No-Money Decorating for Every Room

Dining room with throw pillows
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.

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.

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.

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.

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Splashes of Color

Problem: Bland built-ins

Solution: Add punch to a window seat with a colorful throw and pillows. 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 fabrics.

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.

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.

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.

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 or artwork with a console table, bench, or shelves to create a point of interest on your far wall.

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.

Thoughtful Display

Problem: You're sentimental

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

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.

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.

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.

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. If you have an existing canopy bed frame, simply drape a sheet or fabric over the top.

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.

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.

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.

Window Dressings

Problem: No tiebacks

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

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.

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.

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.

On a Roll

Problem: No towel rack

Solution: A metal paper file 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.

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.

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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