Design Interior Design

12 Fresh Ways to Redecorate Responsibly

Create a chic and modern home by redecorating with sustainable and budget-friendly tips that are kind to the planet and your finances.
Kat Hodgins Avatar
Hands of interior designer and client discussing 3D renderings of rooms design

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Interior design allows you to transform areas of your home into a reflection of your personality. A well-designed space can make you feel happy, welcome, and comfortable—and let’s face it, it looks beautiful too.

Redecorating can be a fantastic creative endeavor, but depending on how many home trends you want to participate in, it can be expensive and generate waste. Instead, approach your next interior design project by keeping consumerism in check, considering the long-term effects of your purchases, and getting creative with reducing, reusing, and recycling your current items. Get inspired by checking out these 12 ideas to redecorate responsibly.

RELATED: Remodeling Your Home? Consider These 10 Ways to Incorporate Recycled Materials

1. Paint the walls or ceiling

A young couple sits on the floor admiring a freshly painted turquoise wall that they painted together.

Instead of overhauling the entire room with new furniture, art, and accessories, you can change a space’s look and feel with a fresh coat of paint.

Adding a new hue or applying a different painting technique to the walls can reset a room’s aesthetic. Add a navy blue for a dark and dramatic space; apply a crisp white for fresh and bright. Paint some stripes or add a geometric pattern using painter’s tape to create an accent wall.

Are you on a budget and open to options? Many places that mix paint have a mis-tint section where you pick up cheaper paint and keep it from going to waste.

RELATED: 13 Items You Should Never Put in a Dumpster When Cleaning Out Your Home

2. Scope out garage sales and thrift stores

A collection of furniture at a thrift store.

You’re not the only one clearing out and updating an area of your home. You can find some excellent decor items by thrifting in second-hand stores, garage sales, or online marketplaces. Usually, previously loved items are cheaper, and giving them a new life keeps goods out of landfills.

As a bonus, some thrift stores, like Value Village, offer coupons if you donate your old stuff so your former decor can find a new home and save you money.

RELATED: The Biggest Mistakes Most People Make at Garage Sales

3. Craft New Decor

An open space bedroom interior with double bed with knit blanket and many pillows, a rack with books and decor, a carpet on the floor and a blanket ladder leaning on the wall outside

With interior design, it’s the little touches that bring a room together. With some ingenuity or inspiration from online tutorials, you can probably create items you’re thinking of purchasing out of materials you already own or can pick up at a low price point.

For example, creating a statement grid mirror can add visual interest and contrast to your aesthetic. Follow this tutorial from Ikea Hackers to see how it’s done.

Another trendy home decor item is a blanket ladder, and with a free afternoon, you can easily make one for your home (using this tutorial from hey there, home). Take the time to find easy-to-use tutorials to add a personal touch to your home decor, and do your decor.

4. Liven up a room with some houseplants

Chairs and a dining table with a plant on it sitting next to patio doors in a modern open plan home with lots of potted plants.

You can acquire houseplants for little-to-no investment, and they’re an easy way to freshen up a space. Whether you purchase plants, grow them from seed, or ask friends and families for propagations or cuttings, this greenery adds a lot to your home design. You can also upcycle old containers into pots to add a little personality to your houseplant collection.

RELATED: Don’t Sell It, Swap It! How to Host a Successful Community Swap Meet

5. Furnish with things you already own

Beautiful loft space with a collection of antique home furnishings.

Consider what you think is missing from a particular room—is it a rug, lighting fixture, art, or something else? You may already have what you need tucked in the basement, a storage locker, or even another room. Go “shopping” with the items you already own to see if rehoming them in a new spot achieves your desired aesthetic and finds new uses for old items.

6. Host a swap night

Overhead view of boy sorting through items to get rid of.

You’re probably not the only one disenchanted with some of your current decor items. Gather a group of friends together and host a home furnishing and decor swap night. Everyone brings pieces they no longer enjoy, then lays them out for others to look at and take home. Not only is it a great reason to get together, but this swap is a fun way to get “new” decor items without spending a dime.

RELATED: A Sustainable Kitchen Remodel Can Actually Save You Money—Here’s How

7. Replace old art

Young woman hanging art picture on wall and decorating living room

An easy way to refurbish your decor is to swap out your artwork for something new and different. You can replace what is in the frames with affordable digital pieces you can print at home. Some examples are The Wall Habitat designs on Etsy or images from the National Gallery of Art‘s open-access database. If you have a piece on canvas, follow Olive and June’s tutorial to transform it into textured wall art.

RELATED: The 12 Best Places to Buy Sustainable Furniture

8. Keep an eye on freebie websites

Cheerful couple looking at something on laptop in their living room.

Freebie websites or Facebook groups are excellent places to source new decor pieces for no money. You help take clutter off someone’s hands and prevent household items from ending up in a landfill when they still have life left in them—it’s a win-win.

It may be a bit of a waiting game until you find something you desire, but you can make some pretty good finds if you’re patient. These items are generally first come, first served, so be ready to pick up items immediately if you’re interested, lest they go to somebody else.

9. Make small but impactful decor changes

Colorful pillows on rattan sofa on the terrace with flowers, painted drapes and candles.

Changing the color of your throw pillows or curtains can transform a space with minimal effort. This redecorating method is an excellent one for those who like novelty. Instead of rehoming previous pillow covers or wall treatments, keep them and rotate through different designs and colors once you start to feel bored. Minor changes like these are an easy way to introduce color without a big project, such as painting.

RELATED: 10 Interior Design Trends to Watch in 2023

10. Makeover existing items using kitchen ingredients

Homemade natural dyes are prepared with red cabbage, turmeric, beet, red and yellow onion skin and with nettles.

If you have a piece you love, but it’s showing its age, consider upgrading it yourself. Most homes have a lot of basic supplies that you can use to upgrade some of your favorite decor items and accessories.

Follow The Beauty Revival’s tutorial to learn how to turn an old vase into what looks like a textured clay piece using baking soda and paint.

Perhaps your pain point is faded fabrics. Follow the tutorial from The Sorry Girls and add color to old curtains or pillowcases with natural dye made from ingredients like onion peels and avocado pits.

11. Rearrange your furniture

Cheerful young couple doing home improvements and moving their sofa in the living room while decorating

You may not need anything new in a room—perhaps you just need to shift things around to get a new perspective on a space. The easiest way to redecorate is to move your furniture into a different configuration.

A new furniture layout can change a space’s flow, and it’s an opportunity to do a nice deep clean, too! This is a low-stakes redecorating project because if it doesn’t look good or function well, move your stuff back and try other suggestions in this guide instead.

RELATED: 20 Sustainable Home Decor Brands to Shop in 2023

12. Know when to splurge

A showroom full of new furniture and home decor.

Redecorating responsibly and buying new decor aren’t mutually exclusive. You can practice sustainable and economic redecorating methods but still invest in pieces when warranted. Certain items you cannot make, and they may be nearly impossible to find for free or secondhand. If it’s a piece you want to have in your home long-term, it’s worth the splurge—just make sure that whatever item it’s replacing goes to a worthy new home.