No-Money Home Makeover Ideas

There’s no reason to buy new stuff to spiff up your home; you already have everything you need.
Turn a Quilt Into a Headboard
Photo: Mark Lund

Turn a Quilt Into a Headboard

Got a plain-Jane bed? Give it character―and warm it up, too―by draping a quilt over the frame.
More from 
Real Simple:
Prop Up Art to Conceal Cords
Photo: Mark Lund

Prop Up Art to Conceal Cords

Lean framed art against a wall to hide wires and outlets. Layer them for extra impact.
Stick a Plant Inside a (Non-Working) Fireplace
Photo: Mark Lund

Stick a Plant Inside a (Non-Working) Fireplace

Brighten up that black hole with one of your indoor or outdoor plants. Choose a type that doesn’t require a lot of sunlight, like a fern or the Song of India dracaena pictured here.
Repurpose Your Bracelets as Napkin Rings
Photo: Mark Lund

Repurpose Your Bracelets as Napkin Rings

Colorful plastic bangles are great for a casual table, while metal ones complement a formal setting. You can also pin brooches down the length of a table runner and lean a place card in front of each one.
Dress Up a Dresser With Ribbons
Photo: Mark Lund

Dress Up a Dresser With Ribbons

Don’t let all those scraps you’ve been saving from holidays and birthday parties go to waste. Transform a child’s bedroom by tying colorful ribbons around the knobs on a chest of drawers―or the stem of a lamp or the legs of a table.
Paint the Legs of an Old Chair
Photo: Mark Lund

Paint the Legs of an Old Chair

Finally, a reason to drag out that banged-up can of leftover paint. Give the seen-better-days legs of a wooden chair a fresh coat of paint, then use the chair as a side table to hold books, throw pillows, an extra blanket, or even your knitting.
Cover Boxes With Wrapping Paper
Photo: Mark Lund

Cover Boxes With Wrapping Paper

You can do better than those ho-hum bins from the office-supply store. Turn plain boxes (such as shoe or checkbook boxes) into pretty storage containers with excess wrapping paper, then label them with old gift tags. You can use them as gift boxes, too.
Hang Photos and Artwork on One Wall
Photo: Mark Lund

Hang Photos and Artwork on One Wall

Your family pictures have more impact when they’re grouped together. A word to the wise: Before you do any hanging, arrange the pieces on the floor to get a sense of how they’ll look on the wall. And never mind if the frames don’t match.
Plant Herbs in Florist’s Vases
Photo: Mark Lund

Plant Herbs in Florist’s Vases

You’ve got them―stacked up under the sink, probably―so make use of them. Plant small potted herbs in vessels of various heights (add a layer of pebbles at the bottom of each for drainage). Wrap them in a heavy-stock paper, secure with twine, and label.
Stash Toiletries in Mismatched Tableware
Photo: Mark Lund

Stash Toiletries in MismatchedTableware

Just because your vanity is a catchall for makeup doesn’t mean it can’t look put-together. Place a platter on top and fill it with seldom-seen china pieces, like a sugar bowl and a creamer, that can hold cotton balls, nail files, and brushes.
Turn Salt and Pepper Shakers Into Bud Vases
Photo: Mark Lund

Turn Salt and Pepper Shakers Into Bud Vases

Screw off the caps of spare salt and pepper shakers (or empty jam jars or perfume bottles) and use the receptacles to display flowers on a bedroom night table or a guest-bathroom sink. You can also put potpourri inside.
 

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