Knowing how to shop your home is more important than ever. With the cost of living increasing it can be tricky to justify buying new homeware (however tempting as it might be), and it’s becoming increasingly necessary to find joy in what you already own.
From finding ways to redecorate for free, to making what you already have feel brand new, there are many ways to avoid hitting ‘purchase’ impulsively. We’ve asked the Ideal Home team and interior experts for their top tips on revamping a space, so you can shop what you have and make your living room, bedroom, or even kitchen decor feel exciting once again.
1. Create a store cupboard
Out of sight truly does mean out of mind, so if you can’t quite kick the shopping habit, then why not create your very own store?
Editor of Country Homes and Interiors, Andrea Childs, loves ‘raiding cupboards for different vases and candlesticks’ to refresh the displays on hallway shelves, living room shelves and the mantelpiece.
By dedicating one cupboard to storing bits and pieces that you no longer love, you have somewhere to shop from when you feel like your home needs a refresh. You’re likely to have forgotten about most of it too, so it will be full of surprises.
2. Let light in
Wondering why your home feels like it needs a refresh? It could be down to the light.
The tendency to shop for your home can easily be curbed by taking a look at the foundations of your rooms. Where is the light coming from, and is the room as bright as it could be?
You could be unintentionally blocking some of the natural light, or you might have made a feng shui faux pas with a corner sofa arrangement that isn’t working for the room. ‘Look at ways of rearranging furniture to let the most natural light in, this will be an instant mood boost and have a calming effect on the space,’ emphasises Natalie Carton, furniture and home accessories buyer at Fenwick.
This way you can make your room feel refreshed, using what you already have.
3. Rearrange furniture
Working and living at home can make a space feel tired quickly. The same views in areas you spend a lot of time in, like from a sofa or desk, can make you want to completely redecorate. However, you might just need a little rejig.
If a desk is usually in a bedroom or open-plan living space, why not move it to under the stairs? Not only will this get your creativity flowing, but it will also feel like you’re decorating your very own showroom, without needing to buy new.
4. Give it a lick of paint
We’re huge fans of IKEA hacks, and it’s no secret that flat-pack furniture makes up a large percentage of our homes. However, the simplistic designs and colourways can make it feel bland after a while.
Luckily, IKEA furniture is incredibly easy to revamp with leftover paint and a free weekend. You can take it one step further by replacing cabinet hardware too, making something feel right on-trend. There are so many paint ideas to get creative within your home, whether it’s adding a scalloped edge to your window frames or decorating an old shelf.
5. Repurpose crockery
‘Save for best’ has never rang more untrue. It can be tempting to keep your best crokery tucked in a cupboard for when guests come to visit, but getting daily use out of your favourite dishes will make everyday feel that little bit brighter.
Our Deputy Editor, Rebecca Knight, says ‘I repurpose crockery that I keep for hosting for other purposes around my home – so I have a pretty ceramic dish I use for storing things in the kitchen until guests come around. I also have an enamel tray doing double duty as a plant display on my coffee table.’
6. Venture outdoors
If you also can’t enter a supermarket without picking up a bouquet of fresh blooms, then it might be time to start growing your own. Whether you’re already a seasoned gardener or want to start sewing the seeds, doing so will create your very own flower store at home.
Growing fresh fruit and veg will also mean you can do more of your supermarket shop at home, saving money and providing you with immense bragging rights. There are also many ways to fill your garden with plants for free, so you can start a herb patch without needing to spend a penny.
7. Upcycle what you already own
Upcycling is the best way to make use of what you already own, and it offers the chance to get creative in the process. Whether it’s upcycling a planter that has seen better days, or a table that isn’t quite your style anymore, you can make a piece of furniture look new with some clever crafting.
Our Deputy Editor, Rebecca Knight, has even taken to upcycling old pieces of flat-pack furniture for different purposes around her home. ‘I have a ladder desk I hacked to remove a shelf from. I’m planning to turn the leftover plank of wood into a narrow dressing table with some hairpin legs, if I don’t find something else to reuse for legs in my flat first,’ she says.
8. Swap cushions around
Soft furnishings can make a house feel like a home, but they can also be the first thing to get bored of. Instead of purchasing new cushions and throws, consider swapping around the furnishings from different rooms for a new look. Plus, you might even discover a new colour combination that you didn’t realise would work.
Every couple of months I switch up the throws on the beds, sofa and armchairs – even the ones on the top of the basket!’ says our Assistant Editor, Thea Babbington-Stitt. ‘It adds a new burst of colour and pattern to my space, while also helping my home adapt to the seasons.’
9. Decorate with books
For avid book lovers, it’s hard to enter a bookshop and leave empty-handed, but if you’re trying to save money and shop your home instead, then why not create your very own library?
There are so many ways to be creative with bookshelf ideas, whether you choose to arrange books in colour order, face the spines inwards, or even face the covers outwards in a gallery-inspired fashion.
‘Decorating with books is my favourite way to redecorate for free. I rearrange them constantly and create little plinths to raise table lamps or add a flash of colour somewhere,’ says Rebecca.
10. Give your art a refresh
Art is one of the fastest things to get bored of in a home, even more so if it’s situated somewhere you look at each day. So, the temptation to buy new is even bigger.
Framing and buying art can be expensive though, so switching prints from room to room can be an easy way to revamp a gallery wall. You can even get savvy with framing wallpaper samples or postcards for a fresh look on a budget.
‘If you’re anything like me, I have an archive of art prints from Etsy and like to switch my wall art pieces every now and then to refresh the space. I also do the same with my notice board to make it look new. You could even print things off online for free or make them yourself on Canva,’ recommends our Junior Writer, Jullia Joson.
How to shop for second-hand furniture
Buying new is so last year. Second-hand shopping has seen a huge increase in popularity, scoring you a fantastic new find for very little money, and providing immense satisfaction from the hunt.
But if you’re not an avid charity shopper and haven’t yet ventured onto resale sites, it can be hard to know where and how to find the gems.
‘Shopping for your home and redecorating can be really expensive, but it doesn’t have to be when we have sites like BuyCharity, Vinted, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and eBay,’ advises Jennifer Graham, an interiors influencer known as the ‘Charity Shop Girl.’
‘Facebook Marketplace also have a section where people often list items for free as they just want to get rid of them out of their home – you can set up notifications so you’re alerted of any items listed for free in your area.’