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How to Decorate with What You Already Have

How to Decorate with What You Already Have

A cream-colored vintage desk with a lamp, bouquet of flowers and teal vintage lockers next to it demonstrates how to decorate with what you already have.
Written by Hannah Strandberg

Bored with your home decor but have no room in the budget or calendar for a major home glow-up? Don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to transform your home without a trip to the store. Not only will your farmhouse look better than ever, you’ll know how to decorate on (literally) a shoe-string budget. So here’s how to decorate with what you already have.

Create Focal Points

Not every space needs to be covered. It’s better to have a few brilliant points of interest than to have the eye aimlessly wander across a room with nothing to catch. In other words, if you spread your decor too thin, you’ll lose the ‘wow’ factor. Instead, condense decor pieces into focal points that’ll put every included decoration in its best light.

This fireplace mantel gives the eye a lovely place to rest. It’s not overly grandiose or complicated, but ever-charming and beautifully simple. Here’s the rest of the house!
Photo by Bret Gum and styling by Victoria Van Vlear.

But where do you create a focal point? Build your focal points in high traffic areas like entryways, living rooms walls and fireplace mantels. It’s these places where people frequently pass through or gather around that will be the foundational pillars of your farmhouse decor.

Mix ‘n Match

It seems too good to be true, but there is a way to transform an object into something new without lifting a DIY finger or attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When you mix and match colors and textures, it emphasizes different, and seemingly hidden, features of each object.

Not only does this kitchen boast a mixture of modern and vintage vibes, but it soaks up all the color it can with a mixture of cool greens and warm yellows. See more of the house here!
Photo by Francis Dzikowski.

For example, placing purple tulips next to yellow daisies will make both colors stand out because they are opposite each other on the color wheel. You’ll be amazed at how objects that seemed dull before will become the center of attention when placed next to the right partner.

The same goes with texture. If you’ve been grouping glossy with glossy and rough with rough, try breaking it up a little. A burlap cloth beneath a shiny ceramic vase will highlight both textures and create a chic farmhouse look that says, “I know what I’m doing.”

Wall Galleries

Wall galleries are an example of that focal point. If you’ve been spreading out your family photos throughout the house, try condensing them into one to two concentrated spots (depending on how many you have and the size of your house). This will give your walls a polished, effortless look. And, you’ll probably end up looking at your photos more often. Always prioritize any decor that makes you smile.

This place is a great example of how to decorate with minimal decor and allow a large wall gallery to shine without overwhelming the room. See more from this house here! Photo by by Seamus Payne and styling by Kelly Simmons.

Furniture Placement is Everything

Here’s the one that calls for some muscle work. But it is so worth it. The way furniture is arranged can make or break a room. Like we always say, an open room creates open conversation. Make sure every piece of seating is at an optimal angle for conversation (everyone should be able to see each other without having to twist and turn).

Not only is all the furniture facing the center of conversation, but each piece has a nearby table on which to put a drink or cookie plate. This is how to decorate a cozy flea-market inspired room. Enchanted? Here’s the rest of the house!
Photo by Lauren Davis and styling by Susan Taggart.

Place your largest, most comfortable sofa where people will be sitting the most— probably facing the TV, fireplace or open kitchen space. That way, you can maximize the use of your comfiest seating option. Leave the smaller, perhaps less comfortable, seating choices to the side so the cozy couch will be used first.

As you prepare to move your furniture, watch out for scuff marks. If your sofa has hard legs, either have enough people to safely pick it up or place fabric beneath each leg so you can slide it without damaging the floor.

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shelf containing rae dunn pottery

How to Decorate DIYs

Don’t worry, you won’t have to go to the store with these kinds of DIYs. Similar to our previous exploration of color and texture, you can easily transform everyday objects into eye-catching farmhouse decor pieces.

Upcycling is a large part of learning how to decorate with what you already have. See the rest of this upcycled farmhouse here! Photo by Nina Hendrick.

Turn a small, average space into a cozy farmhouse nook with a pair of rubber boots filled with seasonal greens. Pluck a few cotton or willow branches and stick them in a canvas bag that hangs in your entryway. Even a rarely-worn flannel can make an appearance. Instead of hiding blankets in a basket, drape one over the back of an old couch to spruce it up.

Clean and Purge

Finally, decorating and rearranging your furniture means nothing if it’s covered in dust and grime. Here’s a tip: When you clean your home, start from the top and work your way down. Dust the ceiling corners, then the curtain rods, then any wall decor and so forth. Then go back and spot clean areas that need extra love with gentle, non-toxic cleaning sprays. That way, all the dust continues to sift downward until it’s all on the floor and you can easily sweep or vacuum it up.

Once you’ve cleaned the finished look, your house will have the same polished glow as this one. See more of this custom farmhouse here!
Photo by Chad Mellon and styling by Jaclyn James and Victoria Van Vlear.

And remember, just because you’re decorating with items you already have doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. You might find you don’t need as many decorations as you thought you did. And that’s okay. It’s actually great, because now you’ve parred down your collection to the decor items you really like.


Ready to get going? Find out how to keep your farmhouse style timeless instead of trendy! Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration! 

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