The living room is one of the most important spaces in your home. It’s where you relax, entertain guests, and spend quality time with your family. Even small updates to your living room can make a big difference in creating a space that feels fresh, stylish, and uniquely you. The good news is there are lots of easy and affordable living room touches anyone can tackle in a weekend or less.
Refresh Your Living Room with a New Coat of Paint
One of the simplest ways to give your living room an instant facelift is with a new coat of paint. Painting the walls or an accent wall in a bold, modern color instantly modernizes the space. Opt for neutral, earthy tones like grays, taupes, and tans for a soothing vibe. If you prefer something more vibrant, go for energetic hues like emerald green, sapphire blue, or eggplant purple.
Before starting any painting project, prepare the space by cleaning the walls, filling holes, sanding away bumps, and applying primer. For standard drywall, opt for high-quality latex paint in either a matte, eggshell, or satin finish. Flat paint can work for ceilings. Higher gloss paints add depth but are harder to clean.
Cut in the edges with a brush, then use a roller to apply paint in a “W” pattern without going back over areas that are already coated. Allow proper drying time between coats. Two coats usually provide the best coverage. With some careful prep work and technique, even novice DIYers can achieve smooth, professional looking painted walls. The transformation is huge for a small time and monetary investment.
Tips for Painting Your Living Room Walls
- Remove all furniture, artwork, and window treatments from the walls before painting.
- Lay drop cloths on the floor and tape off trim to protect surfaces.
- Wash walls with a vinegar and water solution to remove dirt and grease that can prevent paint adhesion.
- Fill small holes with spackle and sand bumps for a smooth finish.
- Always paint a test swatch before committing to a color. Colors look different on walls than on sample chips.
- Apply painter’s tape around trim for crisp paint lines. Remove tape immediately after painting before the paint dries.
- Use high quality microfiber roller covers and angled paint brushes for the best results.
- Work in sections, cutting in edges before quickly rolling the walls to avoid lap marks.
- Allow at least 2-4 hours of drying time before adding a second (or third) coat.
With some strategic choices and good technique, painting is an easy, affordable living room update. The new color will make the whole space feel fresh and inviting.
Update Windows with New Curtains and Blinds
Installing new window treatments like curtains, drapes, and blinds is a quick and easy way to give your living room a new look. Switch out dated, worn out window furnishings for on-trend styles in lush new fabrics and materials. Take the time to properly measure your windows so that the window treatments you select or make fit perfectly.
For a soft, elegant feel, hang full-length curtains made of luxurious fabrics like velvet or linen. Choose neutral solids or subtle patterns and make sure the curtains puddle onto the floor for a formal look. For a more casual vibe, opt for breezy linen or cotton curtains in solid colors or bold patterns. They can be hanging straight or tied back during the day.
If you prefer the look of hard shades, consider aluminum or wood blinds. The slats come in various sizes and you can control light and privacy. Add texture with woven wood shades in natural bamboo, grasscloth, jute, or rattan materials. Roman shades offer a softer look, adding stacks of fabric folds when raised.
When installing new curtains or shades, mount the hardware correctly for ideal functionality and visual appeal. Take accurate measurements and follow individual product instructions. With quality construction and proper hanging, window treatments can transform the entire feeling of your living room.
Tips for Measuring Windows and Installing Curtains
- Use a metal measuring tape to get precise window measurements. Write down the exact width and height.
- Account for clearance above and around the window when selecting curtain rod length and curtain length.
- Follow specific mounting instructions based on the curtain rod or blind hardware you select. Use the appropriate fasteners and anchors.
- Make sure screws are anchored firmly in wall studs, not just drywall. Use a stud finder to locate studs.
- Hang curtain rods at least 3-4 inches above the window frame and 4-6 inches wider than the window width.
- For floor length curtains, add 3 inches to the rod-to-floor measurement when ordering curtain panels.
- Use decorative finial caps and rings to finish off the window treatment rods and add polished style.
New window treatments completely change the look of your living room. With some handy homework, you can install them like a pro.
Upgrade Lighting for Function and Style
The lighting in your living room serves both form and function. Beautiful light fixtures provide task lighting for activities like reading while also adding style. Swapping out dull existing lights for new stylish lamps, chandeliers, sconces and pendants can completely transform the ambiance.
Think about how you use your living room when selecting new lighting. Do you need a bright ceiling fixture for general illumination? Would stylish table lamps allow cozy pool of light for intimate conversations? Consider adding layers of light for versatility. Accent lighting highlights artwork while sconces flanking a sofa provide reading light.
Look for energy efficient LED bulbs to reduce your eco-footprint. Choose smart bulbs and dimmers if you want lighting you can control with your voice or an app. Select fixtures and shades that complement your living room’s decor. Mixing materials like wood, metal, glass, and fabric creates visual interest.
Beyond the overall lighting design, focus on the quality of light. The color temperature of bulbs is measured in kelvins. Warm white light in the 2700-3000K range has a cozy, natural feel. Cool white light over 4000K has an energizing, clean effect. You can mix and match color temperatures for desired moods in different spaces.
With the right lighting choices, your living room can go from drab to dramatic. Consult an electrician if wiring improvements are needed to support new fixtures. But swapping out dated lamps and overhead lights with new stylish ones is typically a DIY project anyone can tackle in an afternoon. Just be sure to turn off power at the breaker before replacing existing fixtures.
Helpful Tips for Upgrading Living Room Lighting
- Evaluate how you use your living room space when planning your lighting design. Task, ambient, and accent lighting serve different needs.
- Layer in multiple light sources like table and floor lamps, sconces, and pendants for a cohesive look.
- Choose ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs which last longer and use 70-90% less energy.
- Look for smart bulbs compatible with home automation systems if you want voice or app-controlled lighting.
- Mix fixtures made from metal, wood, glass, fabric, and natural materials for visual interest.
- Select light bulb color temperatures from warm 2700-3000K to cool 4000-5000K based on desired ambiance.
- Read fixture installation instructions carefully and turn off power at the breaker before replacing or adding new lights.
- Consider hiring an electrician if your lighting project involves exposing wires, installing recessed cans, or improving wiring.
With improved lighting, your once dreary living room can become a bright, welcoming oasis!
Incorporate Stylish and Functional Living Room Storage
As your living room is used more and more, clutter inevitably accumulates. By incorporating stylish and functional storage solutions, you can keep your living room looking neat and tidy with minimal daily effort. The right storage pieces actually enhance your decor while helping you organize media, toys, linens, and other household items.
When evaluating your living room storage needs, think through what you need to store and accessible versus hidden space. Baskets or ottomans with lids allow quick cleanup of children’s toys or blankets while keeping items out of sight. Bookcases provide beautiful display space for collections while storing items out in the open.
Media storage like CD or DVD cabinets and shelving can help hide electronics and cords for a streamlined look. Coffee table trunks or end table drawers offer convenient storage for remotes, chargers, and TV accessories. For a small entryway, a bench with built-in cubbies can store shoes and bags neatly.
Match storage furniture finishes to your decor. Opt for sleek glass doors or woven rattan for a breezy look. Solid wood cabinets with classic hardware suit traditional designs. Built-in shelving lets you custom fit storage precisely.Have fun hunting for unique vintage or antique cabinets full of character.
With clever living room storage solutions, you can conveniently stow belongings without sacrificing your desired aesthetic. Maintaining organization is easy so you can fully relax and enjoy this main hub of your home.
Tips for Incorporating Living Room Storage
- Evaluate what you need to store like media, linens, toys, accessories, and clutter.
- Determine if open, closed, or concealed storage best suits each item.
- Select storage furniture pieces like ottomans, shelves, and cabinets that complement your decor.
- Custom built-in shelving and cabinets fit perfectly in your specific layout.
- Label baskets, bins, and storage containers so everyone puts things away properly.
- Conceal cords and electronics inside media cabinets for a clean look.
- Choose multifunctional furniture like storage ottomans and coffee table trunks.
- Store items conveniently but not in the way of living room circulation and activities.
- Display collections beautifully on open shelving while keeping items free of dust.
With a thoughtful approach, you can implement living room storage that handles clutter while adding style!
Display Your Treasured Collections and Heirlooms
Your most cherished belongings deserve a special place in your home decor. Find creative ways to tastefully display your collections, heirlooms, souvenirs, and treasures in your living room design. They act as beloved mementos and also add personal style.
For small 3D objects like pottery, statuettes, figurines, geodes, and vases, use clear acrylic risers or floating wall ledges to show off pieces. Arrange them artfully on a console table or bookshelf against a neutral wall. You can also install shallow shelves or cubbies specifically sized for prized possessions.
Frame meaningful two-dimensional memorabilia like botanical prints, antique maps, sentimental photos, postcards, and fabric swatches. Group similar frames in a collage or hang them in symmetrical arrangements. Choose simple modern frames to let the contents shine.
Safely exhibit fragile family heirlooms like embroidered linens, silverware sets, jewelry, perfume bottles, music boxes, and handwritten letters in specialized cabinets with glass doors or built-in window nooks. Keep sunlight exposure and handling to a minimum for preservation.
Make the most of vertical space to feature 3D artworks like wreaths, paintings, small tapestries, and decorative plates. Place delicate items out of reach of pets or children. Proudly display your collections in your living space for their beauty and the memories they hold. Let them spark nostalgic storytelling.
Tips for Showcasing Your Collections
- Curate your most beloved items to display and store the rest safely.
- Choose surfaces, stands, shelves, and hanging systems that complement each item.
- Limit sun exposure which can damage and fade heirlooms over time.
- Use risers, cubbies, ledges, and shelves sized specifically for your treasured items.
- Arrange collections symmetrically for pleasing balance and so items don’t appear cluttered.
- Hang 2D pieces at eye level and anchor directly into studs for security.
- Label old family photos on back for future generations to appreciate their history.
- Dust and clean delicate objects regularly using appropriate preservation methods.
You don’t need an official museum to showcase your caches of treasures. With some strategic display arrangements, they sparkle as decorative accents telling your unique story.
Refresh Walls with New Artwork and Photography
Nothing freshens up your living room like new artwork and photography on the walls. Framed fine art, prints, posters, and personal photos breathe new life into your home decor. When selecting new wall hangings, choose pieces with colors, subjects, and styles energizing to you.
Visit local art fairs, artists’ studios, and craft shows to discover emerging talent in your region. You can find affordable original art and directly support local creatives. Auction sites like eBay and Etsy are full of unique vintage poster art as well.
Order high quality prints of your favorite artworks from museum gift shops or print-on-demand sites. Pick classic paintings or stunning photography of inspiring landscapes. For a coordinated look, collect prints around a specific theme, color palette, or artist.
Display your own photography showcasing beautiful memories. Print enlargements of vacation vistas, candid family moments, wedding or pet portraits, and nature photography to hang proudly. Arrange multiple shots in a dynamic photo wall or collage.
The right art selection can make your living room feel curated. Before hanging any heavy framed art, anchor securely into studs, not just drywall. Use picture hanging hooks and wire appropriate for the weight. Refreshing your wall decor instantly revives your living room’s style.
Tips for Hanging Wall Art
- Choose artwork with colors and subjects that are uplifting and meaningful.
- Collect works around a theme like landscapes, black and white photography, or abstracts.
- Print your own high quality photos to display cherished memories and talents.
- Hang artwork at eye level while seated for ideal viewing. Mark spots with painters tape.
- Use wire and hooks suitable for heavy frame weight to avoid sagging and accidents.
- Anchor into wall studs behind the drywall for security, found with an electronic stud finder.
- Arrange groupings symmetrically with similar spacing between pieces.
- Place artwork strategically to fill awkward empty walls or distract from flaws.
- Switch things up seasonally or when you need an inspiring mental refresh.
Let great art saturate your living space with beauty, meaning, and your unique personality.
Incorporate Greenery for Fresh Decor
One easy way to breathe life into your living room is to incorporate lush greenery. Live plants have amazing benefits like improving your mood and purifying the air. For plant newbies, focus on hard-to-kill varieties that tolerate low light and inconsistent watering.
The snake plant, with its upright spears, needs little care and filters airborne toxins. Peace lilies also purify air and their white blooms add elegance. For effortless greenery, choose potted bamboo which can thrive in just indirect light and weekly waterings.
Add drama with tall palm trees or statement-making foliage like giant bird of paradise, monstera deliciosa, or fiddle leaf fig plants. Use sleek ceramic or rattan planters on plant stands for elevation. For lower maintenance, opt for cacti and succulents which store water in their fleshy leaves and stems.
Incorporate wreaths, small potted herbs, and marimo moss balls to coffee and side tables to bring in organic shapes and textures. Create a living wall with mounted planters or vertical displays with built-in planters. Keeping plants regularly trimmed and dusted promotes healthy growth in your living room.
Tips for Displaying Plants in Your Living Room:
- Choose low maintenance, low light plants if you are not an avid gardener.
- Group plants of varying heights and leaf shapes for pleasing contrasts.
- Use planters that complement your decor style from ceramic, wood, woven, or concrete.
- Place plants strategically in corners, in front of windows, or to hide flaws like radiators.
- Display plants at different levels using stands, hanging planters, or wall-mounted shelves.
- Provide drainage in planters and dump out excess water in saucers to avoid root rot.
- Wipe large leafed plants regularly with a damp cloth to keep dust free.
- Rotate plants every few months so all sides get even light exposure.
Infuse living energy and a touch of nature’s beauty into your living room with an array of lively greenery.
Repurpose and Display Meaningful Antiques
Give forgotten antiques and vintage flea market finds new life in your living room makeover. From furniture to decor, you can repurpose old items in fresh ways while preserving their charm and sentimental value. Sourcing one-of-a-kind home accents sustains history and adds personality.
Turn an antique baby crib into a clever coffee table with built-in storage space inside. Upcycle a vintage ladder into an artistic leaning bookcase or towel rack. Use an old stove burner grate as an infuse wall decor piece or candle holder.
Salvage wood table legs or column posts as sculptural pieces in their own right. Incorporate old crates, boxes, and luggage as quirky side tables or shelve decor. Let an antique brass headboard or footboard lend chic retro flair.
Show off precious family heirlooms like silver serving sets, typewriters, or handheld lanterns in protected display cases rather than packed away in boxes. Give your grandparents’ ornate wall mirror or landscape art a place of honor.
With creative vision, you can reimagine flea market furniture and old family treasures as meaningful living room accents. Visit local antique shops, salvage yards, and estate sales to uncover unique vintage decor at affordable prices. Add patina and prove that quality lasts when you give old new life.
Ideas for Repurposing Vintage Finds
- Turn a baby crib or iron headboard/footboard into a statement coffee table.
- Upcycle a ladder, crate, or cart into clever shelving or storage.
- Display your grandmother’s china or crystal in a vintage open hutch.
- Make an old trunk a stylish coffee table or TV stand.
- Use vintage books and games as accent decor.
- Give families’ antique wall art and mirrors a place of honor.
- Incorporate old crates, boxes, and tins