I have been working at home since March 2020. My “office” is a roll-top desk in my TV room. Initially, it was the perfect setup because I could watch TV or a movie while I worked. It was great for awhile and then one day I was tired of looking at the same four walls. It was just so blah. I was bored and needed a change, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
First and foremost, I think it’s important to declutter. That means — in the words of Marie Kondo — deleting items that no longer spark joy. If you haven’t read her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” I recommend it. I don’t buy into all her suggestions, but I really like the idea of owning things that spark joy. Seriously, life is challenging enough without surrounding ourselves with things that are only so-so.
Once you’ve got your space sorted, one of the best DIY suggestions for home decorating is to rearrange your room, rooms, or the whole house. It’s a good idea because putting old things in new places changes things up. It’s worth giving it a try. I rearranged my TV room by moving a chair, organizing my bookcase and rotating the pictures on the walls. It worked and I didn’t have to spend a dime.
Another tip that is often mentioned is to shop your home. Walk through your rooms and see if there are items such as furniture, a rug, pillows, throws, books, or art objects that can be moved or rearranged. It’s fun to try new arrangements. You never know what works and what doesn’t.
Before I worked at the Leader, I was in the art business, so I have a fine collection of framed prints and original paintings. Artwork is never a problem for me. It’s fun to move it around and see what works where. My mom and sister, Lynn, have a lot of framed art, too, so it’s not uncommon for us to switch a picture every now and then. It’s a great way to get something new without paying.
If you’re looking for framed artwork, baskets, vases or a mirror, for instance, check out local thrift stores or Facebook Marketplace. I have picked up several very affordable framed pieces on Facebook Marketplace. I’ve been able to shop my hometown. My mom and Lynn have come across some amazing finds at local thrift stores. The best part is the price. Depending on the size, a framed piece of art can be found for less than $10. Interested in only the picture or the frame? That’s OK, too. When you’re tired of it, sell it at a garage sale or donate it back to your favorite thrift store.
Local thrift stores and garage sales are also great sources for good deals. The key is to know what you want. If you buy a jumbled bunch of stuff, that’s exactly what you’ll end up with. It’s best to go with a plan. What colors are you looking for? What do you need? How big or small? Measure anything that requires a certain size. Log this information in your phone or in a notebook.
After working in my rearranged office for several months, I decided what it really needed was a pop of color. My walls are painted “Happy Trails,” which is a mid-tone, shaded, cappuccino beige. I love it. It’s a wonderful neutral. In a move that surprised me, I opted for orange for my pop of color. I’ve never been a fan of the yellow-red combination. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve never owned anything orange.
While I was looking for my accent color, orange kept popping up, so I went with it.
The first thing I bought was an orange office chair. Then I added a rug with the colors orange, green, red and blue. The combination added a wonderful punch to the space. After that, I needed to add texture. My initial thought was a wall hanging or tapestry, but I couldn’t find anything I liked.
And then, as if by magic, a window popped up with colorful paper fans. I was going to click through when I thought … fans … hmmm … . The price was right — less than $10. I liked the arrangement on the package, so I thought, “Why not?” and I ordered them.
The package arrived a couple of days later. I opened it and smiled. I loved the variety of orange colors. The fans came in three sizes — two large, two medium and two small. I found a hammer and a box of small nails and went to work. I literally followed the picture on the package. In less than 10 minutes, I had a bright wall that added texture to my room.
I did this about a year ago and I’m still happy with it. There’s something about the color orange that brings a smile. It’s a happy, energetic color that is bright and uplifting.
If you’re looking to add life to your room, consider a green plant — real or faux. Plants add color, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, purify the air and are relaxing to look at. A good place to start is to talk to a master gardener through the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Master gardeners are trained and can offer advice on the best plants for your room. See the sidebar for U of M Extension information.
As far as buying plants, buy local, so if you have questions or need assistance, help is just a short drive or a phone call away. Watch for local plant sales for good buys. They’re typically in the spring and fall.
If you’re looking for ways to change up your decor, there are a couple of easy ways to do it. Invite your friends and/or family to bring the items they’re wanting to trade to your house for a swap party or you can arrange a car pool where you visit each home to view what’s available to swap. It’s a fun way to get together with friends and find some new treasures.
New paint is another way to jazz up a room. If you’re looking for bargains, check local paint stores for their mistints. These paint “oops” are sold at deeply discounted prices. Ask the clerk for more information.
Another source for paint is the Reuse Center at the McLeod County Household Hazardous Waste Facility, 1065 Fifth Ave. S.E. Hutchinson. It features usable products that were brought to the facility. Rather than recycle these items as waste, they are made available to be reused. Note: There is a limit of three items per visit/day, and all participants are required to sign out the items they choose to reuse.
New paint not only brightens up a room, it can also be used to give dated furniture a color lift. It’s a great way to add life to a tired piece of furniture.
Sometimes a room needs a complete overhaul and other times, just something as simple as a vase of flowers or a green plant can make all the difference. The key is to surround yourself with things that spark joy.