Shop Your Home: 5 Ways to Restyle Without the Spend

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on January 28, 2021

Many of us find ourselves tightening our wallets (and belts: too many Christmas cookies anyone?) when January rolls around—and this year, especially, we’re scaling back our decorating budgets like we’ve been scaling back our social lives. At the same time, there’s that new-year-new-me itch to shake things up around the house. 

So, what’s a home-dweller to do? Havenly CEO Lee Mayer is here to save the day with tips on how to restyle your space without spending more. Think working with what you have, reimagining everyday pieces, editing and shifting pieces in your home, and deploying a few DIY solutions for a fresh start. You’ve mastered the stay-at-home, now it’s time to learn the art of shop-your-home.

Shift It, Change It, Rearrange It

Before you set out turning everything upside-down, take an inventory of your life at home: what do you need in your space to feel comfortable and function at your best? What is still hanging around that you don’t absolutely love? Out with the old, in with the you.

With a clear idea of what works for you and makes you happy right now, look around with fresh eyes and start to reimagine pieces you already own. Lee suggests repurposing an old vintage chair as a whimsical bedside table, shifting artwork from a less visible location to new prominence, or turning the TV into a work of art by layering a gallery wall behind it.

Play with Placement

A subtle change in where you put something can really refresh the look of a room. Take, lighting, for example—consider how the light is styled and, as Lee puts it, “play with placement.” Perhaps you stack a lamp on top of a few large coffee table books for added height. Maybe you move a floor lamp behind an accent chair and nestle a side table in front. 

The same applies for furniture and rugs, too—and rearranging where things are placed might also be the solution to a design problem, like a too-small rug in the living room. If your rug isn’t big enough to anchor the front two legs of your sofa and chairs around the room, try repurposing it elsewhere. Along with an oversized accent chair, you could create a cozy corner that looks totally new and properly proportioned.

Raid the Kitchen

“The kitchen can be a gold mine for decor accents,” says Lee. “We often think so functionally in this room that we forget the incredible styling opportunities hidden within our cabinets.” Her suggestion: raid those cabinets to find lovely vases, wood cutting boards, pretty serving bowls, and stylish canisters that you can then arrange on your countertops or shelves for a more lived-in appeal. 

A few ways kitchenware doubles as decor, according to Lee: a Le Creuset Dutch oven left out on the range looks like a sculptural work of art, while a simple cake tray can be a graceful styling accent. Even sweeter—literally—if filled with donuts (who really cares about that tight belt anyways?).

DIY Something Different

One of our favorite designer tricks: DIY art. Take an old piece with a lovely frame and make it your own. If it’s a print, you can switch it out with a vintage map or sheet music, hand drawn sketches, or an illustration discovered from a local artist. 

Another favorite DIY that can create a dramatic difference is refinishing a lamp you no longer love with paint, spray paint, rope, or plaster. We love giving a basic fixture an organic texture for an inspired, on-trend look. For example, wrap the lamp in a plaster cloth (following package instructions) and top with a coat of white or neutral paint. “Voila, it’s that simple! You shopped your home and discovered brand new decor,” says Lee.

Pillows on a couch

Styling Switch-Up

Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to shop your home is by switching up the styling from room to room. Get resourceful and try mixing and matching textiles from one room to another—perhaps move a knit throw from the living room to the end of your bed, or change out pillows from one room to another. 

Boring bookshelves can become a head turner with the right styling vignettes: stacked books, sculptural objects, vases and framed art for a layered look. A nondescript bistro table can be instantly elevated into a sophisticated scene by draping a relaxed linen tablecloth over it and arranging a lamp and vintage decor accents on top.

“Shopping your space is an invitation for creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.” says Lee. “It’s like a fun design challenge and game combined.” Look at your existing furniture and decor with fresh eyes to unearth their hidden potential. Play around with things by moving and restyling to create imaginative new moments in home.

Not sure how to reimagine the pieces you already love for a fresh look? Enlist the help of our Havenly designers and get started with our style quiz.

Words by Kelly O’Reilly