Everybody gets the urge now and again to totally revamp their living space. But the process can be crazy expensive and time-consuming—but with a few DIY decor changes, you can give your home a completely new look without going broke.
The trick to successfully updating your home without spending a fortune is thinking outside the box. For instance, painting a door in lacquer black will absolutely add an instant dose of glamour of to your home, and sometimes just changing your light bulbs can make a world of difference.
To that end, we’ve compiled 50 of our favorite DIY decorating tips. Because seriously, there’s no excuse for living in a space that doesn’t feel like home.
1. Decorate your walls on the cheap
Add a grid of clean, white frames displaying black-and-white photos—a cheap trick for adding a touch of glamour to empty walls.
2. Hang a shelf to create the illusion of space
Make a narrow room appear wider with a long shelf that can also double as a mantel to display various objects of your choice.
3. A mirror will instantly transform a room
Add a mirror into your space, which will instantly make a room look bigger reflecting the surrounding colors and patterns.
4. Add a rug to redo your space without renovating
For an instant update add a large sisal rug to your space, which will give it an instant modern and clean feel. Looking to do something more glam? Add a shag rug or a zebra print.
5. Pillows are your friend
Revamp your sofa without spending a fortune changing up your accent pillows.
6. Paint the interior of your closet
Yes, your closet deserves some attention too! Paint the interior of a closet a fun color for a nice surprise when you open it up.
7. All about the accent wall
Painting a room with clean bold stripes will instantly update it.
8. Get creative with paint
Wall colors set the tone of a room. Looking to add a dose of cool? Paint your doors black and the trim white.
9. Change up your lighting
Upgrade your light fixtures with a mix of finishes like antique brass hardware.
10. Create do-it-yourself slip covers to instantly transform your living room
An interesting DIY decorating tip: Drop cloths make great DIY slip covers. They look like old homespun linen, but cost a fraction of the price.
11. Ombré your walls
Instead of painting walls one flat hue, paint the bottom one shade and the top another.
12. Organize random objects with trays
Organize items like TV remotes and other knickknacks on a pretty tray placed on a coffee table or a side table.
13. Paint lampshades for a completely fresh look
Buy an inexpensive paper shade and paint it red, which will add a romantic and flattering touch to any room.
14. Change up your artwork displays
Put pieces in unusual places, like above a door, or in the kitchen or a bathroom, to add some freshness to your space.
15. Wallpaper the back of shelves
Paper the back of a cabinet or bookshelf in wallpaper or even faux-snakeskin for an unexpected decor surprise.
16. Update your light bulbs
Experiment with different light bulbs in your sconces and chandeliers. For instance, try using clear bulbs, or even a pink tone.
17. Create ambiance with DIY candles
Put votives in old jam jars to create a casual, romantic centerpiece.
18. Mix and match your furniture
Modernize your interiors adding in an acrylic table or modern side tables in chrome.
19. Don’t forget about your ceiling
Decorative ceiling tiles can add texture to a room. Or simply paint a ceiling a different color from the rest of the room.
20. Change up the floor
When wood floors are not in the best condition, paint or stain them.
21. Update your bathroom without renovating
Instead of spending a fortune renovating a bathroom simply buy new towels, curtains, and a shower curtain to update the space.
22. Create a DIY coffee table
Are large books taking over your coffee table? Stack similar-colored ones several feet high so that they become the table.
23. Turn a side table into a bar cart
Lusting after a bar cart but don’t want to spend the money? A side table can become an instant bar station! Place an ice bucket, glasses, and your favorite liquors on it to create the look.
24. Reupholster small pieces
Instead of buying new furniture, reupholster an old chair to give it a completely new look.
25. Update your door
Doors are part of your decor too, so why not paint one a glossy black or even pastel pink? It will give your room that instant wow factor.
26. Decorate with fruit
Get some wicker baskets or nice bowls and fill them with lady apples, pears, or English walnuts to create an easy, elegant centerpiece.
27. Start an indoor garden
Pot plants in an assortment of vintage ceramics and line them up on a windowsill.
28. Turn your favorite book into art
Art doesn’t have to be a huge investment. Cut out 20 pages from a favorite book. Buy 20 inexpensive frames and place them side by side in rows on a wall.
29. Change your entryway instantly with wallpaper
Wallpaper your front entry with a bold paper. The first impression is everything.
30. Add a luxe throw into your space
A Mongolian lamb’s wool throw or a faux fox throw will add instant luxury into your space whether draped over a couch or at the end of a bed.
31. Spray paint your boring old chairs
Spray paint your boring dining room chairs black to instantly transform their look.
32. All about the dimmers
The single cheapest makeover solution is adding dimmers throughout your home.
33. Don’t renovate your kitchen, update the hardware
Change out your kitchen cabinet hardware for a brand new look.
34. Bring the outside in and the inside out
Use indoor furniture for an outdoor gathering and bring outdoor furniture inside for an unexpected twist to your living spaces.
35. Consider wall decals
Wall decals, which come on sheets like temporary tattoos, are a great and inexpensive way to spruce up a room.
36. Organize your books by color
Get creative by stylishly organizing bookshelves by color, rather than size or theme.
37. Get floral
Don’t underestimate the power of flowers. Perk up any room with a bouquet (and when in doubt go straight for white peonies).
38. Give your furniture unexpected roles
Repurpose a chrome bath cart to serve as a side table or a minibar, stocked with drinks and snacks.
39. Create a wall of clocks
Dream of cities you’d like to visit by hanging clocks dedicated to their time zones. This is a particularly great idea for an office.
40. Create a cool vase with sequins from an old dress
Have a sequin dress you don’t wear anymore? Remove the sequins and sprinkle them into a vase of flowers. Voila, you’ve got one of the coolest centerpieces around.
41. Freshen up your shower curtain
Tie shower curtains on with bows, large lucite squares, or anything other than basic metal rings to add personal touches to a bathroom.
42. Create a place for those special family photos
Instead of framing all of your family photos, put snapshots in a bowl on a table where everyone can sift through them. Trade old images with new ones every so often.
43. Mix up your plates
Mix together that stash of china from your grandmother, and various other plates you’ve collected through the years, alternating with your everyday white, to freshen up your dinner table.
44. Give your bedding a quick update with monogram pillows
Instead of buying all new bedding, update what you have with a set of monogrammed pillowcases in a bold color that ties into your decor.
45. Use your windowsills to display cool objects
Pep up a windowsill with some quirky accessories. Consider transforming a bunch of kids plastic farm animals by spray painting them in a bold color.
46. DIY a headboard with wallpaper
Trace your desired headboard shape on your wall, and apply wallpaper. Voila, you’ve got an impromptu headboard.
47. Don’t save your best for the living room
Don’t save all your best decor pieces for the living room. Put a fancy lamp or painting in a more unexpected spot, like the kitchen.
48. Update a boring bookcase with some paint
Dress up a white bookcase by painting the outside edges in black.
49. Freshen up your couch with some cool fabric
You don’t need to reupholster a couch to give it an update. Use a richly patterned fabric to cover a couch or chair without the cost.
50. Repurpose your old necklaces
Take those old rhinestone necklaces and turn them into curtain ties.
There you have it! We’d love to hear from you, about your favorite DIY decorating tips and tricks in the comments section below!
Originally published March 2014. Updated May 2017.