Want to freshen up your room decor without spending a lot of money? Learn how to accessorize your home on a budget by re-purposing what you already own.
Well, it’s fall.
Which means the season of hosting dinners and spending time with family is almost here.
To keep things looking fresh, it seems like I need a new dinner table setting, front hall console vignette, or living room decor scheme every other week.
As much as I would love to go out and buy new things for every occasion, I can’t justify the expense (or find the storage space) for all of that new “stuff”.
Plus, if I’m being really honest, I’m often decorating at the last minute so I don’t have time to shop even if I want to.
In order to change things up, I have to get a little creative by re-purposing things I already own.
People are always commenting on my “new” accessories. A lot of which really aren’t new at all. They’re just displayed in a different way.
In case you are in the same boat…trying to update your decor for the season but don’t want to spend a lot of money.
And you need some easy ideas to try, I thought I would share some of my “go to” tricks to accessorize your home on a budget.
1. Napkin Rings Are Not Just For Table Settings
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I love napkin rings that aren’t just rings. They’re inexpensive and have so many more uses than just holding napkins!
Especially ones that have floral or leaf details like the boxwood leaf napkin rings I used to line this shallow bowl.
They help to add some much-needed texture to this display.
Or the hydrangea napkin ring I used as a flower in one of my fall living room vignettes.
It adds a welcome pop of color.
I have also used the hydrangea ones in a votive candle holder to make it look like mini potted plants on a spring table setting.
I use napkin rings like these pretty much anywhere you might want to use real flowers or greenery. But don’t want the hassle of trying to keep them watered.
2. Glasses Make Great Vases
You can use them for really simple flower arrangements like the ones above from my Easter buffet. In this case, the flowers actually caused the water to turn pink…but you could add a couple of drops of food coloring to the water to create the same effect.
Floating a single rose in water in a stemless wine glass is a really easy and inexpensive way to add flowers anywhere (I did this for one for some Valentine’s Day decorating).
As an added bonus, the roses seem to last longer this way! I’ve had some stay looking good in the glass for 3 weeks.
3. Glasses Also Do Double Duty As Candle Holders
In my book, you can never go wrong accessorizing your room with candles.
Wine glasses and other glassware won’t melt with the heat from a flame, which makes them perfect for using as candle holders. I find round wine glasses like these these Chardonnay glasses* are perfect for this.
You can go really easy by placing a tealight straight inside the glass, like I did for my last minute Christmas tablescape last year.
Or dress it up a little more by putting a mercury glass votive candle holder* inside the wine glass.
4. Place Mats Act Like Trays
A common designer trick for accessorizing is to use trays to make groups of objects look like they belong together.
However, if you don’t have a tray available (or your trays aren’t the right size, which always seems to be my dilemma), place mats work pretty well, too.
The gold magnolia leaf placemats look great in my bedroom…and help to spruce up very old end tables 🙂
You can also put a few place mats together to create a table runner. I love these maple leaf placemats* for adding a touch of fall to my console table in the living room.
5. Use Christmas Ornaments As Place Setting Decor
Another one of my favorite ways to dress up a table is to use Christmas ornaments as place setting decor.
This tends to happen a lot at Christmas around here.
By then, I have usually had so many dinners that I’m tired of my usual selection of napkin rings. Christmas ornaments are an easy way to change it up.
They can also make pretty take home place holders for your guests. Just add a name tag to them.
As you can probably tell, I like to use nature-inspired ornaments, like birds and butterflies. For this peacock-inspired tablescape, I literally took the peacock ornaments off my Christmas tree and clipped them onto a standard napkin ring. They looked like they were meant to be there!
6. Cake Stands Make Great Accessory Stands
One of the standard designer tricks for creating vignettes that look good is to use 3 items in a group.
Then vary the heights so that they form a triangle (small, taller, tallest).
This arrangement would look “off” if the glass pumpkin were sitting on the table because it would be about the same height as the turquoise pumpkin.
Raising it off the table makes everything look balanced.
If you’re trying to make an arrangement like this, and have the perfect accessory but it isn’t quite tall enough, a pretty cake stand can come to the rescue!
They are often the perfect height and size for an accessory stand.
And you can always use them for serving cake 🙂
7. An Upside Down Bowl Also Works
Similar to cake plates, upside down bowls make great accessory stands.
Especially if you own some bowls that are pretty on the outside, like these silver ones*.
They fit into smaller spaces than a cake stand and aren’t usually as visible but still give you that extra height for your accessories.
There you have it…my favorite tips for re-purposing things you already own to accessorize your home on a budget. Hopefully, you’ve found some ideas that you can use to update your own accessories!
Have comments or questions about how to accessorize your home on a budget? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on October 17, 2017 but was updated with new content on February 12, 2024.