Decorating a living room on a budget
Quick budget makeover tips
Clear away any clutter in your living room to make the most of your space and find out how to make cash in the process.
- For more design inspiration, take a look at our modern living rooms on a budget .
- Before you go out and buy new furniture, take a look at our up-cycling ideas and give existing pieces a makeover.
- Read more advice on making your money go further, with our living room design on a budget advice.
1. Decorate living room walls
Whether you want to completely change the colour of your room or add a feature wall, paint is a cheap and easy solution. Use a light, warm tone to open up your space. If you want to make low ceilings appear higher, try painting them a stark white, or use a lighter shade on the walls. There are all sorts of design tricks with colour you can use to make the most of your lounge. Before you get your paint brushes out, make sure you read our article on how to choose a living room colour scheme.
To create a feature wall, choose a plain wall and be bold with colours, wallpaper or, if you’re handy with a paintbrush, design your own mural. If you’re considering either of these options, visit our feature wall section for loads of inspiration advice.
2. Consider wall stickers
You can add personality to any room with wall stickers. Choose big, bold designs, use them to accentuate features such as a fireplace, or create borders for artwork or mirrors. Wall stickers are a great decorating option, as they are affordable, easy to apply – and easy to take down if you change your mind. Take a look at our wall stickers gallery to see how you could make them work in your living room design scheme.
3. Use mirrors to increase light
Mirrors can transform a small, dark room into a space that feels lighter, bigger and more open. Hang mirrors opposite windows to reflect more light into your room, or place them behind accessories such as candles or flowers to enhance their effect. Read our article how to increase natural light in your home for more advice.
Artwork brings colour and sets the mood of a room, so hang some new paintings or prints to change the tone of your living space. You can also experiment with different frames to set off your art.
5. Update your sofa with a sofa cover
Give your sofa a new lease on life with a cover or throw. It's cheaper than buying a new sofa, or reupholstering your old one, and there are a number of sizes, colours and fabrics available. Custom-made sofa covers can be expensive but, if you’re handy with a sewing machine you may consider making your own, take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to make your own loose sofa cover to find out how.
6. Buy flowers
Get back to nature with fresh flowers that brighten up the room and add natural, fresh fragrances. Flowers are definitely one of the easiest, quickest and most cost effective ways of adding colour and character to your living room. For advice on how to you can use flowers to instantly transform you living, take a look at our flower arranging ideas. Or, you could opt for very realistic silk flowers if you want to enjoy year-round blooms.
7. Add character with lighting
Table and floor-standing lamps bring character and style to a room. You can easily customise your existing lampshades with buttons, lace or fringing from a haberdashery, or for added colour fit a painted light bulb into one of your table lamps. For a budget conscious, unique option why not update an old lamp? Visit our craft section for loads of ideas – including how to create a feather lamp shade , a sequin lamp shade, wood veneer lamp and even spray painting an old lamp shade. To create a more relaxed mood in your room, fit dimmers to your ceiling lights or experiment with other forms of mood lighting.
8. Replace curtains or blinds
Over time curtains can fade, particularly in rooms that get a lot of sunlight. It’s easy to replace worn, dated or faded curtains without paying a fortune and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to a room. You can make eyelet curtains in no time and for less than £40. Alternatively, you could make yourself some bespoke Roman blinds for a similar price by following our guide.
9. Hide worn carpet with a bright rug
Hide any worn flooring or threadbare patches on your carpet and create a welcoming, cosy environment simply by throwing a rug down. Choose vibrant colours or bold patterns to make it the focal point in the room, or neutral tones to fit in with your existing colour scheme. Much cheaper - and quicker - than replacing your flooring!
10. Add the finishing touches
Add floating shelves to your living room to show off your books and collectables. Shelves aren't expensive and not only will they prevent clutter by providing storage space, but they are great for creating a focal display. Just make sure you get them straight! For more design inspiration, see our 12 of the best shelving ideas . Don’t forget the final, fun bit. Accessories like vases, cushions, clocks and pictures are the cheapest way to refresh a room and add personality. You can use these elements to highlight a colour or theme from the décor you’ve chosen and enhance it. For lots more ideas see our gallery on updating a living room with accessories.