The living room has its name for a very good reason; you spend a lot of time there, so it should make you feel happy and comfortable every time you enter. But if your living room isn’t the haven you’d like it to be, there are so many easy, low-budget ways to make big improvements. But before you jump in, it’s important to take stock of the room and figure out what changes will make the most difference. So ask yourself a few questions:
What issues do you have with the room?
This is often the most difficult part of making changes to a space; it can be hard to envision alternatives when you’re used to seeing a room the way it is. One helpful method is to take a series of photos of the room, from the widest angles you can manage. Scan through the pictures, and you’ll start to spot furniture that looks out of place or paint colors that could use a change.
Which of these issues are the most important?
Although you might be able to identify quite a list of problems with your living room, select just a handful that you think will have the biggest impact. Then decide on a maximum budget. After you’ve decided what you’ll focus on in your living room update, you can choose which of the following will be a top priority:
A lot of the time, people get less enjoyment out of their living space because it’s cluttered or badly arranged. Add more storage by replacing a simple coffee table with a trunk, or moving a piece of art in favor of decorative shelving. Then put out a few trays and bowls to corral clutter like remote controls or game pieces; the room will immediately look sharper when everything has its own place.
Try visualizing new furniture arrangements by drawing a bird’s eye view with simple geometric shapes representing major pieces of furniture. Take a look at your drawing and move the pieces around; you might discover a more effective way to arrange you space.
Many people are intimidated by the potential cost of nice curtains, and it’s true that if you have a lot of windows, you should proceed with caution. A great budget-friendly trick is to use drop cloths for curtains, which you can get very cheaply from any hardware store. They look great without any embellishment, but additions like ribbon trim can take them to the next level.
As one of the cheapest and easiest home improvement projects, repainting can be incredibly satisfying. Take your time choosing a new color; remember that paint always dries darker than it looks on a swatch or out of the bucket. Once you have an idea of what you want, buy samples and try the color on all four walls. The way the light hits it on one side of the room might be very different from how it looks on the other side. To add drama, consider painting an accent wall in a color that’s fun in smaller doses, but would be overwhelming in large quantities. Or you can do a interesting wall treatment to really add some uniqueness. Wallpaper is becoming increasingly more popular and the options are virtually endless. Creating an accent wall or other accents such as a framed pattern, with wallpaper can be another inexpensive option for sprucing up the living room.
Finding good yet inexpensive art for your living room is always a challenge, although you can get beautiful, reasonably priced art on Etsy or Society6. Another fun way to add big, low-priced art is to find something meaningful to you, like a vintage stamp collection, and have it blown up to a much bigger size.
Smaller items like pillows, vases, and throws are where you should have fun in your living room. They’re the easiest things to switch out, so don’t be afraid of playing around with more specific styles or boldly patterned fabrics.
After you’ve tackled just a few of these projects, you’ll be amazed by what a big difference they can make. A living room makeover can be simple and inexpensive as you need it to be; as long as you take your time and figure out what works with the room, you’ll end up with a great result.
Living Room Stock Photos Courtesy of Shutterstock and BigStockPhotos
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-112874254/stock-photo-mediterranean-style-living-room.html
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-1520958/stock-photo-interior
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-412296/stock-photo-living-room
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-2047583/stock-photo-living-room-1
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-3031406/stock-photo-living-room-with-the-modern-furniture
Sarah Olson is a freelance writer based in Seattle. Her writing reflects her expertise in graphic and interior design, as well as her interests in outdoor sports and travel.
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