Change a room’s look or set a new mood without spending anything but a little time by Laura Gaskill
When spring hits some people dive right into the garden. But considering this is Houzz, I suspect I am not alone in feeling the urge to redecorate as soon as the sun starts to peek out. To break the shopping habit (and spare my bank account), I have gathered these 21 ways to change, tweak and adjust a home without spending a dime.
1. Light your candles. Candles create a lovely ambience like nothing else. Light them whenever you want a little mood boost — try putting one in the entryway, on the coffee table and on the mantel, and a few tapers or tea lights on the dining table.
2. Arrange your coffee table nicely. A stack of books, a tray or basket, and a vase of flowers are all you need to make your coffee table look chic and pulled together.
3. Take scissors outside and cut something to put in water. Don’t let the lack of a flower garden stop you — get creative! Even weeds or a bit of green foliage from the tip of a backyard tree branch can be beautiful.
4. Use up leftover paint on small projects. A bit of paint left in the can is all you need to paint a mirror frame or group of accessories. Try painting just the legs of a table or chairs, the edges of picture frames, the interior of a tray or the bottom of a vase.
5. Use your best. Don’t wait for a special occasion to bring out the good china or fancy glasses. Elevate your daily routine by using your best. What’s the point of having it, if it just sits in a cupboard most of the year?
6. Swap photos in frames. An easy way to give your room a fresh look is simply by trading out the photos or artwork in the frames on the wall. Use old black and white family photos, pics from a recent trip or something completely different, like art postcards.
8. Set a timer and speed clean. A clean house feels fresh, welcoming and well-loved. Set the timer for 10, 15 or 20 minutes, and go to town. If you’re really on a roll when the bell dings, set it again!
9. Move your furniture around. Move your bookcases into the dining room (or your dining table into the living room) for a cozy library vibe. For a smaller change, try switching chairs, side tables or lamps between rooms for a new look.
10. Put photos in an album — or just out. Looking at old photos is fun, but it’s easy to forget they are there when they’re hidden away in a box. Try setting out a random assortment of photos in a bowl, on a tray or even in a cake mold as shown here. Or spend a bit more time slipping photos into an album and leave it sitting out where you can enjoy it.
11. Use kitchen containers as fancy organizers. Cake plates and tins, teacups and teapots, dessert plates and serving trays can make creative containers for spiffing up your dressing table, containing flowers or organizing your office supplies.
12. Rearrange your counter. Counters get cluttered up so easily; thankfully, it doesn’t take long to get things looking nice again. Start by clearing everything off your countertop, and replace only the items you use daily. To take it a step further, choose a few pretty items to display, like a serving tray propped against the wall and a cream pitcher filled with flowers.
13. Try your rugs in different rooms. Why not bring your dining room rug into the kitchen or try your living room rug in the bedroom? You may like the results so much, you make it a permanent change — and if not, you can always put the rugs back.
15. Organize your books. Admit it: You’ve been tempted to sort your books by color. Why not just give it a whirl? You don’t need to commit to doing an entire bookcase; just start with a few shelves and see how you like it.
16. Change the look of a chair or sofa with blankets. For a quick change, try tucking a pretty blanket or another textile tightly around a sofa cushion, or neatly fold a blanket and drape it across the seat and back of an armchair, as shown here.
17. Repurpose old materials into new cushions. Old burlap sacks, sweaters, fabric left over from other projects, even old blue jeans — just about any material can be fashioned into a cushion cover. Have a lovely blanket or set of sheets that sadly got stained or has a tear? Salvage it by transforming it into something completely new.
18. Sit down somewhere cozy and read. Your home is your haven, so be sure you are giving yourself enough time to simply relax and enjoy yourself at home. Tuck into a good book in a comfy chair beside the fire and ignore your phone for a while.
19. Try indoor furniture outdoors — or vice versa.A covered porch during nice weather offers plenty of protection for some types of indoor furniture. Anything made of metal, solid wood, wicker or rattan should hold up well, especially if the swap is only temporary. Likewise, nearly any type of outdoor furniture can change up an interior room.
20. Put your favorite music on. Music adds so much to the ambience of a home — just think of how some of the best boutiques use music to set the mood. Create your own personal soundtrack and turn it up.
21. Do something nice for yourself. Brew yourself a cup of your favorite coffee and bring it back to bed with you on a Saturday morning. Or treat yourself to a long bath, or a glass of wine in the backyard. Enjoy your home!
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