9 DIY Projects for Updating Your Living Room

grey gallery-style wall
Photo: William N. Hopkins

Take a look at the clever projects that make this living room personal and photo-worthy, then update your living room with budget-friendly color accents, a little bookcase rehab, and easy furniture fixes.

01 of 09

Laying the Groundwork

100839805

The brown, gray, and aqua color scheme makes a gender-neutral space filled with great ideas you can do.

How to Do It

  • Choose a neutral color for the wall (a creamy latte color works in this living room).
  • Paint all your trim white for a crisp foundation for the pattern and color to come alive.
  • Choose your favorite colors for accents and start shopping around for pillows and fabric you like.
02 of 09

Bookcase Facelift

100839810

Revamp built-ins for display over storage space.

How to Do It

  • Remove any shelves from the built-ins.
  • Coat the back of the shelves with a three-step Kelly green strie treatment.
  • Install floating ledges and top with display pieces.
03 of 09

Ouch-Free Ottoman

100839817

This ottoman doubles as a coffee table and the pillows can be pulled off the base and used as floor cushions. Make it yourself out of high-density foam and durable fabrics.

04 of 09

No-Sew Valance

100839803

A tailored window treatment without dragging out the sewing machine? Yes, you can do it, and here's how.

How to Make It

  • Cut a 1-x-6-inch board a few inches wider than the bank of windows and cut two 6-inch-long pieces for the returns. Screw the returns to the board.
  • Cut fabric to a height of 10 inches and to the desired width (leaving allowances for hems, the returns, and at least 8 inches for each box pleat) and hem all edges using fusible webbing.
  • Position the board under the fabric, 3 inches from the top hem. Staple the fabric to the board, folding in pleats every 12 to 15 inches and wrapping around the returns.
  • Hide the staples with glued-on ribbon and buttons.
05 of 09

Curtain Detail

100839807

Adding fabric bands—such as this check and solid—to curtains (especially inexpensive store-bought solid panels) is a sure way to boost style. Sew the fabric band to existing curtains, or use fusible webbing for a quick fix.

06 of 09

Ready-to-Finish Furniture

dining room overall

For affordable new furniture, paint unfinished dining chairs and a table with black semigloss paint. For durability, add three coats of polyurethane.

07 of 09

Plate Art

100839823

Here's the dish: Glue contrasting colors and sizes of plates together with epoxy or all-purpose glue (clamp them with a belt or bungee cord while the glue dries) and hang with plate hooks in columns on the wall.

08 of 09

Window Seat

100839821

A window seat adds seating and storage without adding more furniture. The center section features a lift-up top with storage inside. The strie paint treatment around the bay window makes the dining area feel like a separate room from the living room it's attached to. For playful pillows, embellish with inexpensive belts and buckles.

09 of 09

Silhouette Art

100839814_071307

Can you spot the TV in this picture? It's creatively camouflaged by a wall of silhouette artwork.

How to Make It

  • Choose frames, then photocopy images to size.
  • Tape each image to heavy black art paper and use a crafts knife to cut through both layers, protecting your work surface with a crafts mat.
  • Use spray adhesive to adhere the silhouette to white mat board.
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles