Little Ways to Update Your Living Room

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Ready for a change, but not prepared for a total style overhaul? Try one of these easy living room updates, including quick furniture makeovers, simple design swaps, and no-cost refreshes.

Slipcover a Sofa

Living room decorating ideas don't need to revolve around dated furniture. A simple slipcover in a neutral color gives your space a blank slate for stylish accessories. If you're feeling creative, consider dip-dying the slipcover for a modern ombre effect. Pile the couch high with colorful pillows of different sizes and textures for an eye-catching look. 

Contain Clutter

A little storage can go a long way in creating an updated living room. In this color-coordinated room, two bookcases are filled with office supplies, documents, magazines, and more, though guests of this home would never know thanks to clever clutter-busting tips. Use spare glass containers to corral office supplies or small toys. Large baskets or boxes conceal papers and magazines in style. Stack them on a bookshelf for easy access that saves on floor space.

Consider Your Coffee Table

A coffee table is often the centerpiece of a living room. It can also be the most dated feature if you don't pay attention to it. Our favorite decorating tip for living rooms is to swap out display items seasonally to showcase your personal style. Favorite books, fresh flowers, and treasured travel mementos all make fashionable contenders for your coffee table update. The same rule can be applied to the mantel, a console table, and decorative bookcases. 

Update Artwork

Stuck in a style rut? Simply swap out your living room's photographs or paintings. For a quick fix, keep your gallery wall arrangement or picture frames and change out the images for new artwork of the same size. This will make it easy to get an updated look in your living room with little effort.

Roll Out a Rug

Updating a traditional living room can be done without replacing expensive furniture or painting the walls. Take this room for example. A bright patterned area rug incorporates style underfoot. To create dimension in size, color, and texture, layer a smaller rug on an over-sized area rug. A sofa slipcover and contemporary art put the finishing touches on the living room refresh.

The dip-dyed look is everywhere. Here's how to get the look on chair legs. All you need is paint and a few basic tools.

Improve with Paint

Give boring wood furniture a fresh (and fast!) facelift with paint. Try the fun dip-dye technique featured here, or update with a single bold color. Updated living room colors create unexpected change that will result in rave reviews. 

Punch Up Throw Pillows

Modernize your living room in an afternoon with throw pillows. Although they may seem like an afterthought, throw pillows are an easy solution for trying out trends in pattern and color without the major commitment. Keep seasonal pillows related to the holidays in storage until you need to make a swap. Use scrap fabric for an easy-sew pillow cover or try one of our favorite painted pillow projects to update your existing collection. 

Rearrange Furniture

On a tight budget? The best living room ideas don't have you reaching for your wallet. Instead of heading to the store, rethink your living room furniture arrangement. Start by breaking the norms. Pull your sofa away from the wall or bring your wicker patio furniture inside. Whether you have an open floor plan, tend to gather around a TV, or prefer cozy conversation, a new arrangement can inspire and revitalize a room. 

Reupholster a Chair

Updated living room decor starts with the textiles. In this case, a cozy armchair was in serious need of a new look. With good bones, a worn chair can easily be rescued with reupholstery. Be sure to pick a fun fabric and use your creativity to give flea market finds a modern look. 

Tip: Save scraps from the fabric you use to upholster your furniture piece. It can be used as curtains, a pillowcase, or framed as artwork. 

Organize Bookshelves

Consider rearranging your bookshelves for a no-cost living room refresh. Gather a variety of collectibles in a similar color scheme and place them between books for loose symmetry. Other options include arranging books by color and presenting collections in groups of three. Before you arrange, you can also make your bookcases look new by painting the shelves and installing contact paper to the back wall of the storage unit. 

Swap Out Lighting

Lighting has the ability to set a mood, make a small space appear larger, and illuminate a color scheme. Consider swapping existing bulbs with LED versions to brighten a dark living room. Other simple ways to update your living room lighting include trading lampshades, painting the base of a floor lamp, or incorporating a new ceiling fixture. 

Tip: To set an ambient mood, choose a floor lamp with a drum shade that evenly distributes soft light. For targeted lighting—something you may want in a reading nook—find a fixture that directs light to one area. 

Treat Windows

You don't need brand-new blinds to update your living room's window treatments. Improve existing curtains with pom-pom trim, a contemporary paint treatment, or ombre dye. Even new tiebacks can renew the look of your living room. Small updated living room decor such as this can make all the difference at an affordable cost. 

Incorporate Greenery

Modernize your living room into a space that's both happy and healthy by integrating plenty of lush, green plants. Small trees make a blank corner instantly chic, while small indoor varieties update surfaces like side tables and consoles. 

Try Nailhead Trim

Gain sophistication and traditional style in your living room with nailhead trim. The inexpensive embellishment can be customized and applied to any number of upholstered furniture pieces for a high-end look for less. Here, we see the decorative element on the cozy chair, ottoman, and side table.

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