How to Decorate without Spending Money

By Brittni • Updated on 05/14/2024

9 (totally doable) ideas for no cost decorating when you want to refresh / redecorate a space but don’t want to spend any money.

long stylish vintage dining room table with mismatched mid century chairs

One of the easiest ways to decorate your home without spending any money is to shop your home. Search those closets, under the bed, that guest room that almost never gets used, etc. But there are so many other no-cost decorating ideas that you can try as well.

Here are some ways you can make your space look brand new without spending a dime.

large gallery wall of abstract artwork over a dining room table with plants

dining room with white credenza and artwork stacked on top of it and below it on the floor as well  

How to Decorate without Spending Money

To make things easier, I’ve broken each no-cost decorating idea down into sections. Pull from the ones you like and skip the ones you don’t.

First things first…my favorite subject: art!

1. Switch out artwork.

Changing out artwork ALWAYS makes a world of difference in making a room feel different and refreshed.

This can mean lots of things, but the first easy idea that comes to mind is just swapping artwork in one room with art in another. It’s already framed and ready to hang, so why not try something new in a room or two to see how it goes.

Another free idea for artwork is removing the art in a frame you already have for something else. It could be something you already have, like a print you’ve been meaning to frame, a special keepsake (like your grandma’s favorite handkerchief), or even a free printable that you downloaded online.

And if you’re willing to spend a few dollars, there are some really great printable options under $10. BUT you have to be up for the search because there are SO many downloadable art options out there. Etsy is a great place to start. But this is a post about free ideas, so moving right along…

roundup of diy artwork in various abstract forms and materials

Another idea for free artwork swaps would be DIY art.

You know I’m all about a good DIY project and have loads of ideas for how you can make art using items you already have in your house right here. There’s bound to be at least one on the list that you already have all the supplies for.

In which case, you’re about to get some new art for your house, without grabbing your wallet.

Here’s a list of DIY art ideas I’ve shared over the years…

modern black bench with books, plants and abstract artwork resting on top, with white sneakers underneath

2. Bring plants in from outdoors.

It’s amazing what a few well placed plants can do to liven up a room.

If you have a couple of potted plants that you can borrow from outside and bring in (assuming they’ll still be receiving the sunlight they need) your room will thank you.

black cat sprawled out on red persian rug in bedroom

3. Swaps rugs by borrowing from other rooms in the house.

This one is easy and self explanatory. I do this ALL THE TIME!

Rugs can be expensive and sometimes instead of spending the money on a new one, all you need is a cool rug swap instead. A different rug can completely transform a space. It’s a lot like artwork, in that it dictates the overall vibe of the room in a lot of ways.

I have a stash of rugs in storage that I can’t bear to get rid of, even if I don’t have a spot for those particular rugs right now. When I’m ready, I can switch them out for a whole new look.

For example, we are currently renovating our kitchen and changing the layout, which means I’ll need to swap out one of my smaller rugs that I’ve had in the kitchen for years to something much bigger and longer.

Normally, that would mean I need to search for a new one and spend more money to find *just* the right one. But in this case, I don’t have to buy a single thing because I already have 2 or 3 rugs in storage that would fit perfectly. So glad I hung onto them. Now I have a few options that will completely change the look and feel of our kitchen without spending any money at all.

roundup of handle diy rugs in neutral and colorful patterns

And if you’re looking for some DIY ways to create or refresh rugs, here are some of my faves…

  • My most popular DIY ever: tutorial for how to make a rug.
  • Whip up a tassel rug with some specialty trim (that you can find at any craft store) to jazz up an old or inexpensive rug you already own.
  • Embellish an existing rug and turn it into an embroidered rug that makes a statement.
  • Make a DIY rug (patchwork) with an unexpected material.

woman pushing minimal modern couch into another room

4. Change room layout / rearrange furniture.

It’s always the right time to rearrange because it costs nothing and if you hate it, you can move it right back to where it was.

You’d be surprised how refreshed and different a space can feel from just rearranging what is already there.

Bonus points if you bring furniture in from other rooms of the house. But if you don’t have any pieces to move from room to room, you can at least move the furniture you do have to new layout.

Switch your couch from facing the fireplace to flanking the fireplace on one side. Swap the placement of chairs and the sofa, etc.

earthy minimal bedroom with neutral bedding and artwork, filled with plants

5. Grab blankets and other textiles from the closet.

Instead of having extra blankets and other textiles tucked away in a closet, bring them out to liven up a room. Similar to what I did in our primary bedroom above.

I just grabbed a giant piece of linen I had tucked away in my craft supplies and a blanket from when Hayes was a baby and dropped it on the bed. This is a really simple / subtle change, but there are more drastic ways to use textiles as well. For example, draping a large textile over the back of a couch or large scale artwork made from a picnic blanket.

vintage midcentury dining table with bentwood cane chairs that have been reupholstered in a funky pattern

6. Refinish and reupholster furniture.

Okay, this one might end up costing you some money. But if you already have a sander and some paint or sealant, you’re good to go. Refinishing and painting furniture is a super cost effective way to transform what you already have. I’ve shared many furniture slips over the years, like this mid century modern entry table makeover and my side table DIY.

Just like refinishing, reupholstering chairs and sofas can be great as well.

Reupholstering chairs is actually pretty easy and you can use almost any fabric. I covered my vintage chairs with fabric napkins once and it looked pretty cool imo.

minimal modern staircase with black cat walking down to landing area with photography art prints

7. Host a swap with local friends or family. 

Have some items that you no longer want or need? Host a virtual decor (or even small furniture) swap with friends and family who live nearby. OR do something in person with your neighborhood / friends / family.

If you want to try something virtually, you can do a swap ‘auction’ on Zoom or FaceTime, with everyone sharing what they’d like to get rid of and finding people to trade with.

Though in person would probably be the easiest because you would instantly get to swap the items you don’t want for something new. All for free!

painted white fireplace with large scale artwork and many plants surrounding the living room

8. Raid your own paint supply.

Almost everyone I know has a stash of paint tucked away in the garage or in some special cabinet or closet. Use those leftovers from past projects to breathe new life into old furniture pieces or even something bigger (like my zero dollar fireplace makeover). 

I also frequently see free paint available on places like Facebook Marketplace, at local Garage Sales, and Buy Nothing groups. Speaking of which…

woven baskets filled with wooden toys, sitting on a wood dresser with artwork behind it

9. Join Buy Nothing

Join your local Buy Nothing group and search for decor items that people are wanting to get rid of (for free).

This is another really great no-cost way to get some new items to refresh a space without having to spend any money at all. AND because it works both ways, it’s also a great opportunity to say goodbye to items you no longer want or need that someone else can use. Win-win!

That’s its for decorating your home on a budget (of zero dollars). Let me know if I missed anything. Would love to keep this list going with additional ideas.

1 comment | Click here to reply

Fantastic ideas! I’m excited to try a few myself. Thank you!

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