Living room makeover ideas on a budget – 10 statement tricks to spruce up a lounge

These living room makeover ideas on a budget offer simple yet chic decorating options – plus a ton of advice

Living room makeover ideas on a budget triptych
(Image credit: Future)

If you are looking for living room makeover ideas on a budget, then you’ll be more than aware of the tricky task of making a room look much better, brighter and inviting, all on a limited budget. 

Living room transformations don’t always have to be grand affairs. Instead, they can be slowly curated through minimal updates, simple color schemes and vintage furnishings.

So whether your living room decor is expansive, open-plan, a shared home office space or on the compact side, there are looks to suit any budget. 

Here, some of our favorite interior designers offer their living room ideas, advice and expertise for decorating your living room on a budget.

Living room makeover ideas on a budget – how to get a luxury look for less

Whatever the living room makeover ideas on a budget you're searching for – whether elegant, classic or contemporary, we have wonderful decor schemes to suit your home's style and your color preferences. Plus, we have included a ton of added-value design advice for budget apartment living room ideas, too.

Whilst it is essential to set an interior design budget and stick to it, it is also important to design a home you will love. These budget living room makeover ideas will help inspire you to achieve the space of your dreams.

1. Get crafty with decoupage  

pink living room with Annie Sloan decoupage chest of drawers , blue and white ceramic pots, white painted floor, vintage armchair, vintage paintings

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

When we say 'DIY projects' at H&G, we are really not entertaining the idea of ripping out an flooring o, stripping paint. No, we are talking about giving your living room makeover ideas on a budget a spruce up with smart updates that any one of us could turn our hands to.

There’s been a big resurgence in the decorative, Bloomsbury-style aesthetic recently and decoupage fits in to that perfectly. It’s a delightful decorative room technique with so much history. 

'My aim with this collection was to create a fool-proof way for everyone – beginner or expert – to bring creativity, craft and character into their homes, and transform their interiors into works of art,' says Annie Sloan, color and paint expert. 

2. Swap your furniture around 

living room with matching armchairs with bold print fabric, patterned rug, black side table, drapes, floor lamp with patterned shade, table lamp with patterned shade

(Image credit: Pooky)

A free living room makeover idea is to completely change up your living room layout. We tend to do one thing when re move in and leave it, without realizing we can update it at any point, especially if we've bought new pieces over the last few years. 

'Symmetry in interior design will make a living room look expensive, too. This modern living room benefits from these armchairs being placed in front of the drapes and each side of the bold floor lamp,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. 'Have a play and you'll be impressed with the results.'

3. Match your ceiling to your walls

living room with aubergine/brown walls and ceiling, herringbone laid floor, blue rug and drapes, graphic print fabric armchair, wooden slats around log burner, tiled hearth, artwork, retro sideboard, floor lamp, side table

(Image credit: Bert & May)

Choosing the right living room color ideas is one of most important decisions you can make for your space, especially when you are working within a limited budget. 

If you are stuck in a decorating rut we suggest collating images, swatches and photographs to visually paint a picture of your desired scheme. This allows you to marry finishes together to ensure all your living room paint ideas work as one.

'Little Greene’s deep ‘Purple Brown’ has been used on both the ceiling and walls to create a warm and inviting space,' says Ruth Webber, creative director of Bert & May. 'Using the rich chocolate shade throughout the whole room doesn’t feel overwhelming, despite the richness of the paint color, and instead complements the dark textured rug, thick velvet curtains and bright Bert & May Manarola tile detail to create a comforting, cocooning space.'

4. Add a decorative border 

blue living room with red border, black stool with plant, artwork, fire surround, wooden floor, rug.

(Image credit: Susie Atkinson)

Decorative paint tricks and paint ideas are becoming increasingly popular in interior design, and is a wonderful DIY project for a living room makeover on a budget.

'Borders have been used for many years to elevate the simplest of rooms, adding detail and delight in an easy, affordable way,' says Susie Atkinson, founder of Susie Atkinson. 'They are less of a commitment than wallpapering the whole room but still bring that color and interest to walls adding an accent to contrast or complement a room.'

5. Add pattern and privacy with window film 

living room with neutral scheme, gray sofa, white coffee table, black floor lamp, window film, white ceramic vases

(Image credit: Purlfrost)

Window treatment ideas are myriad. Both functional and decorative, window film provides a great barrier between inside and outside.

'Add an instant wow-factor to your windows with a decorative window film,' says Joanna Baumard, co-founder of Purlfrost. 'Made-to-measure and assembled in minutes, this easy update offers complete privacy to onlooking neighbors and is a fuss-free alternative to sheers or shutters. Working in every room of the house and with a wide choice of designs to choose from, you can really let your personality shine through.'

'Go for a bold floral or abstract pattern to create a design statement, or for those looking for something a little more understated have the option of a much more delicate frosted design.'

6. Give your bookcase a color boost and add vintage luxe

living room with bright green painted bookcase, upholstered velvet vintage chair, vintage painting with ornate gold frame

(Image credit: JL Design/Alyssa Rosenheck)

There's not a home that doesn't have bookshelf ideas at the center of at least one room. For many, a home doesn’t feel cozy without books, so bookshelves that are interesting are an essential part of an interior design plan.

'We added the original oil painting in a gold gilt frame to the bookshelf to add dimension and a touch of luxury,' says Jessica Davis, founder and principal designer of JL Design. 'Mix modern day and antique books for a library that feels elevated and decorative but still functional. The layers of art, literature, rich velvet and gold gilt frames were able to revive this living room.'

7. Use the top of a sideboard to create a display area 

purple living room with red feature wall behind sideboard, vases arranged on sideboard, monochromatic rug, vintage ornate chandelier style wall lights. White armchair

(Image credit: Kellie Burke Interiors/Ron Blunt)

The issue of how to style a console table is an important one, it’s often a prominent piece of living room furniture. Leaving its surface empty is a missed opportunity to create a wonderful vignette.

'I love to mix and match thrifted vases at varying heights and texture across a modern console table,' says Kellie Burke, founder and principal designer of Kellie Burke Interiors. 'Symmetry is not always the best option. The play on heights and undulating diameters offsets the clean, modern lines of the console and softens the look.' 

'Add in some unconstructed soft, natural garden flowers with oversized botanical leaves to punctuate the look with dimensional softness and heights. Focus on blending hi-low accessories as well: vintage vases with new Crate and Barrel decor really does the trick for a unique collected feel. We don't want to make it feel too staged, more on-the-fly whimsical.'

8. Simple updates like new drapes work a treat

blue living room with green floral drapes, pink couch, gold side table, drinks cabinet, footstool, textured rug

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

If you’re looking for living room curtain ideas that thrill from top to toe, then consider sourcing affordable drapes for your windows.

'For this living room, we chose Soane’s ‘Tendril Vine’ for the curtains to introduce a vibrancy and subtle movement to the room,' says Katie Lion, senior interior designer at Kitesgrove. 'These curtains are bright and refreshing with a calming organic print which envelopes the room and pairs beautifully with the more muted tones within the scheme.'

9. Invest in a great value couch

white and neutral living room with white modern style couch, wood and metal storage side tables, neutral rug, taupe cushions, maghogany style display unit

(Image credit: Ikea)

Asked to name their most indispensable piece of living room furniture, most people would opt for the sofa,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor, Period Living.

'As a living room sofa is such a key piece in a budget living room makeover a new design can instantly change the look of the scheme. Yes, they are an investment – but you can find designs in Ikea that will do the trick, like this 'classic with a twist' style,' 

10. Check out thrift stores and flea markets

pink living room with vintage paintings, plates on the wall, wall lights, armchair, fireplace, side table and table lamp, bright green footstool, coir and green trimmed rug, wooden floor, fender seat

(Image credit: Salvesen Graham)

Interior transformations and living room makeovers don’t always have to be grand affairs. Instead, they can be slowly curated through small updates. 

'We like to use antiques in unexpected ways, such as framed antique textiles or antique ceramics repurposed as planters and vases,' says Nicole Salvesen of Salvesen Graham. 'We often put plates on walls, especially in bathrooms or living rooms as here, as they offer a wonderful yet inexpensive way to create impact.'


How can I makeover my living room on a budget?

The easiest way to makeover a living room on a budget is with beautiful living room paint ideas. 

Adding color with paint is a quick and easy way to add style and personality to a living room. Whether your living room is an oasis of calm or home to a house full of children, nothing can transform a space like paint. 

If you’re not confident in choosing a scheme, go with a pre-selected paint ideas palette already picked out by the paint brand you’re using.

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.