Design Tip: Use What You’ve Got

If you are reading this blog, its probably because you enjoy reading blogs that are about decorating and design with a few foodie items thrown in for good measure.  And you probably have looked at the pretty photos on your favorite blogs and thought “I can’t do that”…. It could have been that a blogger showed the perfect dinner party, or a living room makeover that was beyond spectacular, or they renovated their entire kitchen with a hammer and a can of paint and it ended up in an issue of House Beautiful.  Whatever made you say “I can’t”, I’m here to tell you that you CAN!  And you can do it using one simple design tip: use what you’ve got!


That sounds a little simple, right?  Use what you’ve got…. But it is more complex than you think.  There are several parts to it.  The first is to use your talents, or the talents of those close to you.  Are you a super organizer but not so good at picking fabrics?  Can you paint a room perfectly in no time flat but can’t change a light bulb to save your life?  Does your husband do woodworking in his spare time but you’ve just never asked for his help?  Is your best friend an artist?  Start thinking about what you’ve got at your disposal and use it.  For me, it is my hoarding capabilities.  I have little knick-knacks stuffed into every closet and bin I can find!  It’s great!  I can style anything in no time flat!



The next part to using what you’ve got is the budgeting part.  I know, it’s the least fun part, but I is SO important.  Let’s say that you want to make over a room.  Well, look at what you’ve already got that you can’t change because it would be too expensive.  For me it is usually things like built-in cabinets, large pieces of furniture or tile.  (My ugly bathroom tile, for example.)  By using what I had (tile and bathroom vanities) that would be too expensive to change and deciding to spruce them up with some paint, I was really able to transform the look of the entire room.



The last step in using what you’ve got is to think creatively.  How can you change or pull off your idea without spending lots of $$?  Paint is the #1 way to transform anything for a little money.  I have painted so many things that I’ve had forever that I was sick of but decided to change instead of throwing it away.  And many times it was with paint that I already had!  One of my other favorite things to do is to use wrapping paper to transform something.  Seriously.  Wrap books or frame a scrap.  Make something out of tissue paper.  Be a kid again and let creativity flow.  It’s fun!



  • So TRUE! I love using what I’ve got by shopping my home. There are way too many secret hiding spots for my “things”, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Beautiful bookcase styling :). -Rachael

    • I think I need more closet space for my stuff….. Glad I’m not alone!

  • Great post Brenna!!! It’s easy to lose perspective when there are so many amazing and seemingly perfect houses shared on Instagram and other social media, I love this encouragement to look around and think about how you can use or tweak what you have!

    • Thanks, Lisa. It’s hard sometimes to love the home you have. But its yours, nobody else’s.


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