The paint that provides the proper atmosphere, the pictures that elicit memories and direction to a room’s theme, the furniture that blends in as not to distract from a particular look, the knick knacks strategically chosen to enhance and not take over a room, and the throw pillows carefully selected to add just the right pop of color. A lot of work goes in to decorating each room of our homes. But what do you do when you realize you want to drastically change the look of a room and have little or no money to do it?
I recently faced this conundrum. After having my 3rd child in the dead of a frigid winter and spending months sitting in my living room chair staring at the room around me, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore! I’ve never been gifted in the world of decorating. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10 in great decorators I am admittedly a 0, so after perusing Pinterest for hours (I could do that since I spent all day every day in my big comfy chair feeding my newborn) and a visit to my Mom’s house to discuss the reality of my findings, I came up with a way to redecorate my entire living room for FREE! I’ve been SO happy with it; I’m excited to share some ideas with you today.
I should mention that I realize not everyone is going to have the same needs or will have the same items just sitting around their house, but I hope this will encourage you to look and see what you can use to freshen up a room or make some desired changes in your home. We spend so many hours in our homes; it’s where our children play, our family talks, where friends and strangers alike have the opportunity to see us. Our home is a testimony and place where we can be a blessing to each other and to others. The decorations matter.
Here is what our living room looked like before. Basically it was a Tuscan theme gone VERY badly. We sold our brown couch when our 2nd child was born so we could move the futon out of the kids’ room. The electric blue color entering my Tuscan living room certainly didn’t help an already struggling theme. Between crazy furniture and my attempt at curtains we ended up with some sort of weird patriotic theme with orange and brown stripes. Embarrassing, I know.
I knew I couldn’t change the furniture. I had to think in terms of little things that would work together to change the direction of the room. I used the items that had to stay as my backdrop. For me, this meant my staple colors became blue and brown: wooden and electric blue futon, brown cedar chest, brown chair, and blue chair with brown legs. Once I looked at it that way, I realized my furniture kind of coordinated. Amazing!
Next, I needed to find a focal point of the room. This is always important. What item are you going to use to focus the colors of the room around? For me, it was this large, inexpensive picture my husband and I had purchased while engaged. It’s nothing special for sure, but it incorporates the blues and offers the freshness I was hoping my room would render. It also contains various other colors to give me option in my endeavor to redecorate for free.
I then moved to the next biggest item I thought would affect the room: the curtains as we have 3 living room windows. I’m a TERRIBLE seamstress, so I knew whatever I chose had to be no sew—or at least VERY little sew. Thankfully, there are many great options out there for no sew curtains. But they require fabric. I explored the idea of using table cloths, tiny little window skirts that could be done inexpensively, strips of fabric hanging down from my curtain rods to create panels, hot glue gunned curtains, using shower curtains, and even no curtains at all. These are all fine options. Miraculously for me, I remembered that a couple years ago my older sister had given me some curtains she no longer needed. They were a light blue. At the time, I was all about burgundy, so I gladly handed them off to my other sister and forgot about them. In God’s provision, he brought this faint memory to mind, and my sister who had the curtains lives only 15 minutes away. She still had them and wasn’t really using them! I got FREE curtains—and there were 3 of them!
Then I moved to the couch—my throw pillows had to leave the scene, but I couldn’t buy new ones, and our large futon needed something to break up the electric blue. I could have made simple pillows, but I would have had to stuff them—read this as BUY stuffing. Then I found ideas on Pinterest for no sew pillow covers! I liked THIS one (#31 )the most, but I needed fabric. What were my options? I remembered an old sheet set where the fitted sheet had holes worn into it. My husband had told me years ago to save it, so I did. The top sheet was completely fine and it was a $200 set of sheets that had been given to us as a wedding present. I love pima!! I simply cut it in half, did the correct fold on our existing pillows, and viola; I had FREE new pillow covers in about 10 minutes! It’s also really nice because I can just pull the covers off to wash them when needed—and they’re SUPER soft! I didn’t hem the raw edge, though it would be a nice idea.
I needed a corresponding blanket on the back of the couch to break things up, pull the room together, and give us a blanket with which to get cozy when the kids and I read together. We had been given one as wedding present that had various purples and blue in it. It actually worked great with the blues on the furniture and with the picture!
Lastly, I pulled out a special table runner my husband had bought for me in Germany to use on the cedar chest. It is delicate and has the right colors. I had never before envisioned it for the cedar chest, but it has worked wonderfully—we’ve even managed to keep it clean!
There you have it: My newly redecorated living room for FREE!! And I love it!
I hope this helps to give you idea on ways you could redecorate a room for free. Clearly, every person will have different items just sitting around their home (or a sister’s home), but it’s about thinking outside the box. Figuring out what you are capable of, what your goals are, and what can be used to accomplish those goals.
Happy decorating! (And I’d love to hear what you’ve used or repurposed to decorate your home!)