13 Zero-Cost Ways to Make Your Home Feel Fresh

Updated 06/19/19

There comes a time in the life of every busy person when a décor refresh becomes not only necessary but also imminent. That doesn't necessarily involve a full-blown remodel or décor overhaul, but just like any good spring-cleaning session—you sometimes need to roll up your sleeves to make your home feel new again. Are you hosting the holiday parties this year? Do you have guests staying over for a few days? Don't let your home show that you've been working 10-hour days every week and that your décor has suffered accordingly. 

Because we're all short on time and money before the year's end, we know our wallets don't always follow our hearts' desires. This is why we came up with some fresh home hacks to update your décor without spending a dime or jeopardizing an entire weekend. Keep scrolling for our favorite affordable home décor hacks to make your home feel new again—for free.

bedroom layout ideas
Fantastic Frank

Rethink Your Layout

With a pen, a paper, and a little muscle, you can completely transform the flow of a room. Plan a completely new layout with your existing furniture: Move your sofa by the window, or move furniture away from the walls and closer together. Don't hesitate to bring accent furniture from other rooms or swap artwork from room to room.

Peter Dunham Textiles Fig Leaf Lumbar Pillow $67
dining room makeover
Tessa Neustadt ; DESIGN: Amber Interiors

Flip Your Rug Upside Down

This only works with certain rugs, usually oriental ones, but here's a quick designer tip: Flipping your rug upside down will expose the textural weave and more muted colors of its flip side. So if you're growing a little tired of your rug, take a peek at what's on the back, and turn it around.

Homestead Seattle Rug
Homestead Seattle Dawar Afghan Rug $295
kitchen design ideas
Fantastic Frank

Decorate With Greenery From Outside

Get out in the backyard, go for a walk, and find pretty branches to decorate with. Greenery adds life and sculptural elements. All you need is a standard florist's vase and some fresh water.

NDI Fishtail Palm $278
traditional living room
Zeke Ruelas ; DESIGN: Ginny Macdonald

Strip Something Back to Its Original Texture

If you live in an older home, chances are some things have been painted over and refinished dozens of times—but do you know what lies beneath? Try stripping a door back to its original wood, or do the same with wooden beams or even vintage furniture. Do your research before tackling anything major, but remember that a little patina can go a long way in making a home feel lived-in but fresh.

Wood Burst Coffee Table
Chairish Wood Burst Coffee Table $1560
open plan kitchen
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: DL. Rhein

Use Your Leftover Paint

We all had those leftover paint cans lying around that are essentially 95% empty but we keep just in case. Why not use some of that paint to refinish a piece of furniture or a room accent? Dip-dye the legs of a chair or paint the mantel or a door for an instant refresh.

Clare Good Jeans $49
reading nook ideas
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: DL. Rhein

Style a Piece of Furniture Before Throwing It Out

Context has a huge influence on how we perceive items. This is why higher-end retail stores put so much effort in presentation compared to their discount counterparts. If you have a tired piece of furniture lying around, channel your inner decorator and give it the best overhaul you can: Style it with your ultimate favorite books, mirrors, and vases. You just might also look at it in a whole new light.

Thomas O'Brien Terri Tiny Round Accent Lamp $229
white kitchen
Courtesy of Hernandez Greene

Edit Down to a Minimum

Sometimes, when décor feels a little tired, you don't need to add anything to make it better. In fact, you just might need to remove the elements that are making it less than spectacular. By editing down your décor to a minimum, you're able to reintroduce your favorite pieces, and those ones only. The rest can go to storage or charity, and you're left with a fresh, well-edited space.

Mauviel Copper Double Boiler With Insert $325
gallery wall
Courtesy of Hernandez Greene

Hang Your Kids' Artwork

Do you keep your children's drawings and paintings in boxes or binders? Why not frame them instead? Kids' art is colorful and candid, and it makes for great artwork that you can easily swap around.

CB2 Gallery Oak Picture Frames With White Mats $35
decor styling ideas
Courtesy of Hernandez Greene

Think Like a Stylist

Hop on Pinterest, gather inspiration of your favorite styled homes, and try replicating the vignettes you love most. Interior stylists often spend very little money on accessories and props to make homes look great for a photo shoot: Think vintage pottery, a couple of trays, and strategic placement.

Cameroon Juju Hat 1 $395
small bedroom design
Monica Wang Photography

Re-Cover Your Old Headboard

It's possible that you've grown tired of your headboard or you simply feel that your bedroom is lacking a little texture. Why not re-cover it? You can choose a new fabric that fits your and your room's aesthetic and voila, you have a whole new look without the expense of buying a brand new headboard. Otherwise, you could grab a throw or blanket lying around the house, and effortlessly re-cover your headboard by draping the throw over it.

CB2 pillow
CB2 Le Rêve Throw Pillow $45 $40
vintage home decor
David Tsay ; DESIGN: Brian Faherty of Schoolhouse Electric

Hang or Display Vintage Objects

Do you have old tennis rackets you don't use or vintage china passed down from your grandmother? Display these pieces around your home or, even better, hang them to create instant art.

Visit Grandma's attic if you're short on heirlooms and vintage treasures.

Chairish French Books
Chairish Antique French Decorative Red Books, Set of 6 $125
bookshelf design ideas
Tessa Neustadt ; DESIGN: Emily Henderson

Rearrange Your Bookcase

I can guarantee that even the owners of the most impeccably styled homes in magazines can't keep their houses looking remotely as pristine as they did on the day of the photo shoot. It's only natural for homes to amass clutter and for objects to get displaced. Take a moment to restyle a bookcase or a console table.

Two Tone Ceramic Vessel
Williams Sonoma Two Tone Ceramic Vessel $150 $68
home library ideas
Courtesy of Hernandez Greene

Create a Reading Nook

Chances are that you have a lounge chair, accent table, and task lamp somewhere in your home, though not necessarily styled together. Gather them and assemble a comfortable reading nook. Add pillows and a throw to complete the look.

IKEA Gladom Tray Table $20

This post was originally published on November 18, 2016, and has since been updated.

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