Once you’ve signed the rental agreement or bought the house, you’re probably ready to just get it over with. You move in your stuff, plop it down wherever it fits, and fall into a routine without really questioning what your home looks like.

Maybe a friend came over and commented on your bland decorations, or you’ve noticed a sense of whitewashed blandness creeping up, or you’ve found yourself getting ready to sell and need to decorate fast. Here are some commonly asked questions by those who aren’t naturals at interior decorating.

1. Do I have to buy new furniture to make my house look good?

While furniture stores would love to make us think this, the answer is a resounding no. In fact, you can quite easily redecorate without buying new furniture, except once in a blue moon or when something actually breaks.

Furniture can be repaired, repainted, and repurposed before it finally has to be replaced. If you are investing in new furniture, try to find versatile classics that can work with a variety of different living room styles, rather than opting for a huge leopard-print chair, for instance.

You can always redecorate existing furniture fairly easily, and if you don’t know how, look up instructions online. The artistic and building or design oriented folks love to share ideas, project pictures, and how-to tutorials for free, or you can register on a forum and ask for help redoing your furniture.

Think about rearranging furniture before even touching the designs; often, a new living room arrangement can make the place seem much friendlier and brighter. You might just have to spend an afternoon moving it all around, but it can look like new before you know it.

2. What is curb appeal, and how do I improve it?

The curb appeal of a house is how good it looks from the outside; after all, whether or not they admit it, people do judge books by their covers and houses by their curb appeal.

There’s not much you can do if you have an apartment without a balcony or other outdoor space of your own, but homeowners should pay attention to their curb appeal if they want to maintain or increase the value of their home and have an investment to be proud of.

Exterior details can include the paint outside a house, clean windows and screens, matching and clean blinds, any gardening in place, keeping the front yard free of clutter, trash and old cars, and more.

Try buying plants in pots, but only if you will remember to water them frequently, and put them wherever you feel needs some bright color or green life. If you have an apartment balcony, just one plant can make all the difference! Avoid storing old furniture or junk on your exterior balcony (or inside, either); just get rid of it to immediately improve curb appeal.

3. How can I easily spice up a room without redecorating completely?

Changing furniture covers is one of the fastest ways to change up a room. If your couch design is getting bland, you can often find a cover for it that will completely change the color scheme or pattern and brighten it up again. They come as covers that you slip over your couch, cushions and pillows, and you can even make them yourself if you want.

Adding decorations is another easy way to spice up a room. Some people use gift bags of different colors and designs arranged in a certain way, while others mix up what knick-knacks are in which rooms or pick up some cheap new decorations from the thrift store.

You could even try changing the art you have in a room, as this has a tremendous effect on the psyche and the way you perceive a room. New art can be obtained fairly cheaply from all the struggling but talented artists who would appreciate an extra bit of money from the sale of a print or original. You can visit art fairs in person or shop online for cheaper prices than most galleries.

4. Are there ways of redecorating on a budget?

First, you can try to find materials for cheaper than you otherwise would. For example, Habitat for Humanity runs stores that sell donated building supplies that can’t be used or are extras, called ReStores. If you find a ReStore next to you, drop in and see if anything catches your eye, as you can save quite a bit of money. There are other similar stores, and if you can’t find one, check the “as-is” sections in numerous furniture stores, home decoration stores, and so on. Even paint stores often sell premixed paint that other customers rejected because it wasn’t quite the shade they wanted. If you aren’t fussy about exact shades of paint on your walls, this can help save you a ton.

If you’re unwilling to spend even that much, then try to focus on details rather than the big picture. You may not be able to afford to repaint the white walls, but you can put up art or get vinyl wall stickers with art, quotes, shapes, and more that adhere to your wall until you use a blowdryer to get them off. If you can’t afford to get a new piece of furniture, see if you can convert it into another piece of furniture or get a drop cover for that old couch, repaint the coffee table, or repair the lamp.

The key to redecorating without spending a fortune is this: don’t try to change an entire color scheme or theme at once. If you can’t afford a huge rehaul, just pick little details to change. Buy new cushions for your couch, get matching picture frames instead of the mismatched ones you currently have on your mantel, or get a set of matching silverware or plates.

These are some of the basic questions about interior decorating answered. Take it slowly and learn from your mistakes, and before you know it, your home can look like a magazine showpiece with all the love and attention you put into it.