The $0 Home Makeover

Even on a small budget — or no budget at all — you can refresh and renew the spaces in your home with these tips for design experts.

  • Make the rooms of your home look social-media ready with some zero-dollar designer tips.
    Photo by GettyImages/asbe
  • Mix and match the seating at your dining table for an inviting, eclectic feel.
    Photo by GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
  • Organizing a swap meet is a great way to get new and interesting furniture for your home.
    Photo by GettyImages/keladawy
  • Blogger Sarah Hearts ( arranged hanging art in an unfinished corner of her home, bringing new life to the space.
    Photo by Sarah Khandjian
  • Don't forget to bring a little plant life into your home!
    Photo by GettyImages/KatarzynaBialasiewicz
  • Arrange knickknacks in a fun display on a side table or on a shelf to bring life and color to a space.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/inats
  • Online or near college campus move-out days are great places to look for free items to upcycle.
    Photo by GettyImages/Jedraszak
  • Mismatched throw pillows can refresh a room.
    Photo by GettyImages/gregory_lee

There’s always that one Instagram account — you know the one: Soft light filters through the windows of a pristine kitchen, appliances polished to a sheen, counters clutter-free, a stack of artfully mismatched dishes on an open shelf.

Whether on social media, HGTV or flipping through the pages of a magazine, you’ve no doubt come across dreamy images of perfectly put-together living rooms, enchanting bedrooms and swoon-worthy dining areas.

But who can afford to shell out the thousands of dollars required for a total home makeover? It turns out, with a little ingenuity, you don’t have to. Mother Earth Living talked to designers and decorators from across the country to get their best tips on revamping any space in our homes … all with a budget of $0. Turns out, these experts have a whole slew of design secrets that don’t require you to touch your wallet.

Start Fresh

The best way to start a room makeover is to take everything out of the room to create a blank canvas. “I first suggest that people totally clear the room,” says Julie Edwards, manager of home furnishings store Nadeau in Atlanta. “When you’re used to seeing something in the same place every day, you often don’t realize the possibilities and great pieces you have. Start fresh.”

Let’s say your living room has a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, various end tables and a cabinet. Clearing the space allows you to imagine new ways to mix up the room. Would the sofa look better in front of the windows? Can you angle the coffee table differently or separate that pair of chairs? Do you need that many lamps in the room? Taking everything out gives you a chance to decide what absolutely needs to go back in a space. Rearranging furniture within your home can make the space feel new to you again, says Daniela Guini of Daniela Guini Interior Design in Chicago.

Rather than disrupting those hard-to-move items, such as wall-mounted TVs, or fixed focal points, such as fireplaces and chandeliers, consider those anchor points and then arrange furniture in a new way around them. And try floating furniture away from the walls, too, to make a room feel larger and create depth. “Try moving the sofa or occasional chairs to the adjacent wall or opposite side of where you’ve kept them for so long,” Guini says. “The change will feel fresh if things haven’t been altered in a while.”

12/28/2017 5:04:14 PM

Some colleges have minimal dorms any more, so I look in dumpster areas of apartments that have a good number of students. Best finds are well-made rugs and furniture that their parents gave them and they toss them after graduation. I have also found art student paintings, antique lamps (you might have to replace cords), and sturdy homemade furniture that works well in boys' rooms. Be sure that local ordinances don't forbid trash selection.

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