Where we host and entertain; socialise and relax; busy ourselves with various activities like reading, working, or just lounging and watching some TV – yes, we are obviously talking about the versatile living room, a space that is used so often, but is also prone to looking outdated and dull quite easily. Not to mention cluttered and underloved.
So, how can we show our living rooms some TLC without breaking the bank? With these various ways in which you can update your living room in under a weekend and without the help of a professional interior designer.
Let’s get started…
Before you rush out and buy new stuff, how about looking at what you have from a different angle? Rearranging your living room layout can switch up the entire look and feel of the space without buying so much as a scatter cushion.
Bend those well-known rules ever so slightly, like pulling your sofa away from the wall or changing the layout so that the chairs’ emphasis is on conversation instead of a focal point (i.e. the TV).
homify hint: Moving your furniture around can increase the sense of space, but be as objective as possible. While it’s true that different-sized furniture can make better use of the space, sometimes something as straightforward as moving a doorway (or losing it altogether) can also open up new furniture possibilities. Similarly, moving a radiator (or replacing a horizontal model with a vertical one) can also make a gigantic difference to your space. Obviously this trick is a bit more costly than simply moving a sofa, but if you’ve got the budget, then why not?
Not enough funds to treat yourself to a brand new sofa? How about keeping the old one and giving it a new look, instead?
A simple slipcover in a neutral tone can instantly give your living room an extra dose of elegance. Or, if you’re feeling creative, go out with an eye-catching bold or pastel hue to make your sofa the centrepiece of the space.
Complete this colourful new look with scatter cushions, which takes us to point number three…
Even if you don’t slipcover that sofa and only change the scatter cushions, it can still ensure a fresh new look. It may seem like an afterthought, but trust us when we say that the simple trick of updating a living room’s pillows immediately alters the entire space’s colour scheme.
homify hint: Keep seasonal pillow covers with complementing colours and patterns (i.e. cool blues and greens for summer; warm reds and browns for winter… ) in storage and switch them out as required.
No piece concerned with quick and easy home updates would be complete without mentioning potted plants. A great way to add colour, shape and scent to a living room, a potted plant or two (or even a stunning vase with flowers) can instantly style up your space.
We recommend investing in a few larger plants to sprinkle around the edges of the room, and adding smaller ones (like succulents) to shelves, tables and mantelpieces.
Keep practicality in mind when looking at ways to update your living room – it’s not only about visual beauty! As a little cleaning up and storage can go a long way, we firmly recommend changing up your living room’s storage factor, like adding a floating shelf or two, switching out a dull coffee table or end/side table with one that flaunts drawers and cubby holes, or even bringing in a bookcase (if you have the space).
A coffee table is one of a living room’s prime centrepieces. But it can also become the most dated element if you don’t pay close attention to it.
Consider what elements are placed atop it (vase with flowers, candles, magazines, etc.) and see what you can freshen up. Our favourite coffee table treasures include books, fresh flowers, and travel mementos that tell a story.
The same rule applies to the mantel, a credenza, and that bookcase that you (hopefully) brought in with number five – keep an eye on them to ensure they always flaunt some fresh style and never become outdated.
Try moving that side/end table somewhere else (the hallway, guest bedroom, or even store it somewhere safe) and replacing it with something unexpected like a garden chair. Garden chairs and stools come in all shapes and shades, yet their designs scream outdoors—hence, the perfect option for when you feel like mixing it up in your living room.
Another option would be to hide away that end table and bring in a storage trunk in its place. Its commitment to storage makes this option most appealing.
Just a side note: If you store frequently-used items in the trunk (such as blankets, children’s toys, or even seasonal clothing), don't place a table lamp on top of it. Rather use a floor- or wall lamp to light up the room.
You can’t put a price on the style power of natural light. So how about increasing your living room’s natural illumination by swapping out those heavy drapes with simpler blinds or curtains? It’s the quickest way to make those colours appear brighter, plus adds visual space to the entire room.
How would those paintings in the hallway (or bedroom, or study… ) look in the living room? For a super quick fix, keep your living room’s gallery wall arrangement or picture frames, and simply change out the images for new, same-size artwork.
Last but certainly not least, your floor. Since it forms part of the space’s colour palette, consider switching it up with a new rug.
To create dimension in size, colour, and texture, lay down a smaller one atop an over-sized area rug. Just make sure its colours are repeated somewhere else in the room (like, maybe, those new slipcovers or scatter cushions of the sofa?).
Struggling to fit everything in? Be inspired with Visual space: Working with furniture for a small living room.