Living room furniture can be pricey, with sofas and couches costing upwards of $1,000. But you can switch up the look of your room without having to replace the staple pieces.
GOBankingRates spoke to interior designer pros to get their tips for upgrading your living room on a budget. Here’s how to give your space a whole new feel without breaking the bank.
Add or Switch Out Your Area Rug
You can find affordable rugs on sites like Wayfair and Overstock, and these pieces can make a big impact.
“A new area rug can change the entire look of your living room,” said Lisa Modica, interior designer and owner of Cherry Tree Interior Design. “It’s a great way to anchor a new color scheme or just change the style of the room. Just be sure to get a rug that is large enough for the room — you should be able to fit at least the front legs of the furniture in your seating arrangement on it.”
Modica said that you can find 9’x13′ rugs for $200 to $300 and 10’x15′ rugs for $300 to $400.
“You can sometimes find great sales and knock $50 to $100 off that price,” she said. “If your floor is in not-great shape, this will have a huge impact on your room.”
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Change Out Your Throw Pillows
“Throw pillows are magical,” Modica said. “Grab some in a few colors and patterns that match your color palette in your room, fluff them on your sofas and chairs, and you’re set.”
Modica recommends six pillows minimum for sofas, four on loveseats and one or two on chairs.
“A well-placed throw blanket tossed across the arm of a chair or sofa also looks great — and is useful too!” she added. “If your room is too blah or matchy-matchy, this is an easy way to give it more personality. I love to shop HomeGoods for budget pillows and throws, where I can get great pillows for $20 to $30 each and blankets for $25 to $35.”
Add an Accent Wall
Adding wallpaper can easily transform the whole feel of your living room.
“Wallpaper is back in and makes a great accent wall,” Modica said. “Peel-and-stick wallpaper is perfect for this, especially if you live in a rental. This has a huge impact on any room, but it’s best for rooms that need an extra dramatic change. Wallpaper prices vary widely, but you can get good peel-and-stick for about $1.50 to $3 per square foot from Home Depot.”
You can transform the look of your couches without having to spend the money to replace them by ordering custom slipcovers. Modica recommends the brand Bemz, which carries slipcovers especially made to cover IKEA furniture.
“A three-seater sofa cover would cost anywhere from $279 to $500, depending on the fabric,” she said. “You can also get different legs for IKEA furniture at the online store Pretty Pegs if you want a smaller change or want to add to your slipcover. Those are inexpensive — usually around $10 to $25 per leg.”
Change Out the Light Fixtures
“New light fixtures are great ways to change your room look,” Modica said. “If you have boring light fixtures or not enough light (a very common problem), new and more lighting will make your room feel so much better.”
For high ceilings, Modica recommends chandeliers or pendant lights.
“Chandeliers and pendant lights are dramatic,” she said. “If you want a pendant but don’t have the hardwiring for them, you can find ones that plug in. Just pick up some cord covering at Amazon for $20 or so.”
“Floor lamps in corners that are dark or need task lighting — such as near chairs where people sit — will help your entire room feel brighter — literally,” Modica continued. “New lights can range from $20 to $150, depending on the size of the light. I love IKEA and Wayfair for budget-priced lighting.”
Give It a Fresh Coat of Paint
“A fresh coat of paint can transform a room from dull to bright,” said Marco Bizzley, certified interior designer with HouseGrail.
The cost varies by how large your room is, the type of paint you use and how many gallons you need, but Bizzley said this project can usually be done for a few hundred dollars.
Add New Art and Decorative Items
“Art and accessories can be sourced from anywhere — from Target to high-end boutiques — to fit your budget and style,” said Allison Smith of Allison Smith Design.
Shop For Thrifted Furniture
If you do want to replace some of the larger furniture items in the room, buying used or thrifted pieces can help you stick to your budget.
“When you’re shopping for used furniture, there are a few things to keep in mind,” said Dan Wiener, founder of Homedude. “First, make sure the furniture is in good condition. Second, make sure the furniture is the right size for your room. Third, make sure the price is right. And fourth, make sure the style of the furniture matches your home décor. Often, gently used furniture can be found at a fraction of the price of new furniture.”
Bring In Some Greenery
Adding houseplants or flowers to your living room can instantly elevate it.
“Plants are an inexpensive way to upgrade your living spaces,” said Stefan Bucur, founder of The Rhythm of the Home. “They add fresh greenery and a lively presence.”
Be sure to purchase some stylish planter pots, too.
“Upgrade the pots and stands from the store plastic container,” Bucur said.
Declutter and Organize
“A cluttered area always looks less impressive than an organized area,” Bucur said. “Having designated storage for things will help your home look more put together. Baskets, fabric bins and wooden chests can be great, inexpensive solutions for storage.”
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