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You may be daydreaming about a complete kitchen renovation or buying a new couch. Too bad we have to wait for things like paychecks…gosh…to come around before we can make the big changes to our homes. Just because you’re not in a position to do a complete remodel or buy an expensive piece of furniture at the moment, doesn’t mean that you can’t update your home. Simple, small changes can refresh your home, too. Here are five ideas. Most of them are even free, and all are low-cost.

1. Rearrange your furniture

You may be amazed by how moving just a few pieces of furniture can dramatically alter a room. Start by trying to visualize different combinations of the big pieces you already have in a room. If you just can’t imagine any other arrangement besides the one already there, just start moving items around! Sometimes it’s hard to picture what could be without actually seeing it. Move items around until you find a new arrangement that you love.

Also, don’t limit yourself to the furniture in one room. Just because the items you have in the living room are already there, doesn’t mean they have to stay there. Maybe that chair in your office might look good in the living room. Or, that end table in the living room might work better as a nightstand. Shop your own home for a fresh arrangement.

2. Use better lighting

Don’t ignore the importance of good lighting. Lighting creates ambiance and mood. If you just use overhead lighting, it can make your home feel stark. Lamps—table and standing—can immediately improve the feel of a room. Plus, you can find great lamp bases at thrift stores and secondhand shops for cheap. Cute lampshades are a bit more difficult to find secondhand, but even if you have to buy a new shade, you’ll still save money. The simple addition of a few candles here and there, can also help create a cozier atmosphere.

3. Clear clutter

Sometimes less is more. You may not love the décor in your home because you just have too much stuff out on display. Give your accessories “breathing room”. Start in one room and remove everything from the surfaces. Take off vases, lamps, accessories and books. Then, slowly put back the items that you love, but not everything! Your home will feel quieter without all of the clutter. Store the items that you didn’t put back, unless you decide you don’t need them at all. Then, donate them. The next time you want a change, swap out the items currently on display for the ones in storage.

4. Enlarge with mirrors

Thinking your space is too small? This design trick can visually enlarge a room—no remodel required. Simply hang a mirror across from an open doorway or a window. The reflection will make your home feel larger. Low-cost mirrors are easy to find at thrift stores, flea markets and secondhand shops.

5. Add layers

Instantly update a room by adding what I call “layers”. Layers mean anything that creates texture in a room. Lay a rug over a bare floor. Hang curtains around a lone window. Mount pictures and art on your walls. Drape a throw over your bed or couch. These touches may seem obvious, but they’re actually easy to overlook. Increase your “layers” in any room to make your home feel more snug and inviting.

Give these design updates a try in your home and you may wonder why you ever thought you needed a remodel in the first place. Do you have any simple decorating changes you use in your home? Let us know in the comments.

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image: hownowdesign