We’re all worried about the spiralling cost of living; it’s truly a scary time in the world. One of the places where we’ll all be looking to make savings is in the home. But just because you have a tight budget, that doesn’t mean that your ideas should be stifled or your style should suffer. Often, if you put your mind to it and get creative, you can create a lot more than you think with the things you’ve already got. From discarded paint pots and plant propagation, to homeware swaps and DIY art, there’s plenty of ways to refresh your space for less.
In this blog post I’m sharing 12 really simple and wonderfully free ways to decorate your home. Hopefully it will help provide some ideas for how you can make your house a home on a budget and fall back in love with your interior.
Look to freecycle – Browse this grassroots, non-profit website where people post items they’re looking to give away for free. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure after all. From first glance there’s everything from garden furniture to IKEA bedside tables and antique desks. freecycle.org
Propagate your plants – Take cuttings from abundant, sprouting plants to create smaller, new plants. Cut a stem off from below an aerial root or leaf node, place in a vase with water and wait for roots to grow before planting in a pot with soil. Dot your new green friends around the house or pass onto a friend. See my guide for propagating a monstera plant here.
Do a homeware swap – Gather a group of friends together and have a swapping party. Everyone likely has objects around the home that they’ve fallen a bit out of love with. It might be a cookbook you never use, a vase collecting dust in a cupboard or a cushion cover that no longer goes with your colour scheme. That unloved object could get a new lease of life in a completely different setting.
Make cushion covers out of old bedding – Is your bedding starting to look faded in parts or just a bit unloved? If you’ve got a sewing machine, cut up old duvets and sheets into squares and stitch together to make new cushions. Brand new linen cushions can be costly, but if you’ve got fabric and the skills, you can easily get the look for less. You could even stitch sections of fabric together to make a custom-made textured pattern.
Dye old cushion covers, napkins or tea towels – Give old textiles a fresh appeal with a new dose of colour. You can of course buy fabric dye, but it might pay to look closer to home – in your own fridge. Avocado skin and pits, beetroots, onion skins and ground turmeric can all be used to dye fabric. To create your dye, simply bring a large pot of water to boil with some salt and your ingredient of choice, and let it simmer for an hour. Then pour the coloured liquid into a big bucket with your fabric and leave for a few hours or overnight for a stronger pigment. Rinse and dry before ironing and using as you wish.
Make some collage art – Enjoy a creative afternoon making your own bespoke piece of art. Gather some old magazines, greeting cards or scraps of wrapping paper and cut out some abstract shapes before arranging on a piece of card. Don’t worry about things being too perfect – often the fun is in the process. Plus anything looks good framed and mounted correctly, even the most crude of children’s drawings! If your art skills aren’t up to scratch, another way to get some free art is to cut out the pages of your favourite design magazine (think Cereal and Kinfolk) and frame them. Simple!
Create a new look with some free (or affordable) paint – Community Repaint, sponsored by Dulux, is UK wide paint reuse network that provides part or full containers of leftover paint to individuals, groups and charities, enabling people on low incomes to decorate theirs homes for little cost. Each scheme is run differently, offering paint from nothing to a couple of pounds per litre of paint. Find your closest scheme here. We all have tins of paint lying about at home, so it might also be worth checking in with your neighbours and seeing if they have any spare tins going too.
Create a wall mural with sample pots – Think outside the box and create your own graphic wall mural with leftover sample pots to save them going to waste. If you’ve seen Interior Design Masters on the BBC you’ll know wall murals are all the rage, from scallop shaped half walls to bright colour blocks. Use masking tape to mark off your shapes and get a clean finish. It’s a really easy way to add a pop of colour to your home without having to splurge and paint the whole room.
Or use them to give impact to small areas – Sample pots of paint can also be used to paint the back of a door in a bright colour or define a skirting board. It’s amazing the difference even a small area of fresh paint can make.
Go foraging – I always think that a fresh bunch of flowers or a beautiful pop of greenery can really lift a space and bring a neutral scheme to life. If you’re near the countryside or find yourself with a garden in need of pruning, nature has plenty to offer without asking for much in return. And if you scroll through Instagram, you’ll find that everyone is gathering giant, sculptural branches and displaying them in impactful vessels. It will help add drama and interest to an otherwise dull corner and they’ll likely last longer than freshly cut flowers.
Rearrange your living room – Simply by moving things around you can get a fresh new feel for less, without having to buy anything new at all. Swap art around between rooms, move a sofa or chair against another wall if you can or restyle your shelves. Often it will help give you a new perspective and make you appreciate your home all over again.
Declutter your home – nothing brings a home back to itself like a good old tidy and declutter. Without fail, it always brings such a good feeling afterwards. Edit down the things you have in your home so there’s only the things you really, truly love. It will help you see a space with new eyes and may even give you some clearer headspace so you can start to enjoy your home again.