Living Room Ideas on a Budget

The catalogs keep coming, tempting me with gorgeous sofas, pricey artwork and other fabulous finds. None of it is in the budget right now, but spring always makes me want to change things up a little. Especially in the living room. You know the feeling. So here are six pretty cool ways to refresh your living room for under $500. Bet if you do some aggressive spring cleaning, you’ll find enough stuff for a garage sale to fund your mini-makeover.

The First One is Free.

Rearrange what you have. Add or remove pieces. Put your area rug at an angle or get rid of the rug altogether. Move the accessories around. If all your furniture is shoved up against a wall, place pieces into conversation groupings. Costs you nothing and you can always put things back where they were if you don’t like the results. But before you start shuffling heavy pieces around, get your measuring tape out and sketch your plan out on graph paper.

Change the Color.

Attribution Some rights reserved by Julian Stallabrass

For as little as $20 or $30, you can paint one wall a dramatic accent color to create a focal point. Or splurge on a few gallons of good stuff and paint the whole living room. Find a variety of fresh, contemporary palettes like this one featuring Benjamin Moore’s color of the year, Lemon Sorbet.

Plant Something.

Attribution Some rights reserved by …love Maegan

Cactus and succulents are a great way to add color and texture to your living room, and they’re almost impossible to kill. They’re also easy to propagate from cuttings. Some of the larger varieties have a sculptural quality, giving you the impact of BIG art for a few bucks. Splurge on important-looking pots or scour garage sales for bargains. You can make a big statement for under a $100. Horticulturist Maureen Gilmer tells you how to choose cactus for dramatic décor like the Montrosi shown here.

Add Art

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With a little imagination, time and creative flair, nearly anything can be art. Reframe family photos, drawings, computer printouts, small collections, even an interesting scarf in quality frames. Check garage sales, online auctions and consignment stores for inexpensive pieces that appeal to you. Apartment Therapy has several novel ideas for creating budget art like this.

Dress Your Windows.

You don’t have to bust the budget on window treatments. Repurpose inexpensive materials in a creative way instead. For example, these fretwork panes cast interesting shadows and ensure privacy. My Home Ideas has 49 more inspiring suggestions.

Cover It.

New slip covers for couches and chairs, lampshades and throw pillows can change the entire character of a room. Find a local upholsterer to do a custom job or search the Internet for low-cost options.

Bonus Idea.

This is another freebie. Get rid of the clutter. Clearing out the fussy collections, stacks of books and magazines, that clunky coffee table, all those dust-magnet knick knacks will create a fresh sense of space. If you don’t love it, toss it and enjoy the freedom of minimalism.

Share your living room ideas on a budget.

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