Skip to Content

How to Decorate With What You Already Have – 13 Low and No Cost Ideas

Ready for a home makeover without spending a fortune? Learn how to decorate with what you already have for a stylish, cost-effective transformation.

I love a challenge, and when there’s no money in the budget for redecorating, it’s time to get creative. Seasonal revamps, for instance, don’t require new furnishings and decor.

Instead, I refresh my home with my existing furniture, soft furnishings, and accessories. Are you up for the challenge of decorating with what you already have?

Decorate with what you already have by rearranging and upcycling furniture. Recover and reallocate cushions, drapes in a new room, and throws. Display collectibles like hats, plates, musical instruments, nature’s bounty, family souvenirs, jewelry, and books for unique decor.

A modern living room and text overlay that says, "How to decorate with what you already have".

Redecorating doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Instead of running headlong into draping your furniture in canvas and bringing in painters and plasterers, focus on restyling items that have fallen into disuse, been relegated to the basement, or disregarded as “too ordinary.”

Let’s look at some low-cost and no-cost ideas for decorating your home with what you already have.

#1. Rearrange the Furniture

A couple rearranging furniture.

Once a room just contains the bare bones of furniture, consider whether you can rearrange items in more convenient or pleasing positions.

I am always amazed by how moving furniture can transform the feel of a room, making it seem airy and spacious.

Consider the room’s flow, how family traffic moves through a space, and how you use the room at different times of the day. For example:

  • Flip your bed to face a window and enjoy a garden view.
  • Rearrange chairs into cozy new conversational groupings.
  • Place the sofa at a new angle.

#2. Reallocate Items

Towels on a stool in a bathroom.

While moving furniture around, you can also reallocate items to new rooms. Get creative, imagine using outdoor items inside and non-furniture items as furniture.

I have a little outdoor bistro set with a pretty mosaic table that I’ve moved into a nook in my bedroom for morning tea.

A kitchen stool can become a handy table to place your towel and a glass of wine when you’re in the bath. An old tea trolley can be revamped as a mini cocktail bar. And a storage basket can become a plant holder. Or a step ladder can be used as a shelf.

#3. Upcycle and Recycle

Kitchen cabinet.

Upcycling is responsible for some furniture horrors, but I’m not asking anyone to glue shells on anything.

The easiest option is to sand, repaint, or stain a dated or shabby piece of furniture and add new handles for an instant update.

Another simple hack is to transform a cabinet into open shelving. Remove the doors, filling in any holes with putty. Clean the cupboards thoroughly.

Because these will now be on display, check whether they need a lick of paint, a stain, or a new backdrop. My mother made a dull bookcase sing by lining the back with vintage music sheets.

#4. Redistribute Drapes, Pillows, and Throws

Throws on a couch.

Soft furnishings play a massive role in decorating your home. They add comfort, color, and texture and can update a room in seconds.

You probably have heaps of these items scattered around your home, so collect them together — including those stuffed in the basement cupboard. And redistribute them around your home (after washing, of course).

If your drapes are the same height throughout your home, it’s easy to change them for instant transformation.

Find cushions and throws that match — or clash, if you enjoy the energy — and you’ll have a whole new space.

Make new pillow covers out of unused tablecloths or T-shirts. Or knit new ones if you’re handy with a needle or two. Several patterns for no-sew covers are available as well.

Create new color and textural combinations, mismatch patterns, and pile up the new selection on a sofa or bed in a room that needs an injection of color.

Reuse throws, tablecloths, and even scarves by draping them over a faded chair or sofa. Fold them as cushions on uncomfortable benches, lay them as a table runner, or use them to cover a dull headboard.

#5. Decorate Books

Books on shelves.

The best way to decorate with what you already have is to use unique, personal items you have collected over time, including family treasures and souvenirs.

Much loved books are my favorite item for decorating. Books often have beautifully designed covers that are like artwork, and their stackability makes them perfect for creating height in a display.

I’m not one for using blank sides of books as decor; instead, I group them by color or shape.

#6. Style the Kitchen with Cookware and Bowl Displays

Cookware hanging on a kitchen wall.

An excellent way to decorate your kitchen is with cookware that you keep in cupboards.

Gorgeous copper-based pans look fantastic hung from the ceiling or against the wall. And beautifully colored enamel saucepans make a bright display.

Hang those beautiful, mismatched plates you inherited on an open wall. You can also pick up pretty pieces at thrift stores.

Storage containers and colorful plates on shelves.

If you have open shelving, display your pantry staples in large jars — noodles, pasta, and lentils add interest to a room. Use jugs to hold utensils so that they’re readily at hand.

Bowls or vases full of fruit or vegetables also add a pop of color to your kitchen.

#8. Display Colorful Fruits

Kitchen with baskets of fruits on counter, flower bouquet and utensils hanging on the wall.

I love the vivid citrus shades of oranges, lemons, and limes, while a basket of russet apples is the perfect fall display. Don’t forget a small basket of beautifully shaped squashes or vibrantly colored peppers.

#9. Display Colorful Towels and Bath Products in the Bathroom

Bath products and towels in a basket.

Bathrooms are easy to decorate using what you have. Display colorful towels neatly rolled on a shelf or in a basket.

Collect vintage-style glass bottles and vessels to store bath products, or to arrange on a window sill to enjoy their coastal colors.

Soaps, face towels, bubble baths, and bath salts are often attractive enough to display as accessories.

#10. Decorate with Plants and Earthy Colored Rocks

Plants and fruits on a dining table.

I don’t have a formal dining room — it’s used as much for family suppers as dinner parties.

Decorating a dining room can make it both personal and elegant, especially if you look to nature for inspiration and use houseplants from other rooms.

An elegant arrangement of branches or budding twigs is the perfect table centerpiece if you don’t have a garden full of blooms.

Consider a bowl of earthy-colored rocks (not rocks covered in earth!) arranged with lush greenery for a beautiful natural display.

#11. Family Photos and Inherited Paintings

Living room with photos on the wall.

This doesn’t mean hitting the local gallery — remember, you’re working with what you have.

And you likely have family photos, embroideries, or paintings you inherited that you’ve stuck in the attic or guest bathroom. If you don’t, there are stunning free printables online. Put these in those frames lurking in the garage to form a gallery wall.

#12. Favorite Collections

A modern room with pillows on a sofa, plants on coffee table, lamp, shelf and hat display on the wall.

A living or family room is where you spend the most time relaxing, watching TV, or chatting with friends.

Make your decor unique by displaying your favorite collections. Straw hats, musical instruments, model cars, or flat baskets.

You can also combine ornaments, vases, and candles from around the house.

To prevent groupings of trinkets from looking random, arrange them on a tray around a common theme, color, or shape or in groups of threes or fives.

Mirrors are excellent display items as they enlarge a room while reflecting light around it, creating the illusion of a window. Prop a mirror against your mantelpiece or the wall as an artistic touch.

#13. Personal and Treasured Items

Post card.

Bedrooms are the most intimate rooms in the house, so they lend themselves to displays of personal and treasured items.

Make a no-cost display using an old picture frame and strings or an old corkboard, and hang up special greeting cards, postcards, or children’s artwork.

Allow your jewelry to sparkle and shine on hooks along the wall. Use small knobs to hang necklaces and an earring tree for smaller items.

Final Thoughts

Decorating with what you already have means using your creativity and imagination. Reuse, rearrange, and reallocate furniture and soft furnishings. And change up the displays in your home with personal collections, family heirlooms, and beloved mementos.

Related Decor Articles:

Small living room with a large plant and text overlay that says, "Tips for decorating with what you have".

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.