21 Totally Free Ways to Upgrade Your Home

The greatest things in life are free—and home design is no exception. From frugal furniture to discount decor, these 21 DIY projects are sure to transform your humble home into an unforgettable abode without putting a dent in your wallet.

Cut a Rug

DIY Rag Rug

Have a few old T-shirts or cotton knits lying around? Cut them into strips, braid them in alternating colors, and sew them together with a zigzag stitch into a circular or oval rug to transform these humble hand-me-downs into a pocket-friendly pick-me-up for bare floors.

Related: 10 Doable Designs for a DIY Rug


Lead the Charge

DIY Charging Station

This cut-rate charging station offers a truly off-the-wall idea for charging tech with unruly cords. By assembling free pallet wood boards, staining the construction, and adhering a vintage crate label to the front, you can power all your wired gizmos—and make them look wireless!

Related: 9 Home Organization Secret Weapons


Looking Good On Paper

DIY Paper Bag Lamp

Choosing paper grocery bags over plastic is as good for your home environment as the outdoor environment. When folded like origami, threaded with yarn, and hung indoors alongside a pendant chord, the resulting luminous lamp is sure to leave you and your home beaming.

Related: The 9 Best Lighting Picks for Your Bedroom


Sweeten the Pot-pourri

DIY Stovetop Potpourri

If you can’t stomach the scent of store-bought, synthetic potpourri, swap it for this frugal, all-natural equivalent. When simmered over the stove, vanilla, bay leaves, rosemary, and fresh oranges make for an oh-so-sweet but subtle air freshener for the whole home.

Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh


Plant an Idea

DIY Plant Markers

Can’t tell the parsley from the parsnips in your container garden? Using an X-Acto knife, shave the bark from the top of a small branch. On the stripped wood, scrawl the plant name in marker, and then stick the twig into the matching planter to instantly identify your homegrown horticulture.

Related: 10 "Zero Dollar" Garden Hacks


Big Picture View

DIY Miniature Greenhouse

This miniature greenhouse terrarium will have you seeing green without forking over any cash. The base and roof—constructed from picture frames that are spray painted, hot-glued together, and reinforced with duct tape—come together into a picture-perfect paradise for plants.

Related: 12 Tiny Gardens You Can Grow on a Tabletop


Bed and Board

DIY Pallet Swing Bed

This dreamy pallet wood swing bed offers a durable, budget alternative to fabric hammocks. To take a swing at this project, assemble free pallet wood boards into a bed frame hung from a tree with rope. Then, place a spare mattress atop the frame, adorning it with cushions to bring the comforts of home outdoors.

Related: 9 Creative Ways to Build a Backyard Hangout


All Over the Map

DIY Map Walls

If your drab walls lack purpose and style, give them a new direction—literally—with this DIY geographic-inspired wallpaper. When tacked to drywall with push pins, old world maps meet with new world sophistication to elevate the ambiance of any interior.

Related: Too Cool for School—9 Ways to Bring Home Classroom Style


Votive Motive

DIY Candle Votives

The perfect solution for lighting a small indoor or outdoor space, these DIY candle holders are made from glass jars that have been tinted with Mod Podge, water, and food coloring. After setting the tint in the oven, use paint pens to add fanciful, custom patterns to the luminaries.

Related: 8 New Ideas for DIY Outdoor Lighting


Earn Your Stripes

Washi tape doorway

Homes of all stripes could lift this washi tape idea to create a striped entryway door. The banded pattern, created by adhering alternating colors of washi tape and painter’s tape along the doorway ledge, is as easy to install as it is to remove.

Related: 10 Mini Makeovers You Can Do in Minutes


Reinvent the Wheel

DIY Wheelbarrow Table

As useful as they are outdoors for lawn and garden projects, wheelbarrows are equally effective—and even a little elegant—indoors. When topped with a pre-assembled sheet of wooden slats, the backyard barrow transitions into a mobile coffee table for the living room.

Related: 8 Unique Ways to Build Your Own Table


Stepped-Up Style

DIY Ladder Pot Rack

Still stashing pots and pans at heights you have to climb a ladder to reach? By situating a ladder horizontally, and hanging it from dependable ceiling hooks, you can upcycle it into a pot rack. The ladder rungs, cleverly adorned with S-hooks, let you hang or remove cookware with ease.

Related: 7 Kitchen Trends You Might Forget


It’s a Wrap

Wrapping paper as wallpaper

Give small spaces the gift of looking bigger, bolder, and more beautiful with a leftover roll of wrapping paper. Using washi tape, stick precut wrapping paper panels to back walls in the kitchenette, laundry area, or office nook to create an atmosphere of play in these hardworking spaces.

Related: 7 Reasons to Reconsider Wallpaper


Any Way You Slice It

Tree Slice Shelf

These slice-of-life shelves offer an easy-to-build and even easier on the wallet alternative to traditional open shelves. After mounting L-brackets to pre-cut wood slices, secure the shelves to the wall with screws. For an even more rustic finish, line the shelves with cork-topped bottles.

Related: The Best 9 Storage Spots You Aren't Already Using


Re-routed Router

DIY Router Box

You can’t judge a book by its cover—least of all this homemade hardback for storing bulky tech. To create one of your own, pull a vintage book from the shelf, remove its pages, and then bend the spine. Tuck your router under the cover to make a stylish signal even when you’re offline.

Related: 10 Novel DIYs for a Better Bookshelf


Crate Minds

DIY Crate Shelves

With a bit of roughening up, you can turn dime-a-dozen wooden crates into one-of-a-kind book shelves. Sand the crates, ding them with a hammer, and stain them before sealing this kid-friendly furniture. Add metal angles at the corners to give it a polished look and round off the rough edges.

Related: 18 Clever Storage Solutions You Can DIY for Free


One Fine Sway

DIY porch swing made from a repurposed door

A rickety old door and an antique table might seem destined for the junkyard—until you assemble them into this pretty porch swing. The door forms the back support, while the tabletop acts as a luxurious, distressed seat with armrests fashioned from table legs and leg braces.

Related: 15 Best Cheap Furniture Makeovers We've Ever Seen


Down to the Wire

DIY Wire Coat Rack

To hang your spring jackets in style, use pliers to bend one piece of heavy wire into a custom message, and another into a coat rack with hooks. After wrapping the two wire frames with colored telephone wire, combine them into one crafty catch-all.

Related: Organize Closets with 11 Things You Already Own


Cat Out of the Bottle

DIY Cat Planter

Don’t recycle your empty soda bottles; upcycle them into these fun, feline flower pots. Shear off the bottle tops into a cat-like shape, then spray paint them and draw on a friendly face to create a fertile bed of soil in which growing plants can take a cat nap!

Related: Buy or DIY—7 Hanging Planters for the Great Indoors


Don't Miss!


If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!