In my next life, I want to be an interior designer. I love decorating and home decor, taking on projects, and helping others do the same.
Living Room Ideas on a Budget
Living room decorating ideas can help you create the room you desire. In most homes, the living room is the central family “hub” where everyone ends up curling up by the fire, watching TV, or entertaining guests. It is also the place that many people like to display collections, heirlooms, and special pieces, as well as hang treasured artwork. Mixing elegance with comfort in a well-used room such as the living room can be accomplished easily with a little creativity.
Give your space the perfect balance between form and function with affordable touches of style. Simple, unexpected details and subtle contrasting textures can give you that balance.
Style-Boosting Decorating Tips
Walls and Colors
- As with any other room, one of the least expensive ways to get more bang for your buck is to paint the walls; this can go a long way to helping you create a whole new look and may even be all that you need to do. Doing the painting yourself can save you hundreds. Always test your palette before introducing major changes.
- When choosing your color, make sure it’s something that you can live with. Yellows, light greens, and creams create a light, airy feel. Pastels (pinks, lavenders, blues greens) lend themselves to a restful, romantic feel.
- Most colors have warm as well as cool hues. Warmer colors give your room a more intimate and secure feeling, whereas cooler hues give your room a more calming, restful feel. Complimentary colors, like different shades of the same color, can help unify a whole home’s décor, while contrasting colors add drama. Unite adjoining rooms of differing colors with a single trim color everywhere.
- Don’t be scared of bold colors, even in small spaces. You can always take it down a notch by using a lighter shade or by applying white trim.
- If painting an entire room is not in your budget, try just doing one wall for a nice accent in the room.
- Avoid high-gloss paint unless your walls are perfect (that never happens!) because this type of paint will show off every imperfection.
- An easy and affordable way to add elegance to your walls is with the use of stencils—try a tone-on-tone effect for a more subtle, elegant feel and look.
- Increase your decorating options by using or making double-sided, reversible curtains and pillows—maybe even sofa or chair cushions.
- If the floor is in poor repair, consider using a larger area rug. Perhaps even refurbish only the area of the floor that isn’t covered by the rug.
How to Find and Maintain Furniture Pieces
- Extend the life of a pricey piece of furniture, such as a comfy chair, with the use of a slipcover used seasonally. Slipcovers are now pretty inexpensive and easy to find (try Bed, Bath & Beyond or Amazon), and you can buy extra sets for quick changes, perhaps for a new festive look or even for the holidays.
- Search architectural salvage stores for saving money on interesting pieces.
- Inexpensive upholstered pieces can be found at flea markets, and if you’re able to get a good deal and see beyond the fabric on it, you can find inexpensive fabric at outlet stores and have it reupholstered for a fraction of the price of a brand new chair.
More Decorating Ideas on a Budget
- Built-in bookshelves with nice molding can be an inexpensive way to add architectural detail to a room and can be easy to install if you know what you’re doing or know someone who does that can help.
- Try to find a modestly priced cabinet to hide clutter, especially things like audio equipment. You can find cabinets in discount stores in every size and style these days.
- Hang a small collection of empty frames on a wall; it creates an open window effect that looks wonderful and can really play up a wall with stripes or other wallpaper or stenciled design (looks great on a solid wall, too).
- A mirror over a mantel can give warmth to and open up a room.
- Often, seasonal changes only need a few inexpensive modifications to the room. New lampshades, tabletop treatments, and fresh flower arrangements will often do the trick.
- Change winter’s darker curtain panels for lighter, more airy ones. Curtains can make a dramatic change to a room.
- Making simple, inexpensive changes can bring a dark winter palette into a lighter, more welcoming spring palette. A light-colored slipcover on a chair or a tablecloth on a side or console table can accomplish this, as well as changing out a lampshade for a lighter one.
- Take your family and guests on a quick journey back in time with a decorative row of antique portraits.
- Repurpose interesting finds, such as turning an old wooden stepladder into an informal plant stand.
- A commonly found flea market find is vintage luggage; it can be used in lots of interesting ways to decorate your room. Stack three suitcases to create an attractive end table.
- Do you have a collection of colorful china stacked in a cabinet? Hang them on a wall or display them to add color and interest to a space inexpensively. If you have a larger platter, try clustering the plates around the platter for a nice display.
- For some whimsy, to make a small space feel larger, or to brighten a dim corner, cover a whole wall with framed mirrors. Paint all the frames the same color to unify them.
- Candles always make for great inexpensive décor, with the added benefit of adding a touch of fragrance to the living room. Tip: for perfect burning, always trim the candle’s wick to the right length, which is about one-quarter inch, before lighting it.
I hope these tips help you create a cozy living room for you and your family. If you like these tips, be sure to check out budget decorating tips for your kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and more.
Seasonal Changes, Before and After
Lily Rose (author) from A Coast on March 14, 2011:
Read More From Dengarden
Thank you for all your great comments!
aleida_77 from Los Angeles on March 14, 2011:
Isn't it amazing what we can create using little creativity? Beautiful hub. Love all the photos.
imatellmuva from Somewhere in Baltimore on November 23, 2010:
Hi Lily Rose. I love repurposing so I really enjoyed this hub! I'm going to see how I can use some of these ideas. Thanks!!
Anna K. Linden on September 04, 2010:
That room with the grey walls and sofas is stunning. I think I am going to try to copy it. Thanks for the tips.
rugsforall on August 20, 2010:
You are right, bold colors are way to go these days.
candle62 from London on July 25, 2010:
This is really beautiful, Thank you for sharing.
Easy Fit Inc. from Woodside, NY on July 21, 2010:
I absolutely love your "before" and "after" photos! It is amazing what you can accomplish with cushion covers, wallpaper and a little vision. I love using inexpensive things like slipcovers, paint and area rugs to completely transform a room. It is fun when friends make a big fuss over what feels like small changes!
Lily Rose (author) from A Coast on June 13, 2010:
And thank you for visiting!
Hello, hello, from London, UK on June 12, 2010:
This is really beautiful and very, very tasteful. Thank you for sharing.