5 Smart Ways to Update Your Living Room—for Free

updated Nov 20, 2019
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They say that the best things in life are free, but we’re starting to feel like nothing is free anymore. Whether you want to stream your favorite home reno show or try your luck with a DIY project, it’s almost if you have to drop some serious coin to do anything these days.

But believe it or not, it’s possible to decorate without spending a single cent. The key? Using things you already have in new and creative ways. Keep scrolling for five living room design hacks you can complete for free.

Credit: Anna Spaller

Frame a Scarf

Take a beautiful scarf that you never wear and hang it on the wall instead. Think of this as a much classier version of the tapestries from your college days! It will bring you more joy than it did sitting in the back of your closet, and you’ll have some unique, fancy-looking artwork to add to your abode. Just be sure to grab your iron or steamer first to smooth out any wrinkles!

Grow Your Plant Fam

If you want to create the illusion of a bigger in-home garden—or have some cute planters you’re itching to put to use—propagate your plants. (I was introduced to this tip during a plant workshop this summer and the results were fab.)

Once you carefully separate your leafy greens into smaller units, line everyone up on your dresser or a small shelf and admire your stunning display of green friends. Don’t have any extra planters on hand? You can always repurpose Mason jars or cute canisters that you already have around the house!

Credit: Blair Staky

Turn Your Collection Into a Design Moment

My friends and I love collecting matchbooks when we’re out at restaurants, and while they seem a bit retro, many places still hand these out by the hostess stand, making it easy to build your own stash! If you have matchbooks from favorite restaurants or special occasions on hand, place them in a bowl on your coffee table like Blair Staky of The Fox & She did in her living room. They’re an instant conversation starter when friends come over, and they’re super handy to keep around amidst prime candle-burning season!

Psst… this tip can also work for your coin, stamp, or postcard collection.

Credit: Tori Putnam for The Everygirl

Give Your Space a Sporty Flair

Love to play tennis or surf? Keep your supplies on display by hanging a racquet on the wall or propping up a surfboard as Andi Teggartt did in her space, as featured on The Everygirl. Not only are you showcasing a bit of your personality, but you’re also incorporating items that may normally be stashed in storage into your existing decor scheme. There’s no need to buy something new when you can get artsy with what you already do have and use!

Credit: Scott and Kim Vargo

Create a Kodak Moment

Keep printouts of your favorite photos, large or small, on your coffee table as a way to remember fun moments with friends and family. They’ll get much more use being admired when guests stop by than they will tucked away in that random kitchen drawer. We love how Scott and Kim Vargo of Yellow Brick Home display theirs, complete with handwritten descriptions.