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No-Money Decorating for Every Room

Great decorating doesn't have to cost a fortune -- in fact it doesn't have to cost anything! Use these FREE decorating solutions to give your space a whole new look.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Curtain Call

      Problem: You have low ceilings

      Solution: Fake a high ceiling with strategically placed window treatments. Make a room seem taller by installing the curtain rod above the window frame. Draperies should graze the bottom of the window sill or the floor.

    • Pile On the Pillows

      Problem: The room doesn't feel inviting

      Solution: Nothing is cozier than a pile of pillows. Gather pillows from around the room or house and arrange them on one sofa to add comfort and color. Choose pillows that have different patterns in complementary colors for a perfectly mismatched look.

    • Splashes of Color

      Problem: Bland built-ins

      Solution: Add punch to a window seat with a colorful throw. Need help choosing a color? Look for a predominant color on the dust jackets or spines of the books in your shelving and repeat it in your throw.

    • Mirror, Mirror

      Problem: You can't put holes in your walls

      Solution: Skip the drama of a hammer and nails and prop framed mirrors against a wall. A large mirror serves many functions in a room. With a beautiful frame it becomes impactful art. When angled against the wall, it tricks the mind into thinking the ceiling line is even higher than it is. When it reflects light, it brightens the space and provides the illusion of an extra window.

    • Up Close and Personal

      Problem: Furniture lines every wall

      Solution: Nobody likes a wallflower, especially when it comes to furniture. Moving furniture away from the wall and into groupings makes a room seem larger and encourages conversation.

    • Fruit Sensations

      Problem: Not enough accessories

      Solution: Don't let your refrigerator have all the fun! Put colorful fruit on display in glass jars or footed glass bowls. Choose the long-lasting fruits of the season for a colorful, affordable, and delicious display. Oranges, lemons, and limes add a refreshing touch to spring or summer decorating. Apples are a great choice for fall or winter.

    • Color Theory

      Problem: Boring mantel

      Solution: Conquer a blank mantel with color. Choosing one common color -- such as yellow -- gives unrelated objects a unifying theme. Shop your house for items in the same color family. Pitchers, plates, books, and pottery come together to make this interesting grouping.

    • Increase Your Odds

      Problem: Blah displays

      Solution: Odd-number groupings are more interesting than evens. Display frames or objects in threes or fives for an eye-pleasing arrangement.

    • Pretty Piles

      Problem: You're a sentimental fool

      Solution: Greeting cards are little pieces of artwork. Make a no-cost display from all the birthday and holiday greetings you've collected by tossing them into a decorative bowl. For an added bonus, when you're having a bad day just pull a card from the bowl and read for an instant boost.

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      Book It!

      Problem: Stacks and stacks of books in the living room

      Solution: Put your books to use. Turn a stack of books into a side table by placing a tray on top. When it's time to read just pull a book from the stack.

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      Natural Beauty

      Problem: Standard-issue accessories

      Solution: Why spend lots of money on accents when you can find beautiful pieces just by stepping out your front door? Tall birch tree limbs become art when propped against the wall. These homeowners even turned one into a floor lamp by using a lamp kit and adding a shade. Also consider driftwood branches, twigs in tall vases, or bowls of rocks and shells.

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      Focused Design

      Problem: No focal point in the room

      Solution: If your room is lacking a natural attention grabber, such as a fireplace or television, create one. Pair a mirror and console table to create a point of interest on your far wall.

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      Good with Accents

      Problem: Uncomfortable dining chairs

      Solution: Enhance your dining experience with accent pillows. Colorful pillows add comfort to the seat or backrest -- and add a splash of color and pattern to the dining room.

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      Quick and Easy

      Problem: Plain upholstery

      Solution: Dress up plain chairs by adding a colorful scarf or fabric runner. This is an easy way to add color to a room. You can change it on a whim or with the seasons.

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      Table Tricks

      Problem: Tiny table

      Solution: If your dining table is too small for a lot of accents, add just a little elegance with a table runner. Use a pretty patterned fabric scrap, retired window treatment panel, or an oversize scarf.

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      Water Works

      Problem: Old glassware

      Solution: Don't throw out old glassware just because the rest of the set has broken. Mismatched drinking glasses make beautiful vases. Group glasses together for a creative centerpiece.

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      Creative Collage

      Problem: Your refrigerator door is overflowing

      Solution: Liberate the front of your refrigerator with a corkboard. Fill the board with pages torn from your favorite magazine, postcards, children's artwork, and photographs. This doesn't require any special arranging; just keep adding images until the board is full.

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      Thrifty Headboard

      Problem: Outdated headboard

      Solution: Add interest to a cold, old headboard by draping a panel of pretty fabric over it. Cut to size and tuck the ends under the mattress to help it stay in place.

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      Quick Canopy

      Problem: Angles in the eaves

      Solution: Let a curtain panel or an old sheet act as a makeshift canopy or tester. Find fabric in a pattern or color you like and use curtain rods to attach it to the wall. Hanging the panel from the ceiling accentuates the architecture of the attic room.

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      Bedazzled Wall Art

      Problem: Tangled jewelry

      Solution: You use your jewelry to dress up your outfit. Now use it to dress up your walls. Turn the tangle of jewelry in your jewelry box into artwork. Use frames or shadow boxes to group pieces together. Not only will your walls sparkle, but you'll be more likely to wear pieces because you see them on a regular basis.

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      Window Dressings

      Problem: No tiebacks

      Solution: Tame unruly curtains with scarves or ribbon. Using a scarf as a tie-back adds color and interest to your window treatments.

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      The Write Stuff

      Problem: Plain white window treatments

      Solution: Customize window treatments with text. Print letters in your favorite font and transfer them to the window shade by tracing the letters with a fabric marker. This technique also works with simple clip art illustrations.

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      Form and Function

      Problem: No room for baking pans

      Solution: Fill empty kitchen walls with cooking essentials. Pots, pans, baking supplies, and utensils make great wall art when hung in multiples. Bonus: These supplies are easy to find when cooking.

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      On a Roll

      Problem: No towel rack

      Solution: A wine rack makes a perfect storage place for rolled towels in the bathroom. Not only are the towels easy to reach, but they become instant decoration. So choose towels in multiple colors for a beautiful display.

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      Bathroom Basics

      Problem: Your bathroom lacks accents

      Solution: Towels are a bathroom necessity. But with clever arranging they can also become a bathroom accessory. Choose towels in multiple colors and layer them to add splashes of color. Show off other bathroom essentials, such as soaps and lotions, for fun and functional decorating.

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      Next Slideshow Make It Look Like You Splurged

      Make It Look Like You Splurged

      In a house brimming with high-end style and charm you would never guess that a thrifty and practical homeowner was responsible for the transformation. By testing out durable pieces and being frugal, the homeowner completely customized her home without breaking the bank.
      Begin Slideshow »



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