Right now who isn't looking to redecorate homes for free? A little can go a long way, especially when you're talking about simple decor changes such as rethinking furniture layouts or redressing shelving.
Where we place furniture and accessories determines the feel and function of a room. So by merely changing things up we can help to change the decor – without spending any money whatsoever. Big changes with zero spend, yes please!
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Follow these simple styling tricks to change the decor in any room.
1. Rearrange the furniture
Rearrange sofas and armchairs, offset the coffee table – forget the rule book for a minute and rethink your space imaginatively.
'I’m a huge fan of rearranging rooms to give them an all-new effect, boosting feelings of well-being' says Wayfair’s (opens in new tab) resident style advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill. 'Whether it’s moving your favourite occasional chair from your bedroom to your living room window, or reworking accents the simple practice of putting things in a new spot will bring a little excitement to a tired (and at the moment) much-seen room.'
2. Display pictures with a fresh perspective
I did this very thing on the first weekend of lockdown – and boy did it feel good to do! It's one of those jobs that we've probably all thought about for ages but just never get around to.
Whether your have a picture ledge (as I do) or a gallery wall of hanging frames, a quick reshuffle of positions makes all the difference. Plus you can give them all a much-needed clean while you do so. Win, win.
3. Divide a room
Nadine advises, 'Another great way to create a feeling of space is to use furniture to divide your room. For an open plan living/dining room with sophisticated zones, try positioning your dining table at one end of the room.'
'Then create a clearly demarcated living area, by placing your sofa in the centre of the room facing the opposite direction. With a sideboard pushed flush against it’s back you will be able to create two areas for living and dining and your sideboard will also provide the perfect plinth to style up with lamps, books and accents to create a design-led look.'
More inspiration: Open-plan living room ideas for a multi-functional, family space
4. Move furniture away from walls
While we're moving furniture consider how to position it, for a fresh feel. We probably all have sofas and sideboards butted up against the walls and they've been that way since we moved in. And, yes, sometimes that's the only viable option and best use of space – but stylists say that is not always the best idea.
When offering advice for a caller on This Morning Laurence highlights a key issue with Nicolle's living room. 'The big problem you've got is agoraphobia. All of your furniture is backed to the wall so it's making the spaces feel very unfurnished,' he said. 'Bring the sofa unit into the middle of the space a little bit more' saying how this simple act will transforms the feel of the layout.
'It’s a myth that pushing furniture up against walls makes a room feel bigger,' says Nadine. 'In actual fact your pad will feel far more spacious and pulled together if you pull sofas and larger items of furniture slightly away from the walls'.
5. Swap the cushions
A simple but effective way to instantly change a rooms decor is by mixing in new cushions. At present shopping for cushions is not an essential need, so why not improvise. Change cushions from room to room, ok they aren't new but they suddenly become fresh in a different environment. Take the cushions off the bed and replace the cushions on the sofa, switch things up to welcome a small sense of change.
6. Restyle shelves
A simple practice, but a highly effective one for completely changing the look in any room. 'Restyling your interior is the easiest way to give your space a new lease of life and the good news is that you don’t need to splash the cash to create a fresh new look,' says Nadine.
Clear the shelves, give everything a thorough dust and start to restyle how things were displayed. This is a great opportunity to declutter, to display items in a more organised and curated way.
‘Try stacking books both horizontally and vertically to create a cute vignette,' Nadine suggests. Or 'add a few trailing plants to make everything feel organic,'. her top tip when it comes to styling shelves is 'be mindful not to over-style’. Less is more, it's about striking the perfect balance.
7. Switch up the lighting
It is more than likely you're using your home in a completely different way at present, while in lockdown mode. Changing the lighting in your main rooms can help to change the ambience and also zone different areas to enjoy – such as a home office or a reading nook.
Use table lamps to give a concentrated area of light, even moving a bedside lamp into a makeshift home office space for this purpose. Switch the floor lamp into an alternative corner, perhaps above an armchair or beanbag, to signify a dedicated quiet corner for some reading come the evening – a welcome break from watching the TV.
8. Rethink rugs
The same premise as with the cushions, switch the rugs from room to room, for an instant mini makeover. Or change where you position them in within each room. Do you have the rug placed centrally in the living room, because that's what you think you should do? Why not lay the rug off centre?
Turn it vertically rather than horizontally, to change the rooms perspective. Even a few inches from where it is now can make a difference, just your wait – give the rug a twist.
9. Reposition the TV
Create a new focal point for the living room room by repositioning the TV. As much as we don't like to admit their prominence, TVs are more often than not the anchor of the living room scheme – the point to which all eyes come back to. And as we are all no doubt watching our screens more than ever it's suddenly feeling imposing perhaps.
By moving the TV (where it's not wall-mounted of course) we can completely change the dominant aspect of the living room, in an instant. Even better, where possible hide it from sight.
10. Repurpose pieces
Give pieces of furniture a different sense of purpose, to be more creative with the function of every single item in your home. From IKEA steps being used more as stools and stools as bedside tables to ironing boards being used as desks – there's never being a more relevant time to have fun with how we use key household items.
Best thing about all of this simple redecoration is they are free and totally reversible. You can rearrange your house back to how you like once this is all over. But we wouldn't mind betting a lot of these changes will stay in place, as you'll love how the little changes can make a big difference.
Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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