Ask Lela

Ask Lela: Decorating For Free

Ask Lela Burris

My guest bedroom is in need of a bit of a refresh before my family from overseas comes to visit. How can I update the room when I have no budget at all?

-Susan P. of Brooklyn, NY

Decorating For Free

When you think of redecorating a room, you automatically think of shopping, right? But what if I told you that a room can be transformed for zero dollars and zero cents? It just takes a little creativity, hard work, and out-of-the-box mindset.

Shop Your House

First, I always suggest shopping your house. There are probably things all over your home that you could easily switch up. Maybe the throw pillows in your living room would look better in a bedroom. Or maybe that old desk housing your tools in your garage would make a perfect vanity with a fresh coat of paint. Some of my favorite things to shop my own house for are:

  • Artwork
  • Accent Furniture
  • Throw Pillows and Blankets
  • Plants
  • Lamps
  • Trays and Chargers

Swap Items With Friends

Another fun way to redecorate is to organize a trade with friends and family. Your buds may have a garage full of stuff they’ll never use, and you may have the same. My mom and I do this often. She’ll take things I’m not using and I’ll get things she’s not using. We both get to update our spaces with new-to-us decor without spending a single penny.

Search Local Ads

I also love to scroll through online marketplace ads. Places like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Local Yard Sale social pages, and apps like OfferUp and FreeCycle are always listing free items. Just because they’re free doesn’t mean they’re bad. Usually, the owners are moving or redecorating themselves, and they don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling the items or taking them to donation centers. The items are usually given away at no charge, you just have to go pick it up yourself. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

Utilize Nature

Sometimes the only thing a room needs to look freshened up is a bit of natural elements. And lucky for us, nature is free-ninety-nine. Some branches and plant sprigs look beautiful in that old vase you’ve got under your sink. And a serving dish filled with river rocks gives an insanely zen vibe. Bonus points if you live near a beach, because you can incorporate shells and driftwood. Live in the mountains? Pinecones and acorns are extra cozy. And some fresh cut flowers from your very own garden are a no-fail room brightener.

Read More:

For specific tips on styling up your guest bedroom and hosting friends and family, check out my blog post House Guests 101. I lay out exactly what you need to do (and shouldn’t do) to keep your guests happy and comfortable, while maintaining your own sanity.


Have A Question Of Your Own?

Need decorating advice? Stumped on storage solutions? No idea how to organize that awkward cabinet in the corner of your kitchen? Stop waiting for the golden answer to appear at your doorstep. You can send your questions here and if chosen, you’ll be featured in an upcoming Ask Lela segment. Free advice straight from a pro. What more could you want? 🙂

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