12 Brilliant Ways to Redecorate Your Home With Things You Already Own, According to Designers

updated Jul 15, 2020
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Never has home felt like more of a sanctuary as it does now. With the increasing amount of time many people spending indoors, surrounding yourself with things that make you happy is more important than ever. Even so, it’s normal start feeling antsy after awhile and ready for a change or a complete decorative refresh. It is spring, after all. 

Given that going out and about isn’t a realistic option right now, why not try redecorating with the items you already own? We enlisted the help of a few trusted decorators and interior designers who gave us the lowdown on revamping a space by restyling it, all without spending a dime.

1. Curate a Travel Tray

Now’s the time to break out all your travel mementos: Ticket stubs, polaroids, candles, magnets—you get the gist. Designer Josh Pickering of Pickering House suggests organizing a few items from a recent or favorite trip on a tray designated for the coffee table or curating a little tabletop vignette with various saved objects. “It may be a temporary ‘installation’ but seeing these things together tells a visual story and may trigger happy memories,” he adds. 

2. Color Your Emotions

Think about how you want your space to feel and evoke that emotion through color, advises Decorist designer Sarah Ramirez. Take inventory of what you have in every room, cabinet, and storage bin and gather pieces in a specific hue or color family to create mini moments around your home. If yellow or pink make you smile, coordinate around that. “Try a serving bowl or platter from the kitchen layered on the coffee table or fill clear containers with trinkets found in corresponding shades,” she notes.

Credit: Sylvie Li

3. Play with Lighting

Not only does lighting make a profound difference, but finding the right color and intensity of a bulb can totally transform the ambiance of a room. For Lev Glazman, co-founder of Fresh and the creative force behind Hudson, New York’s The Maker Hotel, lighting doubles as a functional piece of art. “It can make or break a space,” he says. “Just changing the shade on your existing fixture with your choice of fabric can make a big difference.” Experiment with what you already own, and swap table lamps or shades from one room to another to find a new setting for each piece.

4. Frame Your Child’s Art

When in need of a lift in spirits, designer Blair Moore‘s foolproof move is to swap the art in her home. Her go-to? Having her kids create something with paint, crayons, or even a photo collage, and hanging it up to instantly revitalize a room. Beyond that, Moore’s secret weapon is to pair her kids’ art with a minimalist frame—the Format from Michael’s is a favorite—to give it an elevated finish. 

5. Craft Things Out

If you’re feeling up to a DIY project, consider this clever trick from Domio’s VP of Creative, Olivia Hnatyshin. “If you have solid, dark, or denim textiles—think pillows, sheets, curtains, or cloth napkins—that need a new lease on life, give them the reverse tie-dye treatment.” All you need for this classic meets trendy pattern is bleach, rubber bands or hair ties, and water. 

6. Make Your Accessories Work Harder

Put your fashion staples to good use by getting creative with a fun hat display, says designer Sara Hillery. Rearrange them on the wall in an artful manner and maybe spring for a few design-forward coat hooks to take things to the next level, if you’d like. Bonus points for getting really creative with this one and organizing your accessories by color, style, or aesthetic.

Credit: Sandra Rojo

7. Dismantle the Library

Books shouldn’t be limited to the coffee table or shelves. “Pick out a handful of colorful titles and free them from the bookcase,” says interior designer Mally Skok. Stack them creatively on a rustic statement chair if you have one, or build out a tower of them to fill an empty nook. Not only do they invite a whole new dimension to a room, but they will make any space feel less stuffy or formal. 

8. Hang Your Textiles

Have a rug rolled up in a closet somewhere? Try hanging it on your wall. Armadillo & Co founder Jodie Fried is all for transforming a patterned carpet into wall art—just hang it vertically to help you establish a focal point in any room. Not only will it bring an unexpected hint of warmth and depth to a room, but it’s also a great way to conceal imperfections or even permanent fixtures such as electrical boxes. When mounting a rug, use a curtain rod with clamps or hooks for a clean finish and make sure that the weight of the piece is evenly distributed to avoid its warping in shape over time. And don’t forget, throw blankets can also work in this situation, too.

9. Bring the Outdoors In

Take a quick trip outside for blooming branches, wild flowers, or even pinecones from the woods. Any of these items will introduce a natural touch to a room. “Repurpose a water pitcher, martini shaker, or even a pen jar by filling it with locally foraged greens, fruits, or flowers,” advises DACHA founder Lauren Gregory. Organic elements always inspire a layer of interest and instantly breathe new life into a space. 

10. Rearrange Your Basics

“Gather all the decorative pillows in your home and put them in one large pile then, create new textile combinations by mixing and matching pieces from different rooms,” says Decorist designer Lauren Martin. Not only will this spice up the decor of a space, but it will also inspire a boost of visual freshness. Decorate with the seasons in mind—think soft neutrals and darker tones for the winter and an eclectic combo of pattern and color for the summer.

11. Shake Things Up

According to interior designer Kevin Isbell, after looking at the same decorative accents in one particular spot over time, our eyes stop registering them and essentially start glazing over them. The fix? “Sweep up all of your accessories and artwork from the walls and tabletops and redistribute them to someplace new within the house,” Isbell says. You’ll find that you might have a brand new appreciation for one forgotten item or another when it’s in a new and unexpected location. 

12. Update the Walls

Decorist interior designer Erika Dale knows the power a fresh coat of paint can have on a space, but she’s all for taking things a step further. Use leftover paint to stencil in a design that can mimic the effect of wallpaper. Think small scale and designate this project for a powder room or the inside of a closet or pantry for a playful revamp.