Six Simple, Free & Low-Cost Decorating Ideas for Your Home

Bringing more beauty into your home doesn't need to be expensive! In her wonderful book, The Perfectly Imperfect Home, Deborah Needleman writes, "Luxury cannot be defined by expense or by grandeur. Style is luxury, and luxury is simply what makes you happy."

Here are six simple, free and low-cost interior decorating ideas for bringing more joy and beauty into your home.

1. Display Beautiful Library Books

Library books are a wonderful, free way to bring beauty (and knowledge) into your home. You can arrange art, travel, and design books on your coffee table or stack pretty books on a console table or nightstand.

Books can also be displayed on a plate stand. This is a fun way to showcase seasonal picture books to delight your children or grandchildren. Colorful cookbooks and travel books are also good candidates for displaying on a stand when they're not being actively read. Books on a stand can be grouped with a plant and a candle to create an appealing vignette.

Displaying library books is a great idea for people who are "change mongers" and love to frequently change their home environments. And, as my dad used to say, "The price is right!"

Here are links to the books pictured below:

The Inspired Room

Decorating Details

The Joy of Acrylic Painting

How to Decorate

The Decorated Home

2. Create "Faux Houseplants" with Garden Clippings

One of my favorite home staging tricks is to create large scale "faux houseplants" by arranging yard clippings in baskets or other containers. Line the inside of the basket with glass jars, yogurt containers, plastic cups, or any other waterproof vessels. Fill the vessels with water and add a generous amount of green clippings to create a lush and abundant arrangement.

Pictured here are clippings from a privet hedge. Privets grow so quickly that you'll always have plenty of material to work with!

3. Frame an Outdated Map

For fun, personalized art, pop a map into a ready made frame. You can choose a place that is special to you based on your past, your present, or your travel dreams for the future!

Outdated world atlases or outdated local paper road maps offer free or very inexpensive sources for colorful maps. You may even have visitors center maps saved in a file folder from a favorite vacation. Every time you see the map, you'll be transported to your special destination.

All of the maps in the gallery wall below were cut from outdated World atlases.

As a side note, maps also make unique, eco-friendly wrapping paper! Local maps are especially fun for wrapping children's gifts, as you can circle their favorite places right on the wrapping! (It's only a tiny bit ironic that the recycled map wrapping paper below prominently features a local landfill!) I've also used maps to line drawers and have decoupaged them onto coasters to make personalized gifts.

4. Display Fresh, Seasonal Produce

Whether it's a bowl of clementines in January or a basket overflowing with peaches and plums in the summer, fresh seasonal produce is beautiful and life-affirming to display in your home. Fresh herbs--such as the mint pictured below--add fragrance in addition to their color and texture.

Arranging fresh produce on a tray or in a bowl--rather than hiding it away in the pantry or fridge--will also encourage healthier snacking!

5. Print Free Vintage Images from the Internet

The Internet is a treasure trove of free printable art. One of the best sources is The Graphics Fairy. If you don't have a color printer at home, black and white art can be incorporated into gallery walls, as shown above with the vintage typewriter ad.

Office supply stores can also print larger color images for very little money. Vintage botanicals are a popular option that work well in farmhouse or French country style homes.

6. Remember the Power of Subtraction

One of the best ways to make your home more beautiful is to subtract something. I often say that subtraction costs nothing but changes everything. Even though I'm a decorator by profession, sometimes I think that there can be even more value in "undecorating" than in decorating! Over the years, I've come to appreciate the value of negative space and having a place for the eye to rest.

Take a piece of art down off of the wall. Remove the flyers from the front of your fridge and the cereal boxes from the top of it. Clear off your kitchen and bathroom countertops. Tuck away a couple of accessories, and then note whether you feel lighter and calmer.

Looking for More Personalized Interior Decorating Help?

I've been helping my clients nationwide create feel-good homes for over 16 years, and I would love to collaborate with you! Drop me a line and we can schedule an affordable, hourly consultation.