Wellbeing

How To Pimp Your Home Interior Without Spending A Cent

Interior decorating is so hot right now. It’s a fun hobby and a great way to express yourself creatively. Everyone needs a happy place, a space to call their own, a space to relax in and to be proud of. Giving a little thought to colour and placement can make it seem like you have your life together even if you don’t. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth to achieve it.

Whether you live in our own house, a share house, with your family or in a cupboard under the stairs, here are six simple tips to have your space looking ‘gramable in no time, without spending a cent.

#1 Add colour using soft furnishings

Generally the rule is to keep colours neutral and calming. But if you do want to add a dash of colour, always, always, always use soft furnishings to do it. As seasons and trends change (or if you simply change your mind) cushions, rugs, and throws are much easier to update than trying to replace a bright red fridge, patterned curtains, an expensive couch or the paint on the walls.

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Have a couple of colour options for cushions and rugs so that you can change the feel of your space in an instant – without spending money each time you feel the need for a refresh.

#2 Find free furniture

Websites, social forums and council hard rubbish collection (read up about this here) are great ways to get your hands on interesting and unique pieces of furniture for FREE. Another idea is to temporarily swap furniture among your friends to spruce up your interior vibes.

The trick to making it look good is this: keep it in good condition. Just because it’s second-hand doesn’t mean it has to be shabby. Throw a coat of paint on it or sand out any scratches and bumps and you’ll be as right as rain.

#3 Plants, plants, everywhere plants

You don’t need us to tell you that indoor plants are in vogue, and not just for their good looks. Don’t get turned off by trendy homewares stores selling a single cactus with a $100 price tag. For a more cost effective way to fill your house with plants, start swapping cuttings with friends or neighbours (there are also online groups to help you swap plants with strangers.) Heck, you might even find it enjoyable and make new friends too, and plant lovers are always happy help other plant lovers out with advice to care for your plants.

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As for the pots and vases, you can get you hands on some stylish pots for free from sites like Gumtree (if you’re willing to pick them up yourself). Otherwise, vintage and industrial looks are on trend so be creative. Instead of pricey designer pots, use old kitchenware, cinder blocks, tins and jars, sports equipment or old appliances.

#4 Don’t underestimate the power of feng shui

Even for those who aren’t so spiritual, stay with me here. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese ‘art of placement’ that aims to connect man with environment. But regardless of the belief that setting up your home in occurrence to feng shui will worn off evil spirits, it’s also a very handy interior design tool. Use it to create more usable and free-flowing space. The most helpful principles are:

  • Fix anything that’s broken or anything that rattles or squeaks.
  • Keep the bathroom and laundry doors closed – water represents energy in feng shui and these rooms are where it flows away from the house (letting energy escape). Keeping the doors closed will also close off your home to the clutter of these spaces.
  • If possible, position your bed on the opposite wall to the door giving you a clear view of the entranceway for security, and have symmetry in the bedroom so use matching side tables if you have the space.
  • Keep electrical items like the TV or computer out of the bedroom, because these items drain energy from the room and add stresses to a space that should be used for rest and relaxation.
  • Keep your front door clear of clutter and make use of it as your priority entrance (do you use your side or back door more than you use the front?).

#5 Consider op-shop crockery, cutlery and linens

This has been inspired by a recent stay the stunning Camp Kulning in Victoria, where the kitchenware and bed linens had been carefully collected from op-shops and vintage stores. The trick to making it all come together is to stick to a theme.

Photo: Camp Kulning/Airbnb

At Camp Kulning, everything has been curated to a ’70s theme, right down to the bone butter knifes, colourful coffee mugs, and quality woven blankets. If you don’t trust your op-shop eye, ask your parents and your grandparents if you can troll around their house for some unwanted goods.

#6 Minimalism is key

Let’s be real, “clutter” is a just a nicer way of saying “mess”. Keep things very simple and clean and you’ll have your space ready for Instagram in no time. If you need a little more motivation here, don’t forget that de-cluttering can improve your mental health, put extra cash in your pocket, and teach you resourcefulness too.

Keeping things minimal can be easier said than done. The trick: use function as design. This means using the things that you actually need to add designrather than using knick-knacks and homewares. For example, instead of a decorative vase as a centrepiece on your kitchen table, use a nice salt and pepper set. Instead of a flower arrangement to add colour to your kitchen, use a shelf of cookbooks. Instead of covering your walls in prints and pictures, use a beautifully famed mirror. Or hang your bike on the wall like the work of art that it is.

While we are on the topic of minimalism, always hide your electrical cables (tuck them away behind a table or a shelf), mount your TV on the wall (if your landlord allows) and hide your Wi-Fi router in a cupboard. Honestly, nobody needs to see all that stuff.


Kate is the summer editor of The Cusp. She gets by in life as a publicist but finds time to regularly contribute to The Cusp and AWOL. Follow her travels on Instagram @katermac and Twitter @krmcc.