How to Get Out of a Decorating Rut Without Spending a Dime

I'm sharing some simple changes I made in my dining room that gave it a new look and feel without spending any money. Get all my no-cost decorating tips here!

Hello and welcome to Thrifty Style Team! We're a group of thrifty loving bloggers who get together to share our budget conscious home decor and DIY ideas once a month. You'll find links to everyone's projects below but here's a sneak peek.

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You might find it hard to believe, but even home decor bloggers (people who spend a lot of time decorating and fluffing their homes) find themselves in a decorating rut from time to time! Recently I was finding my dining room uninspiring, and found that discontent was creeping in. I found myself scrolling FB Marketplace and Craigslist for new furniture pieces even though what I have more than meets our needs.

Rather than spending money buying new thing, I made just a few simple changes that gave my dining room a new look and satisfied my desire for something different.

Before I share my no-cost decor tips with you, be sure to follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, and click here to sign up for my email list so you'll never miss a post!

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How to climb out of a decorating rut without spending any money

Idea #1: Move your furniture

How many of us move into a home, set our furniture in place, and then never move it again? I was guilty of this in our dining room. The black hutch had been on the smaller wall on the right and the large yard sale French chalkboard on the main wall ever since we moved in to our home nearly 5 years ago! You can see the former furniture placement in my cozy Fall home tour from a couple years ago.

If your furniture placement is working for you, then there's no reason to make changes. But if you find yourself disliking your space, complaining about your furniture or spending time looking online for something different, just stop. Take a big, deep breath and consider your options. Before you spend a dime on new pieces, try moving things around. Sometimes even shifting a piece of furniture a couple feet can make a big difference in how the space feels!

In our dining room, I simply swapped the black hutch and the chalkboard. Now the hutch gets more of a direct view when you enter our home, and my collection of pretty dishes really shines. As well, I can see the hutch when I'm working in the kitchen and the whole space just feels fresh and different.

Idea #2: Consider a fabric change

I'm not going to spend a long time on this update because I wrote an entire post about updating the fabric on my dining chairs with a pretty blue toile fabric that I found for a song. Maybe you could swap curtains with another room in your home. Or turn something you already have into a simple table runner (just tearing a piece of fabric like a sheet or canvas drop cloth will give you a custom runner that fits your table and has nice frayed edges).

I had purchased this blue toile fabric awhile ago and had another project in mind, but recovering my chairs turned out to be a better option and definitely lightened the look of my black dining chairs!

Idea #3: Swap out your collection

If you've followed me for any length of time, you'll know that I love blue and white dishes and have collected quite a bit of transferware. My dining room hutch is normally filled with the blue and white dishes. I even made a blue and white plate wreath this past Spring using my vintage dishes.

I still love those dishes, but I was really wanting to highlight my collection of white ironstone. Plus, I got a new hutch and plan to move my blue and white transferware into that one (watch for that post in the next few weeks!).

Simply swapping out the dishes in my hutch gave the room a different look and feel. I have a lot of white ironstone that I've collected from thrift stores and yard sales over the years, and it was fun to display it all in my black hutch where it can be seen. Some of the pieces were being used in other rooms, but I gathered it all together (and actually couldn't display it all together because I have so much). I love the look of a concentrated collection - all that means is displaying your collection together in one place. Maybe it's a set of shelves or a bookcase or a hutch like I've done, but you'll appreciate your collection so much more when it's displayed en masse! Try it!

Idea #4: Hang something up

The walls on either side of the hutch looked rather bare now. I have a set of white shutters that have hung on many different walls in our past two homes. They were a curbside find and got several coats of  white spray paint way back when. They were currently just being stored in my office. I pulled them out and dusted them off, then had Mr DIY hang them for me, one on either side of the black hutch. I hung some white platters that look like ironstone, as well as some mini wreaths on the shutters and love this updated look! That wall needed something extra, and this no-cost decor option was the perfect solution!

Do you have any old shutters or vintage windows you could hang? What about artwork that isn't being used? Think about something you're not currently using that you can pull out of storage and put to a new use in your space! If you're storing it, it probably means you still like it, so why not give it a new use.

Idea #5: Paint something

I think a lot of my desire of wanting a change in our dining room is that there's a lot of black. I want the room  to feel lighter and brighter. Recovering the dining seat chairs was a step in the right direction, and if you read the post on how I recovered the chairs, you'll know I'm also considering painting my dining chairs and table to lighten it up and get rid of some of the black.

Do you have a piece you could paint? Maybe you want to go lighter or darker, or you would love to introduce a vibrant color in your space that will help you to really love it! Consider chalk paint as it's easy to use, inexpensive, doesn't require any sanding and dries quickly! You can read my Chalk Paint 101 post here to learn more about it. Chalk paint is my go-to paint when I want to update furniture and decor, and I've painted hundreds of items. You can see all my chalk paint furniture and decor pieces here.

And how does the chalkboard look now in its new location? I love it on this wall and can't believe I never considered it before! I hung a woven basket (see similar here) and filled it with some lavender stems and lambs ears and it's such a nice touch. I like the clean, uncluttered look.

I unset the table for a bit of a breather (funny story...we recently had some teenage interns over for dinner and one of the young guys told me our house looked haunted! At my look of horror, he quickly went on to say that he meant that everything just looked so neat and set up and the table looked ready for guests because the dishes were on it but we didn't eat there ๐Ÿ˜ So I figured maybe the table needed to be unset for know, to banish any ghosts! ๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ‘ป

A simple runner and my easy DIY fake cake on a white cake stand as a centerpiece is pretty simple (for me!). I'll be sharing more about these gorgeous wood flowers in my fall decor posts, coming soon!

I hope these home decor tips are helpful as you think about your own home, what you don't love anymore, and how you can change things up and get a new feel without spending any money!

If you do follow one of my suggestions, please pop back here and let me know in the comments or send me a message! I love interacting with you and getting feedback motivates me to keep sharing helpful ideas for your home!

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Click on the links below for more details on each of these unique and thrifty ways to DIY and decorate your home!

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What Meegan Makes - Late Summer Tablescape in Pink

I Should be Mopping the Floor - Garden Gift Ideas and Tags

Our Crafty Mom - Buffalo Check Bench Makeover

Cottage on Bunker Hill - Anthropologie Dupe Moss Wreath

Cottage at the Crossroads - Thrifty Peat Pot Pumpkin Holder

The How-to Home - Simple Seashell Centerpiece

Lora Bloomquist Create and Ponder - Fun Vintage School Decor Ideas

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  1. Great ideas, Cindy! I'm all for using what I have rather than shopping for new things.

  2. Great ideas, Cindy! I love switching things up...often!

    1. Thank you Lora, it's fun to get a fresh new look without spending any money!

  3. This is JUST what I need right now. I have been struggling with my guest bedroom and just can't seem to get the right configuration with furniture or accessories. You have so many great tips. Thanks, Cindy!

  4. Cindy - we love your ideas so much that we shared them in our weekly All the Buzz segment! Info that all of us can use!

  5. Cindy I love all of these ideas!!! So many smart ways to change things up without breaking the back. Love the fabric one…I often forget that! Pinned!

  6. So many great ideas and tips, thank you so much for sharing

  7. You always share the most wonderful ideas, Cindy, and the cake looks so REAL!

  8. These are all such great ideas, Cindy! It's so easy to get tired of the same look but these tips are all wonderful ways to make what you have work! . Love the white ironstone in the hutch.

  9. Hi Cindy! Your dining room is so inspiring every time I see it! I love these tips, and believe it or not I just did 2 of them! I move furniture around almost daily! And...I have 2 similar chairs that I was ready to reupholster and when I was removing the fabric I found my old choices underneath! I ended up going back to an old choice because it fit in so well again with my newer decorating. Anyway...thise tips are SPOT ON!!

    1. Thanks Julie, I'm glad you could reuse your old chair covers!

  10. I love all of your wonderful tips! Reusing and rethinking all of our existing things is the most satisfying way to style our homes! xo I loved your "ghost" story too, made me lol.

    1. Thanks Laurie! Is your home "haunted" too? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Loved these decorating ideas! The blue and white cushions are gorgeous and the cake looks delish!

  12. I love shopping my own home, These are all great ideas. xo Laura

  13. Such FABULOUS ideas, friend. Your dining room looks beautiful. But, my favorite part is the haunted house idea...HA! I may need to unset a table, too! ;)

    1. Thanks Kristi! After my initial horror I got a good laugh out of that comment too ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Cindy, you’re a decorating ideas I just lovely. The blue toile and the iron stone collection are my favorite. Thanks for the inspiration!


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