• DASHA HERVEY

Seven Ways to Decorate Without Buying a Thing (well, maybe just a few things)

Heading into the third month of the coronavirus pandemic, most likely you’ve adjusted to your home being more than just a “shelter.” Chances are your rooms have, out of necessity, become offices, classrooms, a diner, maybe even the occasional date night hub. You’ve probably also cleaned out spaces to make way for this new existence and maybe even felt a spark of joy. Now that you’ve set aside that ginormous donation bag in the garage, maybe you’re tapping your cheek thinking, something else still needs a change. But your wise mind has raised its little voice saying, “Now’s not the time to spend money.”


Yay for you because there are easy, inexpensive ways to make to your home feel fresh, curated and pulled together.

1. Declutter. Now that you’ve disposed of unwanted items, approach each room and ask if you love every item in that space? If not, remove it (you can do this!) Less really is more. Did you know that your eyes want to rest on a clear space? In Design 101, we learn a clear space brings calm and can even help reduce anxiety. Hotel designers have mastered the art of editing.


2. Re-imagine the space. Rearrange furniture to create a different focal point or sitting view. It might be as simple as relocating a rug from one room into another. A small chair containing books and a table lamp can make for a fun, new look. A simple change can create a fresh living experience which is something we all need right now.

3. Accessories. Objects look best when displayed or grouped together, preferably in odd numbers for balance and rhythm.


Have art? Create a collage on a single wall for visual impact. Need art? Etsy has great printable art. Perfect to print and place in repurposed frames for a child’s bedroom, office or whimsical entryway.

4. Paint is your friend. If you have an extra gallon sitting on a shelf, now is the perfect time to touch up any wall nicks or imperfections. Feeling bold? Add color to inject visual interest to the space. Use paint to re-purpose nearly anything. Vintage (or tired) objects especially can be given new life with paint.

My go-to is Chalk Paint. Easy to use, little prep, dries quickly and impressive results. I recently painted my bedroom furniture in charcoal grey, removed the heavy bedspread, and opted instead for crisp white linens and a fluffy European duvet, perfect for next season. The result? My master has turned into a little oasis of bliss.

5. Greenery. Find this in your yard, neighborhood or local nursery. Fresh is best, but if you’re not a green thumb, fake it with faux greenery.

Amazon has countless options. Add simple beauty and interest with an oversize fern leaf in an interesting vase. Bringing nature into your home is an easy way to soothe and comfort the soul. My favorite faux-go-to is the fig plant. It looks real, has enormous leaves and, when tucked into a textured basket, adds a pop of color and flair to any room.

6. Pay attention to lighting. The look of a room can easily be changed from where the light sits in a room. Swap out your luminaries from one room to another. Consider your pathways, task areas and mood settings that you might want to create.

7. Embrace Summer. For many, summer means BBQ’s, lounging outside, reading or even social distancing with a friend six feet away. Take all this goodness from the inside and bring these same concepts outdoors to create a place to relax by adding graphic pillows and light blankets. Flickering candles add ambiance, as do solar lights or my all new favorite item, a portable/odorless fireplace which runs on bio fuel.

Jazz tunes and self-serve cocktails add to the vibe


Now you know the little design secrets that can be used in your home. Borrow some or all of them to create your happy place. Kick back, relax, breathe in the night air and enjoy the precious gift of life – friendship.


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