Design Ideas

How To Shop (& Get a New Look at Home) Without Spending a Dime

updated May 1, 2023
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When you have curated Pinterest boards full of the home decor products you’re coveting (guilty), it can be easy to forget about maximizing everything you already own. The next time you’re tempted to take a trip to Home Goods, stop and take a look around your home first. Maybe the chair in your living room is the nightstand you’re looking for, or that ladder in your attic could become your new favorite plant stand. Here’s how to shop your home to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Shopping your home is all about looking at everything you own from a new angle. That art that’s in your living room? Maybe it belongs above the tub. Your club chair? It might make a cozy perch in your powder room. Start by walking around your house, imagining where else each object could go and what else it could be used for.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about new possibilities for old belongings:

If you have an extra mirror, hang it over the stove, as shown above in lighting designer Majorie Skouras’s kitchen. Not only is it decorative, but it will bounce light, giving the impression of a window. Never again will you feel like you’re staring at the wall when you stand at the stove.

(Image credit: Travels & Travels)

If you don’t own a lot of vases, it can be a struggle figuring out what to do when guests bring over a bouquet. Get crafty and shop your shelves or fridge for bottles. Divide the flowers among the vessels to create a complete arrangement, as Lindsay from Treasures & Travels did above.

(Image credit: Jonas Berg for 55 Kvadrat)

If you don’t have a headboard, then it’s definitely time to shop your home. An extra wallhanging—especially an adorable tasseled one, like the gray beauty above from 55 Kvadrat—is a great stand-in for a wooden headboard. Find more alternative headboard ideas here.

(Image credit: Lobster and Swan)

Need more spots to stash your massive collection of plants? The answer is always “yes.” Take your old step ladder, or even a step stool, and cluster houseplants on each step, as Jeska from Lobster and Swan did above. In my apartment, I do this with a $15 BEKVAM stool from IKEA. And if houseplants aren’t your weakness, browse these 13 ways to repurpose ladders.

Shop your kitchen cabinets for extra jewelry storage: latte cups, condiment bowls, and small dishes are perfectly sized for corralling all the bits and bobs. Place them all inside a drawer, or set them on a serving tray and leave them out on display, as Maison & Demeure did.

(Image credit: Amber Interiors)

If you’re coveting a new bedspread, but don’t have it in your budget, shop your home for throw blankets or thin quilts. Covering the entire bed, or just tucking the material around the bottom half as Amber Interiors did above, will serve as a quick fix until you can afford an upgrade. This is an easy and inexpensive way to switch up the palette in your room. Check out how this trick can also work for your couch.

(Image credit: House Tweaking)

Rethink where you hang your curtains. Rather than covering the windows, let them serve as sliding closet doors. Dana from House Tweaking loves how the sheer curtains give her a little extra closet space and make it feel more like a “dressing room.”

(Image credit: vtwonen)

Give boring planters an instant update—without having to pull out your painting supplies—by placing them inside those woven baskets you’re not using. Vtwonen‘s inexpensive selection above is from IKEA and H&M Home.

(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel)

If you have an extra area rug, let it stand in for a bathmat. A well-made rug will withstand a damp foot or two, and makes this all-white bathroom from Sarah Sherman Samuel look homier. Would you ever use a rug as a bathmat? Join the debate!

(Image credit: D Magazine)

Moving a piece of art you already own into a new, unexpected spot can bump up its visual impact. The portrait in this bathroom from D Magazine would be less attention-commanding if it were placed in a more traditional location, like on a living room wall.

Have you caught the shop-your-home spirit? Look for these 9 Things You May Already Own That Make Beautiful Wall Art.