Designer Living Rooms, Real-World Prices
Make your living room look like the pages of a magazine with these simple -- and affordable -- ideas. Whether you love bold color or understate style, we have a budget-friendly look you'll love.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Give your family a space that encourages them to cuddle up and watch TV or hang out and play games. To create cozy-up style, fill the room with layers of warm textures, like a plush sofa layered with satin pillows, and patterned panels on the windows.
-- A dark-wood TV console provides striking contrast to white woodwork. Hide electronics behind the solid portion of the doors and put pretty baskets on display behind the glass.
-- Fill a family room with plenty of plush toss pillows -- they can be used for extra seating on the floor.
-- A swing-arm lamp can flood a room with light or be maneuvered to provide task lighting for reading or game play.
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Frame a Window
Drape your space in sophistication by lining the windows with tone-on-tone taffeta panels and a matching valance. Layer the treatment with a sheer panel to help diffuse light, and hang the pieces high on the wall to give the window more prominence and make the room feel larger.
-- For an updated, casual look, hang the just panels without the more traditional valance.
-- A dark-metal drapery rod with matching rings is the perfect complement to a rich-looking window treatment.
-- Make the most of an under-utilized corner by filling it with a side table and a petite lamp.
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Make a Place for Everything
Turn a large family room into a one-stop area that encourages people to stay awhile. If you have plenty of space, create several zoned areas for everything from TV viewing to bill paying and use area rugs to differentiate the various spaces.
-- Place the TV console between two well-dressed windows to draw the eye toward the most-watched item in the room.
-- Putting a desk in a family room allows Mom and Dad to relax while helping the kids with homework.
-- Choose a matching suite of furniture for a cohesive look and maximize space by picking pieces with lots of storage options.
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Put on a Happy Face
Freshen up your living room for spring and summer with a soothing green-and-cream color palette. Just switching out a few accessories in a room can give it a whole new look for each passing season. To see how this room is updated for autumn, check out the next slide.
-- Get the most bang for your buck with a large and inexpensive area rug, like this Palm design from the Better Homes & Gardens collection, available at Walmart.
-- Pillows and throws that match the rug are a low-cost way to carry out an updated color scheme.
-- For a light-and-bright summer look, place a small white writing desk in a corner of the room.
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Add Warmth and Grace
To take your living room from summer to autumn, introduce the warm and spicy colors of the season. Simply swapping out a rug and throw can create an entirely new look without breaking the bank.
-- A petite wood desk and a dark-color chair are a warm option for cool months. Small furnishings are an affordable way to change the look of a room without investing in an expensive new sofa.
-- Neatly draping a throw down the center of a sofa is a designer secret for adding instant sophistication to any room.
-- No matter the season, crisp white drapery sheers filter light without blocking a view or making a door or window seem heavy.
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See the Light
Even inexpensive accessories like lamps can have a big impact in a room. To make the most of small, affordable pieces, choose a matched set that includes a distinctive design element. These floor and table lamps feature beautiful textured finishes and delicately scrolled feet.
-- Save big money by selecting lamps that include the shades (these off-white versions cast a warm glow in the room).
-- Chairs should always be partnered with lamps to provide adequate lighting for reading, knitting, or other tasks.
-- Hang matchstick or bamboo shades with window panels for added texture and warmth.
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Mark the Spot
The easiest way to create a cohesive look in the living room is by purchasing a matching suite of furniture. When buying several pieces at once, be sure to choose a classic design, like a crisscross, that you'll love for years.
-- Ready-to-assemble furniture means you buy the items in pieces that you put together at home. It's a great way to save big dollars on designer-look furniture, like Better Homes & Gardens' Autumn Lane collection, available at Walmart. Bonus: it's actually easy to assemble.
-- Most designers believe every room should have at least a little black to ground the space.
-- To make a room timeless, choose neutral tones for the walls, floors, and furniture, and introduce color through accessories and flowers.
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Drape a Window in Elegance
Beautiful window treatments can also be inexpensive and easy to care for. With embroidered bouquets and fringe trim, the Pavilion Stripe Panel and Valance from the Better Homes & Gardens collection, available at Walmart, looks fancy, but it is actually made from easy-care polyester.
-- To carry this look from a living room to an adjacent bedroom, pair these panels with the coordinating Pavilion Stripe comforter set, also available at Walmart.
-- Prevent bare-wall syndrome by paneling the lower portion of your walls and then adding several framed prints above.
-- When a chair sits near an access point, such as French doors, pair it with a slim side table to keep walkways clear.
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Brighten Your View
For folks whose style leans toward the modern or who prefer soft tones rather than hard edges, pewter is a perfect fit. Lighten up a dark corner of your home with a pewter floor lamp and matching silver-tone accessories and hardware.
-- A gently flared lampshade helps to visually soften the hardness of a metal lamp base.
-- Icy blue is a perfect complement to silver; the subtle shades create a soft backdrop for showier dark-tone pieces.
-- Add storage where none exists using baskets and boxes tucked under coffee or sofa tables.