If you’re family room or living room is needing a little refresh, but….. money is kinda tight right now, no problem! Here are 7 ideas that are easy and cheap. Keep reading for simple & inexpensive ways to give your living room the update it needs!
Living Room Update + Tight Funds = Creative Opportunity!
Am I the only one who feels a little bit of anxiety when I think about making over rooms in the house? It seems like the list of things to do is a mile long. And then there’s deciding what it is exactly, that you want to do. And then it’s trying to figure out the cheapest way to do it. Talk about a migraine coming on.
When we moved into our house a few years ago, it seemed like just about every room in the house needed updating. Well, it didn’t seem like it. They all actually did. At the time, I had 3-year-old twin boys, with just one income. But it forced me to open my mind to some creative possibilities, and that’s what I want to share with you today.
Living Room | Family Room: Where Family Life Happens
It can feel overwhelming trying to figure out where to start when so much in your how might need to done. However, as I realized we spent most of our awake hours in the aptly named ‘living room,’ that seemed like a logical place to start.
A living room and/or a family room is an essential for any house. It sees the most use for our day-to-day activities and is frequently where our friends and family hang around when they come to visit. Naturally, this is a room that we probably want to invest a little more than maybe a bedroom, where it’s probably used mostly just for sleeping.
Whether you want to refresh your family room or you’re decorating it seriously for the first time, there are definitely ways to do this inexpensively.
You may not be able to afford to purchase high-end sofas and tables to update a your living room, but making a room look cozy, inviting, and comfortable doesn’t have to cost you your life savings. There are plenty of ways to make a room beautiful without withdrawing your kid’s college fund.
7 Easy Living Room| Family Room Makeover Decorating Hacks
This post contains affiliate links. See Disclosures for details.
When I work on redecorating or updating my home, I generally follow the tips that I outlined in this article – How to Decorate Your House on a Tight Budget. These hacks are transferable to really any place in the house, and they can give you a lot of non-room-specific ideas.
But today, let’s talk real specifically about the living room and family room and how to give it a budget-friendly makeover.
1| Rearrange the Living Room
You would be surprised at just how much a room can change simply by rearranging the furniture and moving things around. Unless you really want to start from scratch with a clean slate (not especially recommended on a budget), you can simply move your furniture in different arrangements to make your room feel fresh without spending anything or even replacing the things inside.
When I think about it, sometimes I feel like, “Well, there really is no other way to rearrange all this.” But think out of the box a little. You don’t need to move the couch clear to the other side of the room. Try mixing up a few smaller pieces. Start there. See how it feels to you. Maybe switch up some lamps or side tables. You can even switch some furniture from room to room.
If it feels like you just can’t change it up and fit it all in, take a few pieces out. Assess if you really need them all in there. You might find that doing that gives your living area some breathing room.
While you’re at it, now is also the best time to give the living room a good cleaning. All the clutter that has somehow made a home in the living room needs to find its real home (Just me again?). Again, taking clutter out can definitely make the room feel much more spacious and serene.
And without all that stuff in there, you have much more leeway in positioning while you rearrange. And if you feel overwhelmed about the idea of decluttering, take a look here for 7 Baby Steps for Decluttering, to get your moving in the right direction! (And here’s a pro-tip while we are here: Hide the toys in decorative storage or move them to the playroom altogether – budget ideas for the playroom here!)
2| Repurpose Your Furniture
You don’t need to get a brand new living room set to update your living room. There are lots of ways to repurpose or upcycle it yourself. How about switching up the upholstery for a favorite chair? Or even painting it? Yes, you absolutely can paint fabric! (Check out Heirloom Traditions Paint if you haven’t yet. It’s pure magic!)
How about changing the colors of some side tables? Or even lamps?
What about using old furniture in a new way? Maybe use a trunk or chest as a coffee table. Or use a stool as a side table or plant stand. There are all kinds of creative ways you can upcycle or repurpose your furniture and use it in a new way.
3| Change Up the Walls
While you’re in the middle of rearranging your room, you can even consider adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls. Changing the colors of the room can do wonders in making the place feel brand new.
Think about some peel-and-stick wallpaper. Maybe a batten board accent wall? What about a a moody color or unexpected color on an accent wall? You can even try Sharpie Shiplap.
There are so many ways you can go. My recommendation is to choose a color that goes with your decor, or one that you can capitalize on with your accent decor. Pair up your paint with the furniture you already have, choosing colors in similar families so they will fit together. Or, you can go in the other direction and contrast the colors to highlight their differences.
Also think about what you have on your walls. Try replacing some of the pictures or wall decor. Inexpensive shelving is a great way to change a look on your walls without spending a ton of money. And it’s perfect for personalizing a room ( more on that in the next tip).
Right away, your living room will feel like a new place.
4| Throw in Decorative Accessories
Accessories are a great way to brighten up any part of the house, and the living room is no different. And this is a definitely an area that you can do in a budget -friendly way.
DIYs and upcycles are my favorite. That is probably the most inexpensive way to decorate. Here are some of my most favorite budget-friendly farmhouse DIYs. This is a list I go to regularly to see if there’s a fresh idea I can use or modify.
Using personalized, meaningful decor is also a way to accessorize a family room. Get your photos off your phone and have them enlarged and printed. You can add these family photos to a new gallery wall after you’ve just freshly painted!
Is there special family artwork or projects that you can display on shelves or on the wall? Significant keepsakes from your family? Shells from a vacation? Start making some artwork out of that stuff!
Go through your attic and basement (or Mom’s or Grandma’s) and pull out some family heirlooms you can display. Vintage items are super-trendy these days!
And if there are things you really need to buy, check out thrift stores or Facebook Marketplace for bargains. You can also download the app Freebie Alert and grab some amazing things for zero dollars.
You can also go to social media for decorating ideas. There are a zillion Facebook groups with gurus who can give you tips on repurposing and upcycling (Robinson Repurposing and Salvaged Living are two of my favorites), as well as DIYs.
You can also find many DIYers on Instagram and YouTube.
5| Add a Touch of Nature
You can’t go wrong with inviting the warm feeling of nature into your home, so why not bring some plants in your living room? They give you a calming effect, circulate oxygen in the house, and just look amazing.
There are a lot of plants out there that you can get without having to spend too much. Flowers, ferns, spider plants, fiddle leaf trees – really, anything you get will be a will add a fresh touch.
Many people give these away for free, as well.
In terms of where to put them, plants are great for those little nooks and crannies. You can place the smaller plants on the windowsill, while the ones in bigger pots can be placed near your sofas or even by entryway. You can put them on shelves and even hang them from the ceiling.
If you happen to love a boho look, then plants are a must.
You can also bring in nature in some of your DIY projects – crafts that use twigs or branches, cypress stems, pine cones, wildflowers… each season has its gifts from nature you can use as decor!
6| Change Up the Curtains
Curtains are a fairly inexpensive way to change up the whole look and feel of a room.
They come in all shapes and sizes, varying from the type of material used, to the color, and even the length. You can buy pre-made ones, or there are also made to measure curtains to ensure that the curtains you get are tailor-made for your needs and budgets.
In addition, curtains can also affect the atmosphere of your house, especially when you look at the color, patterns, and material from afar. While curtains are usually placed in the background more, it is their subtlety that makes them really good at setting the mood. They contribute to the living room’s design without being too noticeable.
Also think about natural light when choosing the curtains.
If you have windows in your family room, try to maximize that natural light as much as you can by using particular kinds of curtains. With the right curtains, you can control how much light enters the room. Sometimes you just want to relax without the sun’s rays shining in your eyes, but you still want to feel the embrace of nature’s warmth inside your house.
In my living room, I went with a sheer curtain panels to let lots of natural light in. Then we added another set over them that are just made from canvas drop cloths, which can help insulate the windows a little.
One thing we hit the jackpot in when we bought our house was the natural light. Our street is pretty shady, but right before the Golden Hour, we get this amazing sunlight that comes through our west-facing windows.
Natural light is a wonderful way to make the room feel brighter, figuratively and literally speaking. It certainly helps perk the room up, especially in the winter, when we aren’t getting as much time outside in the sun, absorbing Vitamin D.
Natural light, y’all. As much as you can, get some of that inside.
7| Cozy Up with Throw Blankets and Pillows
The family room is where you will probably spend most of your time lounging, being lazy, watching movies, and just hanging out together. An ample supply of cozy throw blankets and pillows are a must. There are so many kinds that are stylish, trendy, and cozy.
And this doesn’t have to equal messy. You can buy inexpensive oversized baskets to keep them in. Or you can even make them from Dollar Tree supplies. How about finding a chest or trunk from a thrift store to keep them in? That’s a great double use for a trunk if you’re also using at a coffee table or seating bench.
Simple Ways to a Budget-Friendly Family Room Makeover
You really can do some easy updates on a small budget. I know this because this is my life, lol. As someone who lives in a house where every room needed a makeover and I didn’t have the money to do it, I can say unequivocally that yes, it can be done.
We are still making our way from the front of the house to the back, and though it doesn’t happen overnight, it will happen. And it’s soooo satisfying to know you were wise with how you did it.
The living room is a work in progress (PS -I’m using these ideas for the kitchen refresh, if that’s in your future, too!). There will always be more to do. But that’s totally OK. A home is where your family life happens – it’s important to make a space you love, but when you’re with the ones you love, well, imperfection is totally OK and part of the whole package.
It’s all good, y’all. Keep family first, and aesthetics second, and you’ll be just fine!
More Home Improvement Posts Here!
Thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below! If you try any of these ideas – I’d love to see it! Please tag me on Instagram @100affections.