Zero Cost Winter Decorating Color Refresh

When it’s wet and cold outside, I crave a bit of color. So I created a zero cost winter decorating color refresh by shopping my apartment.

Shop your home:

Last week I showed you a winter vignette on the sewing machine table over in the corner of the living room. Today I switched a few things out and added some color to that vignette.

Of course there is always editing to do. So the first photo you see is after I edited. And the one below that one is before I edited with the current look.

living room with color in winter

winter decorating refresh

Can you determine why I switched things up a bit from the second photo? I felt it was just a bit too much going on. So I edited. It’s always good to edit.

Bring decor from your stash:

Rather than try to get things the way you want it the first time, just bring all the things you’re interested in using to the room. Put them in place.

Then stand back and see what’s bothering you and what pleases you. Then edit and see if that’s what you prefer. You can always add back.

TV cabinet farmhouse style

All I added above are the two green jugs. Just inserting one bit of color makes a real difference.


Switch out a few items with color:

I put the trees I used last week inside the vintage suitcase. Great way to store them. Then I added a yellow/gold table cloth.

It had to be ironed and Ivy nearly drove me crazy trying to pull it down off the ironing board while I ironed.

And I switched out the white pitcher for a gold/yellow one.

Below is what it looked like last week.

winter vignette

I enjoyed looking at both versions. But I know how weary and dreary winter can get. It rained all day yesterday.

So I thought: bring on the color! (But I admit I thought it was kind of dreamy and magical in green, brown and white too.)

And below is what it looked like last week.

Switch out decor like bowls or platters:

Above, after I edited. Below, before editing. I switched bowls for the fruit from red to an old vintage bowl in neutral.

I switched pillows because I thought the patchwork was getting too busy.

And I laid the gold throw on the chair instead of adding such a big burst of color folded over the chair. Slightly altered, but effective in my opinion.

living room

I added a few small quilts to layer over surfaces. It’s amazing what just a few things can do to transform a room.

Which do you prefer? I think the red bowl is a bit too much. But then choice is always personal.

coffee table display for winter

In a small space, remember that you don’t want to overwhelm the eye with too many colors.

coffee table display

It wasn’t long before Ivy got interested in what was going on.

Ivy is ALWAYS interested in what is going on. And she jumps right in the middle of it every time as though she thinks its her birthright.

Ivy in the chair

There she is, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before I switched pillows. Doesn’t she look pretty up against my handmade patchwork pillow I made many years ago?

Above, before. Below, after editing.

winter color refresh in living room

winter color refresh in living room

Always add texture:

I know I say this a lot. Texture, texture, texture. But it adds so much to a room. It can be accomplished with wood beads, plants and other little pretties.

Things that are three dimensional often work. And primitive versus new and shiny.

TV on sideboard

I brought the vintage box with the cow from the other side of the couch. I mixed things up a bit for a slightly different look.

colorful winter vignette

That is my very favorite gardening book that I’ve showed you many times. The beads are the same as before.

See the white strand of beads around the yellow pitcher? I dug into my necklace box and that is a necklace of mine. So dig in your jewelry box to see what you can come up with to accent decor.

Use something vintage:

The vintage suitcase is the same. I just closed the lid. Many of the plants are the same. The faux lamb’s ear is just in a different pitcher.

sewing machine winter vignette

Remember to use your vertical space:

In a small space, you want to build upward. Use vertical space to lead the eye. Then the space seems larger than it actually is.

winter color refresh in living room

Dining room hutch refresh:

I switched out some of my white plates with polka dotted plates here in my hutch. That’s really an easy and fast switch but a completely different look.

I’m often asked about the white dishes. I got mine at Target, but I found some that are just as pretty

blue hutch with dishes

Charlie prefers to sit back and watch me do the decorating changes…

charlie on couch

While Ivy prefers to help edit the decor…

Oops! Well, there goes one of the sheep. Ivy couldn’t help herself. First she was chewing on it, then she swiped it down. So much for the little details.

winter color refresh in living room

Then she seemed to think that it would be more appropriate if she was in the dough bowl on top of the magazines. Posed much like a sphinx.

Ivy in dough bowl


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  1. I love the added pops of color. I agree with you that shopping your home is the best way to decorate. Moving things from one room to the next room adds some interest and does allow you to see things differently. We just got the Christmas decor put away over the weekend, so I’m moving things around as well. Love and hugs!

  2. Years ago, I wrote a post about my decorating…and labeled my kids as my “undecorators”. Seems to me that you have a little “undecorater” yourself! ?

  3. Brenda – you could easily be an interior decorator, you are so talented and creative while maintaining a stellar budget. Ivy has become such a pretty cat! (a lucky one, too)

    Happy New Year!

  4. I like the bursts of yellow in the living room. I also like how the sage green and white curtains and the bamboo shade add some height and texture to the decor without being too overpowering. The polka dot plates are a nice bit of whimsy. I like how you kept things fairly neutral around the television. The beads there and in other parts of the room really add some interesting to look at and it makes me want to reach out and touch them! It adds up to a very pleasant room for a wintry day.

  5. Brenda, when I commented above, to mention the pictures you have on the wall in the corner where you put the yellow pitcher. I really love the frames they are in and was wondering if they are vintage frames or if you could tell me where you acquired them or anything about them. They are very beautiful and look to be quite old.

    Just curious (per usual).

    1. I can’t recall but maybe I got them from Hobby Lobby. No, not vintage. Hobby Lobby is where I usually get frames because they have half price sales frequently.

  6. Liked the suitcase open and closed. I love little sheep too, and have quite a few. Ivy is a minx and looked cute in the bowl. My Lily has been curling up in the upstairs bathroom sink for naps lately. I agree the neutral bowl is better than the red with the quilt. I am still shuffling Christmas away and have not redone anything yet. I have Valentine’s on my mind.

  7. Another fun post, Brenda. I loved that little vignette with the pine trees you did on the sewing machine table in the corner, but I like the new one, too. Especially the yellow pitcher and the little sheep. I hope Ivy doesn’t think they are toys for her! You might notice them missing and find them under the couch! I did really like the bowl you had on the coffee table before you edited, though. It looked like a piece of crockery which I love to use in my own decor. As I’ve probably said before on your blog, red is not a favorite color of mine but I do like the different ways you use it in your decor. My choice of a pop of color is always a blue or green and lately, turquoise.

    And then there’s Ivy! She thinks she’s a “decorator cat” situated like she is in your dough bowl. We used to have a cat that always struck a pose on an end table or dresser or other piece of furniture as if she were part of the decor, thus the “decorator cat” moniker.
    Ivy really does look like a sphinx in that photo. Such a regal pose! We know it belies her true nature! And not to overlook Charlie, he is just his own handsome self, keeping track of Ivy’s shenanigans.

    Hope you three have a peaceful, enjoyable weekend.

    1. The crockery vignette on the coffee table was the “after” photo. I went back and forth so I’m sure it’s confusing!

      1. Oh, well, I guess I did get confused! And I even went back to look at it to be sure I was remembering it correctly! I do like that crockery bowl! I have one a similar size and shape but dark brown.

  8. Very inspiring!! I like to have Christmas up until Epiphany (Jan. 6), so early next week I will probably re read this and try to apply some of your tips. I love the concept of shopping the house and am amazed each and every time how much stuff I have that works great!! I thank you may times over for that one idea, it has really changed my thoughts about needing to shop at the stores.

  9. I love everything! The pops of color are very pleasing to my eye. Never too much red. 🙂

    The pictures of the Charlie and Ivy are always wonderful.

    1. I even bought myself a red purse from Amazon.com before Christmas. Before I found out my ex died and I needed to pinch my pennies. But I do love it.

  10. Yes I do like the edited one the best with the yellow throw over the arm of the chair and the neutral bowl.

  11. Looks fantastic–what an eye you have for this kind of thing! Wish you could come work your magic at our house…. 🙂

    And I’m with you: These gray, gloomy days require MUCH more color inside. Happy New Year, too!

  12. Brenda, you’re an inspiration to us all. I’ve been feeling a bit gloomy after Christmas and with all the rain and gray skies we’ve been enduring in South Carolina but you’ve inspired me to get going and make my own sunshine in my home. Thanks for all your tips and tricks on shopping at home You’re so creative… a true artist with decorating and writing too.

  13. A lovely post, great photos! Oh those sweet furry friends – Ivy in the dough bowl! And Charlie supervising! I love the yellow pitcher too as many others have commented. And I really like your bamboo blinds. May I ask where you bought them and if you put them up yourself or had someone install them for you. I find putting up blinds and curtains a bit challenging. And measuring for them.
    Wishing you a happy,healthy 2019 for you and your dears,

  14. I forgot to mention that I’m loving your polka dotted plates too! It brings out a burst of color that makes that wall look more vibrant and makes you want Spring to come even faster now! The color…energy that it plays off of.

  15. I personally like the red bowl coz it gives it a pop of color. The pears play off on the blanket and the pitcher in the corner. Also your beautiful quilted pillow. ?

    That’s what I like to do, switch things around from upstairs to downstairs. I also put my Christmas deco up starting November 1st, so when I put my other decorations back, it’s new again…for alittle while anyways.?

    Then in Feb, I have a few Valentine decos that I put up and placemats, that are actually for the 4th , but the back is red. Then I get my Christmas pillows and turn them around to the red side. I do the same for St Patricks Day turning the Christmas pillows to the green velour side with a few decos too.

    Come Easter though, I pull out all my decos for that, plus a few Spring ones too. Then a few decos for the 4th…then Fall.

    I mainly have alot of containers for Christmas and Easter decos. I just love to decorate and anyone that comes to my house always lets me know, that they like how I decorate too. ?

    When we celebrate Birthdays now, everyone goes over to our parent’s house so they can enjoy them too. I bring over my Birthday tablecloth and sign, to make it extra special.

    Fun post today Brenda!

  16. Your apartment looks great! (Of course, it always does.) I just love hearing about Ivy’s antics and love to see pictures of both Ivy and Charlie! It is raining again here. Forecast calls for sun tomorrow, and it will be so nice to see it. It has been a gloomy, gray winter so far.

  17. I like the red bowl on the table, not too much pop of color. Love the yellow pitcher. Ivy is always going to want to be in the middle of anything you are doing, that’s a kitten for you. Charlie looks very handsome today. I’m with you, find what you already have and rearrange items for a brand new look. You’ve got flair Brenda!

    Carol and Molly

    1. Thanks Carol and Molly! I like both bowls and will interchange them. Ivy just dragged off some of my faux lamb’s ear from the vintage box.

  18. I love this post….all color and texture. Anything to perk things up and add a boost of fresh color during these cold gray days.
    Personally, I really like the red bowl, but red is my preferred color in winter.
    Both bowls look good and you and the furries are the ones who actually live in your space. It is great that you have so many options to decorate with.
    What do you keep in the little white cabinet by the television?
    The polka dot plates are a cheery addition and make the mugs and bowls show up even better. Where did you find the small bowls? Love the texture on them.
    Well, the sun is out at last.
    O Happy Day!!!!

    1. The white bowls and mugs are a collection I ordered from Target.com a year or so ago. White makes such a pretty backdrop. Other dishes I buy, and I haven’t in a long time, but I buy 2 or 4. Just enough to add to what I have. And not have to spend much.

      1. Forgot to address your question about the white cabinet by the TV. It has craft supplies in it. Small containers of paint, jute, etc.

  19. Love the new colorful look (especially since this can be such a blah time of year) and all accomplished with items you already have at home. I am about to dig into my “stash” of linens to see what I can bring out to create a new look. Those polka dot dishes are fantastic — so much color!

    It is so much fun to read your stories regarding Ivy’s escapades and to see those wonderful photos of your home, the adorable Charlie, and that crazy cat!

    Have a wonderful peaceful Friday.

    p s Has the injection made a difference as of today?

  20. I am all about color and there is no such thing as too much red, lol. While your space looked nice before, it now pops and has pizzazz, and it looks so cheerful! And no the red bowl is not too much The space now reflects the personality of the inhabitants, mainly you know who! Miss Ivy is definitely alive and lively and now her surroundings match her personality! And wow, does she have a personality! Please don’t think that I am opinionated, lol

    1. I like to shift the colors around. Sometimes I use the red bowl. But I wanted something old, so went with the antique bowl.

  21. I don’t have an eye for editing. So I’ve started taking a photo on my phone. It’s immediately apparent what needs tweaked.

  22. Brenda, your inspiration has given me some ideas to try when I return home from work. Those pics of Charlie and Ivy are charming! All the best to you in 2019.

  23. I took down the Christmas tree yesterday & I’ve been “shopping” my stuff, too! And I must have missed it, what is your favorite gardening book? Please share!

    1. It’s called “Home Outside.” I bought it when in Texas. I mostly love it for the front cover and the photos inside! Not really for gardening tips or anything. I’ll rephrase what I said: It’s my favorite gardening coffee table book! I will add an Amazon link to the photo above.

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