10 No-Cost Ways to Redecorate Your Home for the New Year

updated Dec 23, 2019
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(Image credit: Jacqueline DuBois)

New year, new you, new home, right? Well, if you had the money for that last one, that’d be the case anyway. If the holiday season has you tightening your purse strings a bit, know that you’re not alone. Maybe you can’t move into a new space or splurge on a whole bunch of new stuff for that matter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your home look a little bit different. There are plenty of no-cost design changes that can help refresh for the new year, and these ten freebies are where we’re starting.

(Image credit: Federico Paul)

1. Shop Your Home for “New” Accessories

Take the lamps in your living room and swap them out for what’s on your bedside tables. You can do the same thing with other non-installed decorative items around your home, from vases and plants to throw pillows and blankets. If you feel motivated to switch out the art in your rooms, you can also do that, too.

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

2. Colorize Your Books

Yes, we know this is controversial, but hear us out. If you haven’t arranged your collection by color yet, sort your books by spine shade and give that ROYGBIV game a go. Or edit your books on display down to a tight color palette and put the outliers in baskets or bins. This will bring a bit of visual harmony and calmness to your space. Or if the rainbow look isn’t for you, you could reorganize to find a system that works for you—genre, alphabetical by author, etc.

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

3. Feng Shui All Day

Take some time to rethink your layout, applying some of the basics of feng shui to it so energy-wise, your home’s flow is better. For example, if sitting at your desk means your back is to the door, change that so you’re facing it (this is called a place of power). Keep bathroom doors closed. Make sure your mirrors are in a spot where they’re best reflecting natural light. A bunch of little tweaks can make your space feel fresh and more harmonious for you and anyone else who walks through your doors.

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

4. Declutter

Seriously, we say this all the time. But all that stuff is making your space feel claustrophobic, and it’s dampening the energy in there, too. Make like Coco Chanel, and instead of removing one accessory before you go out, remove one thing you don’t need from each room you walk into—the bigger the item, the better. Donate all your cast-offs in good condition to charity.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

5. Swap Bedrooms

This tip won’t really work for those of you (like me) in one-bedroom apartments. But if you’re feeling like you want to shake things up and your roommates or family members are down for it, try swapping bedrooms with someone. This may be easier said than done if there’s a big disparity between the sizes of sleep spaces in your home. If the stakes are low though, why not? You’ll be forced to rethink your layout and belongings, so welcome that change. And if you live alone and have multiple bedrooms, even better. You’ll have your pick of the litter!

6. Remove Your Blinds or Heavy Window Treatments

Not saying you should do this all throughout your home—especially not in private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms. But if you have a rear-facing kitchen window where sunlight just streams in, for example, give it a chance. Or maybe you have a big living room window. Just take the blinds or curtains off and fully embrace this feature you’re lucky to have.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

7. Repurpose Old Clothing and Accessories into Decor

Turn a favorite old college or high school tee into a pillowcase. Use scrunchies or hair ribbons as curtain tie backs. Instead of wall art, hang necklaces off of pushpins or store bracelets on a dowel so they look like sculpture. The more creative you can get, the better. Some of these ideas may even make it easier for you to get dressed in the morning.

(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

8. Take Your Upper Cabinet Doors Off

Have you always loved the look of open shelving in a kitchen? See if you can make your kitchen look airier by removing a set of upper doors or two. It won’t work in every case or layout, but I’ve seen this done before in low budget renovations, and it’s a quick way to take 10 years off the age of your kitchen. Be prepared to sort and toss mismatched dishes though. Hope neatness is your strong suit.

9. Update Your Headboard

Your bedroom could use a little love, too. So look around your house for a spare throw blanket, piece of fabric, or tapestry. Throw it over your headboard and bask in your decorative genius—you don’t even have to tuck the fabric in so long as your stack of pillows is high enough to hide the end of the fabric. This will make your headboard look new, and when you tire of this pattern or color, you can rotate something new in.

Credit: Minette Hand

10. Clean Your Windows and Light Fixtures

Even if you live in an area where it’s warm year-round, winter days can be shorter and darker on the whole. So make sure you are getting your best light by optimizing the windows and light fixtures you have with a good thorough clean. Give your windows and mirrors a once-over with a cleanser, so they’re not streaky or smudgy. And dust off your light bulbs off while you’re at it. Dirty bulbs can decrease light output and waste energy. Use a dryer sheet to gently wipe bulbs off and enjoy the little bit of boost you get in the brightness department.

See? Sometimes design doesn’t cost a thing, folks. What else would you add to this list?