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Starting from scratch with your living room? Or does it just need a quick refresh? These affordable living room decor tips will help you refresh your space while remaining on a low budget.

Before we start talking about budget-friendly fixes, let’s speak to those of you that don’t have any money to put into a living room makeover right now. Provided you’re not completely starting from zero, there are ways to make your living room look good without spending a cent.

Then, I’ll share a few simple ways to revamp your living room that only cost a minimal amount. These are perfect if you’re operating on a fixed spending limit!

1. Shop Your House

The easiest way that requires no budget to get a new look for your living room is to shop existing items already in your home.

Living room couch with throw pillows repurposed from other areas of the home.

Take throw pillows from one room and switch them up with those that already are on your couch. Or, switch the rug from your bedroom and bring that into your living room. These simple changes can completely transform the look of your room with minimal effort and zero budget.

RELATED: 5 Simple Ways to Find Your Personal Decorating Style

2. DIY New Artwork

DIYing your own artwork is not only a great way to have a creative outlet but it can also cost next-to-nothing.

Many of the art pieces in my first home were ones that I created myself. Once you start to think outside of the box and use materials that you might not usually use in art, you’ll be amazed at what you come up with.

Frame with Wallpaper Scrap displayed as a DIY piece of Artwork for the Living Room.

For instance, frame greeting cards, old wallpaper scraps, or pretty wrapping paper. Attaching baskets or placemats to the wall as art is a great idea too. Or, use free printables available online and frame them.

As you can see, the options are endless for very low cost, affordable art.

RELATED: DIY WALL ART IDEAS

3. Rearrange Existing Furniture

Before you buy anything new, try rearranging your existing main furniture pieces for a new look. Rearranging existing furniture pieces can bring new life to your living room almost instantly.

Re-orient your couch, move armchairs to a different space, or move coffee tables at a different angle for a freshened up look.

A living room with a sectional couch, coffee table in the middle, and side table beside couch. A gallery wall of 6 pictures hangs overhead.

4. Deep Clean

One very cost effective way to spruce up a living room space on a budget is by giving it a thorough cleaning. Spending a little time putting things back in their proper place or doing a deep clean can be a game changer.

Jenna Kate holding a basket and putting things back in their proper place in the living room.

Carpets become almost unrecognizable with time, but with a good steam cleaner, you can breathe new life into them for a small amount of money. For example, Lowe’s offers 24 hour steam cleaner rentals for $29.99. 

Wiping down walls and cleaning dirty windows can go a long way as well. Remember…a little elbow grease costs next to nothing but time and commitment. 

If you have some money to put into your living room, but need to remain on a strict budget, the following ideas are sure to help…

5. Invest in Slipcovers

If you need a new couch but can’t afford one right now a great option is to invest in slipcovers. They come in a variety of colors and materials that are much more affordable than purchasing an entirely new piece of furniture.

Couch with a slipcovers featured in a styled living room with decorative throw pillows, a coffee table, and a large mirror hanging overhead.
Slipcovered Soda via Nina Hendrick

(Jenna, maybe you could add a few affiliate links here of your favorite slip covers to beef up this point?)

6. Switch Up Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are my all-time favorite way to change the look of a room instantly. By varying patterns, using different textures, and incorporating modern colors you can add a totally new vibe to the living room in your home.

Blue throw pillows on couch.

RELATED: HOW TO MIX AND MATCH THROW PILLOWS LIKE A PRO

If you are short on storage space, pillow covers can be a great way to swap out pillow styles often. They take up minimal storage space and can be found for low prices.

(optional insert throw pillow cover affiliate link widget)

RELATED: DIY POM POM THROW PILLOW

7. Add Plants

Whether real or faux, plants are a great way to add color and life to your living room. I like to add a variety of heights, textures and colors.

Living room decorated with a couple of different plants. One taller floor plant and one coffee table plant.

This principle of course works for anything that you’re going to be adding to your living room, and it’s a great design tip.

living room with blanket ladder against the wall

A fiddle leaf fig or olive tree in the corner of a room adds height while something spiky like a spider plant on a side table adds interest. If you are short on floor or table space consider adding greenery to your walls or hanging from the ceiling.

Living room console table decor featuring greenery.

8. Paint the Walls

The simplest way to stretch your budget and add a wow factor to your living room is with a new coat of paint. The right living room paint colors have the power to completely transform your room for about $60. Choose a bold color palette to create an accent wall or just refresh your room with a soft shade of greige.

Grey Living Room Walls via Little House on the Corner
Grey Living Room Walls via Little House on the Corner

Of all the changes you can make to your living room, probably the most dramatic will be painting the walls. Whether you go lighter, darker or you just want a fresh coat of paint to clean up the space, a couple of gallons of paint would be a great use of your budget.

I’m always amazed at the power of paint to transform a living area from dull and boring to bright and beautiful, and in as little as a few hours of your time!

RELATED: 10 BEST LIVING ROOM PAINT WALL COLORS 2023

9. Paint the Furniture

Similarly, painting your furniture is another easy way to change the look of your living room.

Painting some furniture a quart of high quality furniture paint, such as Benjamin Moore’s advance line, goes a surprisingly long way. Use it to paint side tables and coffee tables for a fresh and modern look.

The end of a light grey sofa, with a group of blue and white pillows and a white throw, near a blue cabinet in the corner.

RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to Painting Furniture

You can often find free or very inexpensive pieces of furniture on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and at yard sales or flea markets. These are the perfect ones to grab for painting!

10. Give New Life to Thrifted Furniture

Old furniture from a thrift store can be given a brand new life with a little elbow grease. Consider completely painting coffee tables or stripping the existing finish down to raw wood for a beautiful modern look.

A wooden dresser that was thrifted, stripped and bleached for a new updated look.
How to Strip & Bleach Furniture via The Coastal Oak

My friend Amy, from the Coastal Oak, does an amazing job of giving thrifted pieces a new lease on life. You never know that these pieces started out ugly because they look so high end when she’s finished with them.

11. Redo Table Lamps

You don’t need to spend a fortune on table lamps to get an expensive look. Shop in thrift stores for lamps that have a nice shape or find one in your home that needs a facelift.

Redone table Lamp on a side table.
Lamp Base and Lamp Shade Makeover via Sustain My Craft Habit

Especially if you’re working in small spaces, a lamp upgrade is a great option to change up the room without taking up a ton of extra square footage. Don’t worry about the color or the lampshade. New lampshades are affordable and you can pick those up at Home Goods or Target.

Purchase a five dollar can of spray paint at your local hardware store to give your lamp base a whole new look. Finish by attaching the updated lampshade and you’ll have an unrecognizable new piece in no time.

12. Buy a New Rug

Look on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for homeowners selling rugs. These are great places to find beautiful, minimally used rugs.

Alternatively, you can buy brand new from online retailers like Rugs USA who regularly have great sales where you can score beautiful rugs for a reasonable price.

A living room with a couch and a rug

By adding a rug to your living room, you’ll instantly add coziness, warmth and texture to the space. The color that you choose should work well with the throw pillows and other decorative items in the room.

If you’re new to decorating and you’re not entirely sure of your decorating style yet, choose a rug in a neutral color that will work with whatever color scheme you have for years to come.

13. Revive your Fireplace

Give your fireplace a bit of attention to instantly brighten up your living room. You could do this by building a fireplace surround or painting your brick fireplace. In addition, simply cleaning and adding a bit of decor will make a huge difference as well.

Polished fireplace and mantel.

Tidy up the mantel space and if necessary, organize any decor sitting on the hearth. If you aren’t sure what looks best, try placing just one or two pieces of decor such as a pair of large floor lanterns or a couple baskets for storing.

14. Add a Focal Point

Maybe you can’t afford to do much right now, but you can start on one thing to rejuvenate your living room! The best way to add a focal point is to choose an element to incorporate such as a fun accent wall, an eye-catching piece of wall art, a gallery wall, or a unique piece of furniture.

Even if you can’t afford a new couch or other major piece of furniture, creating the focus around a coffee table might be a more budget-friendly remedy. There are plenty of coffee table ideas to help inspire you!

Focal Point Living Room Wall with Dark Blue Wallpaper as the accent.
DIY Wallpaper Accent Wall via Hand Treated Home

I love how Angela turned this ordinary wall into a gorgeous accent wall using a stunning floral wallpaper. She goes to show that you don’t have to be a professional interior designer to achieve a picture perfect home!

15. Add a Mirror

Keep checking thrift stores, Marketplace, and Craigslist for living room mirrors. Once you find one, it will either be perfect as is or need a bit of cleaning. Either way, this can be well worth the hunt if you wait for one with reasonable prices.

Thrifted Mirror hanging over Mantel in a Living. Room
Thrifted Mirror via Redhead can Decorate

Julie from Redhead Can Decorate sourced this mirror at a thrift store. It found the perfect home over her mantel! Mirrors tend to bring in more natural light and the reflection will add a new dimension to your living space.

Final Thoughts

With careful planning and consideration, even those with a small budget can yield a beautiful living room. These living room ideas will work wonders alone or paired together. Use as many or as little of them as you’d like!

Using basic design principles, a bit of thrifting, a little elbow grease and some creativity, you too can have a living room that’s magazine worthy.

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