By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

My mom used to call it as “making due”, a good old fashion word for repurposing, reusing, and recycling, using what you already have so you can stay on a budget and still make your home look new again.

Believe it or not, this is one of my favorite things to do with my clients!

As a child growing up in an Air Force family, we moved a lot and no matter where we were, mom always had the ability to make our house is a home… a place where people were always welcome.

With five kids, I still have no idea how she did it, but I do recall her using the term, “make due with what you have”. She was creative and I guess that’s where I learned to become resourceful and good at making due. Of course, now, as THE DOWNSIZING DESIGNER, I’ve become known for living with less (95% less) and loving it. And with a much smaller living space, it can be extremely challenging, but since I love change and what it can do for lifting my spirits, I regularly use some of my own tips to make due while making my home look new again.

When it comes to working with my design clients, who may be on a limited budget or not, I will frequently recommend some of the things that I am going to share with you now.




#1 Move your existing furniture around

This is one of the least expensive forms of decorating and also one of my favorites.

  • Create a new furniture layout for the room that you are working on by rearranging the existing furniture.
    • Float a sofa into the room (it does not have to be against the wall).
    • Angle the furniture to give you a different perspective.
  • Seasonally change your furniture around to give your room a new look
    • For winter orient your furniture toward the fireplace and into the room.
    • For summer orient your furniture toward the outside.


#2 Repurpose furniture from another room

  • Have a scavenger hunt in your own home. Walkthrough your home to “find” furniture that you forgot you even had. See it through new eyes so you can create new possibilities.
    • That comfortable wing chair in your upstairs guest room
    • That old trunk at the end of the bed
    • That area rug in your living room
    • That bench you never use in your guest room.
  • Ask yourself the following two questions:
    • How can you repurpose these “found” pieces of furniture?
    • How can you give them a new place to live within your home?

They will not only give your home a facelift, they will also have a new purpose.

    • That wing chair could now become your favorite reading chair.
    • That old trunk could now become a new coffee table.
    • That area rug could now be an overlay rug in your family room to help unify the room.
    • That bench could now be used to expand your seating in the family room.


#3 Repurpose accessories and accent pieces

  • Go on another scavenger hunt in your home, searching for accessories that you “don’t see” anymore. They have been in the same place for years and you might never notice them anymore.
  • Look for mirrors, lamps, vases, artwork, and throws. It’s a little like adding a new scarf or a piece of jewelry to change the look of that little black dress. It gives it a new life!


#4 Start with a clean slate

  • Empty everything from a bookcase or a room. Start all over again with fresh eyes reusing the furniture or accessories that you found in your own home in your scavenger hunt.
  • Commit to not putting anything back in the same place
  • Remember, the goal is to get a fresh look, repurposing your existing furniture and accessories without spending a dime.


#5 Repurpose the rooms themselves

  • Look at each room and ask these two questions:

1. Why does this room have to serve the same purpose that it has always served?

      • Why does the dining room only have to be a dining room?

Did you know that on average Americans use their dining rooms only two to three times a year? That is a lot of real-estate to not have it be better utilized.

2. How can this room be repurposed to be more useful to your current lifestyle?

      • Why does your kid’s room still have to be a kid’s room?

If your children are grown and have left your nest, is it time to make better use of that room to suit your current needs? Have you been looking for a place for another home office, a craft room, or yoga room?


#6 A few other tricks to refresh your home

  • Add colorful pillows, throws, greenery, or fresh flowers
  • Add a fresh coat of paint even on one wall to create an accent wall.
  • Create a gallery wall of family photos, travel, or collections.


The list could go on and on, but the goal is just to have fun, be resourceful, get creative, and make due with things you already have.


Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to learn “how to make due” while still make your home look new, fresh, and beautiful. As I said earlier this is absolutely one of my favorite things to do with my design clients who are looking for a new look without spending a dime.


I would love to see pictures of what you’ve created.

How did you “make due” while making your home look new again?


Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer
Office # 302-475-5663

If you need interior design assistance please reach out to me to discuss your project.

I offer a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation.

Check out my best-selling book on AMAZON.