When it's been a while since your last living room makeover, the design itch may start calling—but how do you switch up your style on a budget? Giving your living room a refresh doesn't have to mean a full-blown overhaul. Without replacing major furniture or changing up all of your décor, take a cue from professional designers to make your space look its best. Whether you get creative with your layout or put your leftover paint cans to good use, it's easy to make your living room feel brand-new without spending a dime.
Give your space a transformation with designer inspiration and living room ideas on a budget.
Cut Out Clutter
Before you add anything new to your living room, start by decluttering. Sometimes, a space can feel brand-new just by removing the clutter that builds up over time. To truly clean out your living room, start by taking everything out—then slowly add back in only the items that you need and love.
If removing the furniture from your living room is too much of a project, start the decluttering process by taking away only the décor and extra items that take up space (and save the heavy lifting for another day).
Change Your Layout
One of the easiest ways to transform your room without buying anything is to change up your layout. Try placing your sofa underneath your window. If you have multiple sofas or chairs arranged in an L-shape, try facing them toward each other for a formal seating area look. If you have extra chairs, bring them in from other rooms to create a conversational environment—sometimes, even the smallest tweaks can make a major difference.
Style the Coffee Table
To make your space feel more polished, style your coffee table with items you already have around the house: Stack a few books, display a candle or vase, or corral the necessary items into a tray. Small details can make your space feel more put-together—and styled with a fresh, clean living area, a coffee table with character can be the finishing touch of the room.
Decorate With Backyard Branches
No budget for elaborate flower arrangements? Try picking up a few leafy branches outside and displaying them in a vase. Tall greenery always adds an instant statement to a room—and when it's fresh from your outdoor space, it's a free piece of décor that can spruce up your living area for a vibrant finish.
Refresh the Trim
Interior designers always say that paint is one of the easiest ways to transform a room, but paint can also be expensive and time-consuming. Instead of repainting your living room, try using leftover paint from your last project to create contrast with your moldings, doors, or window frames. It's a quick refresh that can make quite an impact, especially if you're brave enough to get colorful.
Hang Your Curtains Higher
Does your room feel dark, and its windows look small? Your curtains might be hung incorrectly. To give your living room more natural light, hang your curtains higher—at ceiling height—and make sure that the pole is extended wide enough for the curtains to sit past the outside of the window frame. If your curtains are too short to reach the floor, try sewing on a contrasting border to the bottom to make use of extra materials cluttering up your closets.
Feeling bored with your rug? Try this simple designer trick: Layer multiple pieces on top of each other. If you happen to have old rugs stored away, pull them out for a quick cleaning and place them underneath your current rug. Patterns that didn't fit your vibe before can work wonders when they're acting as a "trim" around other styles—and they'll add dimension and visual interest alike. In the same vein, adding a smaller rug on top of your current design can bring new pops of color to the room.
Place Plants in Baskets
Finally, a use for those extra baskets that get take up space: Place potted plants inside woven containers. Not only does it add a fresh new look to your favorite greenery, but it brings texture and patterns to your living room décor (and encourages you to empty out the old clutter). Be sure to check for drainage holes on your plant's pot before adding it into a basket to protect woven materials from excess water.
Paint Your Ceiling
Another great way to put leftover paint to use is by displaying it on your ceiling. Rather than painting the room's trim, go bold with a bright color to draw the eyes upward and make your room feel larger (even if you weren't blessed with cathedral ceilings). If you have more than one can of extra paint, choose a color that complements the style of your living room to highlight accent decorations.
Swap Décor From Other Rooms
If you're feeling tired of your wall art or statement décor, you might be surprised to find that the answer lies in the other rooms of your home. Take a look around your space to see what could be swapped: Is your bedroom bright and airy, but the living room feels dark? Grab a few of your favorite pieces (but not everything) from the other room, and switch them out with items from the living room for an instant refresh that brings new life to both spaces without a full overhaul.
Go Back to the Basics
Often, the only thing a living room really needs is to have less things. Go back to the basics in your space for a fresh, clean design. Keep the essentials like the sofa, a few pieces of artwork, minimal seating, and a coffee table or ottoman. Everything else can go: For a true minimalist vibe, making it simple is the only design tip you'll need.
Cover Furniture With Throws
Want a new sofa, but don't have the budget for it? Try draping a blanket or throw over it to instantly give it new life. This instant trick can refresh the entire look of your living room, and the best part: It's free. If you're unsure which throw to use, open up the linen closet and find a blanket that incorporates the same colors as your décor.
If you're one of the many who have joined the no-top-sheet-revolution, this can be a great place to put it to use: Rather than covering the entire sofa, wrap a top sheet around just the seating and back pillows for an updated look that covers up worn materials (and it doesn't hurt that it's easy to wash, either).
Style a Curtain Wall
For a clean vibe with plenty of personality, hang curtain walls: This easy DIY setup brings an abundance of texture with a minimalist touch. If you have sheer curtains hanging around, display them across the entire length of your wall (even over the windows) to let the natural light filter in with an airy feeling. On the other hand, if colorful curtains are taking up space in your linen closet, use them over a blank wall for a quick style trick. Extra top sheets can also work in rooms with smaller walls.
Give Old Pieces New Life
If your living room is filled with wood pieces that are starting to feel worn, try giving them a fresh start. Whether you're dipping the legs of the furniture or painting the whole piece, adding new colors to your palette can breathe new life into the overall design. Opt for a range of materials to bring fresh textures into the space.
Remember the Mantel
A place that often gets looked over in design is the fireplace mantel: An even, open area just waiting for a deisgn. Add a few personal touches to your living room by displaying some of your favorite photographs, plants, candles, or decorative pieces on the mantel. Choose items with colors that complement the rest of the room for a clean finish.
Dress Up Chairs With Throws
For a pop of style to refresh simple seating, dress up your accent chairs with extra throw blankets and pillows. The added texture from introducing new materials can make your living room feel like a professional designer had a hand in it—and it makes the space even more cozy and functional for your family members to enjoy.
Frame a Gallery Wall
If you've got old wall art stowed away in storage from previous living room designs, pull out a few favorites to frame a gallery wall above your sofa. For spaces that are feeling empty or lacking personality, the simple addition of more artwork can add a vibrant feeling with plenty of character. Paint the frames the same color for a uniform finish, or get inspired by this mix-and-matched look with plenty of depth.
Redecorate Your Bookshelves
Bookshelves are complicated: Eventually, they can become a landing place for various items that don't have another home in the house—or they might even feel cluttered with overwhelming arrangements of books. In either case, try pulling everything from your shelves and starting fresh. Style a few simple book stacks with decorative items placed on top, and balance them out with minimal items from other rooms. If you have plenty of books leftover, make a row on the bottom of the shelf, or create floor stacks that can be placed on either side of the sofa or in empty corners of the room.
Paint Your Window Trim
Another great place for that leftover paint is on the trim around your window panes. If you have a darker color laying around in storage, use it to contrast with lighter wall colors (or vice versa if your living room is dark). Be sure to tape off the edges of the glass to keep paint from making its way over the trim, and paint one half at a time to ensure the windows still glide open with ease.
Add Fresh Greenery
One of the simplest ways to refresh your living room is to incorporate fresh greenery into the space. That doesn't mean you have to buy new plants; even bringing in a few favorites from other places in your home can make a big difference, especially when you're working with a bright, white room. Your plants may even grow better with a new range of sunlight while adding pops of color to the living area.