5 Ways to Refresh Your Space Without Spending a Dime — 'They're so Simple yet so Effective!'

Designers reveal the simple changes you can make to transform your home without splurging

blue, white and mustard living room
(Image credit: Haio Studio - Emeline Hamon, Design: Virajo)

The start of the new year is a time for change. Energy and motivation levels are high to embark on a new project and give your home a refresh, however, it's also a time when spare cash is sparse. After a decadent Christmas, we're all looking to cut back on spending and avoid splurging on unnecessary purchases. 

That said, it shouldn't mean we're unable to update our home at all. Many transformative changes can be made without spending any money at all, and these small adaptions are sometimes the most impactful. The key to sprucing up any modern home is more about how you utilize space and your belongings to their best ability, rather than the things themselves.

Here, we spoke to interior designers on how to upgrade your home without spending a dime for a simple yet effective refresh. Some of the ideas might surprise you, and we guarantee you'll be inspired to try out one of these five suggestions.

1. Move your furniture

A living room full of decorative pieces

(Image credit: Jonathan Hokklo. Design: Jessica Gersten Interiors)

We're all guilty of getting stuck in a rut with our furniture. Once you have everything in place for a while it becomes difficult to imagine it any other way, let alone think there could be a better arrangement. However, designers say this might be holding back your home's full potential.

'Revitalizing a room may have to begin with moving furniture around in it,' says Artem Kropovinsky, founder and interior designer at Arsight. You might not have considered rearranging your furniture as a big project, however, it can have a transformative effect on the look and feel of your space. 'Just rearranging the structure can reshape both space and its purpose,' says Artem. 

If you want to try a new living room trend but don't want to get yet another piece of furniture, moving things around can help you see the space in a new way. The layout can be just as important as the pieces themselves while also changing how they look on their own. Pair this with some light New Year decluttering and your place will look brand new.

2. Add some foliage

A minimalist dining room with a wooden dining table and a tree in a planter

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

Fresh flowers and houseplants always add life to a space, but they can be expensive. No living room is complete without some form of foliage, but flowers need to be replaced frequently and some house plants are high maintenance. 

If you're looking to stick to your no-spend agenda there's an alternative that has the same effect, according to interior designer Kate Dawson. 'Find a large vase and then head outdoors with some shears,' she says. 'Find some beautiful branches that are full of leaves, and make a large bundle then throw these in the large vase and put them in the middle of your dining table, or perhaps your coffee table. It's free and will add a beautiful natural element to the space.'

3. Restyle your shelves

a coffee table covered with stacks of decor

(Image credit: Yond Interiors)

Another thing you can do to change the look and feel of a space without spending any money at all is restyling items you already have. Shelving is an obvious choice. The decorative items on display don't have to stay in the same arrangement forever, so switch them up for added interest. The coffee table also provides an amazing opportunity to show off your personality and style. Switching up the items you are showcasing gives a completely new look and focal point to the space.

'Restyling shelves and coffee tables with items that have already been owned can make a great difference,' says Arem. You can easily give any room in your home a mini makeover by re-working your decor. Creating small vignettes around your home can have just as much of an impact as buying something new.

4. Make an effort with your tablescape

A rectangular dining table with places set

(Image credit: The Identite Collective)

One simple way to refresh your dining room is by making more effort with your tablescape. This is something we typically save for when we have guests over, however, if you incorporate it into your daily routine it can have a transformative effect on your space. This doesn't mean having an expensive set of tableware either, the best tablescapes are those that are unique and reflect your personality. 

'Mix and match colors if that represents you,' says Laura Cassell Fischer of tableware brand, over&back. 'Don’t worry about being formal, or matchy-matchy.' Dust off your colorful glasses, tablecloths, and napkins and make a weekday dinner an occasion. 

You can even repurpose items to use for your tablescape, too. 'Feel free to use a serving bowl and make a dramatic centerpiece with florals, or use a serving plater with florals and pillar candles for a beautiful centerpiece,' suggests Laura. 'You probably already have these items and if they aren’t being used why not think outside the box for ways to use them.'

5. Shop your house

A large table with different-colored glasses

(Image credit: Broste Copenhagen)

Before you turn to the shops for something new, look around your own home first says DIY decor enthusiast Linda Smith. 'There are several ways to upgrade your home without spending money, and my favorite is something I like to call "shop your house",' she says. 'If you want to give your living room a refresh, for example, remove all accessories, pillows, throws, and knickknacks then, with intention, only add back those items that you truly love and that fit your space.' 

Once you do this in a few different spaces you will begin to think how different items could work in different rooms around your home. You'll also begin to rediscover items that you'd perhaps even forgotten about. It's a way of tricking your brain that you've bought something entirely new, plus it might prove a great method to start decluttering.

Ready to give your home a revamp without splashing any cash? Give one of these ideas a try and you're bound to fall back in love with your space. 

Books on decluttering

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.