August 2, 2016  

How To Restyle A Room In An Afternoon On The Cheap

Did you know you can redecorate a room without replacing everything and spending a bunch of cash? It’s totally doable, I promise!

You should know one thing about me as a decorator: I like to decorate as inexpensively as possible. (Read: I’m cheap!)

I’m not opposed to splurging on select staple items, but when it comes to refreshing rooms as often as I do, I prefer to scratch my decorating itch without spending a fortune.

I recently restyled our living and dining rooms for summer for a grand total of $20. How’s that for cheap?! As I was decorating, I realized that I go through a specific process each time I restyle a room.

I’m sharing that process with you today with the hope that you will see how easy it can be to restyle a room with little time and little (or no) money. This is a fabulous way to freshen up a room in your house if it’s feeling stale or boring. I love to decorate, so I restyle our main rooms quite often (while my husband rolls his eyes)!

Want to restyle a room? 6 tips for freshening up our home decor quickly and cheaply.

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How To Restyle A Room Quickly & Affordably

1 | Pick up a few new accessories at the thrift store.

Before I jump into restyling a room, I typically make a quick trip to my local thrift store to scout out some new decorating accessories. I don’t need to buy anything to restyle a room, but having a couple new items to incorporate into vignettes can really help me switch things up. Plus, it’s always fun to have new decor to play with, and the thrift store is often full of staples that won’t break the bank. Look for staple items like trays, vases, bowls, frames, baskets and other tchotchkes.

Sometimes I come home empty-handed, but sometimes I find some awesome styling accessories. Like these items I found the other day:

Want to restyle a room? 6 tips for freshening up our home decor quickly and cheaply.

I can’t believe I found a whole bunch of sunflowers and matching baskets in two sizes. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, I guess! These were the perfect accessories to incorporate into my summer decor, and they will transition right into fall.

2 | Shop your house for accessories.

Once I get back home with a couple thrifted items, I shop my house. This is what I call free decorating! I literally walk around my house with a box and gather up odds and ends that I think might be fun to use in the room I’m decorating. I’ll pull a few accessories off of shelves around the house, and then I’ll raid my stash of extra decor that I keep stored away in the basement.

All of the accessories displayed in my china hutch were things that I gathered up from around the house. All you have to do is display them in a new way to make them feel different!

Want to restyle a room? 6 tips for freshening up our home decor quickly and cheaply.

3 | Gather decor from nature.

I love this step because it’s free, easy and somewhat unexpected. I literally go outside and see what I can find. Usually this means I’m snipping some leafy branches off of our bushes or cutting a few flowers from a flower bed. It could also mean collecting pine cones or acorns from the park down the street, or gathering up some long grasses from the ditch. Don’t judge me, nature is free! It’s amazing what you can round up if you look around outside.

The tall grass in the big jar below is a prime example of decorating with nature. I had a huge pot of flowers with some grasses in it, and the grass has been growing like crazy this summer. So I stuck a bit of tall grass in this thrifted jar. Instant and free decor.

Want to restyle a room? 6 tips for freshening up our home decor quickly and cheaply.

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4 | Wipe the slate clean.

Now that you’ve gathered up some new things to incorporate into the room, it’s time to wipe the slate clean. This means pulling all of the small accessories off of shelves and piling them up. I usually gather up every small accessory around the room, and sometimes I’ll also gather artwork off the walls. Our couch becomes the holding place for all of these items when I restyle our living room. Here’s a look at the things piling up the other day:

Want to restyle a room? 6 tips for freshening up our home decor quickly and cheaply.

5 | Rearrange furnishings.

This step is optional, but is very effective at changing the look of a room. Push a few of your smaller furnishings around and see if you can come up with a new arrangement. It’s completely free to rearrange the furniture you already have! You may even have end tables or small furnishings in other rooms that you can steal to make the room you’re currently decorating feel different.

I didn’t rearrange anything last time, but I had recently added in a new rocking chair. I have to share that this chair was a 50¢ thrift store find – I can’t get over that! I’ve been patiently waiting to find a smallish chair to fill this corner, and adding in the rocker makes this side of the room feel fresh and different.

This living room looks so pretty! Love all of those blue pillows and that picture ledge/gallery wall.

6 | Style decor in new ways.

Your final step is to restyle the room using items from your holding area. Challenge yourself to display accessories in new ways and in different combinations. I find that having everything piled up makes me look at things with a fresh eye. Work on filling the shelves and surfaces around the room, focusing on creating pretty vignettes. Read more tips for styling shelving here.

When you finish restyling the whole room, put away the leftover items and your room will feel fresh and different!

This summer bench and bookshelf look cute and organized. Love this white and blue home tour!

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Not every decorating project has to be grand and expensive. Sometimes all we need is a quick room refresh to make things feel new and pretty again. It’s quite amazing what an afternoon of moving things around can do to switch things up, even though you’re using things you already had around the house. Follow these tips to restyle a room in an afternoon for little money, and let me know how it goes!

Happy decorating,





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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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  1. As you know, this is one of my weakest points when it comes to decorating my house. I”m totally pulling out these tips next time I’m feeling like shaking stuff up. I especially like the piling it all up method – otherwise I usually just sort of move stuff around the shelves and then there is no new energy! Thank you!

    1. Let me know how it works for you, Amanda! I think it will help you look at your decor in new ways and keep things fresh.

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