5 simple ways to update an entryway without buying anything new

Want to give your entryway a refresh for free?

Entryway layout mistakes
(Image credit: Future/Kati Curtis/Farrow & Ball)

Updating a room without buying anything new is far easier than you think. And in fact, of all the rooms in the home, the entryway is perhaps the easiest to update as it's usually one of the smallest areas and in terms of decor and furniture there's not an infinite amount of room to play with, meaning small changes make a big difference. 

But how can you make these big differences without actually buying anything new? By thinking slightly out of the box there are plenty of ways to refresh a space and not have to invest in brand new pieces. Plus, it's the perfect time of year to put some effort into your entryway ideas as the holiday season is when this often ignored space sees the most screen time.

We asked designers for their top tips on how to refresh an entryway with just the space and pieces you already own.  

5 ways to update your entryway without buying anything new

No cheating here, all these ideas really can be achieved without spending any money. What most of them come down to is working with what you have got (or what you can get for free). Shopping your own home and switching pieces around can have a huge effect and a piece you have had in the same space for decades can look totally different when you bring it into a new room. 

1. Have a declutter and a deep clean

Hallway with beams and grey rug

(Image credit: Future)

Sorry, it's not glamorous, but decluttering an entryway before you start having a refresh is going to make all the difference. And it's totally free, just takes your time and patience. 

'Refreshing your entryway without purchasing anything new can be an inventive endeavor, for often an overlooked space. Begin by decluttering and reorganizing the area. Remove unnecessary items like old shoes, out-of-season coats, or junk that may have accumulated over time.' explains designer Jennifer Davis

'Rearrange existing entryway furniture, such as benches or consoles, to create a more functional entryway layout. Consider repurposing items from other areas of your home to freshen up the space, like artwork or a potted plant.  Lastly, never underestimate the power of a good deep cleaning to freshen up the space.'

Jennifer Davis
Jennifer Davis

Jennifer fell in love with design at a young age and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She has developed an eye for detail and a talent for creating timeless designs. Jennifer offers a balance of creativity and forward-thinking with a structured, organized, and detailed mentality. Jennifer is driven by her deep passion for design while curating an exceptional client journey, ensuring pure delight from the very beginning to the end.

2. Switch around the lighting

minimalist hallway with black and white photographs and parquet flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'Switching up the decorative lighting in your entryway is an easy and impactful way to create a new look without spending any money.' says Jennifer Jones, principal designer at Niche Interiors

'Consider bringing in a table lamp from another room to add height and ambiance. No extra lamp lying around? Add a tall vase with branches or dried florals and balance the other side of the table with a stack of coffee table books with a decorative bowl or tray on top.'

Lighting is one of those seemingly small switches that can make a huge difference. And it's not just the style of the entryway lighting but the color and tone too. Even just changing out your bulbs for something warmer can make your space feel cozier and more welcoming, which is especially important at this time of year. 

3. Forage for flowers and folliage

Small green entryway

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Adding a vase of beautiful flowers or foliage to your entryway always gives it a lift and while going out and buying a bunch can be an inexpensive way to update your space, you can do it for free if you can forage for your bunch. 

'The easiest way to do this is to add a vase of fresh flowers every week by the door.  Or better yet, a seasonal branch!  It'll last longer and you can forage it from outside.' suggests designer Bethany Adams

Don't be too precious about what you are trying to find. Forraged pieces always look lovely when you get them home and putting a bit of time into displaying them in a nice vase, and as Bethany suggests, over the holidays you can definitely get away with just some beautiful branches and greenery if flowers aren't an option. 

Bethany Adams
Bethany Adams

Bethany Adams is an interior designer, a member of ASID (American society of Interior Designers), AIA (American Institute of Architects), and a certified interior designer with the Kentucky Board of Architecture. Bethany holds a B.F.A.. in interior design from Harrington College of Design in addition to a B.A. she earned from Georgetown University.

4. Interchange books from around your home

entryway with side table

(Image credit: Future)

If you have a surface in your entryway, like a side table or a shelf, create little vignettes in that space that you can switch out to refresh your space. Decorating with books is great for this because they make for such characterful decor and you can move them around your rooms for an instant update. 

'One fun trick that I use in my own home is to take stock of all of my decorative elements in my entryway console table, on my bookshelves, and on my coffee table and consider all of those interchangeable. It's amazing how the candle that's been on your coffee table for months and a stack of art books poached from your bookshelf can take on a whole new look when paired together in your entryway.' suggests designer Kathy Kuo

kathy kuo home
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry. 

5. Decorate with meaningful pieces you already own

Pink entryway with vintage mirror

(Image credit: Kati Curtis Design)

'Refreshing your entryway doesn't necessarily require a shopping spree. There are many ways to revitalize this space using items you already own. For example, a vintage mirror can serve as a stunning focal point, adding depth and light to a narrow hallway.' explains designer Kati Curtis

'Hanging a family heirloom art piece on the walls introduces a personal touch, honoring your lineage while adding visual interest. You can also showcase your favorite travel finds - be it an exotic tapestry, handmade pottery, or a unique sculpture. By strategically arranging these items, you can create a welcoming and character-filled entryway that tells your personal story.

Kati Curtis
Kati Curtis

Kati Curtis is the founder of Kati Curtis Design, an design firm based in New York City specializing in classic design with a global influence. Kati founded the studio in 2005 after 12 years of working with international architecture and engineering firms. 

See, there are plenty of very simple ways to update your entryway without buying anything new. And these tips definitely work for other rooms too so reapply if you want to update your living room without spending anything, or your bedroom, or even your kitchen. 

Head of Interiors

I am the Head of Interiors at Homes & Gardens. I started off in the world of journalism in fashion and luxury travel and then landed my first interiors role at Real Homes and have been in the world of interior design ever since. Prior to my role at H&G I was the digital editor at Livingetc, from which I took a sabbatical to travel in my self-converted van (not as glamorous as decorating a home, but very satisfying). A year later, and with lots of technical DIY lessons learned I am back to writing and editing, sometimes even from the comfort of my home on wheels.