If the anticipation of a new year is making you want to redo your home and totally transform your living space, you're not alone. But the reality is that most of us can't afford to blow our budgets on new furniture and decor whenever we wish—and even buying just a few small accent pieces can certainly add up. So what's a money-conscious decor lover to do? Well, we've got great news for you, because it turns out that you don't have to spend a penny to liven up your space and create a new-to-you home. We spoke with home decor experts who shared 11 fun, easy, and yes, free, hacks for making your space feel nice and fresh for the year ahead.
1. Switch Up Your Furniture Placement
It's time to play musical chairs! Make your space feel brand new by giving existing furniture pieces a new home. "Swap chairs, benches, or other accent furniture from different rooms," home Instagrammer Hannah Hamburger suggests. "You can use a side chair as a bedside table, put a bench from your entry at the end of a bed. Simply swapping pieces or making layout changes can breathe new life into a space!"
2. Then, Do the Same With Your Art
Maybe that framed painting hanging in your hallway would actually bring tons of new life into your bedroom and be the finishing touch the space needs. "Art can have such a profound impact on the way a room feels, and playing a game of musical artwork might be just the refresh your space needs," says home and DIY Instagrammer Dominique Gebru, whose space is pictured above. "The same principle applies to the artwork under your feet — don’t be afraid to do a switcharoo with your rugs!"
If you're really feeling tired of everything you own, home and DIY Instagrammer Carly Fuller offers another tip. "There are free printable downloads online," she says. "Also, you could use your own photography or DIY art yourself if you’re creative."
3. Shop Your Own Backyard
Or, if you don't have a yard, take a walk in the woods. As home and DIY Instagrammer Sourya Venumbaka suggests, "A great no-cost way to refresh your home is by foraging! Go for a nature walk, clip some greenery (not from private properties of course), and stick them in vases you already own to add some life to your space." Even things as small as pinecones look beautiful displayed in fun bowls on the coffee table.
4. Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose
Think twice before tossing items into the trash—can they be given a second life and made functional in some new way? Perhaps that pretty tin cookie jar can be turned into a lovely vase. As home and lifestyle Instagrammer Megan Karp notes, "I’ll take the jar of a used candle, clear out the wax, and reuse that jar to hold a new votive or even Q-tips in a bathroom. This is a good example of giving new life to a lived piece."
6. Put Leftover Art Supplies to Use
You spent money on the countless materials needed to create that show-stopping DIY project, so why not make them last as long as possible? Home and DIY Instagrammer Jessie Ruane offers a solution. "Use leftover paint for a small project, like painting planter pots, or a small accent wall!"
7. Restyle Your Shelves and Coffee Table
It's a great way to scratch that shopping itch without buying a thing—the same accents can look totally different when placed in new spots. "I restyle my shelves at least once a quarter to refresh the space using the same decor I already have," home Instagrammer Breanna Young says. "It forces me to get creative and to keep things minimal." When it comes to the coffee table, she maintains a similar approach. "I swap out my coffee table books and decor often to keep things fresh and interesting," Young shares. "Most items go back and forth from my shelves to the coffee table so I don't have to buy anything new!"
8. Swap Out Throw Pillows and Blankets
Home Instagrammer Debbie Mackenzie says this is one of her favorite ways to "breathe fresh air" into her space. "Over the last few years, I've been collecting these accents, and now when the seasons change, I make a point to swap them out," she adds. "By regularly changing them, they feel new and fresh every time I pull them out and it doesn't cost me anything."
9. Then Fluff Your Pillowcases
Yes, this will only take a few seconds, but Young swears it's a habit that makes a major difference. "I recently became a pillow-fluffer, and it is a simple thing to do but honestly such a game-changer," she says. "My bedroom and couch feel extra luxurious to me after I take the time to fluff."
Less is more is the answer here. As designer Michelle Tremont Boyd says, "Edit, edit, edit! Remove excessive bits and bobs from bookshelves and surfaces, reconsider wall art, and generally de-clutter." Then, take a bit of a break. Tremont advises, "Live with the negative space for a few days or weeks until you can approach the project with a new lens and thoughtfully re-style the space using only meaningful items that you love."
11. Conversely, Turn Trash Into Treasure
Feel like you don't have quite enough decor or furniture? Try this simple trick. As home Instagrammer Imani Keal notes, "Another woman's trash is my treasure! Some of my favorite home decor pieces were found in my neighbors' trash. And, Keal points out, "The new year is the perfect time to go stooping. Every new year, people get excited about making changes and decluttering their lives."