Update Your Living Room on a Budget

Lucas Allen
Lucas Allen

By: Emma Gardiner

Aside from your bedroom, your living room is probably the place in your house that you spend the most time. Whether it’s watching a movie on your sofa or eating lunch, the chances are you’ve spent some time in your living room today. If you’re sick of your space, it can really put a dampener on the precious moments of leisure time you get to spend in it. However a full room redesign can take time and cost money that most of us simply don’t have. That doesn’t mean you can’t give your space a home make over though! Here are a few simple hints and tips for giving your living room an update on a small budget:

Shed a Little Light                        

It’s important to get the right lighting in your home, particularly in your living room. This doesn’t have to be expensive (it can be as simple as moving around a few lamps) but you’ll be amazed at what difference the right lighting can have to your space. Place a floor lamp next to your sofa, creating a snug space to read or work on your laptop. Choose a light bulb with a lower wattage for your main ceiling lamp, so that the light it emits is softer and more muted. These simple changes will make your living room look like it’s had an expensive make over: and they’ll only take a few minutes to do too!

Saving on the Big Stuff

If you need a new coffee table or TV stand then head to your local thrift shop armed with a little imagination and the desire to put in some hard work. Shabby chic is the hottest interior style right now, and is a look that can easily be applied to old second hand furniture. Simply choose pieces that you like the shape of, and that are made of good quality, sturdy wood. Then paint them in your preferred color (white or pastels look best for this trend) and set to work with a wire brush to distress the piece: this brings the ‘shabby’ element. Creating a new piece of furniture in this way will take around 3-5 hours (including drying time) and is a great way to inject color and style to your home.

When it comes to choosing a sofa on a budget avoid the thrift store: think quality over quantity. If you can’t afford a full three piece suite then simply start with a two seat sofa, but in a fabric that will last forever. Buttery soft leather will look great and is a hardy and durable fabric too. Although beautiful leather upholstered seating might seem like a decadent expense, it is a sensible financial investment: it will last through ten years of continual wear and won’t need replacing bi-annually, as cheaper and second-hand sofas often do. Want a sofa that looks fabulous without spending a penny? Then look at how your current sofa is dressed. If your cushions are beginning to feel old and tired then bring them back to life by reupholstering them. You can save money on the fabric needed to make new cushion covers by re-purposing the fabric from your favorite old T shirt or that beautiful floral dress that just doesn’t fit you anymore. Making new cushion covers from old clothes does more than liven up your sofa; it also preserves the memories of those items you used to love wearing and will give you soft furnishings for your sofa that are completely unique to you!

Finishing Touches

Nothing makes a home feel more like a home than having the right finishing touches. A bunch of your favorite flowers in a vase on the coffee table will immediately brighten up any space. Choose inexpensive frames to frame postcards of your favorite pieces of art or photographs that make you smile: this will give your living room instant personality. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of color: if you’re allowed to paint your rooms then paint a feature wall in your favorite bright shade. It will make you smile every time you look at it!

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 Emma Gardiner, Budget Guru, Poor Girl’s Guide Chicago
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