How to Decorate Your Room for Free

Three Parts:Planning and ReorganizingDecorating with Re-purposed or Recycled ItemsMaking Your Own Bedroom Accessories

For most people, the bedroom is more than simply a place to sleep at night. Redecorating your bedroom can help create an environment that is relaxing, reflects your personality, and even provide a better night's rest.[1] Adding recycled pieces or simple DIY flourishes can help transform your room to fit your needs. You can also incorporate elements of Feng Sui to convert your room into a sanctuary.[2]

Part 1
Planning and Reorganizing

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    Make a 2-dimensional floor plan of your room and furniture. Use a tape measure to measure the dimensions of your room (length and width). On a piece of graphing paper, draw a scale image of room where 3 grid squares = 4 inches or 1/3rd of a foot.[3]
    • Include in your floor plan the location and size of doors, windows, closets, fireplaces, etc.
    • Make scale drawings of furniture on a separate piece of paper. Measure the length and width of any large pieces of furniture (e.g. bed, dresser, couch).
    • Cut these out and rearrange them in your drawing to see how much space you have to work with.
    • Carry this plan and furniture cut-outs with you if go shopping or "dumpster diving", so you know if you have enough space for something before bringing it home.
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    Make a list of design ideas. In a search engine such as Google or Bing, type in "easy bedroom decorating ideas" or "cheap bedroom diy".
    • Before starting a project you find online, write-out the instructions and compile a list of materials, including tools.
    • Gather together any tools or materials you need before beginning your project.
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    Clean your room. Create more space and reorganize by getting rid of anything that is unnecessary or outdated.
    • Clean out and organize your closet, under your bed, and other places in your room where stuff has accumulated.
    • Donate any furniture, clothing, or electronics that are in good condition. A good rule of thumb is to donate or throw out anything you haven't worn or used in the past year.
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    Rearrange or add furniture. Create more space in your bedroom by moving your bed against the wall or place a comfortable chair next to the window to make a comfy reading nook.
    • You want everything currently in your bedroom to fit comfortably before adding anything new, especially if you have a small bedroom.[4]
    • Add a bed skirt so you can store things under your bed without them being seen.
    • Switch-out a bedside table with one that has drawers for storage or several shelves to hold books.
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    Maximize the storage potential of your bedroom. Create additional space by installing extra shelving in your closet or purchasing a combination of plastic and decorative storage bins.
    • Attach hooks or shoe bags to the back of doors.
    • Use the vertical space in your closet to install high shelves as a space to store out-of-season clothes and accessories.[5]
    • Decide what you want to place in each storage bin and label it. Use these labels to avoid throwing anything in a bin that does not belong. This will help you stay organized.
    • Arrange storage bins on a shelf or the bottom shelf of a bookcase for easy access. If the bin is in a visible location, use a decorative canvas bin or wicker basket.
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    Rearrange your bedroom according to the principles of Feng Sui. Your bed should be raised off the floor and if possible, avoid placing it in an area that receives direct sunlight during the day.[6]
    • Do not place mirrors opposite your bed.
    • Stimulate your other senses by adding lightly scented candles or spraying diluted essential oils. Lavender has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure.[7]
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    Create a more relaxing space. Replace any light bulbs that emit a bluish light with soft white LED bulbs. Blue light stimulates brain activity and may make it more difficult to fall asleep.[8]
    • Look through your house for lamps that have LED soft white bulbs and swap them with bulbs from your bedroom. Most interior lamps use 40- or 60-watt bulbs, but check first before exchanging a light bulb from another lamp.
    • Incorporate warm, bright colors as accessories (lamps, vases, pillows, etc.), but do not make them the dominate color in your bedroom.

Part 2
Decorating with Re-purposed or Recycled Items

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    Find free things. Find a freecycle network within your area or ask friends and relatives for old unwanted items.
    • Look for furniture made from real wood that can be refinished.[9]
    • Unless it is in good condition, avoid second-hand plywood, particle board, or laminate furniture. While these surfaces can be cleaned and repainted[10], refinishing techniques such as sanding or sawing can release airborne pollutants such as formaldehyde.[11]
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    Go to garage sales. Check your local newspaper or Craigslist for garage sales in or near your neighborhood.
    • You are more likely to find things for free if you go later in the day, preferably after 12:00 p.m.[12]
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    Ask for old swatch books at the wallpaper store. Use recycled wallpaper to decoupage old lamps, vases, or furniture for free.[13]
    • You can also use wallpaper to line shelves or the bottoms of drawers.
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    Move furniture and art from other places in the house for a fun change. For example, move a bookshelf from the living room to your bedroom.
    • Look for design inspiration in your own house. Use a painting, decorative pillow, piece of clothing, or floor rug as the basis for a new design theme or color palette in your room.
    • Ask permission from housemates before moving anything.

Part 3
Making Your Own Bedroom Accessories

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    Make your own throw pillows. Throw pillows make a great accent piece and can add color. However, store bought pillows are often expensive. While having sewing skills or access to a sewing machine are helpful, they are not necessary.
    • Make a 'no sew pillow' by using two pieces of felt that are the same.[14] Place the felt pieces together and use scissors to cut 2 inch wide by 5 inch long strips along the edges. Leave a square at each corner. Tie the strips together around an insert pillow or cotton batting.
    • Use two t-shirts that hold sentimental value, but don't fit anymore to make a pillow. Cut-out a square or rectangular piece (depending on what shape and size you want your pillow) from each shirt. Place the two pieces together and sew together three of the four sides. Stuff with cotton batting or even other t-shirts before sewing the final edge.
    • You can also stuff a pillow with fabric scraps or use an old pillow as an insert pillow.
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    Make your own curtains. Drape fabric over the top and down the side of a curtain rod and then slide a valance or swag over the rod.
    • If you live in an area with a lot of light-pollution from streetlights, signs, car headlights, etc., you might want to use darker fabric to block outside light.[15][16] Too much light exposure at dusk or at night can disrupt your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, known as its circadian rhythm.[17]
    • Make your own curtain rings. Attach your curtains to the rod by tying hooks with fabric, rope, or ribbon. You can also dress-up cheap curtain wrings by wrapping them in different colored fabric.
    • Use a bed sheet to make a curtain ruffle that can be sewed onto the top or bottom of your curtains.[18]
    • Use inexpensive small hooks, pegs or doorknobs to "hang" or tie curtains off to the side.
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    Make your own flower arrangement. Search garage sales, flea markets, and second-hand shops for silk flowers, or cut and dry real flowers.
    • Make an arrangement of dried grasses and wildflowers found along the roadside.Cut the flower and at least 8 inches of stem when they are in peak-bloom. Remove any leaves along the stem. Tie the flowers together with a piece of twine and hang them upside down in a dark, cool, dry place until completely dry, about 2-3 weeks.[19]
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    Make a jewelry tree for your dresser. Arrange several dry branches in a vase. Fill the vase with pebbles for stability. Decorate the tree by draping earrings, necklaces and bracelets over the branches.
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    Hang some of your drawings, paintings or old calendar pictures on the walls. They don't necessarily need a frame. Attach them to the wall with a couple of common pins or mount them with poster board or foam board.
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    Experiment with DIY design ideas. Make a decorative mat or bureau scarf.
    • Stylize a plain lampshade by wrapping it in metallic ribbon, wrap it in gauzy fabric, or cover it in old maps or pages from your favorite book.[20]
    • Make a mobile of odds and ends to hang from the ceiling. Attach old keys or origami birds with string to a metal coat hanger. This adds a fun, whimsical atmosphere to the room.


  • Turn on your favorite music and renew your spirit along with your room. Music can change a room's atmosphere completely without any need for redecoration.
  • Planning is the most important first step for any redecorating or DIY project.
  • Select a theme or color scheme and stick to it. This will help you stick to your budget by preventing you from buying anything that does not 'go'.
  • Spray paint any mismatched furniture to match your room's décor.
  • Turn a wall into a chalkboard by painting it with chalkboard paint, or designate one wall as an art wall and paint what ever you want.
  • Minimize damage to walls when hanging pictures or posters by using blue sticky tack or reusable adhesive hooks. You can also buy an inexpensive picture or mirror hanging kit from a hardware store.
  • Turn a twin bed into a daybed by pushing it against the wall and placing pillows along the back edge.
  • Keep your room feeling fresh by washing bed sheets and pillow cases at least once a week.
  • Make a wall collage using photos, posters and anything cute.


  • Be careful moving furniture. Ask for help if you think you may need it. Strained backs or broken toes are never fun.
  • Always let someone else use a nail and hammer if you're inexperienced. Throbbing thumbs or cracked walls certainly don't add much to a room.
  • Refrain from using power tools unless you have received proper training or obtain guidance from someone who is experience. Always wear a face mask when stripping old paint or sanding furniture.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Budget Decorating