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How To Refresh Your Home Using Only What You Have

How to Refresh your Home without Buying a Thing! 'Buy Nothing' Bedroom Makeover.

It’s officially been a month of staying at home. The first few weeks I was busy dealing with wedding reschedules and proposals for 2020 and 2021 weddings but now, with no weddings in sight for the next few months, I have more time on my hands than I typically would at this time of year. Having to stay at home felt like a good time to take on a home makeover project. Since we are not leaving the house right now I decided I would focus on using only supplies I had at home. I did a quick mental tally of all the renovation and decor supplies that I had lying around the house and realized that I had enough to make a fun transformation in one room in our house. Woop woop! Let’s go!

1 week only!

I gave myself two rules for the project. The first was that I would complete the job in one week only (although I was vague with myself and on Instagram about whether that would be a proper 7 day week or a 5 day work week…it took 6 days in the end. So both/neither I guess?!). A tight timeline was important so I didn’t get distracted and prioritize other things above it. I had no work deadlines so there wasn’t any reason why I couldn’t devote a week of my time to this room! Also, considering the fact that our front entry/stairwell/upper landing (technically all one big space that I am working on!) are all currently works in progress, I knew I wouldn’t be able to tolerate another room in the house being in total disrepair at the moment. I try to keep my work spaces to one room at a time!

Using Only What I have in the House

My second, and main rule, was that I would complete this project using only what I had in our house. I am limiting any trips out of the house to essential products only right now and decor elements for our room certainly wouldn’t be falling into that category! I didn’t want that to limit being creative and working on the house though and regardless of our current situation, being resourceful and working with what I have is something I like to practice all the time.

Had I treated redoing our bedroom as a regular home project with the freedom to select whatever items (within our budget) that I wish, it would have taken much longer to complete and I likely would not be compelled to do this project for quite a while. I find that when a space comes with a greater time and financial investment it also comes with a lot of pressure to make it perfect. There are areas of our house (bathrooms, kitchen, stairwell, landscape) where I will be very thoughtful when it comes to finishes and products and not rush the end result but for a bedroom, where the fix is purely cosmetic, I am down to go with the flow and work with what I’ve got!

As far as extra supplies I have in the house (tools and decor), I have more than some people and a lot less than others. I am a bit of a purger, so if I don’t use an item for a couple of months it gets donated pretty quickly. Given this, there definitely isn’t a stockpile of extra furniture laying around in our basement. But, having moved into the house just a couple of months ago I had just a few items that I had purchased with the intent of using them shortly…they came in handy for this project!

How to Attempt a ‘Buy Nothing’ Design and still have a Beautiful Outcome

1. What will stay and what will go?

If you’re looking to take on a similar project, these are my tips for how you can attempt redesigning a room using only what you have in your house. First, consider what will stay and what you would like to change. This includes permanent things like wall colour (if you have the ability to change it) to the moveable items like physical furniture and accessories. These two lists are like your current room inventory.

With my room there was so little to begin with that this list was easy! Here are my lists:

The items that would stay:

  • the drapes and curtain rods (custom made and in need of an alteration but the quality is excellent)
  • our mattress and duvet

Items that would go:

  • The dated light fixture
  • the wallpaper
  • the mix matched bedside tables (I just like bedside tables to match and I happened to have options)

2. Take an Inventory of what you can use

To create an inventory of what you have, take a walk around your house and make a list of everything you can work with – this can be an item you would be willing to swap or move from another room or an item that isn’t currently being used at all. This can be larger furniture items, cans of paint, or small accessories like art work, candles, or pillows.

After that, start thinking about what items pair well together and which ones don’t. Before you know it, you will have a realistic look at what you are able to achieve with what you have.

Here’s my inventory of items I had at my disposal to use:

  • walls
    • white paint
    • pink, green, or soft blue paint – just enough of each for an accent wall
    • green and blue wallpaper purchased for our closet or stone wall wallpaper purchased for bathroom (both projects are a ways off so if I felt either of these options were good for the room I would have used them and purchased new for the other spaces)
    • Urban Walls floral decals (purchased for our stairwell but then I changed my mind on the design) – Rose and Peony
  • lighting
  • carpet
    • carpet from the living room (switched it out the previous week and it wasn’t in use)
    • carpet that I left in our old apartment so the unit didn’t look bare when showing it but I could go get since nobody has moved in yet (lol)
  • Side tables
  • Art
    • Framed maps (3)
    • mirrors (1 large, 1 small)
    • framed figure drawings (2)
    • Framed City sketches (2)
  • random blankets, baskets, vases and pillows that I could shuffle between rooms
  • Double bed frame purchased for guest bedroom BUT the guest bedroom already has a bed frame and our bed does not

So there you have it! That’s what I was working with!

This process of deciding what will stay and go in a room, followed by making an inventory of what you have to work with is really helpful to create a realistic design plan. Even if you are giving yourself more flexibility to purchase products for your room, this process is helpful in making a list of items you need to source and may even save you having to purchase something that you already own.

Refresh Your Space Simply By Moving Things Around, you Don’t Need Extra Items!

With my inventory I listed out EVERYTHING I was able to use. If you have limited supplies or extra items to work with but still want to freshen up your space, take a look at items that you can move between rooms. Even simple details like switching around tabletop or shelf decor, or moving art and pillows between rooms can make your space feel fresh. I lived in a condo with no storage for many years and I definitely understand keeping nothing extra! With our homes being the space where we are currently spending so much time it feels important to create areas that inspire you and you enjoy looking at. I had the supplies to give this room a full makeover but the idea of refreshing your home using what you have is so scaleable (up or down!).

Bedroom Makeover - Huge Flowers on wall - Urban Walls Floral Decals
PRODUCT LINKS: Carpet // Decal // Chandelier

I was so happy that I had these Urban Walls decals that I had purchased but didn’t use for another project! If you are looking to make a bold statement in your room, these are so fun!

Bedroom Makeover - Urban Walls Decals
PRODUCT LINKS: Side Table / Decal / Bed (similar)
Bedside Table Styling
PRODUCT LINKS: Side Table / Book 1 & Book 2 (2 of my faves for inspo!) / Candle (SO GOOD!)
Urban Walls Ayrshire Rose Decal

comments +

  1. […] of those have inspired some true creativity when it comes to decorating on a budget. Emily Hall, of Threads & Blooms, is very familiar. Back in April, when most everyone was confined to their homes, Emily was itching […]

  2. Becky E. says:

    The custom curtains – what was the fabric used for them? Thank you.

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