterest for inspiration on the most eye-catching way to arrange whiteboard calendars, bulletin boards, chalkboards, mail holders, key hooks, and even some family photos or inspirational art.
For a thrifty touch, sift through that stack of unused picture frames in your closet and paint one in a shade that’s complementary to your decor. Then paint the frame’s backer board with black chalkboard paint, secure it to the back and hang it. (If the board is made of cardboard or is damaged, use a piece of laminated plywood that’s cut to the proper dimensions.)
20. Add wall storage
Put a new baker’s rack in the kitchen to artfully display pots and pans. Add shelves to hold your most-used baking accessories, mugs, or cookbooks. Use a pegboard to organize smaller kitchen tools (measuring spoons, graters, strainers, etc.) or hold baskets for fruits or veggies. Not only will you pep up a boring wall, but you also will expand the storage capability of a small kitchen area and free up much-needed counter space.
21. Buy themed kitchen towels
Don’t hide your tea towels in a drawer. Buy kitchen towels that are colorful and match your overall kitchen look, and drape them attractively over the handle of your oven or arrange them in a corner basket. It’s a cheap way to add some color to a drab space and keep your towels close at hand.
22. Start a windowsill herb garden
Plants can brighten up any room in your house, but they don’t have to be merely decorative. Start an herb garden on your kitchen windowsill, and you’ll both make your room look more inviting and provide a cheaper, readily accessible way to flavor your salads and dishes.
23. Color-coordinate accessories
Why go for boring black or chrome when you buy kitchen appliances and accessories in fun colors? My kitchen has a black, white and red theme, so I made sure to buy my stand mixer and tea kettle in red for more pops of color. Silicone spatulas, toaster ovens, rugs and floor mats, countertop storage containers, napkin holders, oven mitts, pots and pans, ceramic baking dishes, even salt-and-pepper shakers can be artfully arranged to give your kitchen a colorful theme.
24. Add a storage cart or butcher block
You might not have the space, or the money, to add a full-on kitchen island to your cooking space, but a small storage cart or butcher block can add interest and usefulness to your kitchen. Look for neighbors selling theirs as they upgrade to larger homes with built-in islands, or if you’re handy, you can even build one yourself.
Cheap decorating ideas for the dining room
Make your dining room a place where you’ll want to entertain by using these ideas.
25. Change out table linens
If you use a tablecloth regularly, save the autumn leaves for October and break out the flowery pattern for April. Holiday cloths aren’t expensive and can make the whole room look like Christmas. If you’re decorating on a budget, pick up seasonal tablecloths at end-of-season sales and save them to use next year. A table runner, placemats and cloth napkins are also affordable purchases that can help you redecorate your dining room.
26. Refinish your furniture
Have a battered old sideboard or dining room table in the dining room? Refinish it. Stain or paint the wood, and affix some new hardware to make it look like new. Crafty folks might consider a DIY project to reupholster dining room chairs for a new color scheme or more modern look. Or choose an eclectic look, and pick up a motley assortment of chairs at thrift stores and yard sales to repaint and arrange around your existing table.
27. Accessorize your seating
If DIY furniture projects are too much, go the cheap and easy route and accessorize. Slipcovers aren’t just for couches; they make them for dining room chairs as well. Or find decorative pillows or seat cushions to add a cozy feel to your eating area.
28. Add a cookbook shelf or bar cart
Instead of replacing your entire dining room furniture set, add a piece or two to spruce up a forgotten corner. Wine enthusiasts or Scotch connoisseurs could consider a bar cart or wine rack, with artfully arranged bottles and perhaps some themed art above. Amateur chefs might want a bookcase or decorative shelves to display their collection of cookbooks. As always, before you buy new, see what you can find used or make yourself to save even more.
29. Swap chairs for a bench
A recent trend in dining room furniture is to have bench seating on one side of the table. Instead of replacing your set of chairs, swap out two of them for a bench. You’ll save even more if you can find an old bench and refinish it to match your dining room set, or even build one yourself.
30. Add plants
Introducing greenery is an inexpensive way to fill your home with color and life. Enliven a corner of your dining room with a tall floor plant or draw the eye up and make the room look larger by showcasing a vining plant spilling from a hanging basket.
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