I live in a small space and when it comes to refreshing my home, my budget (unfortunately) has its limits. Sometimes, it can feel like a challenge to do anything without dropping major coin. But with a little inspiration, creativity, and perhaps a few buckets of paint, transforming your home on a budget—and sometimes, for free—is totally possible. If you’re wondering how to refresh your space for the spring season and beyond, look no further than these 10 ideas.

This list of easy but impactful ideas was inspired by my own journey of redesigning my space. While my overall aesthetic remains consistent, I go through shifts and seasons where I’m feeling more neutral and natural and others when I’m wanting my home to be on the bolder and more abstract side of things. Our tastes evolve, and we should have the freedom to reflect that in the spaces we inhabit. So without drilling any new holes in your walls, let’s dive into the (transformative) tips below.

Feature image by Nikole Ramsay.

Image by Marta Xochilt Perez

Do a Layout Audit

There’s a reason our love of HGTV and the Magnolia Network will never die. Seeing people refresh their space and overhaul their homes is just so… satisfying. But if you click out of this article with just one takeaway (and trust me, there’s a lot of inspo to come), let it be this: Even the smallest tweaks to your layout can have a huge impact. Try taking one of two approaches. Either begin by mapping out your space and setting yourself up for pre-planned success or let your home design artiste shine through, move your pieces about, and see how the changes resonate. Good news? If you don’t like it, simply scoot your sofa to the other side of the room.

Image by Kristen Kilpatrick

Do a Nightstand Edit

If I had to pick any surface of my space where a little redesign would go a long way, it’d be my nightstand. Some of my favorite social media content is time lapse videos of interior design experts and influencers refreshing their bedside tables. Take a little time to consider what objects and things you want to prioritize having in your bedroom. Book? Yes. Glass of water? For sure? Phone? Definitely (maybe?) not.

Image by Sean Fennessy

Play With Your Books

Try displaying your books on a ledge or mantle instead of stacked on your coffee table where they don’t get enough love. Bookstores and libraries have always been a source of design inspiration for me, and displaying striking covers on a book ledge brings you one step closer. Chances are you already have a variety of shapes, sizes, and genres that could work well for any color palette.

Image by Hannah Haston

Put Your Records On

Album artwork is all a part of vinyl’s allure! Give it a proper platform by leaning them on a shelf or ledge. They’re also thin enough that you can layer something else in front of them for more depth. Compared to original or framed artwork, records (especially secondhand) are an accessible way to start your art collection. When it comes to records, remember that they’re not just pretty picture. Seeing them displayed will be an inspiring reminder of all the joy music brings into your life, too.

Image by Kristen Kilpatrick

Infuse Your Space With Sentimentality

Speaking of the emotion that design can infuse in your space… If your family photos or travel photos are tucked away in a drawer, frame a couple of them and put them on your ledge. I’ve seen beautiful ledges that are entirely black and white family photos, which I’d love to try one day.

Image by Juley Le

Layer in Light

A little light can go a long way. The way light moves throughout our space and illuminates every corner can totally transform not only how your home looks, but how you feel in each room. With layered light, your home can feel both comfy and considered. And while how you design your lighting throughout your home is a totally personal choice, striking the perfect balance between the three main types of lighting is key. A refresher:

Ambient lighting. Mimics the natural light that enters your home through your windows.

Task lighting. Illuminates areas of work, activity, and play.

Accent lighting. Used to highlight design elements within your home.

A disclaimer: You don’t need to drop major $$$ on new light fixtures. Move a lamp to a different table in your living room or even try swapping out some shades for a softer effect. I also love my Phillips Hue Light Bulbs which let you create your own custom mood lighting—all from your phone.

Image by Molly Culver

Have Fun With Hardware

Knobs, pulls, handles, and hinges—these seemingly small, overlooked elements of your space can have a dramatic impact on its overall look. Swapping out outdated pieces in your kitchen, bathroom, or on any piece of furniture in your home can help things feel totally new and inspiring.

Image by Danielle Sabol

Strategically Scatter Objects Throughout

You can instantly elevate any bookshelf, ledge, or mantle with just a few small, everyday items. I’ve sprinkled pretty bottles, postcards, crystals, pieces of wood, and decorative objects for a touch of whimsy and to accent my space. Feel free to experiment, and when you get tired of it, inspiration is just a quick swap away!

Image by Nicki Sebastian

Get Creative With Canvases

Try letting your favorite pieces speak for themselves and either opt to lean an unframed work against a ledge, on a mantle, or put up a canvas or tapestry (minus the college dorm vibes).

Image by Tessa Neustadt

Expand Your Definition of Art

Framing artwork can cost nearly as much as the art itself. For a simple solve, use washi tape to attach your unframed art to the wall. I also love the simple (and functional) look of hanging hats from hooks on your wall. Because art is all in the eye of the beholder.

This post was originally published on January 21, 2019 and has since been updated.

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Comments (3)
  1. 1
    Nadia Kaplan January 13, 2018 at 2:51 am

    I live in a small apartment. So thank you for the inspiration.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    Reply
  2. 2
    Deb Small January 15, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Can you tell me where your book ledges are from? I need some ASAP! 🙂

    Reply