11 Living Room Decor Ideas for a Refresh that Won’t Blow Your Budget

Use these affordable decorating strategies to style a living room that looks great and lives beautifully.

The living room is one of the most frequently used spaces in the house, so it needs to both look good and stand up well to daily activities. Creating a beautiful, livable space can seem like a big project, but it doesn't have to cost a fortune. If you're working with a tight budget, the trick is to find affordable living room decor and furniture ideas that still deliver on style. Once you invest in a few quality pieces, refreshing your living room on a budget is simple. A few tweaks in the color scheme, decorative accessories, or furniture layout can make a huge difference without delivering a big hit to your budget. Use these cost-effective living room ideas to give this essential space an affordable makeover.

renovated neutral-colored living room with pink and blue accent pieces
Lisa Romerein

1. Employ Natural Elements as Living Room Decor

Plants add a sculptural element to a room, and you can often find low-maintenance varieties for fairly affordable prices. Look for interesting leaf shapes or colorful foliage to bring a little extra life to your living room. Try placing a potted plant on your coffee table to serve as a centerpiece, or fill an empty corner with a hanging plant. If your living room lacks natural light or you're not confident with your plant care abilities, go for realistic-looking faux plants instead. Natural grasses or dried stems can also work as a cheap living room idea. Gather some from your backyard for free living room decor (or purchase the faux variety at a crafts store), then place them in a vase to create a simple natural arrangement.

white living room with natural and blue coastal accents
Joyelle West

2. Rearrange Living Room Furniture

To give your living room an affordable refresh, work with what you already have. Purge the room of items that don't belong, clear away clutter, and rethink furniture arrangements to overhaul your living room without spending a dime. Recruit a friend or family member to help you move furniture around until you have a visually pleasing layout. Arrange chairs and sofas into groupings that are conducive to conversation.

dark teal living room
Marty Baldwin

3. Use Paint for a Budget-Friendly Living Room Refresh

A new coat of paint can completely transform a room. Paint offers a budget-friendly living room idea that can be easily applied by DIY decorators. Use it to color walls, update flea market furnishings, refresh beat-up floors, or showcase a room's architectural features. Choose wall colors that further a mood (the deeper the tone, the cozier the feel) and complement your existing furnishings and style preference.

Living room with area rug and lounge chairs
Tria Giovan

4. Personalize Living Room Decor

Incorporating items that reflect your travels, hobbies, and cherished memories can make your living room feel extra special. Display ancestral portraits, framed genealogical charts, maps representing your favorite places, and photo collages featuring family and friends. Hang letters or signage that reference your initials or a familial surname for a cheap living room decor idea. Look to family heirlooms, hand-me-downs, or thrifted items to keep your living room decorating on a budget.

living room with dark ceiling
Jim Franco

5. Go Bold on a Few Furnishings

Create a stylish living room on a budget by employing just a few statement pieces. Purchase furnishings with high-impact fabrics or finishes, eye-catching silhouettes, or bold pops of color. You'll only need a few dramatic elements, such as a colorful area rug or a striking piece of wall art, to create a stir. Pair them with neutral walls, versatile upholstered pieces, low-key window treatments, and subtle accents for a contrasting effect.

Mancini home tour living room
Melanie Acevedo

6. Save and Splurge on Living Room Decor

Employing expensive materials in restrained but meaningful ways lets you enjoy the finer things while staying on budget. Display a fancy wallpaper on a focal wall or as a patterned backdrop for built-in shelves. Invest in a leather sofa or accent chair, but pair it with a less expensive coffee table and a simple upholstered pouf. Create pillows that showcase pricey silks, brocades, and velvets on their face but have inexpensive fabric backs.

farmhouse style room bright pillows and accents
Jason Donnelly

7. Repurpose Vintage or Thrifted Decor

Search flea markets, antique shops, estate sales, and thrift stores for inexpensive living room decor. Consider repurposing items in unique ways to create functional furnishings with vintage style. Cut down a farm table's legs to craft a rustic coffee table, employ an antique ladder to store and display throw blankets, use a vintage trunk to hold board games or provide seating, and move in wicker laundry baskets to hold magazines or in-process projects. Brush up on your upholstering or sewing skills so you can update old furnishings with new upholstery or slipcovers.

Armchair by fireplace
John Bessler 

8. Create DIY Living Room Art

Paint your own DIY canvas art for an affordable living room decor idea. Buy blank canvases that you can paint and place prominently above a mantel or sofa. Using paints in your favorite hues, brush on a variety of cool geometric shapes or simply splatter colors at random for a contemporary composition. If you prefer art that's less abstract, use the canvases as bases for painted images, stenciled motifs, or collages created from crafting remnants.

Blue and White Living Room with gallery wall and furniture
David A. Land

9. Layer Living Room Rugs

You'll find affordable area rugs suiting every style at big box stores, discount home shops, and even home improvement centers (try shopping end-of-summer sales for outdoor rugs that can work inside). Use simple, inexpensive large rugs to anchor a room's furnishings, then layer smaller rugs to define conversational groupings or activity areas. Experts recommend that all furniture sits atop the rug and that an ample border of flooring is seen around the rug's perimeter.

Living room toward fireplace and shelving
Heather Anne Thomas

10. Exhibit Collectibles in Groups

Display your collections to introduce colors, patterns, and your own personal style to living room decor. Curios and knickknacks (including both valuable handed-down relics and inexpensive thrift store finds) have the greatest impact when grouped by color, shape, or subject matter. Keep those attributes in mind when you shop for discounted objects that complement your displays.

Light Coastal design style living room
Kim Cornelison

11. Embellish Living Room Accessories

For cheap living room decor, dress up existing accents with embellished details. Small upgrades can give inexpensive throw pillows, readymade window treatments, fabric lampshades, and bargain-priced throws a more stylish, customized look. Try adding fun decorator trims, contrasting fabric bands, vintage buttons, or playful tassels and fringe for a fresh pop of personality.

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