Steal This Look: Budget-Savvy Living Room Fixes

Get a designer look without busting your budget; create a stunning living room by incorporating key designer tricks and making the most of the furniture and accessories you already own.

  • Wow With Wallpaper

    On the verge of disappearing from the design scene a decade ago, wallpaper has staged a dramatic comeback and is once again a go-to for many interior designers. Gone are the tiny floral patterns we all remember so well. Today's wallpapers are bigger, bolder and feature timeless patterns like this oversized damask by Thibaut.

  • Pick a Palette

    A designer look is easy to achieve if you keep this one caveat in mind: Stick with three main colors. Designer Sarah Richardson created this sleek midcentury modern look by layering shades of gray, yellow and white. Accented with rich wood tones, this living room is polished and perfectly pulled together.

  • Trick the Eye

    Visually elongate windows by hanging draperies high on the wall, right under crown molding, to create a long visual line the eye follows up, giving the impression the ceiling is much higher. An oversized wallpaper pattern works a similar magic, visually stretching walls to make a small room feel more spacious. Image courtesy of Thibaut

  • Create Drama

    Bold patterns add visual interest but too much of a good thing can be, well, too much of a good thing. Strike a balance by pairing just one bold pattern, like the rug, with complementary smaller patterns, like the drapes and pillows. Keep all the patterns in the same color family for a look that's dramatic but not over-the-top. Design by Judith Balis

  • Go Mad for Mod

    Update your living room with just one modern piece for a hip look that's oh-so-current. Shop estate sales, thrift stores and online sites, like eBay and craigslist, for the real McCoy. Reproductions are also easy to find at mass retailers like Ikea, West Elm and CB2. Design by Sarah Richardson

  • Try Your Green Thumb

    Succulents are nearly indestructible and come in a wide range of leaf shapes, sizes and colors. Combined together, they create living arrangements that are both beautiful and beneficial — succulents are among the hardest-working plants when it comes to purifying the air in your home. Because they are essentially desert plants, succulents prefer sandy soil with adequate drainage; their root system is shallow so a low bowl or pot is ideal. Image courtesy of the Phillips Collection

  • Turquoise Dresser and Mirror

    Start Your Rollers

    Revive an old piece of furniture with a fresh coat of paint. Try a look-at-me shade, like turquoise, citrus yellow, lacquer red or apple green to draw attention to a vintage piece's lines. Design by Rate My Space user fleamarkettrixie

  • White Slipcover

    Get Cozy With Slipcovers

    Give sturdy upholstered furniture new life and unify disparate patterns and styles with slipcovers. This relaxed cottage look continues to gain in popularity because the covers can be removed for washing so they'll always look brand new. Design by Marian Parsons

  • Embrace Color

    Designer Alisha Gwen pops for pure color in this cheery living room. Oversized lime green wingback chairs set a whimsical tone while punches of pink throughout give the room a romantic feel. White lacquered frames, rather than traditional stained wood, give the chairs a contemporary look.

  • It's Sew Easy

    Pile On the Pillows

    Pillows are an easy way to add a pop of color, pattern or texture to a living room. Shop stores like Homegoods or Target for inexpensive ready-made options or, with just basic sewing skills, you can whip up your own. Design by Janell Beals

  • Leaf Arrangement

    Bring the Outdoors In

    Instead of buying flowers, snip a few branches to add color and a natural touch to your living room. This designer trick works any time of the year: Bare winter branches in a tall urn add a sculptural feel while just-budding spring branches will continue to bloom when brought indoors and placed in water. Design by Rate My Space user patrick

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