10 easy ideas to redecorate homes – without spending a penny!

These simple styling tips can help to make our living spaces feel like new

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!

Visit our living room channel for more inspirational ideas

Follow these simple styling tricks to change the decor in any room.

1. Rearrange the furniture

living area with white wall and sofa with cushions and white window with curtain and flower vase

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Spike Powell)

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

room with white wall and photo gallery and wooden floor and blue drawer unit and arm chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

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

dining area with wooden floor and white wall and dining table and chairs and bench with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Hobhouse)

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

living area with white wall and wall clock and rug and white armchair and black dog

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

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.

Read more here: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen reveals why you should never put furniture against the wall

'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

room with wooden floor and white armchair with cushions and yellow table lamp and mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jon Day)

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

wooden wall with yellow shelves and pots and books

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

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

living area with white wall and shelves and pink sofa with cushions and coffee table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rowland Roques-O'Neil)

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

living are with blue wall and wooden floor and rug and grey sofa with cushions and bench and cupboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Catherine Gratwicke)

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

living area with grey wall storage unit and television

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

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

bedroom with bedside stool table and book

(Image credit: Future PLC/Matt Cant)

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.

More on that: The unexpected work-from-home trend which sees people using THIS household object as a desk

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.