30 Living Room Design Ideas for Any Budget

Whether your budget is small change or big bills, these 30 designer tips will help you boost your living room's style.

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April 22, 2020

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Rearrange the Furniture

For the least expensive update of all, just work with what you've got. A new furniture arrangement will do wonders in updating your living room's look and functionality. Grab a friend and start moving pieces around until you find an arrangement that's ideal for conversing or watching movies. Don't forget to "shop" other rooms for pieces that might be just right for your new living room.

Create Eye-Catching Vignettes

Try this simple update without spending a dime. Round up like-colored accessories to create a pleasing vignette on your coffee or console table. Grouping similar accessories together makes them feel like a collection and yields a bigger design impact.

Declutter Your Bookcases

Built-in bookshelves in a deep shade of gray make a bold statement in this contemporary living room. Blue accessories stand out and add a punch of personality, along with rows of colorful books.

See More Photos: 20 Mantel and Bookshelf Decorating Tips

Light It Up

Consider adding new light fixtures to brighten up your living space. Whether a glamorous chandelier or simple recessed lights, the right lighting is key to showing off a beautiful design. Here, designer Beth Bourque hangs a nickel light fixture beside the sofa for a much needed reading light.

Perfect Your Palette

Narrow down your color scheme. Take inventory of your living room, determine your three favorite shades, then assemble. By choosing a simpler palette, the design is more dynamic. After you've assembled the space, see if the room needs a few more accessories to highlight your new scheme. Go shopping, but remember to buy only what you truly love.

See More Photos: 40 Living Room Color Palettes You've Never Tried

Add Color With Art

Make a colorful splash with a gallery wall. Artwork can be expensive, but if you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, try creating your own gallery wall. Here a mix of abstract prints in a variety of blue hues creates this impressive display.

See More Photos: How To Create an Art Gallery Wall

Bring In Greenery

Houseplants not only add life to your decor, but they also deliver a lot of health benefits. They help rid the air of common toxins, regulate the humidity in your living spaces and have been known to improve your mood, increase productivity and reduce stress levels.

See More Photos: 23 Spaces That Prove Fiddle-Leaf Figs Work for Any Style

Swap Out Pillows

Get a lot of bang for your buck by changing out your throw pillows. Same room, same sofa, but now with a brand new look. Mix pillows in a variety of hues and prints to create visual interest and texture.

Get Ready to Party

Bring a glam element into your living room with a sophisticated bar cart. Not only does it add style to the space, but it's also perfect for entertaining. Stock the cart with your favorite spirits, glassware and mixers. Add a vase of fresh flowers and you'll be ready to party at a moment's notice.

See More Photos: Bar Cart Essentials for Every Style

Update Worn-Out Furniture

If a piece of furniture, like a coffee or end table, has seen better days, transform it with a fresh coat of paint or stain. A high-gloss paint treatment is a great choice for a contemporary space, or try a distressed treatment for a more rustic look.

See More Photos: Operation Fixer-Upper

Change the Doors

If floor space is an issue, consider switching out a traditional swinging door for a sliding barn door. Not only does a barn door save space, its rustic look adds a fun architectural element to even the most builder-basic living rooms.

See More Photos: Charming Barn Door Design Ideas

Create Multiple Seating Areas

Design a living space that flows with several spots for group gatherings. This lengthy living room lends itself to two separate seating areas: one for watching TV and another for playing games or chatting. You can create a similar effect in a smaller room by thinking about where guests can pair off for cozy conversations.

Start From the Ground Up

Change out what's underfoot. Area rugs can be a large investment, but with some smart shopping, you can transform the look of your living room a great deal.

Brighten Up With a Small Update

An easy way to add a designer touch to your living room is a new pair of lamps. These sculptural pieces instantly catch your eye and bring a touch of glamour.

Rejuvenate Your Fireplace

Refresh tired brick with a new coat of paint. Some reddish or orange brick colors can make the entire living space look dated. Shades of gray, black or cream are striking colors that will transform your fireplace, and of course, a bright white never goes out of style.

Elongate Your Room

Small spaces need all the help they can get to lengthen and stretch their inches. Hang curtains close the ceiling to extend the height of your room visually, and if necessary, hang wider than the window or doors to enhance the width of the room as well. In this narrow living space, the curtains are hung just at the edge of the sliding glass doors to create definition and expand the space.

From: Bri Moysa

Find a Focal Piece

Give your living room the attention it deserves by incorporating a piece of art, tile or color you particularly enjoy. The eye-catching fireplace surround and woven basket wall give this living space a great focal point.

See More Photos: Trendy Tile: The Black & White Tile Designers Are Loving

Embrace Your Surroundings

Don't fight the advantages your living space already offers. This living room boasts gorgeous ocean views with a feature wall tiled in a shimmering Mediterranean blue, connecting to the sparkling water outside.

Add a Mirror

Simple yet effective, a mirror adds depth and light to any living room. The large round mirror in this space balances and brightens the rustic brick fireplace and chunky wooden mantel. If you're struggling with what artwork or accessories to place over the mantel, an oversized mirror takes the guesswork out of decorating — standing on its own or paired easily with a multitude of decor styles.

Create a Custom Look

Take your living room to the next level with a custom color. Here, designer Lucy Penfield added a mustard yellow sofa to brighten up this living space. White walls and trim allow this sofa to be the star of the show.

Get Wordy

Personalize your living room with a fun turn of phrase. Shades of blue in this open-concept living room work as a blank canvas for the room's cheeky neon sign.

Play With Patterns

Punch up your room's style with a mix of patterns. This rustic-meets-bohemian living room pairs southwestern-style textiles in shades of orange, pink and red.

From: BOXHILL

Freshen Up the Furniture

Revive your living room by reupholstering a tired piece (or two) of furniture. Hiring a pro can get pricey; consider slipcovers as a money-saving solution. In this sunny living room by designer Judith Balis, a pair of low wingbacks covered in turquoise fabric adds a cheery pop of color.

See More Photos: Slipcovers for Sofas, Chairs, Ottomans and More

Treat Your Walls

Wallpaper can be subtle or bold, like the fantastic lip print seen here. Patterned wall panels add tactile appeal to this living space, making the room feel more inviting. The options are endless when it comes to wallpaper or wall coverings.

See More Photos: 30 Wallpaper Designs for Every Room of the House

Paint It White

Give a tired or dark living room, a bright and airy facelift by painting the walls white. In this shabby chic living room, the paneled walls are painted white giving the space a cloud-like look. Curvy, sophisticated furniture paired with a glamorous chandelier add feminine charm.

Or Go Uber Dark

A new coat of white paint is completely transformative, but heading to the opposite end of the color spectrum can have the same effect. Deep blue walls turn this living room into an inviting and cozy spot to relax and watch a movie.

Add a Sense of Play

For a high-end budget, look for a furniture piece that truly stands out. This living space features a hanging egg chair suspended from the ceiling, adding an element of fun and whimsy.

See More Photos: 20 Reasons Why You Need a Wicker Pod Chair

Consider Your Storage Needs

Boost the storage in your living room with built-ins. Whether you decide on floor-to-ceiling bookcases or cabinets on the bottom, like this living room, extra storage is always a win. These lower cabinets are ideal for storing media components and other items you want to keep hidden, and shelves give you a spot to display your favorite accessories.

See More Photos: 20 Beautiful Built-Ins

Incorporate an Eye-Catching Piece

Choosing neutrals for your big living room furniture pieces is money-smart, because you know they won't go out of style quickly. Another perk: you'll be able to change out your decor for different looks without having to worry about a big investment piece going to waste. Incorporate one colorful statement piece, such as this vibrant bench upholstered in whimsical cloud-and-island fabric, to give your room added personality.

Start From Scratch

If your budget allows, go for a complete makeover. Start with a neutral base — selecting all your permanent pieces, such as sofas, chairs and tables, in go-with-anything neutral shades. Then add in color and style with pillows, framed artwork and accessories. Here, designer Joel Snayd uses a gray-and-white color palette to set the tone for this contemporary living room. He brings in the glam with all the pieces that can be switched out later, like the floral-printed stools, colorful bolster pillows and an eclectic mix of accessories.