40 Living Room DIYs to Tackle This Weekend

Could your living room's style use a bit of a boost? We've got you covered with easy project ideas sure to freshen up your favorite hangout in a weekend or less.

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May 20, 2020

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Helen Norman (produced by Elizabeth Demos)

Photo By: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

©Zach DeSart

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Kim Cornelison Photography Inc.

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Corral Clutter With a Tray

Trays are indeed handy-dandy things — equally useful for turning assorted coffee table tchotchkes into a vignette as they are for serving cocktails when guests arrive. Purchase or craft your own decorative tray and use it in the living room to corral coffee table necessities or in the bathroom to stylishly store toiletries.

Get the How-To: How to Craft a Trendy Fabric-Covered Tray

Upcycle an Old Calendar

Calendars, especially vintage versions, are often full of beautiful images. A collection of budget-friendly frames and stock white mats make it easy to turn an old calendar into a colorful gallery wall. Our friends at HGTV Magazine share four more ways to dress up your home with items you already have on hand, below.

See More Photos: 5 Ways to Style Your Home With Items You Already Have

Stitch Up a Cozy Pet Bed

Make a removable, washable cover for your furbaby’s bed that's on-trend with charming, farmhouse style. This simple sewing project will transform a bed your pet loves into one you love as well.

Get the How-To: Pet Projects: Make a DIY Dog Bed

Or, Turn Your Pets Into Art

Calling all dog moms and dads! Immortalize your pup's super cuteness with an easy-to-craft Victorian-style silhouette. Start with a pic from your phone, then follow our easy steps, below.

Get the How-To: DIY Dog Silhouette Wall Art

(Finally!) Hang Those Draperies

Hanging curtain rods can be a pain. You spend lots of time measuring and marking the brackets’ placement, yet the end result might still be off. We have the solution! Our DIY template, below, makes hanging drapery hardware straightforward and stress-free.

Learn More: How to Make Hanging a Curtain Rod a Breeze

Fake the Look of Built-Ins

FYI: #shelfies are a thing. That's right, people everywhere are styling their bookshelf, then proudly posting photos for the world to see. The key to a well-styled bookshelf is to start with an interesting backdrop, like wallpaper or a kicky paint color, then layer on more color and pattern with assorted books or magazines and mix in a few of your favorite tchotchkes. To take your bookshelf to the next level on the cheap, turn prefab cabinets into a custom built-in.

Get the How-To: Fake a Built-In With Prefab Cabinets and Bookcases

Or, DIY Some Slim Shelves

Perfect in a small space, picture ledges offer up maximum display options in a shallow footprint — but they can be pricey when purchasing from a store. Save money and make them yourself using a few basic supplies.

Get the How-To: How to Make Your Own Picture-Perfect Photo Ledge

Soften the Stairs

This DIY stair runner not only looks great, it also makes slippery wooden stairs safer by providing a bit of padding and a non-slip surface. Using inexpensive woven table runners, it's a budget-friendly fix, to boot.

Dress Up Walls With Wainscoting

Wainscoting is a classic way to add architectural interest to any room. Consisting of horizontal rails and vertical stiles, this relatively easy woodworking project is based on a design found in historic homes and is sure to lend old-home charm to builder-basic new spaces.

Get the How-To: How to Install Timeless Rail-and-Stile Wainscoting

Frame Fun Finds

Skip mass-produced printed posters and instead get creative when framing items to use as art. This living room, from HGTV Magazine, features an eye-catching portion of a ship's sail that once raced in the America's Cup.

See More Photos: Cool, Calm, and Collected Decorating

Make a Magnetic Wall Map

Chart your globe-trotting adventures or highlight your family's ancestry with this easy-to-craft wall map.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Magnetic Wall Map

Focus on the Floors

Dress up worn hardwood, concrete or even vinyl floors with a few coats of primer and durable floor paint. Tape off wide stripes with painter's tape for a playful look.

Get the How-To: Add Pizzazz to Plain Hardwood Floors With Paint

Give New Life to Old Rugs

Hard to believe but this single, vintage Oriental rug is actually three thrifted rugs laid side-by-side. To prevent them from shifting, the homeowner used double-sided carpet tape to attach the trio to a floor-protecting carpet pad. Learn more about Oriental rugs and why buying vintage is often best, below.

See More Photos: Oriental Rugs 101

Style Your Sips

Even if happy hour isn't your thing, you've probably noticed that home bars and cocktail culture have become the toast of the design world. Really, it's no wonder — cocktails are delicious, plus bar necessities are just so stylish. Short on space? Partake in the trend by whipping up a fold-away pallet bar with our tutorial, below. Or, if you're thirsty, wet your whistle with one of our easy cocktail recipes.

Get the How-To: Build a Hanging Outdoor Bar

Repurpose Old Wood Scraps

Salvaged wood and architectural remnants are prime candidates to be repurposed as furniture. In the case of this table, sections of an old rope bed and a beadboard door were upcycled into a functional and one-of-a-kind coffee table.

Get the How-To: How to Make an Upcycled Coffee Table

DIY the Luxe Look of Cement Tile

Cement tile is taking the design world by storm but the global-inspired pattern's trendy look comes with a hefty price tag. Get the look for much, much less with a stenciled tray that's perfect for containing your coffee table's remotes and magazines.

Get the How-To: Stencil Your Way to a Stunning Cement Tile Tray

Give Pets Their Own Space

Designer Brian Patrick Flynn converted a drum-style side table into a cozy hideaway for dogs or cats. Want to make your own? Hit thrift stores to find a side table that's large enough for your pet to be able to stand up and turn around. Remove the doors and add padding and upholstery fabric to the table's interior. Finally, add a cushy pillow for lounging.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Combination Pet Bed and End Table

Add an Accent Wall

Every living room needs a focal point; for most it's the fireplace but even a hearth as lovely as this one can get a style boost when surrounded by a graphic wallpaper. Limiting a bold print to just one wall lets it really shine without feeling overpowering; plus, it's a quick project that keeps the cost down too. Get our tips for hanging wallpaper like a pro, below.

Get the How-To: How to Install Wallpaper in a Bathroom

Give an Old Coffee Table New Usefulness

If your wood coffee table is scratched, stained or just plain dated, our tutorial, below, will show you how to transform it into a cushy tufted ottoman with built-in hidden storage. Add a tray and your new ottoman can also double as a coffee table again.

Get the How-to: Turn an Old Coffee Table Into an Upholstered Storage Ottoman

Brush Up Your #Shelfie Game

For a free DIY update, boost your styling skills with one of our three ideas, below, for organizing items you already have for an Insta-worthy bookshelf.

Learn More: Express Yo' Shelf: 3 Ways to Style Your Bookshelf

Make Storage a Snap

Ample storage is a must for every home. This rolling cubby was designed to be a multifunctional storage piece for parents, pet owners, crafters or homeowners at every stage of life. The open cubbies make it easy to stash away or grab backpacks, shoes, pet supplies, kids' toys or any other necessities you need to keep at hand in the mudroom, living room, playroom, closet or garage.

Get the How-To: Build Your Own Multifunctional Storage Cubby

Go for a Gallery Wall

A great way to put your memories on display, a gallery wall's asymmetrical installation makes it a DIY project anyone can tackle. Just gather up favorite framed pieces and any other flat, lightweight items that can be hung, like architectural remnants, shells, trays or other serveware. Choose the placement of the largest items first, then fill in with smaller pieces.

See More Photos: How To Create an Art Gallery Wall

Or, Craft Your Own Art

Mountains ho! Turn inexpensive sheets of colorful paper and chalk pastels into an artistic take on your favorite outdoor scene.

Get the How-To: DIY Art: Create a Torn Paper Landscape

Create a Handy Bingeing Buddy

Say goodbye to spilled snacks and lost remotes with this easy DIY sofa arm table. In just a few steps, you can construct this handy space-saver that stores everything you need for movie night.

Get the How-To: DIY Leather and Wood Sofa Arm Table

Make a Portable Kids' Play Table

Put an old square galvanized tub to work as a handy place to stash kids' toys. This easy project creates mobile storage for building blocks or other toys and includes a built-in play surface.

Get the How-To: Turn a Galvanized Tub Into Playful Mobile Toy Storage

Create Furniture From Flea Market Finds

Turn one long wood bench into a pair of space-saving end tables with a designer trick that's a secret no more: wood cleats. Our step-by-step instructions, below, explain how to put this handy designer trick to work in your living room.

Get the How-To: Build Custom End Tables

Repurpose Old Crates

Need more storage? Inexpensive wood crates stacked together and secured with a sturdy, wood frame may be just the ticket. Hit antique stores and flea markets to find the genuine article or purchase new crates at craft stores, then stain and distress them for a timeworn look. Learn how to properly secure them with our tips, below.

Get the How-To: Upcycle Wood Crates Into a Rustic Bookshelf

Put Even the Smallest Spaces to Work

Especially for urbanites and apartment dwellers, every square foot counts. Here, designer Brian Patrick Flynn mounted a floating shelf to a corkboard wall to turn this unused space into a functional home office. Get more of Brian's small-space tips, below.

Learn More: Modern Brooklyn Loft

Give New Furniture Timeworn Charm

Want to give a plain-Jane or damaged piece of furniture a charming new lease on life? A fresh coat of paint followed by just the right amount of distressing will work like a charm. Learn how to distress furniture like a pro with our tips, below.

See More Photos: Distress Furniture Like a Pro

These Accents Are Sew Easy

Throw pillows are a must for adding just the right amount of color and pattern to your living room — but they don't have to cost a fortune. With basic sewing skills, whip up your own while binge-watching your favorite show.

Get the How-To: Easy-to-Sew Pillows

Find Your Happy Hue

Nothing freshens up a room's style like a fresh coat of paint — on the walls, lamps or even the furniture. In this small-but-sunny living room, cheery yellow paint makes the timeworn rattan furniture feel trendy again. See more of this home, featured in HGTV Magazine, below.

See More Photos: Operation Fixer-Upper

Stitch Up a Simple Slipcover

Slipcovers are equally handy for protecting fine fabrics or covering up stained or torn upholstery. You can even use vintage fabrics, like old quilts, to give your slipcover a period-perfect look.

Get the How-To: How to Slipcover an Ottoman

Construct a Storage-Rich Trunk

Trunk-style coffee tables are not only stylish, they also provide practical storage for toys, extra throws and pillows, a movie collection and anything that needs to be stored for a busy family. This rustic trunk-style coffee table is an easy build, but the result will have your friends thinking you're a pro woodworker.

Get the How-To: How to Construct a Rustic Trunk-Style Coffee Table

Brighten Up a Brick Fireplace

The pros at HGTV Magazine share the steps you should follow before tackling this weekend project. Investing time in the necessary prepwork and choosing the right paint will turn a dingy and dated hearth into your living room's shining focal point.

Learn More: The Dos and Don'ts of Painting a Brick Fireplace

Choose Multifunctional Furniture

When selecting furniture, look beyond the piece's original purpose. For instance, the coffee table in this sunny living room is actually a vintage map file cabinet while one of the side tables is an old steamer trunk. Both pieces add character while also providing handy hidden storage. See more of this home furnished on a budget that was featured in HGTV Magazine, below.

See More Photos: Operation Fixer-Upper

Craft Stylish Storage

Make stashing kids' or pets' toys easy with this budget-friendly fast fix. Just cover a plastic storage bin with rope, then add casters so it can be moved from room to room.

Get the How-To: Turn a Plastic Storage Container Into a Mobile Toy Box

Refinish + Reupholster a Favorite Find

Give an old bench a new lease on life by stripping then refinishing the legs and freshening up the upholstery with new foam and fabric.

Get the How-To: How to Refinish and Reupholster a Bench

DIY a Space-Saving Wine Bar

In just a few steps, you can upcycle an old wood shipping pallet into a custom rack for storing your favorite vino. The clever addition of a wine glass rack makes this space saver a sanity saver, too.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Wine Rack From a Wood Pallet

Create a Mobile Coffee Table

Old wooden trunks are stowed away in many attics and often end up in yard sales or thrift stores at a great price. Give one an easy update simply by adding furniture casters to make it a charming (and mobile) storage piece for your living room.

Get the How-To: Add Casters to an Antique Trunk for a Mobile Coffee Table

Dress Up a Lackluster Lampshade

Vintage drum-style lampshades can be found for a steal at estate and garage sales but they typically show some signs of their age. In less than 30 minutes, give that old shade a trendy new lease on life with just a bit of upholstery trim and glue.

Get the How-To: Easily Give an Old Lampshade a Trendy New Look

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