You spend a lot of time at home, so it’s important to create a space you love. However, redecorating can be overwhelming and expensive. Thankfully, there are some simple, inexpensive ways to love your home without completely redecorating. These budget-friendly ideas can have a quick and powerful impact on your space.
Trust me, even a few changes can make a huge difference in how you feel about your home — and some of them are free!
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Understanding Your Space
Your home should be your sanctuary, and it’s important to understand the space you have to love it.
Take some time to walk around and observe your home. What are the strengths of each room? What are the weaknesses?
The object here is to find positive things about your home that you can enhance or tweak to make them better. You’re not looking to make a list of ALL things you dislike or major renovations that you want to do.
By taking the time to understand your space and make a few changes — like incorporating some of the ideas in this post — you can create a home that you love without spending a lot of money.
If you read my very first blog post, you might remember that I said I don’t exactly love my home. While that’s true — this is not my dream home with a mountain view and no maintenance required 🙂 — thanks to Pinterest I have gotten inspired to try different ways to make it a place I can enjoy. You can visit my Pinterest Home Decor board — it’s where I keep my main inspiration pins.
Let’s talk about a few of those inspirations and ideas…
Simple Ideas To Create A Functional Home You Love
This isn’t about creating the perfect space. It’s more about being content with your home AND doing what you can to make it more comfortable and functional for your lifestyle.
Some of these ideas don’t cost any money at all, yet they can make the biggest difference in how you feel about your space!
1. Declutter: The First Step
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your home, the first step to loving it again is ALWAYS to declutter. Seriously. Just do it. TRUST ME. Clearing the clutter costs you nothing but some time, and it’s amazing how much of a difference the effort of tidying can make.
I used to have a tendency to save everything… for all the usual reasons — it cost money, I might need it again or fit into it again someday, etc.
All of that stuff piling up, even when it was ‘neatly’ stored in bins, started to make me resent my home because it was ‘too small.’ But the problem was the stuff, not my home. When I finally began to develop a decluttering mindset, things began to change.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Start small. Don’t try to tackle your entire home in one day. Pick one room or even just one corner to start with. Doing a slow declutter absolutely works!
- Set a goal of 10 items a day and get rid of them. It doesn’t matter what they are. A receipt, an old pencil from the junk drawer, whatever. In a week, you will have tossed 70 items. In a month, 300 items! Your home will thank you, and you will love how your space looks!
- Sort items into three piles: keep, donate, and toss. Be honest with yourself about what you really need and use. Get the unnecessary things out of the house after EVERY declutter session.
- Use storage solutions to help keep things organized. Use simple things like baskets and bins from around the house, but ONLY for the things you REALLY need to keep.
- Make a habit of decluttering regularly. Set aside a few minutes each day to tidy up, and make it a part of your routine.
If you need more ideas, check out all of my declutter tips — or just go for it and grab my free 30-day decluttering challenge printable.
2. Improve Your Lighting
When it comes to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home, lighting is a key element that can make all the difference. Here are some simple yet effective ways to use lighting to love your home without breaking the bank.
- Natural Light Maximization
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to brighten up your home is to maximize the amount of natural light that comes in. Keep your windows clean and unobstructed, and consider adding sheer curtains or blinds that can be easily opened and closed to control the amount of light that enters your space.
- Choosing the Right Bulbs
When it comes to artificial lighting, choosing the right bulbs can make a big difference in the look and feel of your home. Opt for warm, soft white bulbs with a color temperature of 2700K to 3000K to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. LED bulbs are a great choice because they are energy-efficient and long-lasting.
- Creating Ambience with Lighting
Use dimmer switches to adjust the brightness of your lights, and consider adding lamps or string lights to create a cozy and intimate feel. You can also use accent lighting to highlight artwork or architectural features in your space.
3. Display the Things You Love
What items do you have hidden away that you actually love? Find a way to bring them out and enjoy them every day.
I love books. I love them in paper and digital formats. But there was a time when nobody who visited our home since we moved in many years ago would know that. My books were packed into boxes and bins, hidden in a closet or taking up floor space in my tiny office.
Why? Well, I didn’t have the ‘right’ bookshelf. Our house is pretty small, so it’s not like I could just pop into the nearest big box store and bring home any old shelving unit to solve the problem.
I finally built some shelves to fit the space in our living room that has been screaming for shelves for years. (Screaming silently of course, but I could hear it!) And guess what? Now my books are on the shelves and there is a little bit of quiet in my head. Here is a photo of part of the shelf unit I built.
Guess what else? I discovered I didn’t have quite the attachment to all of those books that I used to have. I ended up donating a couple of boxes’ worth. (Honestly, I’m learning to love digital books more every year because it means less dusting! LOL)
4. Create Comfort Zones
Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and at ease. It’s important to create spaces that make you feel relaxed and happy. Here are some simple ways to create comfort zones in your home:
Move Your Furniture
Sometimes all it takes to refresh a room is to rearrange the furniture. Try something unexpected!
One thing that pops into my head is something like this gorgeous settee in your dining room in place of a couple of chairs. Not sure whether or not it’s for you? Try moving a piece of furniture you already own — like a loveseat — into that spot and see what you think.
Don’t be afraid to try something that might seem a little unconventional. You might end up loving it! If you don’t, move it back. No harm, no foul.
Add Cozy Elements
Adding cozy elements to your home can instantly make it feel more inviting. Try a couple of soft, fluffy throw pillows — not too many or they become clutter! — and blankets for your couch or bed. Hang up some curtains or drapes to give your windows a soft, warm feel. Consider adding a washable rug to your living room or bedroom to create a cozy atmosphere.
Here are some other cozy elements you can add to your home:
By making these small changes, you can create a comfortable and inviting space that you’ll love spending time in.
Build a Fire
There’s just something about a fire that brings coziness to a home. Of course, I’m typing this on a cold snowy day in the middle of winter. I might have to make a different list for summer.
One thing I do love about our home is our woodstove, which is our main source of heat. It’s in the living room and can be used like a fireplace. A favorite part of my day is sipping coffee in front of the woodstove every morning while the front doors are open and the fire is really getting going.
An actual fire is not for everyone. Not all homes are set up for wood or gas heat sources. But there are some options.
Some of the new electric fireplaces have sound and heat to go along with their simulated flames.
Another option is to use video. Yes, your television or computer screen can be your cozy fire source! You can purchase DVD’s of crackling fires, visit Amazon video (there are free videos available if you have Prime — Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial) or check out YouTube videos like this one.
It might sound weird to have a fire going on your television, but I tried it out and it was actually kind of neat.
5. Create a Welcoming Entry
We FINALLY did this, and the change it’s had on my attitude about our home is AMAZING.
While it’s true that our project wasn’t the simplest or nearly-free, you probably won’t have to start from scratch like we did. The point is that improving a space you use every.single.day is extremely important to how you feel about your home!
You can read about it here: Our DIY Farmhouse Style Entryway – My Favorite Home Improvement Project!
Now I love our entryway!
You might not have to begin from the wall studs like we did. Adding a place to sit, a nice boot tray, some hooks for backpacks or coats, a mirror, and table or shelf — you can do all of this with just a little time and not much money.
You will feel much better about coming home to a prettier space!
More Resources For Loving Your Home
What Do You Love About Your Home?
What is your FAVORITE thing about your home? What have you done to like the things you can’t change? Leave a comment… I would love to hear about it!
If you love everything about your home, how did you get it that way?
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First published January 5, 2016. Updated December 10, 2023.