In my younger years, my decorating style could best be described as obnoxiously colorful. As a kid, I had free reign to decorate my bedroom as I saw fit, so middle-school me opted for dark purple carpet and lavender walls sponge-painted with metallic silver. In high school, I was aggressively into zebra print and went all-in with bedding, pillows, wall decor, and even light switch plates in the pattern. All that was set off with a truly appalling shade of lime-green on all four walls. Clearly, my mother was an absolute saint with boundless patience.
Now, I like to believe my aesthetic has evolved into a more tasteful form. I still love color, but I’ve traded neon hues for jewel tones paired with plenty of white. I’m more likely to opt for solids over patterns, and I’d choose hardwood floors over carpeting any day. All that to say, I’m no stranger to switching up my aesthetic.
Whenever I’m ready for an update, I’m not the type to get rid of everything and start from scratch. I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to buy all-new furniture and decor when you want a different look. (Unless, of course, everything is plastered with zebra print. In that case, I’d recommend buying some new stuff.) But if you just need to give your home decor a little freshening up, these affordable updates will help you achieve that new look.
1. Buy new pillows
Want to change up your color scheme? Start with your pillows. Especially if your space is mostly neutral, adding a few throw pillows in a fresh color can completely change the look and feel of the room. Pillows may be a small element in the overall design, but they can really establish the mood.
2. Change your wall color
Fresh paint can have a truly transformative effect. The wall color sets the tone for everything else in the room, so whether you go neutral, moody, or bright, the right shade will make such a difference. A quick note to renters, though: Talk to your landlord first, and be prepared to paint it back to the original color before you move out.
3. Get organized
Are you sick of your aesthetic, or is your space just too cluttered for you to appreciate it? Organizing is an underrated way to refresh your home, and it can make all the difference in how you feel about the space. Get rid of excess stuff that doesn’t suit your style or needs, and invest in some aesthetically pleasing bins and baskets to corral what you want to keep.
4. Add a mirror
Because they reflect light, mirrors can instantly make a room feel bigger and brighter. Plus, they add a level of sophistication that your space might otherwise be lacking. Skip the hassle of hanging, and lean one against the wall for an effortlessly chic look.
5. Rearrange your furniture
Sometimes, all you need is a new perspective. Switching around your furniture layout is one of the easiest ways to give your space a new look, and it literally costs zero dollars. Pull an accent chair from your living room into your bedroom, rotate your sofa around to face a different direction, or flip your desk setup so it’s facing a window. Just moving some stuff around can make a room feel totally different.
6. Cover surfaces with peel-and-stick tile
If you’re looking to update your aesthetic quickly and cheaply, peel-and-stick tiles are one of the best tricks in the book. There are so many color and pattern options out there, and you can truly apply them in minutes. Add a beautiful backsplash to your kitchen or cover drab bathroom flooring with a pretty pattern, all without dealing with the cost or mess of real tile installation.
7. Revamp old furniture
If you’re tired of that eyesore of a dresser taking up space in your bedroom, try painting it! Updating old or hand-me-down furniture and home decor is a simple way to update your aesthetic, and it’ll only cost you the price of supplies and a few hours of work. A new paint finish or upholstery job can work wonders if you’re not happy with a piece’s current look.
8. Bring in plants
Plants are the secret weapon that can take a room from bland to bright and full of life. Use greenery to accessorize a shelf, spruce up your bar cart, liven up your desk space, or simply fill an empty corner. Not confident in your plant-care skills? There are so many realistic-looking faux plants that can give you the same effect.
9. Apply removable wallpaper
Wallpaper is having a serious moment right now, and it’s easier than ever to apply. The removable, self-adhesive kind can be slapped on a wall in minutes, and it gives you the freedom to change your mind later if you want to switch things up again. Even if you just use it on one accent wall, wallpaper in a fun pattern can liven up any room.
10. Change up your lighting
Lighting is one of the most influential aspects of a room, but this home decor element often goes overlooked. If your space doesn’t quite look as good as you’d like, your lighting might be the problem. Overhead lighting is important, but be sure to supply plenty of ambient light through lamps or sconces, too. Experiment with the brightness and color temperature of your lightbulbs until you achieve your desired look.
11. Swap out your art
For an easy home decor update that only takes a few minutes, keep your frames but switch out the artwork. You can find tons of inexpensive art on sites like Etsy and Minted. To make it even more budget-friendly, purchase a digital download for a few dollars and print it yourself.
12. Add a slipcover
Furniture plays a huge role in how your space looks and feels, but buying all-new seating isn’t always feasible if you’re looking for a quick, affordable change. Enter: slipcovers. They offer a super-easy way to elevate drab or worn furniture with a brand-new look. There are tons of sizes and fabric options available, so you can make that budget sofa or armchair look way fancier than it really is.