12 ways to spruce up your home at almost no cost

retro bedroom look
© solonko_sofiya via Twenty20

Use what you already own to create a space that feels fresh and new.

Let me guess – you've been spending a lot of time in your home these days? Lockdown life means that many of us are inhabiting the same space for endless hours, which can lead to craving a change. But with so many stores closed, online orders backlogged, and pay checks shrunken or absent, any room redos need to be simple and cheap. Fortunately, it's entirely possible to refresh a space without spending much. Here is a list of ideas for sprucing up your home with minimal purchases or, even better, none at all. Using what you've already got is the ultimate TreeHugger approach, after all.

1. Rearrange furniture.

If you haven't moved around the furniture before, you're about to discover a supremely exciting activity. It totally transforms a room to put furniture in a new place. Think about trying to make every seat in the living room the "best" one, about freeing up access to windows, about positioning the sofa and chairs for optimal reading light near windows or lamps. Move furniture to reflect the activities you want to prioritize, i.e. around a coffee table to encourage board games or facing the TV if you enjoy movie nights.

2. Change your bedding.

Getting new sheets, a duvet cover, a quilt, or accent pillows can liven up a bedroom for minimal cost. Maybe you want to add a pop of color or go the sophisticated all-white route, but either way will make it feel like a new space. Then commit to making that bed every single day!

3. Switch out your throw pillows.

Buy pillow inserts and covers separately so that when you want a seasonal or style change, you can simply unzip one cover and replace it with another. This makes for easier cleaning, too. Covers tend to be much cheaper than inserts.

throw pillows© Twenty20

4. Do laundry.

A simple, common-sense task that goes a long way – toss your bedding, throw blankets, cushion covers, curtains, and pillows in the wash. These are things that tend not to get cleaned regularly, but look a lot better once they are. Air them outside in the sunshine and shake vigorously to fluff them up. (A thorough housecleaning goes a long way, too.)

5. Use paint creatively.

Paint can transform a space in so many ways. You can paint the walls, a single accent wall, trim along the floor or windows, the inside of a door, or even outlet covers to match the wall paint. Use paint on old furniture to give it new life.

6. Change the hardware.

Switching out the pulls on kitchen and bathroom cabinetry can give your space an entirely new look. It can upgrade cheap wooden IKEA furniture or modernize old pieces. You can also mount coat hooks on the wall in the entry or in your bedroom to display hats or scarves.

baskets and blankets on hooks© kane251 via Twenty20

7. Declutter aggressively.

Any space that's used constantly is prone to filling up with clutter. Try to get rid of as many things as you can. Start by removing all knick-knacks and decorations so you have a clean slate, then add pieces in one by one till you achieve the right balance. Usually less is always more. Download the Clutterfree app if you want to do a thorough purge.

8. Shop your house.

Look in all the rooms of your house for new pieces of furniture, artwork, plants, or lamps that could work in other spaces. Search your attic, basement, garage, crawl space, shed, or any other storage spaces you might have. (I've been known to raid my parents' house, too.) There are often treasures hiding in full view.

9. Add plants.

You can't have too much greenery in a house. Buy houseplants or propagate your own from plants you already own, using cheap terracotta pots. If you have houseplants, dust off their leaves regularly and reposition them to maximize sunlight. Water and feed and they'll thrive. Make bouquets of fresh flowers, plants, or branches collected from outside. See: 10 houseplant decor ideas for big impact

10. Rearrange your pantry.

Transfer dried pantry goods to glass jars for a pleasing visual effect. Beans, lentils, pasta, baking goods, dried fruit, and more all look wonderful when displayed in glass. Use mason jars or old tomato sauce jars whose labels have been removed.

11. Make it shine.

If you have leather furniture, clean and buff till it's shiny. The same goes for wooden floors; wash and condition to revive and bring out the grain.

12. Add lighting.

I have a thing for lamps, which are both practical and attractive. Buying a great lamp will make you inclined to use a space that may have been previously underused, while adding a decorative element to a room. A warm light emanating from a lamp makes a space cozier and more welcoming. Open up the space around your windows, too. Add tie-backs to curtains to allow for more light to get in, and move furniture that's blocking windows.

12 ways to spruce up your home at almost no cost
Use what you already own to create a space that feels fresh and new.

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