“I feel that your ambitions should always exceed the budget.” – Guillermo del Toro
Hiring an interior designer is expensive. Even decorating a home on your own can feel completely out of your financial means. But with some careful planning and hands-on work, you can bring almost any home decor idea to life on a budget.
Every room deserves a makeover now and again. In many homes, though, the living room is the star of the show. From relaxing to entertaining, the living room has to look great and meet the needs of the entire household. Doing this on a budget is an even greater challenge.
Below you’ll find inspiration, tips, and tricks for achieving some of the top living room decorating ideas while saving a bit of hard-earned money along the way.
1. Apartment Living Room Ideas On A Budget
Whether you rent or own, apartment-living is an experience all its own. But if you’re one of the millions of renters trying to make your lease feel like a home, the last thing you want to do is spend a fortune on interior design. Especially when, more often than not, you’ll need to tear everything down once you move.
Many of today’s landlords allow tenants to paint, even if just with a few pre-approved living room colors. If this is the case for you, consider putting up an accent wall behind a focal point like the sofa or media center. Or, if you need something less permanent, removable wall decals have never been of better quality or more affordable.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges in any small apartment is figuring out how to differentiate each room. Laying down a large area rug can add visual appeal while also highlighting your living room as its own distinct space.
If you want to overhaul your living room’s aesthetic but don’t have a huge budget, there’s a good chance you don’t want to invest in new furniture. Slipcovers are an excellent option for upholstered furniture. And you’ll be amazed what a coat of spray paint and varnish can do to your existing coffee table or bookshelf.
2. Decorating Ideas for Living Rooms On A Budget
Nailing down your home decor is all about the little things. For many, however, buying tons of small decor items just isn’t an option. Instead, you’ll need to get creative about how you add those finishing touches to your living room decor.
No matter the decor style, houseplants will always look great. You can adorn shelves with small succulents, liven up a corner with a fig tree, or hang a pothos from the ceiling for a modern jungle aesthetic. If you suffer from a black thumb, look for dried bouquets and grasses to take the place of live plants.
Large art prints feel expensive, but that doesn’t need to be the actual case. If you’re willing to do a bit of DIY, many artists sell digital copies of their work for just a few dollars. Just order a print from your local copy shop and use a cheap frame to create your own living room wall decor.
Throw pillows and blankets help the living room feel complete and don’t need to cost more than a few dollars. If you or someone you know is handy with a needle, sewing up a few pillow shams is a quick, easy, and affordable project.
3. Elegant Living Room Ideas On A Budget
Despite what you might believe, budget-friendly decor can also be elegant. Creating an elegant living space is all about how you coordinate your furniture and decor, not about how much you spend on it.
By and large, designing an elegant living room is all about the color scheme. Pair neutral colors with one or two bright shades or stick with a monochromatic look. Metallic finishes can also add a touch of elegance without the high cost.
Multiple light sources aren’t just convenient. They can also instantly make a room feel more luxurious. Utilize floor, table, and wall-mounted lamps wherever possible around your furniture arrangement. Tall window treatments can give the illusion of floor-to-ceiling windows.
Fresh flowers are a hallmark of high-end home design, but few people can afford to buy a new bouquet every week. Silk flowers provide all of the color and beauty of real ones, minus the remarkably short lifespan.
4. Living Room Ideas On A Budget for Family Rooms
In most American households, the living room also doubles as a family room. This is a space centered around your family’s interests, and that lets you all gather at the end of the day. For those with children, the family room might also serve as a play space.
Family rooms need lots of seating. While a sectional sofa is one of the most popular furniture pieces for such a space, it’s not in everyone’s budget. Mixing and matching furniture, such as a sofa and armchairs, can help save money.
Whether your furniture matches or not, cozy blankets and pillows can help bring the look together. When selecting accent pillows and throws, prioritize items that are both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Since the family room gets used for so many different things, and by so many different people, storage is a must. Large decorative baskets make excellent storage bins, and you can find them for a reasonable price at most stores.
5. Glamorous Living Room Ideas On A Budget
For a decadent living space that feels like a million bucks, bold colors and textures are your best friends. You could have the cheapest piece of furniture in existence, but in reality, it just needs to look great to be glamorous!
Velvet is a big trend in upholstery and decor right now—excellent news for those on a budget. While in the past, you might have only found this fabric on high-end items, you can get a hold of velvet furniture and accessories at any price range today. If you’re not looking to replace any furniture right now, invest in smaller items like velvet throw pillows or curtains.
One of the tenets of glamorous home design is comfort for the sake of comfort. Floor poufs are super trendy right now and can make any room look fancier than it started. Or, for something more structured, choose a velvet ottoman that fits your space.
Whatever furniture you opt for, use a rich color palette. Dark jewel tones work perfectly in this context. For a maximalist take on glamor, don’t be afraid to use several different colors in your living room design.
6. Modern Living Room Ideas On A Budget
Despite its name, modern design actually refers to a vintage decor trend from the 20th century. This style focuses on clean lines and neutral colors, with an emphasis on functionality. Many popular home trends fall into this category, including mid-century modern and some types of industrial design.
Choose pieces with a clean-cut shape. Forget about ornate carvings or tufted cushions — modern furniture is all about just getting the job done. If you’d like to include some mid-century elements, look for furniture featuring unique angles or cut-outs.
Because modern design’s roots run deep in the soil of functionality, everything decorative in your living room should also serve a purpose. In other words, unique light fixtures are practically a must.
Modern design can sometimes feel cold and sterile, so incorporate potted plants and artwork as needed. Geometric mirrors are also a great addition, with the added bonus of making the room feel bigger.
7. Simple Living Room Ideas On A Budget
Simple decor does not need to be boring. In fact, stripping down your living room design to the bare minimum is a great way to let one or two standout features shine. And since simple spaces, by nature, have fewer items inside, they’re also cheaper to decorate.
While not a requirement, simplistic home design works best when centered around a singular focal point. Depending on your space, this could be almost anything — fireplace, quirky piece of furniture, chandelier, or art piece.
To incorporate smaller wall art, go with a gallery wall layout rather than hanging them throughout the entire room. By treating all of your smaller items as one large unit, you can get away with displaying far more without losing the room’s simplistic feel.
Organic textures can bring character to an otherwise simple living room idea. From wood grain to stone, let these materials take center stage in the form of a coffee table, side table, or hanging shelf. Natural wood is also an excellent way to invite a bit of Scandinavian charm into your decor.
8. Small Living Room Ideas On A Budget
It should go without saying that knocking out a wall isn’t a great idea for those redecorating on a budget. You can still make a big difference in how large your small living room feels with just a few (affordable) changes, though.
One of the best ways to save on space without impacting your living room’s functionality is by switching to a smaller coffee table. For maximum floor space, you might even consider doing away with a center table altogether. Many ottomans also offer hidden storage inside and can, more or less, take the place of a traditional coffee table.
With limited square footage, you’ll need to think vertically. Wall-mounted decor is a given — experiment with placement to make your walls feel as tall as possible. Shelves are also an excellent way to add usable surfaces without cutting into your limited floor space.
When choosing additional decor, such as potted plants or a floor lamp, go for items that are tall rather than broad. Not only will these items take up less physical space, but they can also create an optical illusion that makes your ceilings seem higher.