We all have those moments when our spaces are underwhelming us but our bank account is acting stingy. What’s a restless style lover to do in these situations? Just ignore the spaces we’re surrounded by every day and pray to the design fairies that something will change? HELL NAW. That’s where we come in to help. Check out this list we came up with of 10 free upgrades you can make right away. It werks if you werk it.
#1. Rehang Your Curtains the Right Way
High and wide. That’s the standard. Your windows will look bigger and your window coverings will look more stately and expensive. Of course, this adaptation only works if you have enough length on your panels. You don’t want your hem sitting a foot off the ground… that’s not the look.
#2. Colorize Your Books
We know this makes some people cringe. If you have an extensive library and want to be able to easily pull them by category or something, this could be too much for you. But most of us read a book once and then 99.7% of our relationship with it is looking at it on a shelf. Remember that someone designed that book to be looked at. Books are décor. Our brains automatically search for patterns so ROY G BIVing the hell out of them is a free and beautiful opportunity to make an intentional aesthetic where there was none while satisfying your natural quest for order. Trust us, your shelves will look infinitely more organized if some thought is put into their arrangement.
(Some inspiration from Kelle’s styled bookcase. Don’t forget that it is completely okay to mix in magazines, tins/storage boxes, and fun decor items!)
#3. A Better Space Plan
Do you move through your space well? Is there something you bump into or anything that seems out of place in your space? Pay attention to these things. Design is not just about lining up your furniture. There are important principals such as balance and functionality to consider. Take a look at some of these helpful tutorials on space planning and furniture arrangement.
This one sounds so simple but ask yourself if everything is contributing. Sometimes we clutter up our houses with things that don’t even bring joy or meaning to our lives. Décor is as much about editing as it is about selecting.
#5. Get Organized
This one is obvious. Just rip the bandaid off and tackle that area that kills you to pass by. Is junk falling out of your closet? Is your kitchen table overflowing with papers? If any space makes you feel negatively, do your home and your brain a favor. Tackle it.
#6. Restyle Shelves and Tabletops
Are your areas of interest styled just so or did you just throw a vase and some candles on a surface? There are tips to make appealing arrangements. Style things in groupings. Make sure you have different heights (levels). Aim for visual weight balance or symmetry if you’re one of those. Here are some helpful links to guide you on your way.
#7. Establish a Featured Area
If you have a spot in your house that you’d especially love to feature, perhaps your entry or a staircase wall or an entertaining area like a dining room, it pays to concentrate your cool. We all have items and pieces that we especially like. Decide on a worthy highlight and shuffle your best and brightest stuff around to create a standout area. This spot will make you smile daily and get you thinking more intentionally about what to hunt for for the next area on your list.
#8. Paint Something Unexpected
Most of us have some paint laying around. Find something that could use a little makeup and get to work. Depending on what kind of paint and how much you have, you might give a facelift to a statue, a planter or a whole door. Pinterest has no shortage of enviable paint projects. Just think small. Little details matter and can add up to awesome.
We paint antlers in our spare time… But what we really want to do is THIS:
#9. Re-cover a Throw Pillow With Re-purposed Fabric
Okay so this one assumes some basic sewing skills. We LOVE rich, beautiful designer fabrics but if you don’t have a healthy pillow budget and are fed up with a print (maybe you committed too heartily to Chevron) on a pillow, look around. Did you buy a cool vintage tablecloth that you never did anything with? Got a Mexican blanket with a hole in it? Maybe even a clothing item that’s large and heavy weight enough, like a sweater. Here’s a simple tutorial on sewing a pillow because we care.
We took this Anthropologie runner and turned it into a couple seriously cool boho pillows. We love them with fur and natural elements. Oh, and check it out! Another unexpected painted piece!
#10. Natural Collections from Outside
This might seem janky until you consider that they sell “decorative” rocks and sticks at pretty much every home goods retailer… like people actually pay money for twigs when their backyard is full of them. DIYing it has the added bonus of forcing you into the great outdoors and maybe even coercing you into some exercise. We are allergic to that, but if you’re not, good for you!!!
We broke up the fresh and modern feel of this gender neutral nursery by adding a birch branch to display clothes. And look, we even color coded the books! It’s like we abide by our own rules or something. Weird!
So there you have it! Our 10 best ideas for completely free decor upgrades. Which of these are you most excited to try? Have we sparked any ideas for something else you’d like to try? Let us know in the comments!
Contributing bloggers and KDI team members Angela Malone and Megan Schultz.