11 Completely Free Ways You Can Upgrade Your Home Right Now

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Let’s be real: Home projects can add up pretty quickly. Everyone wants to live in a comfortable space that suits their needs, but I also want my home to reflect my personal style and feel like me—AKA, I want it to be cute! And a cute home requires a bit of time, energy, and resources. New furniture, pillows, throws, and art can all get expensive, even if you’re shopping on a budget. So, if you’re looking for ways to upgrade your home that don’t require yet another hefty charge to your credit card, you’ve come to the right place.

Below are just a few completely free ways you can switch up the vibe in your home. These upgrades go beyond just decor—this is about elevating your everyday life at home at no cost. If you ask me, the satisfaction that comes when a room feels entirely different without costing a dime is second to none, so read on for all the deets.

1. Rearrange the furniture

One of the easiest ways to refresh a space for free is to rearrange your furniture. Try shifting your sofa to a different wall, move an accent chair to a new corner, or place your bed somewhere new. Not sure where to start? Put yourself in different areas of a room for a new perspective. Would it be nice to face the window? Or perhaps you’d like to sit facing the door? Maybe you want to move some seating around to help support conversation instead of making the TV the focus. Play around and have fun. A new layout will no doubt make your room feel like new, even with all the same furniture and decor.

2. “Shop” other rooms

Before you purchase anything new, try shopping your own home to find items that could be used in a different way. Ask yourself what you’re looking for, then go on the hunt to see if you already own something similar to save yourself some cash. Items such as throw pillows, blankets, wall art, lamps, and small accessories like vases are easy to move between rooms for a fresh look. Don’t forget to dig into your storage spaces as well—I know I sometimes keep seasonal decor tucked away and am surprised when I find it again!

home improvement
Source: @michelle_janeen

3. Bring in flowers or branches from the yard

Bringing in natural touches is always a good way to add texture and life into your home. But instead of splurging on a bouquet of fresh flowers every week, prune some flowers or branches from your yard instead. Even if you don’t have a garden full of flowers, branches can make for a beautiful centerpiece, too. Simply clip a few branches (with leaves or without) and arrange them in a vase to quickly freshen up your space.

4. Frame mementos

While it might cost you to print photos or purchase art prints, framing mementos is absolutely free. The next time you want to switch up your wall art, consider framing personal items worthy of display. Perhaps you have a handwritten note from a loved one or a ticket stub from an event that meant a lot to you. Grab a frame you already have and place your memento inside. This is a wonderful way to add highly personalized decor to your home—the kind that warms your heart and serves as a conversation starter whenever guests come over. Who doesn’t want that?

5. Declutter

Clutter is an obvious eye sore, and getting rid of those unnecessary items will totally change the look of your space—no purchase necessary. You’ll need to invest some time into this project, but it will all be worth it in the end when you have a clutter-free space. Give yourself an afternoon to tackle your closet, your junk drawer, or anywhere else that needs some clearing, and get to work. Allot time for delivering your items to your local thrift store, posting items on Poshmark, or even taking a car load to your local recycling center. Just be sure to get the items you want to part with out of your home immediately, otherwise your pile may sit in a corner for weeks on end (speaking from experience!).

home improvement
Source: Design by Lea Johnson | Photo by Sage E Imagery

6. Incorporate your wardrobe as part of your decor

If you’re not sure what your preferred interior style is, take a look in your closet. There is a lot of crossover between interiors and fashion, and some of your favorite garments can even work as decor. Try hanging a favorite jacket outside your closet door, display your hat collection on wall hooks, or place purses on shelves. I especially love doing this in my home office, where a few strategically placed items make it feel cozy and feminine. I have a baseball hat casually hanging from a corner of my bookcase, as well as a pearl clutch that rests on a shelf. They both add a touch of texture and personality that I love, and it didn’t cost me anything extra.

7. Refresh your lighting

Lighting creates the ambience in your space, and the type of light you choose can really switch up the vibe if you’re looking for a change. Try placing your lamps in different areas of the room or swapping light sources between rooms to see how it feels. A small table lamp will emit less light than say a multi-light floor lamp, so try mixing and matching to see what kind of mood you can create. If you have dimmers in your home, be sure to utilize those as well. Low lighting is best once the sun goes down, as it can help you wind down and fall asleep more easily.

8. Make a simmer pot

Fragrance is key to an elevated and inviting home, but that doesn’t mean you need to invest a lot of money into scented candles or diffusers. Making a simmer pot on the stove with kitchen items you already have is a fantastic way to fill your home with scent. Simply place a pot of water on the stove and add a variety of fruits, herbs, or spices for a DIY fragrance. Citrus is perfect for spring and summer: Try adding a few slices of lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit to your pot along with an herb like thyme or rosemary for a bright and refreshing fragrance. Fill your pot with water about halfway and keep the heat on low so it simmers. As the water evaporates, refill it as needed throughout the day to make it last longer.

Source: @homeyohmy

9. Straighten up your space

Presentation is everything, so if your couch still looks disheveled from last night’s Netflix binge, your living room probably doesn’t feel very polished. The same thing goes for an unmade bed or a bathroom countertop that’s strewn with products. A quick tidying session is a simple, effective way to make any space feel more put together and inviting. Pro tip: As you’re arranging pillows on your couch or making your bed, karate chop the center of the pillow so there’s a small divot at the top for a tidy and uniform look.

10. Utilize your smart home devices to their fullest potential

Just about everyone has an Alexa device these days, but for the longest time, I was only using mine to tell me the weather and the time. Smart home devices like these do so much more than that and can upgrade your everyday life at home if you take advantage of them. Alexa can create grocery shopping lists, play music, set timers, and even help you decide what to make for dinner based on the food you have in your fridge. All of these features are at no extra cost to you, so be sure to use them!

11. Join a Buy Nothing group

If you need something for your home but don’t want to (or can’t afford to) pay for it, your local Buy Nothing group is a fantastic resource. You can find these groups on Facebook or by downloading the Buy Nothing app. Not only can you browse things that people are giving away, you can even ask for specific items you need, find home improvement items you can borrow, and offer up your own stuff for free. A game changer if you’re looking to save money while furnishing your space! It’s great for the environment as well, so it’s a win-win all around.

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