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Do you feel like your home needs a fresh look? I know I do! There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to update our house, but I don’t want to completely redecorate or spend a lot of money. Thankfully, I’ve discovered a little secret to shake things up when my creativity is nowhere to be found, and I’m excited to share it with you today. It’s all about learning to shop your home, using what you already own, and styling it up in a new way. This idea will breathe new life into old spaces and help you fall in love with your home all over again!
How to Shop Your Home and Make Your Old Decor Feel New Again
1. Shop Your Home.
To begin, walk around your house and look at things with a fresh eye. Truly get into shopping mode and pretend you’ve never been to your home before. Notice the things you love, things you find interesting, things that speak to you and make you happy when you look at them.
It might be a piece of artwork, a basket, a lamp, a piece of furniture, a plant, certain pillows or throws–anything you feel really good about. Then think of other places and ways you might use those items in your home.
2. Think outside (and inside) the box.
Make sure to look in cabinets and storage areas and walk through every room in your home–even the garage (a great place to find interesting plant pots). You never know where you might find hidden treasure!
One day as I was headed to my decor closet in one of our basement guest bedrooms, my eyes landed on this bamboo tray table, which I’d been using as a place for guests to pile their extra belongings.
I’d walked past this little table a zillion times, but that day it dawned on me that I could be using it upstairs, where I could see it and enjoy it. The funny thing is, I almost didn’t bring it upstairs because I didn’t want to mess up the look in the guest room, even though that space is only used a couple of times a year. Obviously, I need to allow myself to think outside the box a bit more!
That little bamboo table has now made its way all over the house, and I love using it in different ways. The idea is, if you have rooms that are rarely used, rather than keeping them in perfect condition, with all your best decorations, furniture & artwork, give yourself permission to “shop” from those spaces. Relocate your favorite decor to your most-used spaces, where you can see it and enjoy it on a daily basis.
This yellow chair is another item I borrowed from one of our guest bedrooms. Now I get to enjoy the pop of color it brings to my office. The gallery wall and shelves over my desk get switched up often, too, as I borrow artwork and decor from other parts of our home.
3. Mix it up.
For an interesting mix, gather items that are on trend (to spice things up) as well as classic pieces (for timeless style). The goal in decorating your home is to accomplish a personalized look.
Remember, only use items you feel drawn to–or as Marie Kondo would say, “things that bring you joy.” That’s how the look of our hearth room, below, came about–I brought together my favorite pillows, artwork, and colors and created a space that never fails to make me happy!
Some things you might want to look for as you shop your home:
- artwork, frames and photos that could be used alone or in a gallery wall collection. Artwork that doesn’t necessarily work well on its own often looks great in a gallery wall.
- Persian-inspired + solid rugs to layer;
- plants (real and faux);
- mementos from your travels;
- favorite books with pretty covers for stacking on coffee tables and side tables;
- cool boxes, bowls and trays;
- baskets, baskets and more baskets;
- candle holders in all shapes and sizes;
- rattan, cane or wicker anything;
- textured, solid or patterned pillows
- unique side tables, lamps and chairs;
- throws–especially if they have tassels or fringe (scarves make beautiful throws, too!);
- wood or glass beads;
- unique containers for plants and greenery;
- ceramic pots, pitchers and vases;
- just about anything made of marble;
- mirrors in all shapes and sizes;
- textiles that could be used as wall hangings
4. Get creative.
Now gather your finds and try them out in unique combinations and in different spots to refresh your home and create a whole new look. This is the fun part! I think you’ll discover that it’s amazingly satisfying to refresh your home with what you already have.
Think about how you live and what kind of spaces are important to you. Do you need a quiet spot to meditate, a conversation area, a cozy coffee corner, or perhaps a dedicated space to work?
This is the perfect time to create those “moments” in your home, perhaps by moving furniture pieces to different areas and using them in new ways. We recently moved this sectional into the living room because we wanted a more relaxed lounging spot in here for summer.
While we’re talking about getting creative, here are some tried and true styling tips:
- trays and books make a great base for other decorative objects, like ceramics, candle holders, bowls, boxes and plants. Just pile up a few books, or lay down a pretty tray or flat basket, and place one (or three) decorative objects on top.
- combine items in groups of threes–preferably with a tall item, a shorter, more sculptural item, and a horizontal item
- edit — this is a tough one for me, because I tend to overdo–I’m learning to edit until I achieve a the right look for each space (although I still tend to go back and fiddle with things later)
- balance hard and soft objects, as well as things with different textures, colors, tones, and styles
- turn dark books around to reveal the lighter-colored pages
- layer–placing some things in front of others and some off to the side–to create more depth and give the space a more natural look.
By the way, don’t forget to go through your kitchen cupboards to see if you have any interesting bowls or vases on hand. They make great coffee table adornments. I love to borrow this little dip bowl from our kitchen as an accent piece for the living room.
And when in doubt, put a plant on it! Faux or real, they add color and personality to any space. Orchids are a favorite of mine–they’re surprisingly low-maintenance. And after they finish blooming, the foliage is still pretty.
This blue cabinet in our entryway had a former life as a black nightstand and was in the donation pile, destined for Goodwill. As a last-ditch effort to revive it, I gave it a fresh coat of paint (Valspar Indigo Streamer) and added some new hardware, and now it’s one of my favorite pieces. So don’t be afraid to try painting items you no longer feel drawn to–you might be surprised to find you love them in a different color!
5. Keep the good feelings going.
As you shop your home, you might discover that your style has evolved and you’re ready for a new look and feeling in your home. Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen my design style transition from a touch of modern farmhouse to a lighter, coastal vibe. And since I’m constantly changing, who knows what I’ll be loving a year from now?
As you start to discover your decorating style, it’s the perfect time to declutter your spaces and donate or sell the decorative items and furniture that no longer speak to you. Once you know what you really love, it’s easier to let go of what doesn’t work with your current design style.
Decorating your home on a budget can be easy if you’re willing to get creative and use what you already have. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying new things, but there’s something about shopping your home that’s so satisfying.
I hope this simple trick will help you find joy in your home and see it with new eyes. That’s what decorating–or any creative endeavor–should be about: constantly growing, evolving, and discovering new things about ourselves.