How To: Redecorate with Low Effort and For Free.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

pallet wood wall decor
You may wonder, how on earth... redecorate with low effort and for free.  It is possible, my friends.  I kid you not.
There is never not a time when saving money is off the table.  Everyone likes to save money, amiright?!

And look, no I know, I've gone on about how I’m not a decorator but that doesn’t mean I can’t still have some toasty tips for you.

We, Mike and I, are more or less stuck in how furniture can be laid out considering the way we use our spaces, traffic patterns, but mostly the constraints of room shapes and sizes.  But, that does not mean things can't be changed up.

Though heh, how many times have I rearranged the hall bedroom, heh, one room that has a smidge of rearranging wiggle room.

One place we lived, I was a serial rearranger and that I like doing.  Hey, I get bored, theater person, move sh*t around every eight weeks.  It is engrained in my soul.

It’s important to update, refresh, make changes, look at things differently and/or anew.  Makes you appreciate your environment and the items you own more.  

Strive to make your space feel good over other people's aesthetics.  Sure that's a bit weird-kooky sounding and sure it nearly contradicts a major tenet of design but ultimately, if your space feels good, you'll feel good which is key, and then that good feeling spreads.

So here are some spunky thoughts for you!  Hopefully you’ll find a new tip that inspires you and you hop right to it.

○  Combine leftover paint thereby making your own custom color and paint a wall.

custom paint color mixing leftover paint

○  Empty out an old frame and make some abstract (or maybe not even abstract depending on how much you have) art using the fabric or paper scraps.  Make a decorative sculptural item assembling wood scraps together.  Voila, you’re an artist!

○  If you’ve got some string and nails, fill a wall with string art!
○  Paint something small a new color like a frame, the wall trim, the edges of doors, or some chair legs to switch it up. 

○  Paint a mural on a wall with leftover paint, or two, or several or do it and then redo it's just paint, it can always be repainted.
hand painted wall murals
○  Strip some furniture of paint and stain it anew or even leave the wood bare.  I love stripping furniture.  Sooo satisfying.

stripped and restained furniture
Soooo satisfying, right?!
○  Rearrange your furniture, your wall art, your decorative accessories, all that stuff.

This is hardly a new tip even in the remotest, yes I know, but rotating things around the house does make a huge difference.  Take some art from one room, move it to another or mess your accessories around the house.

○  Think differently.  Group images together on a wall or be minimalistic about it.  You could end up with ridiculously awesome combinations you never anticipated otherwise if you just ignore "rules."

○  Find some free materials online or in your neighborhood, like I've got Twitchy for pallet wood.  Check for Buy Nothing groups in your area where folks give away stuff.  Repurpose, reuse, refashion, or redo those materials or pieces.

Free stuff can be well, free and great, or can be free and crap.  Just because it's free does not mean it's great so use your judgment wisely.  And by wisely, I mean seriously, be smart about it.  Clutter is bad for you.

○  Check with friends, family, or neighbors for a decor swap.  Arrange a decor swap party even.

Yeah, for real, say “hey I’ve got some stuff I’m looking to change out.  Would you guys be interested in trading items?”  Gosh golly all mighty you could end up with some bombdiggity stuff that way!

Maaaaaybe don’t say hey I’ve had my eye on that heirloom fancy pants antique thing of yours, wanna trade?

○  Clear out a room completely and start over.

Ok, so much for low effort in this one.  But starting from scratch is a great way to gain some new decor perspective.

Take it all outta the room, yes all, then slowly put things back in, mixing it up, doing it differently, taking from other rooms even or tossing things out.  Or not, who knows, maybe that room just majorly benefited from a massive clean up!

○  Think outside the box.

Anything and everything you have might have the potential to be remade, redone, re-stained, stripped, repainted, gussied up, painted, cut up, cut down.... Heck, even combine items to create a new item.

○  Try to look at things with a new eye.  Move items to different places to see stuff out of its previous context.  Take it outside.  Turn it upside down.  On its side.  Hang it off-kilter.  That may sound ridiculous but seriously, try it, even if you return it to its conventional way.

In college, in a painting class, the professor had us copy a famous painting.  Once we got close, she made us flip our canvases upside down and turn it into something new.  Talk about loads of grumpy sneers but the lesson is invaluable.

○  Put things together you’d never imagine should or would go together.

○  Place things off-center, avoid the balanced reverse/repeat.  Step away from the comfort zone.  There are no rules here.

○  Turn something that wasn’t decorative into something that is decorative.

That could be anything.  Maybe you’ve got some old baking tools you never use -- hang them up artfully. Or puzzle boxes:  cut the lid off, group a few together, maybe you’ve now got some kitschy new art.  

○  Update something that was decorative and make it more creative or more decorative or more your style.  I want these paintings all over our house.

○  Cut up an old magazine or two and redo a wall into a fun mural that’s easily removable.  Cut up the magazines into pieces of color and arrange the colors to create a whole new image.

book papered wall
Love these vacation pages on my office wall still.
○  Change up your lighting.

Ok, that might not be low effort nor free if you're thinking ceiling fixtures but maybe it is if you switch up lamps or add candles.

I suppose, in general, my point here is ultimately have some fun and get creative.  

We easily get decor-nose-blind after a while of looking at the same ol' stuff in the same ol' places every single flipping day.  Time to redecorate, and why not?  Especially if it's low effort and for free. 

Use your imagination, yes you have one, I'm serious, and see what you come up with.  Then come back and let me know what you did.  Too, add your hot tips, drop them in the comments!

Next time, hopefully back to projects around the house!  


  1. Right you are on all counts. My single most favorite thing you did was that mural and I wish you could have pried it off and sent it to me instead of painting over over it. But you gotta do what you gotta do, you can't stop a compulsive creative force once it takes a hold of your brain, right? Your mural reminded me of the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach which I have loved from the moment I saw it and would sell my grandmother (if she was still alive) if I could have just one room in that style:

    You pulled off an amazing job painting it and De Gournay wallpaper people should take note. Their wallpaper is crazy expensive and there is no way in this lifetime I could afford it but you my friend, came close to giving them a run for their money.

    Be proud, be very proud!

    1. You, my friend, are the brightest ray of sunshine and I just want to soak you up. Thank you very very much! I did love that mural but in the end, yeah, another idea popped into my wacky head and I had to run with it. You're right, sometimes you gotta do to get it out of your head!

      Oh that wallpaper in The Colony, how outstanding is that?! Totally worth selling Grandma for, I'd back you up. But you really highlighted part of my point with the mural -- it can absolutely be recreated with paint and some patience when the object desired is nutty out of budget. Next time I'll paint it on something and send it to you!

      Thank you thank you so very very much for your so kind and so sweet words!

  2. Now, why can't we neighbors just like you?! To commiserate and opine on crazy projects, lend an ear or a tool, and when it's all said and done, share a bottle of wine amidst the mess you don't have to clean up before having company over.

  3. One of you should move so that you can be neighbors! Do it! All new walls to paint and rooms to decorate!

    1. I mean, new walls to paint and new rooms to decorate?! What could be bad about that!


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