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How to update your living room on a budget

These fast and fun living room ideas deliver maximum creative bang for your buck

How to update your living room on a budget

Brought to you by Houzz

As one of the key communal rooms in the house, the living room deserves to look its best. After all, it’s somewhere you and your family and friends are likely to hang out. But how can you freshen up your living space without hammering your bank account? Simple! Just rethink your displays, work in some colour and spend time tidying and rationalising your possessions. With a fresh eye and a splash of imagination, your living room can be quickly and cheaply transformed.


Group simple artwork

Inexpensive frames used with simple artwork, pages of magazines or kids’ sketches look impressive when grouped together. No one image stands out; rather, it’s the arrangement of frames in different shapes and sizes that creates overall impact.

North London Flat

Hang vintage mirrors

Mirrors make a great alternative to artwork and, when hung in groups, as here, reflect the opposite wall and help break up a dark paint shade. Vintage mirrors, especially from the 1930s and 1940s, are abundant and inexpensive, too.

Find a range of mirrors online

Abigail Ahern interiors

Paint existing furniture

Make a simple piece of existing living room furniture suddenly stand out and demand to be enjoyed by painting it in a fresh new shade. In a neutral scheme, a few black pieces lend gravitas, or if your living space is already moodily grey, give it a shot of fun and spice with a coffee table painted in contrasting hot pink or neon yellow.

Living Room with Ercol Love Seat

Organise your objects

Sometimes, updating your living space can be as simple as tidying and reorganising what you already own. These shelves demonstrate how neatly arranged magazines and a few objects confined to a couple of shelves make an attractive wall, without looking messy. Try arranging your books according to spine colour and limit the number of objects you have on display at any time, for a crisp, more considered look.

North London Flat

Personalise with photos

Snaps of your family, holidays and pets instantly add personality to your living space. No need to frame them, either. The most inexpensive and immediate way to display photos is to peg them directly to a length of string.

The House Gardener

Make more of house plants

The humble house plant and unassuming cactus can become suddenly stylish when grouped, isolated in bell jars or cloches, or teamed with small bottles, vases and jars. Then just arrange them in a fireplace or on a coffee table as an original, organic display.

East London Flat

Go wild with wacky displays

Who says pictures have to hang on your living room walls? Here, dolls have been strung up to make a kooky wall display. If your tastes are less Barbie-ish, consider instead hanging plates, old racks or printing drawers, bus blinds, coasters, metal advertising signs or textiles.

Decorate your walls with plates and trays

Modern Vintage by Emily Chalmers

Have fun with lamps

Mismatch your lamps and bases for a fun lighting update. This colourful vintage base is topped off with a simple two-tier shade, which might look rather plain on a more conventional base. The insect brooch, pinned to the shade, adds another shot of individual style.

Check out more unusual table lamps

Barcelona Loft

Create a patchwork feature wall

Forget feature walls painted in one shade or hung with a single wallpaper and go for something more creative and colourful. Use wallpaper offcuts to create a patchwork effect across a wall by pasting them up in an overlapping and random pattern.

Joanna Simmons, Houzz Contributor


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