By Cheryl Freedman, Houzz
Our living rooms are the places we retreat to at the end of the day, where we tend to entertain and often where we feel most ourselves. So, naturally, we want them to look as good as possible. Even if your budget is tight, you don’t have to settle for boring when you take inspiration from these ideas. Liven your living room today.
1. Arrange your room around a great rug.
A stylish geometric rug doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it can be the piece that pulls your room together and makes your interior design feel finished. Arrange key furniture pieces around it for maximum effect, as they’ve done here with the sofa, pouf and coffee table. Don’t forget to add a line of plumped-up pillows, which is an easy trick that never fails to make living rooms seem chic.
When choosing a rug, think about the dimensions of your room. If the floor covering is too small, it will look as if it’s floating in space; if it’s too big, it may not work if you want it to sit along the edge of your sofa or still show off your wooden floor.
2. Decorate with darker colors.
The boutique-hotel look revolves around rich, dramatic wall shades for a cozy, cocoonlike feel. You can achieve this effect at home without spending a fortune since many budget paint brands make decent darker paints. Or pick a dark wallpaper design, such as the one here. Navy or indigo is a stylish choice, or consider burgundy, slate gray or even black.
Pep up dark decorating choices with a smattering of bright details, such as the table, lamp and ceiling light seen here, to complete the designer feel.
3. Build a gallery corner.
Artworks don’t have to cost much, but arranging prints and paintings into groups can help give a living room an upscale gallery vibe. Two adjacent walls of artworks here create an artistic corner that takes the focus off the simple furnishings.
Pick up inexpensive picture frames at chain stores, thrift shops or online. Build up a collection of postcards and pictures you love that you can frame. And try combining clusters of smaller works with one or two larger oil paintings or watercolors for a burst of uplifting color.
4. Delight in different textures.
Combine a variety of materials for a subtle, sophisticated effect, especially if you are following a neutral palette. Leather, metal, wool, tweed, velvet, woven cotton rugs and sheepskin throws are all good.
And don’t forget to style your coffee table. It doesn’t need to be fancy — a couple of nice earthenware vases with garden cuttings or potted plants can make all the difference.
5. Change your layout.
You don’t necessarily need to spend money to improve your room. Paring back, rearranging and artfully displaying what you already own can help create an elegant sense of order and space.
6. Add color.
Incorporating bright color is perhaps the easiest way to make a neutral living room palette feel less bland and more designed. The bright green sofa really brings this room to life, but if you don’t want to splurge or already have a perfectly good sofa, you can still add color in smaller ways with lamps, pillows, vases, shades and rugs.
7. Hang long draperies.
Floor-length drapes evoke the grandeur of five-star hotels and stately homes. Look online for companies that can make budget curtains on demand. Pair with a pretty chandelier to ramp up the manor-house vibe. And dare to choose a patterned material to provide an eye-catching effect.
8. Introduce velvet.
Velvet never really goes out of fashion, and it has a luxurious sheen that makes a room feel special. If you can’t afford a sofa or an armchair (the ultimate in luscious velvet style), then go for a pile of tactile velvet pillows, which will add a dose of shimmery charm to any room. Choose a variety of jewel-like shades to perk up a plain sofa.
9. Feature decorative wallpaper.
A panel or wall of decorative wallpaper is a great trick for making an ordinary living room sing. There are tons of great budget wallpapers around these days — order samples before you make your choice so that you are confident about the finish, colors and pattern repeats in your space. A bold geometric pattern like this really gives a grand designer feel to a modest space.
10. Show off a vintage treasure or two.
It’s still possible to unearth beautiful vintage furniture dating from the Victorian era or the first half of the 20th century at reasonable prices if you search on eBay or in secondhand shops. A lovely wooden chest like this doesn’t need to be restricted to a bedroom. Use it as a place to display lamps and photos to help inject a feeling of quality and tradition.