12 meaningful ways to update your home, for free

Give your home a facelift, without troubling your wallet.

Making your home look and feel beautiful can often be a costly exercise, and if you’re on a tight budget, things like renovating, collecting homewares, updating appliances and even investing in a luxe set of new bedding, can be off the table. So is it possible to create a home you love without spending a cent? 

Yes, yes it is! There are many ways to give your home a meaningful update for free. Embracing the items you already own, parting with the items you no longer need, turning trash into treasure and polishing up forgotten treasures can help you fall in love with your home all over again. 

Here are 12 thrifty ideas to get you started.

Melbourne sustainable bushland home hallway
(Credit: Photographer: Marnie Hawson)


Tidy the hallway

Of all the rooms in your home, having a clear entrance hallway, without a surfeit of schoolbags and discarded trainers, will have you looking at your home with fresh eyes. 

curved dining table with upholstered dining chairs
(Credit: Photographer: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jamee Deaves)


Clear the clutter

To declutter your entire home, work room by room, scooping up out-of-place items and returning them to their home. This can also be a good time to consider whether there’s anything you want to part with – either on Gumtree or to the charity shop.

(Credit: Photographer: Natalie Hunfalvay | Styling: Lisa Burden)


Hide and organise wires

Even the most beautiful living room will look ugly if there’s a tangle of wires to contend with. Get the cords under control by investing in hidden cable management solutions.

White laundry next to modern white kitchen
(Credit: Photographer: The Palm Co | Styling: Sarah Yarrow)


Clean the ceiling

It can make a space look amazingly bright and even eliminate the need for repainting. Sugar soap, available from the supermarket, is the choice of professional painters and works especially well on greasy surfaces.

Contemporary ensuite with timber vanity
(Credit: Phototographer: Brigid Arnott)


Introduce a fresh scent

To make your home smell fresh and clean, experiment with essential oils – a drop of lemon, tea tree or peppermint oil in the mop water will have your home smelling newly minted. Fragrant soaps in the bathroom, a scented candle in the hallway – positioned away from draughts – can also add ambience. 

(Photography: Simon Whitbread)


Wash the windows

It will make your home sparkle and can even help lift the light level indoors. Try our home-made window cleaning solution for crystal clear results: one-quarter cup white vinegar, half-a-teaspoon detergent and 2 cups warm water.

Contemporary coastal living with vaulted ceilings and exposed beams
(Photographer: Brigid Arnott)


Rearrange the furniture

Repositioning large items like your chairs, sofas, bed and dining table will give your rooms a whole new look. Take the opportunity to dust as you go. 

(Photographer: Mindi Cooke | Styling: Tahn Scoon)


Switch up your artwork

It’s an easy task if you have pieces of a similar size. Wash any dust lines off painted walls with a sugar-soap solution, wipe clean glass-fronted pictures and enjoy a fresh perspective!

(Photographer: Alana Landsbury | Styling: Corina Koch)


Search for free local finds

Sites like Facebook Marketplace have made it easier than ever to find free furniture and decor in your local area – no aimless kerbside scouting required. Simply search the word ‘Free’ and select the kilometre radius you’re willing to travel and happy hunting!

(Photographer: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)


Clear up outdoors

Sweep away cobwebs, dust and leaves, tidy the front garden with some judicious weeding and mowing, and wash the front door, steps and any pathways.

pink hydrangeas on a path
(Photographer: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)


Raid the garden

To achieve easy elegance with a bunch of blooms, stick to one colour per flower arrangement. If there’s a dearth of flowers, fresh foliage displayed in a pretty vase can also bring the outdoors in. 

(Photographer: Abbie Melle)


Propagate plants

Plants are a gift that just keep giving – if you know how to propagate them. Many hardy, easy-to-grow plants are easy to grow from cuttings. Not sure where to start? Try propagating rosemary.

Other perennial plants, like agapanthus, geraniums, chrysanthemums and ornamental grasses can easily be dug up in autumn and divided before replanting to create a fuller garden. 

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