24 Free Home Makeover Ideas Using What You Already Have

Some days all you want to do is decorate your living room, and most days the low bank account severely limits that.

The not-so-pretty part of owning an old house is the not-so-pretty but expensive updates we always have to make around here.

But the good news is there are still lots of ways to decorate your home for free!

free home decorating ideas using what you already have

How to Decorate Your House for (Mostly) Free

Recently, we’ve shelled out quite a chunk to get our water heater replaced, our dated electric work throughout the house redone, and our HVAC replaced. That’s just the tip of the expensive home-owning iceberg.

And while we know this house is totally worth it, that subject lends itself to another challenge that we’re very familiar with after several years of this home journey- decorating a house for FREE. Totally and completely $0.

It’s gotten me brainstorming lots of great ideas lately if you’ve been craving a decorating refresh in your home too without paying the hefty price.

  • Get creative with art and free things to frame
  • Repurpose and restyle
  • Shop your rooms
  • Rely on nature
  • Rearrange
  • Sell and swap

All 24 of these free home makeover ideas only require using what you already have.

breakfast nook with banquette and french doors

1. Frame Public Domain Images or Free Printables

Usually, just good ol’ Google does the trick for searching free printables and public domain images. You can find lots of them in our printable library. But free art is all over Pinterest ready to be printed straight from your computer.

Tutorial: See more tips about how to find free art in public domain archives here.

framed painting on board and batten wall with sconces above a banquette

2. Rearrange Your Furniture

Rearranging your furniture is like getting a brand new piece for a room that you shopped in your own home. Try reconfiguring the layout of your living room or bedroom.

Or better yet, swap furniture from one room to another.

Usually, nightstands make great living room end tables. Or a bedroom dresser can make a nice dining room sideboard or entryway chest.

living room with limewashed fireplace, white sofas, and fandelier

3. Recycle Jars or Bowls to Turn into Vases

Give glass jars a good wash and fill them with flowers or use them as votives for candles. Look through your kitchen cabinets to see what bowls or cups can double as vases or planters.

kitchen sink decorated for winter with paper white flowers in a bowl

4. Rotate Pillows and Rugs Room to Room

Change up the whole color scheme in any room by swapping rugs and pillows from other rooms in the house. Move pillows from your bed to your living room couch. Or move a rug from your dining room to your bedroom.

foyer and staircase with burgundy rug

5. Clip Flowers or Branches from Outdoors

Bonus: Flowers from your yard always last much longer than buying them from the store because they’re fresher.

free home decor idea using stems from the yard

6. Display Family Mementos That Have Meaning

That top suitcase belonged to my grandparents that they took on their honeymoon over 60 years ago. It’s one of my favorite things that I love seeing every day. We use it for storing our family’s old photos.

Display souvenirs from your travels, a map of your hometown, a sketch or painting of your childhood home using a photo-to-art app, or frame preserved letters/recipes.

free home decor idea using vintage suitcases for storage

7. Declutter Shelves, Tabletops, and Countertops

Nothing makes me appreciate our home more than after we’ve decluttered. Clear away the everyday stuff that piles up to enjoy some minimalism in your life.

Tutorial: How to Declutter Your Home Quickly with These Organizer Secrets

decluttered decorated end table in a living room

8. Restyle Your Dining Table or Kitchen Counter

Even just a pitcher from your kitchen with flowers can brighten up your dining table.

Tutorial: How to Decorate Kitchen Countertops

pitcher of dried lavender on a kitchen countertop

9. Have a Decor Swap With Friends

Pull together decor you’re no longer in love with and have decor-enthusiast friends over for a local swap. Make a girls’ night of it!

nightstand in a guest bedroom with pharmacy lamp

10. Check Marketplace for Free Furniture and Decor

People who need to move in a hurry or are purging after the loss of a family member often have an estate sale. You can often score large pieces of furniture they just want hauled away for free to whomever is willing to pick it up quickly.

Tutorial: How to Find the Best Deals on Facebook Marketplace

stone painted lamp on a dresser

11. Turn Sheets or Drop Cloths Into Curtains

I haven’t tried this project personally, but it would be a great idea, especially if you have an abundance of extra plain white sheets to create a light, airy effect in a room. This tutorial can help. 

free home decor idea using sheets as curtains

12. Frame an Old Calendar or Tea Towel

Cute dish towels are cheap already, but if you have a pretty one currently in your kitchen drawer that you love, frame it! Or take an old calendar with pretty art that you can cut up to put in frames.

free wall decor using an old calendar in picture frames

13. Sell Old Decor to Buy New

This is one I do all the time. List items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or apps like Offer Up and Let Go to make money to go towards a home refresh. If you have a lot of items, host a garage sale.

garage sale to sell old home decor

14. Transform Furniture With Leftover Paint

You can use spray paint, wall paint (just make sure you prime first), chalk paint, mineral paint, whatever you have on hand to give a new look to any furniture in your home that is looking drab.

Tutorial: Beginner’s Guide to Painting Furniture

painting a nightstand with gloss paint
gloss painted nightstand in a little girl's room

15. Melt Down Old Candles to Make Them New

If you have several half-used candles lying around, melt them down in a water bath on your stove top to create a new candle out of canisters, bowls, or cups.

Tutorial: DIY Candle from a Thrifted Brass Canister

melting old candles to make a new candle
making a new candle from a vintage canister

16. Propagate Houseplants or Dry Flowers to Display

Walk around your yard to see what flowers you can hang up to try and display. Or use this tutorial to snip from your existing houseplants to grow new ones.

Tutorial: How to Dry Hydrangeas | Preserved Flowers + How to Dry Leaves and Flowers for Decor

dried hydrangea flowers on a kitchen counter

17. Press Leaves or Flowers to Frame

Spring and summer are the perfect time to press flowers to use as art. Press them inside old books or use a flower press, if you want to be “official” about it. In the fall, keep an eye out for beautifully colored leaves that you can press inside of heavy books to display.

Tutorial: DIY Pressed Flower Art | Pressed Leaf Gallery Wall

pressed flowers for diy art
pressed flowers in picture frames for free wall decor

18. Rearrange Your Bookshelves

Change the look of your bookcases simply by rearranging them. Steal items from around the house to display and mix in a houseplant or two if the room gets enough natural light.

ikea billy bookcase built in in a media room

19. Paint a Mirror

Change the look in your bathroom or on a wall by painting your existing mirror frames. You can also use Rub n Buff for a realistic metallic effect.

Tutorial: Rub n Buff Colors Tried & Tested: Color Guide & Tutorial

rub n buff mirror frame with

20. Frame an Old Rug or Fabric Scraps

Don’t throw out a damaged rug, piece of clothing, or drapery without considering framing it first. It can make beautiful textile art. If you’re good at sewing, repurpose old fabric items into a table runner, placemats, or cloth napkins.

Tutorial: DIY Designer Knock-Off Textile Art from a Recycled Rug

cutting up an old rug to make tapestry art
repurposed old rug to make tapestry art

21. Repurpose Tea Towels or Rugs for DIY Pillow Covers

Tea towels, rugs, cloth napkins, and table runners make great throw pillow covers. If you can’t sew, try using hemming tape and an iron.

Tutorial: 3 Items You Can Repurpose Into DIY Throw Pillows

repurposed tea towels to make pillow cover
repurposed tea towels to make pillow cover

22. Restyle Your Coffee Table

Borrow items from shelves, nightstands, or dresser tops to create a new look on your coffee table.

Tutorial: Easy Coffee Table Decor Ideas and How to Style Them

vase of roses, brass bowl, and candle as coffee table decor

23. Paint Your Planters

Change the look of your planters on your porch with leftover spray paint. Just be sure to seal them with polyurethane to protect them from harsh weather.

Tutorial: Faux DIY Concrete Planters With Spray Paint

spray painting cheap planters to look like concrete
spray painted Walmart planters to look like concrete

24. Make a Stovetop Potpourri Pot from Fruit Scraps

If your family eats lots of oranges and apples, toss the peels and cores into a pot with water to simmer on the stoves. It makes the best natural potpourri to make the house smell cozy.

Tutorial: No Waste Fall Simmer Pot Recipe

no waste simmer pot potpourri

Got any free decorating strategies you’ve used on your own? Comment below so we can make this post an ongoing resource for everyone to get ideas. I’m all ears!

sign off
Tried and true ways to decorate and refresh your home completely for free (and maybe even make a little money in the process). #decorating #homedecor #budgetdecor

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33 Comments

  1. OK, this might be one of my favorite posts (well, if you’re not counting the decor posts, tablescape posts, trash to treasure posts, etc!). I LOVED reading and being reminded of all of these great ideas!! Thank you for sharing….. I’m off to shop my house!!

  2. Love this post. I’m forever going through herloom dishes to display on the shelves of my “hutch”. I like to use yard greenery. I think Joanna Gaines gave us the freedom in her early shows to do that. I like the reminder to spray paint.
    I’ll try not to spend money on new decor. I overheard a girl about your daughter ‘s age say in Target in the Magnolia section that it was nice but too expensive ??

  3. Don’t forget books. Some covers are so pretty or a group of one color can provide a temporary pop. I set an old vintage Wizard of Oz book last week in a pretty shabby white metal plate holder for something different to love on a small wall in my office. Cost me nothing….

    1. Yes! I love sticking pretty vintage books everywhere too. They constantly show up in thrift stores for 50 cents each.

  4. Repurpose something you have (maybe in the attic or basement). A stool could become a plant stand. A quilt could become a wall hanging. A cheese plate with a glass cover can become a cloche for decorating filled with seasonal items – nests, eggs, ornaments etc. Large old picture frames can be painted and used without pictures, glass and backing as a square or rectangular shape on a chest or mantle.

    1. Too funny! I’m using that cloche one in a trash to treasure transformation post tomorrow. 🙂 Love all of those ideas!