We’re on quite a small budget to decorate our new extension (as building it was so costly!), so how can we make our living room feel expensive?
You can make your living room look expensive on a budget by decluttering and having a neutral color centerpiece sofa and a minimal design aesthetic. Then as you can afford more furniture, invest in quality pieces one at a time until your room is complete, such as feature artwork or antiques.
Let’s dig down into the topic of budget living room decorating in more detail, and discover how you can get the wow factor without much money…
How Do You Decorate Your Living Room to Make It Look Expensive?
We’ve gathered some surprisingly affordable ways to make your living room look expensive without too much expense.
The first pro tip is to lose the clutter. Clutter doesn’t project elegance. Experts suggest starting over with your furniture, pillows, and plants. Take everything out. If you have a rug, make sure it’s a large one and put it in the middle of the space. If your rug is on the small side, leave it out, because small rugs tend to make spaces smaller.
Then, bring back the furniture one piece at a time. For fresh ideas on furniture placement, do some research. Here’s one from The Spruce to get you started. Don’t bring back pieces that aren’t necessary and bring back only classy ones.
If you have a small budget, consider the next pro tip: add an antique. If you don’t have any elder relatives to ask, consider hitting a local antique mall, thrift store, or consignment store. Often, these stores are great places to acquire quality pieces that just need a little TLC.
Another pro tip is to look hard at your lighting. Lighting can be an expense but it can make a world of difference to a room. Consider layering your lighting – use a variety of lights to create depth. Consider a classy overhead fixture, can lights, and a contrasting table or floor lamp. Install dimmer switches.
Add texture and depth to your room with pillows with texture. Consider knobby, loopy, furry, shiny, or embroidered fabric.
Tiny budget? Pillows don’t need much fabric. Check out your local fabric store for remnants of waffle cloth, wool, felt, tweed, chenille, Jacquard, or slubbed silk. If you don’t have a sewing machine, find a local tailor.
If you have curtains, make sure they are full length.
Another pro tip is to have one large, showstopping piece of art. If you don’t have one already, consider second-hand stores – then add a new frame.
Moldings on the ceiling or on the walls are always classy. If you have some budget, consider replacing skinny baseboards with tall ones. Then, when you repaint, make the baseboards and window trim the same color as the walls.
For the pièce de résistance, add some cut flowers in a beautiful vase.
How Do You Furnish Your Living Room to Make It Look Expensive?
Start with the piece of furniture that all the other furniture revolves around – the couch.
Many design experts say that, for an elegant and expensive-looking living room, stick with a neutral-colored sofa. If you have a neutral sofa, you can change the mood with accent pillows.
Add two side chairs. Make sure they are comfortable for guests. You can stick with the neutral color if you like it, but add some texture with the chair fabric or with pillows.
Here’s a video with design hacks for your home, on a budget.
How Can I Decorate My Living Room Without Spending Money?
Fresh cut flowers and plants from the store can be expensive, so try some from your garden. In the spring, cut blooming stems from bushes or trees. In the summer, cut flowers from your garden. In the fall, bring in some beautiful fall colors with tree and bush branches.
Use leftover paint to change the color of a shelf, a frame, or even a piece of furniture. Use spare spray paint to change the color of a lamp base or the knobs and pulls of a cabinet.
Go “shopping” around your own house. Exchange the family room pillows with ones from the living room or bedroom. Drag the family room rug into the living room. Consider swapping around the furniture.
Check out websites for free stuff. Nextdoor, Facebook, and Craigslist all have free items.
If you need a wow piece of art, consider downloading a free image. Choose a photo or art piece, then print it for cheap at Walmart, Costco, or Walgreens. Measure a frame you already own and print the art to fit it.
How Do I Add Elegance & Class to My Living Room?
Most experts agree that, to give your living room more elegance and class, stick with a neutral color palette for big furniture and walls, then add two more colors for accent.
If you are in the market for a new sofa, consider a timelessly classy color like beige, off-white, tan, or light brown. Experts recommend spending the biggest chunk of your budget on a well-made, comfortable and neutral sofa that will last a long time.
Then, paint your walls a shade lighter than the couch. Add full-length curtains in the same color family as the walls. Make sure they start at the ceiling and go all the way to the floor or actually pool on the floor.
How Can I Design a Living Room Room Without Buying Anything?
Designing rooms is easy. You can design a room the old-fashioned way – with paper and pencil. Or, you can use one of the many free design websites.
For both design methods, you’ll have to measure everything. Measure the room, your furniture, and your rug. Locate focal points like fireplaces. Note where doors are and how they open. Measure windows and locate them on the walls.
Then, use paper or a website to sketch out your room. Add in your furniture. Don’t forget to “shop” in all the rooms of your house for some fresh ideas.
Here’s a website with recommendations and links to free room designer tools.
How Can I Make My Living Room Look Modern on a Budget?
The modern look is all about clean lines and neutral colors. Avoid anything fussy or ornate.
First, pick a neutral paint for your walls. Make the trim color match the walls. Then, visit thrift stores for a large, modern piece like a bookshelf.
If it needs some TLC, refinish the bookcase with leftover paint, then fill it with colorful glasswork, books, and plants.
How Do I Make My Living Room Cozy on a Budget?
For most people, cozy is fuzzy, comfortable, scented, warm, and colorful.
The best pro tip for warming up a room is to switch to warm wall colors. Warm colors are in the red, yellow and orange family. Or, if you can’t paint your walls, consider adding warm-colored pillows, throws or artwork.
Add a fake fur throw or pillow, then add a pouf. Poufs are in. You can use them for emergency seating, to set your book on, or to put your feet up.
LED bulbs have been game-changers for electricity bills (and our planet). Go cozy with a dimmer for your LED lights. You’ll love the mood change.
Then, add candles. Candles can not only add a warm, flickering light but also a cozy scent of spices, fruit, or essential oils.
How Do You Make a Small Living Room Look Bigger?
There are several time-honored tricks to make a small living room look bigger. Paint, lights, mirrors, sheer curtains, rugs, and clearing out clutter will all help your small living room look bigger.
Investing in a light-colored paint for both the walls and the ceiling will help. Light colors help reflect all the available light. If you want the room to be cozy as well, there are lots of warm, creamy whites to choose from.
Make sure your room is lit well from overhead fixtures, swag fixtures, can lights, floor lamps, table lamps, or windows. Then, add mirrors. Mirrors help reflect light into dark corners and will add the illusion of more space.
Finally, take a hard look at all the stuff in your living room and consider re-homing some of it to another room (or the Goodwill). Try to empty all but three items on every horizontal surface.
So it turns out making a living room look fantastic needn’t be expensive, which is great news for us with our home renovations – and also for you too if you’re planning to redecorate.
It’s actually quite amazing what you can do with paint and whitespace, combined with just a few high-quality feature pieces of furniture.
As with all things effortlessly stylish, it seems that less is more after all. 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry James started Castle of Mine to bring you the best articles on home improvement, based on his years of experience in homemaking projects. Read more >