Even if you were never really into decorating yourself, looking at those beautiful Pinterest pictures really does something to you: they make you look at your room and want to do something about it. I’m here to tell you that with a few simple professional decoration tips, you can start working right now and actually change things - for free.
We know that hiring an interior decorator isn’t cheap and getting all that stuff yourself with no guidance can be a tremendous hassle. Spending money on things without having a clear idea of what to do is the worst, especially if you live with someone: suddenly Mr. Whatever turns into Mr. I Don’t Like Blue Why Did You Buy That Horrible Blue Thing I Told You I Don’t Like Blue Like How Many Times.
From now on, you are the decorator. These tips will add to your knowledge belt and serve as practical solutions to make your home look better and feel better. Starting now!
Make a wish list
The best way to start is writing a list of everything you wanted to change in your home, if money wasn’t a problem. Don’t mind if the list turns out impossibly expensive - that’s not the point. The point is trying to figure what you CAN do to get those results. You’d be surprised how easy it is to work around a problem instead of throwing money at it - and that’s a life lesson too!
Don’t be afraid to be cheap - instead, be proud of it. As Robert Rodriguez once said: “Tell everybody it’s art. You can get away with a lot.”
The first impression
People tend to visit you more when the first impression of your home is effective, and you can start with your front door. Sure, you’re probably thinking about painting it or buying a new one, but we’re trying to save money, so let’s look at the alternatives.
Because obvious choice is obviously obvious.
But there is a reason for it: clichés exist because they work. Don’t be afraid to use them. Flowers are effortlessly pretty and work like a charm for welcoming guests.
A cheap way to have a nice looking special touch, like a “Welcome” or “Hello” text. But you can be more creative than that! Try anything that fits your personality and change it up for different times of the year, like holidays. Personally, I’d like to have something like “Go on, make my day!” or “It’s bigger on the inside”. (Doctor Who reference, anyone?)
Friends’ Door Frame
It’s a nice little twist to put this famous piece of pop cultural reference on the outside - people would instantly know you have good taste. You can buy a replica or variation on the internet, but you can also build your own. Or you can follow the previous suggestion and get a vector of the frame onto vinyl, which is cheaper and charming all the same.
(Also, is there anyone who can look at this final shot of Friends without crying?)
They’re in, but then what?
A punctual coat hanger is always nice, with a place for shoes and umbrellas and a table for leaving wallets and keys. Also, that mirror is not a coincidence - let’s talk about it, shall we?
Mirrors are great to reflect light across a room while making it look bigger. Hanging mirrors is easy and can be done without hurting your walls, just pick a nice place that reflects something visually appealing (like a chandelier or a cool artwork).
Wall artwork and decor
The secrets to having nice looking wall art are simple: respect your wall and don’t clutter.
Believe me, there are more ways you can create DIY decor for free than there are atoms in the universe, but you don’t need to go through all that. Just read your walls. If you have a giant space to fill, go for one big piece artwork, or several small ones. Doesn’t have to be all just paintings in frames too, you can hang all sorts of stuff and mix them up (like the image above).
But let’s say you don’t have frames, paintings or decor you can use. What then? Have no fear, here are some alternatives:
Posters and artwork for print
You can easily download and print these on couché and hang them on a simple frame (if you don’t already have some you can use).
- On this link, you can choose from 80 movie posters to download, all free of text.
- From the National Gallery of Art website, you can download artwork from public domain.
- If you’re into vintage stuff.
- And this is an awesome website
More vinyl decals
It’s cheap, modern, easily customizable and you can have pretty much any vector graphic made into one. Look around my favorite source of free vectors for inspiration!
One of our writers made this awesome article about using washi tapes for transforming your home, and as you can see from the image, there are many ways you can apply it. Also, they’re cheap and not permanent, which means you can decorate even if you’re a renter!
Other things you can frame
A while ago I wrote about “10 surprising ways you can frame something other than paintings”. It’s mostly DIY stuff that you can improvise yourself, so be sure to check it out!
Heresy? Nah, not really. There is a way to do it right. We’re not talking about five different types of forks here, and it’s also not about matching. It’s about… does it go together? Mix them up and see what works. Your eyes won’t lie.
Always go for two pairs of pillows, preferably of different colors and patterns. This makes them stand out and create a point of visual interest without clutter. By the way, did you notice those books? So did I.
Make books useful
Who knew these incredible compact physical sources of knowledge could be useful in any way? Above, you see a simple way to keep some books as a simple visual point of interest.
But you can also do this: literally stack some books to make it into a simple small table for decor. Since they’ll be exposed, it’s recommended you choose older books that you won’t be reading again. It frees your book cabinet and gives these useless little things a whole new purpose in life.
And the most important thing
Creativity beats the rules. You can read all you want about design and decoration, but eventually you will find clashing information: it’s like trying to keep up with food and medicine - one week they’re good for you, on the next they’re bad. So if you think something works better for you than what the rule says… keep it! YOU are the decorator, remember? So decorate!
Check our other decoration tips and share this post with friends on Facebook! Feel free to comment on your ideas too, we’d love to hear them!