When it comes to cool, interior designer Nicole Newkirk has it in spades. We've long admired the sought-after designer's ability to curate lived-in spaces that feel organic and authentic rather than overly styled. Case in point: This achingly cool modern San Fransisco home. Simply put, Newkirk selects shades, mixes and matches textures, and arranges everyday objects in ways that make us covet her style, envy her clients, and, of course, double-tap her Instagram posts.
Naturally, we turned to the in-demand designer for a masterclass in how to decorate cooler without buying anything new. Yes, you read that correctly. We asked Newkirk to show us how she styles a cool space with exactly $0—and she did not disappoint. From purging your possessions à la Marie Kondo to shopping your home for true gems, her expert tips prove that a little ingenuity goes a long way when making the most of what you already have.
Ahead, the interior designer walks us through the process of making a room look impossibly cool without spending a single dime. Keep scrolling to see how it's done.
Often, when your décor is feeling stale, the best remedy is to edit down what you already have rather than adding anything new. In the words of Marie Kondo, the best way to choose what to keep and what to part with is to take each item in your hand and ask yourself: "Does this spark joy?" However, when it comes to purging décor items, Newkirk suggests asking yourself: "Is this item contributing to the story I'm trying to tell in my space?" If not, part ways with it to ensure you're featuring just your favorite pieces.
2. Rearrange furniture
Sometimes the easiest way to up the cool factor of a space is to simply reconsider its layout. "Try something different," suggests Newkirk. "Rearrange your furniture in different rooms. Move your bed to the opposite wall or split up your sectional sofa," she offers.
Reevaluating your existing pieces is a zero-dollar way to make everything you already own feel brand new.
3. Shop your home
Take a step back and try to see your possessions in a new light. Channel your inner stylist and "experiment with items in new ways you might not have considered before, like using a stack of books as a side table or a small side chair as a nightstand," offers Newkirk.
4. Play around with accessories
Don't hesitate to move accessories from one room to another. "Rework those decorative pillows in your bedroom by styling them on your sofa, or place the table lamp from your living room on your bedside table," says Newkirk. "Moving these items around can really change the feel of the room," the designer adds.
5. Display everyday items as art
More often then not, getting that coveted, lived-in look is as easy as it sounds. Embrace simple everyday items as art to style a space that exudes effortless-cool vibes. In other words, go ahead and lean your cutting boards against your backsplash. Put your jewelry on display in your bedroom or your everyday mugs in the kitchen, Newkirk proposes.
6. Fake a Green thumb
Thanks in part to Instagram's influence over décor trends, indoor plants are the trademarks of any well-styled space. However, you don't need to head to your local nursery and purchase a potted plant in order to get the look. For a no-cost way to incorporate greenery into your home, "display leafy branches or flowers from your yard in a vase," advises Newkirk.
Next Up: 13 zero-cost ways to make your home feel fresh.