Some days I stand in the middle of this hallway with the sun on my face and the wind at my back and I am amazing.

Truly.

I am so amazing I would make your head spin.

And then?

There are all those days when I’m simply—so close.

That’s kind of how it’s been going with my 30 Days of FREE.

So I thought I would round up all the 16 days we’ve had so far and put them into one post.

Are you ready?

Are you set?

Want to decorate your house for FREE?

Oh good.

Me, too. 🙂

DAY 1:  FREE SPRING MANTEL

Here’s a fun idea to create a free spring mantel.

I took empty mason jars and staggered them on the mantel.

The more the merrier.

I think I have about 10 jars.  And then?  I went out to the yard and cut a few branches off a tree.  I filled the mason jars with water and staggered the cut branches in them at different heights.  Make sure to fluff all that free.

DAY 2:  TWIG VASE

Let’s start by shopping the yard.

Take a moment to step outside and look around for twigs.  Bring a basket and search the ground.  Look high and low for twigs. You are looking for twigs that are at least 8 inches long and have a little personality.  Find about 20-25 twigs and bring them inside.  If it’s wet where you are you may want to let the twigs dry out.

And then?

Here’s a fun project to create from all those twigs.  Clip the twigs to extend about 4 inches above the edge of the vase.  Start with one twig and glue in place.  Continue gluing until the vase is covered.  Fill with fresh flowers and decorate.

DAY 3:  MIX AND MATCH YOUR PILLOWS

Walk over to your couch or love seat or upholstered chair and take off all the pillows.  Take off all the pillows that you own and put them in a giant pile on the floor.  Kind of like a giant pillow family reunion.  And then?  I want you to look at them with a new eye.  Are there patterns?  Did the pillow from the living room go with the pillow from the chair in your guest room?  Did the pillow from that chair in the hallway want to be friends with the pillow from the dining room chair?

Decorating with pillows is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Pattern.  Texture.  Solids.  Statement piece.

1.  Pattern:  small or large, some sort of pattern to add visual interest

2.  Texture:  a little texture to mix it up

3.  Solids:  a solid gives the eye a place to rest

4.  Statement:  A bold pillow that creates a conversation.

DAY 4:  REDECORATE THE COFFEE TABLE

Start by clearing everything you have off the coffee table.  Keep what you love and donate the rest.
(total aside:  Are you noticing a trend here.  Yes.  You got it.  You figured it out.  Most of these challenges are about shopping our house.)
(total additional aside:  You are brilliant.)

And then?
Shop your house for items in these three categories:
1.  Something green—either faux (there’s no shame in that game) or you can shop your yard, too.
2.  Something metal
3.  Something tall (or some way to add height)
4.  Something with texture

DAY 5:  DECORATE WITH TOWELS

Shop your linen closet.

Find two or three or four of the cutest towels you have. They don’t even have to match (just between us not-matching is sometimes even better).
And then?
Fold them in half.
Then fold them in thirds one over the other.
That’s how my mother-in-law folds her towels and I learned from the best.  Find a stool or basket or other small piece of furniture and place it against the wall of your bathroom.
Then place the stack of towels on top.

DAY 6:  SHOP THE REFRIGERATOR

Next time you take out a decorating magazine and flip through the pages and then close your eyes and sigh and wonder why your house doesn’t look like it vacations in the south of France.

Press pause.

Forget about France.  Look at the counters in the kitchen or the coffee table in the living room or the sideboard in the dining room.  Chances are that you will spot some type of fruit or vegetable.

Why?

Why do they do that?

Is it because every photographed house has hungry people ready to grab an apple at a moment’s notice?

No.

They add fruit or vegetables because it brings an element of freshness to the space—a freshness you can bring to your house for FREE.
All you have to do is shop the refrigerator.  You probably have oranges or apples or cumquats or artichokes or peaches or carrots or tangerines just waiting to decorate.  Take a bowl and put them in it.  Place it on your sideboard or counter or hutch or side table.

Just in case a magazine wants to stop by and photograph.

DAY 7:  DECORATE WITH BRANCHES

It’s spring.

Birds are singing.

Trees are full of leaves.

There are branches outside.  Here’s a simple idea I created using a few branches and jute twine.

Take a grate (like these) or an empty picture frame or even a piece of wood.

Cut some branches from the yard.  Wrap the ends of them with jute twine and then tie them onto the grate or frame.  If you are using a piece of wood, use a nail or hook to anchor them.

Then let the branches dry in place.

DAY 8:  MAKE YOUR LINEN CLOSET SMELL LIKE SPRING

I know this isn’t exactly decorating, but it’s something I started doing lately and I wanted to share.

Sometimes I open up my linen closet and it smells a little stale.

Like the towels need to take a shower.

Here’s an easy solution.

Shop your laundry supplies.  Find the dryer sheets and tuck a few away in your linen closet.  I put mine between a few sheets and tucked a few on the bottom of the shelves.  It’s amazing how much difference a few dryer sheets can make.

And those towels?

They smell so much better.

DAY 9:  DECORATING WITH DISHES

Open up your kitchen cabinets.  Don’t be shy.
All of them.
Don’t forget the ones on the top that have stuff in them that you totally forgot about.
And then?
Take out those stacks of dishes that have been waiting around since 1976 for another centennial to come around.
Take them out.
Rinse them off until they are super shiny.
Let them dry.
And then?
Hang them on a wall, display them in a kitchen hutch, stack them up under a cloche, place them in the back of a bookcase or even set the dining room table for company.

DAY 10:  CREATE A VALANCE FROM A DISHCLOTH

Today is all about shopping our kitchen drawers.

See that valence over the sink?

Guess what I made it from?

IKEA dishtowels.

I know, right?  Isn’t it so cute?  And it adds a little pattern to the kitchen.

I simply took pushpins and used them to hang up the dishtowels in the window.

Shop your own drawers or fabric stash for some material and decorate your windows for FREE.

DAY 11:  PAINT SOMETHING WITH PAINT YOU ALREADY HAVE

See that hutch?

It’s one of my favorite yard sale finds EVER in the history of ever.

I didn’t have enough paint to paint the entire piece, so I painted it with four different types of grays that I had leftover in my garage.

Look around the house.

Do you have something that needs a new look?

Why not paint it with leftover paint you have?

It’s a whole new look for a space for FREE.

DAY 12:  DECORATE WITH BOOKS

Have a table that needs a little accessory?

Take a few books and turn them this way and that.  Place something on top—a magnifying glass, a tiny picture frame, a bowl of fruit or any other small accessory.

Instant side table display.

Decorate a flat basket with them.  Add small boxes and other accessories to fill out the basket.

Use them in a creative coffee table display.  Books are a great way to add height to your display.  Just add or take away from the stack until they are the right height.

DAY 13:  DECORATE WITH BOOK PAGES

Start with a book that has a few pages to spare.
And then?
Start creating.  Here, I’ve taken a page from a book and simply tacked it onto an old cabinet door.  You could do the same thing in your home with a piece of wood or frame.  If the frame doesn’t have a back—why not punch a hole in the top of the book page with a hole punch and tie it onto the frame.

Or make a wreath for your wall from book pages. Cut out leaves from book pages and glue them onto a cardboard circle and hang up.  Crinkle the leaves slightly to create a dimensional effect.

DAY 14:  HANG A WREATH FROM A RIBBONS

Most of us have a wreath in our stash.

You know.

The one hiding in the attic or closet or cabinet in our house.

Why not take out that wreath and dust it off?

Wipe it down and make it fresh.  And then hang it from a ribbon.

If you have an old belt buckle or oversized round ring or even a cast-off piece from an old jewelry set in your junk drawer, wrap the ribbon through that and then through the wreath and glue in place so your wreath hangs perfectly.

DAY 15:  REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE

I had the hardest time with this room.

I couldn’t get it right.  I moved the desk to one side and then the other.  I just couldn’t get perspective.

And then?

When we added this rug to the space, we pulled out all the furniture (except the desk because it’s too heavy).  Seeing the room empty helped give me new ideas on where things should go and now?

I love the new arrangement.

One of my best tips for decorating your house for FREE is to empty a room.

Let it breath.

And then shop the rest of your house.  You probably have the perfect table for a space just waiting in another room.

DAY 16:  MAKE YOUR OWN PAPER FEATHERS

Today we are shopping the scrapbook paper closet.

Find a piece of scrapbook paper in a pretty pattern that you love and let’s make feathers out of it.

Cut a feather shape out of the paper (you can find tons of templates online).

Next, cut the edges on a diagonal.

Crimp the edges to create the feather look and your feather is ready to decorate.

Make a wreath from the feathers.

Or a feather garland.

Or frame one or two feathers as art.

Or decorate your side table with a stack of books with a feather on top.

Whew.

That was a lot.

And we still have 14 days to go of fun.

I hope today’s post inspired you.

I hope you find a new way to look at something or rearrange something or repurpose something that you already have.

And create the home that you love.

Without ever spending a dime. 🙂

Comments

  1. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Wow. Everything is so white. I like a little color. To much white makes a home very institutional looking to me. Love the blue front door.

  2. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    I signed up for this but only received the first couple of day. You may want to check this before you send more or use this vehicle again. PLEASE don't for get to respond to our last question on the tutorial to make drop cloth drapes. Lots of questions remain! HELP!! Don't leave us now. LOL

    1. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

      Farmhouse on Boone has a wonderful tutorial on all things drop cloth. It's her go-to fabric. I hope that helps.

  3. Image for Loryl Fisher Loryl Fisher

    I signed up for this but I too only received the first few days. Nice to have the round up of what I missed in my inbox. Thanks

  4. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Hi! I’ve also only received two emails of this series. Something is amiss, but I KNOW it’s not YOU, girl! At any rate, I’m glad to see these ... I always love things you create, KariAnne, so I’m blessed with any (or many)! Thanks!

  5. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    I'd missed a few of these so this was a great idea. Love free. It is so creative. My idea of fun. Keep 'em coming!

  6. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Thanks for the wrap up! Love all the free ideas. You (and your beautiful home) are some of the brightest moments in my day! looking forward to the next 2 weeks!

  7. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Fabulous job!! So many great tips, friend, and great reminders! I really need to empty rooms and rearrange and shop the house again. I need to reuse that tip.

  8. Image for Kris Kris

    Decorating from nature is a great idea--too bad we are covered in snow today! ;) But seriously, I love your no-spend ideas. Today I did a little bit of purging as I feel like my home is looking cluttery--don't know if that counts as "decorating" but sometimes I like a cleaner look. Love your home, as always.

  9. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    KariAnne, YOU ARE ONE AMAZING GAL! Thanks for all your ideas! Always love to get your e-mails! Have a wonderful week! Blessings!

  10. Image for Marisa Franca Marisa Franca

    Oh! DEAR! Can I come over to your house? I'm packing everything and I hope to stage the house to sell. The house looks sad now -- it will look pretty sad after I pack everything away. *sigh* I'm hoping it sells fast. I can't wait to use your book on our new house. Hugs!!

  11. Image for Margaret Margaret

    We just did No. 15 tonight but it was also inspired by your book which I bought last month. I measured the rooms, cutout furniture pieces to scale and then we got to work!! Thank you SO much for what you do!

  12. Image for Shelia DeYoung Shelia DeYoung

    Hon, I'm 54 years old and have been into interior designing since I've been 14, even younger actually. Although you have have the heart,,, your rooms lack any personality as far color, personal design, and any kind of story. Stop following what may be trendy, ( colorless) and seek your interior from your own heart....Stop following what is in style....Everyone is doing the same look over and over.....Don;t be a cow and follow the herd.....follow your heart, and IT WILL BE AWESOME AND UNIQUE. . Be true to your own style. Be original.....Be you...

    1. Image for Ann C Ann C

      I SO totally disagree with your comments. Karianne’s home is an expression of her and her family everywhere you look. I love her style! And it is HER style. May not be your style but it IS hers.

  13. Image for Holly Holly

    So many amazing and inspirational ideas, I love the idea of painting things you already had and bringing the outside in by decorating with found things from your garden such as branches - such natural beauty. Thanks so much for sharing! Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  14. Image for PJ PJ

    Such a fun post, KariAnne! I especially love your use of natural elements in your decor. One suggestion: I store an all natural scented soy candle in my linen closet or tuck in a bar of naturally scented soap. I find these to be better alternatives than dryer sheets. Thanks for being amazing and encouraging us to be the same without spending a lot of money or making a lot of fuss.

  15. Image for Eileen Eileen

    A few harsh comments....a little inappropriate when you are working your heart out with theses wonderful posts. You have become one of my favorite blogs and I love all the white. This particular post is so inspirational for me as I was just asked to give a presentation on fall decorating for my garden club and I also love to “shop the house”. Thanks so much.

  16. Image for Pat Pat

    Oh it was so nice to see a laundry list of your fabulous decorating tips, I am always inspired. Good work, Karianne Pat

  17. Image for Terri Terri

    Love, love, love!!!! Your home is so inspiring, unique, calming, filled with personality, love and creativity and beauty! Can't say enough good about your blog...my favorite every day. It is obvious that you follow your heart when you not only "wake your home" each morning, but when you fill it with pieces that have meaning to you and yours. Your old home, new again to you is perfect just the way you make it. Love to you!

  18. Image for Jeanne Ann Clark Blaser Jeanne Ann Clark Blaser

    KariAnne, I bought your book afew days ago and am so grateful to you for writing this book. I am starting to use white paint through out our old home. We are blessed with beautiful Laurel Oaks that are growing around our home.They provide shade and home for the wildlife, however, they do block out the sun, so white paint is my go too, because of you. I painted my mother's vintage hutch white, using chalk paint and the results is amazing. I am so grateful I met you through your blog.

  19. Image for Paula Paula

    Thank you, Karianne, for the freebies.! Some very cool ideas!! Thought it was something at my end why I had received only the first two ideas, so glad I'm all caught up now. You're the Best‼️

  20. Image for Julia G Julia G

    I love your posts! Thank you for the free decor ideas. I made a table runner out of a valance and loved it better on the table than on the window! You are a great inspiration! (I love your decorating style!!).

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