12 budget living room ideas

With the cost of living getting increasingly more expensive everywhere you turn, you’ll be pleased to hear that jazzing up your living room doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are my 12 styling tips to help you transform your space.

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You can follow all or some of them, depending on how little or much you want to transform your lounge. The main thing is they’re all really easy to follow and don’t cost the earth to implement.

How can I transform my living room?

Transforming your living room is much easier than you may think. Always start by creating a clear vision.

If you’re struggling to picture the end result, look on social or online or scour interior magazines for some valuable inspiration.

Vision in mind, you can then start to implement it, either by completely overhauling everything in your living room, which is the more expensive option, or reworking what you already have, which is far more affordable (more details on this below).

How can I make my living room look good on a budget?

There are plenty of ways you can transform your living room, regardless of what size it is or what type of property you live in.

Here are our favourite budget living room ideas that are capable of breathing new life into tired and lacklustre spaces:

1. Move your furniture around

You’ll be amazed at how this simple trick can immediately transform your room and even make it look bigger (for instance, by making sure nothing’s blocking your windows or is too close to your doorways).

2. Put a mirror or two up

They’re great for creating the illusion of space. Just one mirror is all it takes. Try it, you’ll be pleased you did!

3. Get a rug

The beauty of rugs is they’re great for creating zones and, depending on the design, injecting some added interest to rooms.

Round or circular, rugs look great in front of sofas or under dining tables and don’t have to be massive (and more expensive) to make an impact either.

4. Brighten up your sofa with some throws

If you sofa’s a bit tired and worn and you can’t afford to replace it, give it a revamp with some textured or coloured throws.

Tip: if you want a sheepskin-style throw and can’t afford one, a small sheepskin-style rug will have exactly the same effect!

5. Change your cushions

No sofa is complete without some cushions. And depending on your budget, you can choose smaller or larger cushions. Keep your eye out for second-hand cushions in charity shops and or online marketplaces.

6. Put some artwork up

If your walls are bare and uninspiring, putting up a few pictures here and there can make all the difference.

You don’t need to stop at pictures either, wooden or metal art that’s made for the wall can be just as striking.

Tip: if you’re on a tight budget, large rugs make wonderful wall hangings, while maps and pictures from magazines and bold wallpaper offcuts can look really effective in a frame.

7. Wallpaper one wall

Wallpaper, especially patterned, thicker wallpaper can be expensive, but if you were to use it on just one wall to create an eye-catching feature wall, then it can be much more affordable.

8. Invest in some plants

Plants are available at all sorts of prices, and the good news is, some of them are really cheap to buy, especially if you pick them up from markets, local plant sales or even reduced garden supermarket sections.

For some plant-buying guidance read, ‘The best indoor plants for living rooms.’

9. Give your walls a fresh lick of paint

It’s amazing how something as simple as repainting your walls can make your room feel brand new again.

There are all sorts of paint options at all sorts of prices, even a tub of budget-friendly white and magnolia can make a massive difference without costing you a fortune.  

10. Find a new purpose for what you’ve already got

A wicker laundry basket (with a flat lid) can easily be used as a lamp table with storage for books and magazines inside.

While any old storage trunks or blanket boxes can easily become footstools, while a small bookcase can be turned into a TV unit.

11. Create a gallery wall

Gallery walls are great for creating a feature wall on a shoestring.

They can be made from anything and everything you love and like. For instance, old and new family photos, inspirational quotes and artwork.

The main thing is that they all appear next to each other on the same wall in matching or different frames.

12. Switch up your lighting

You may not be able to afford to change your main ceiling light to something more fancy, but a floor lamp or one or two side lamps that will make the atmosphere in your living room feel more inviting and cosy.

How can I decorate my living room without spending money?

Painting your room is the most affordable option, with many paint manufacturers producing value or budget paint within their range.

Creating a feature wall using a few rolls of reduced wallpaper is also a popular trick, with most home improvement shops selling reduced wallpaper rolls from time-to-time.

After that, lighting and mirrors can really transform a room on a budget by injecting more atmosphere and making things look more spacious.

Last but not least, look around your home for what you already have and may not use and see if it would serve a purpose in your living room.

At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are happy with your living room and how it functions, and if you didn’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on transforming it, even better.

Living room ideas

If you're looking to revamp your living room with a new sofa, discover sofas for all budgets, whether you're saving or splurging.

Victoria Foster

Written by:

Stylist & Visual Merchandiser

at ScS

3rd February 2023

Victoria is a stylist and merchandiser based at our in-house photo studio. Having been part of the ScS family since 2012, Victoria styles stunning home sets with the latest trends to showcase newly launched ScS products. With over 25 years of experience in styling and merchandising, she loves to keep an eye on the latest trends in the interior landscape. Victoria's favourite interior scheme is the Boho trend and loves to layer a mixture of different textures in her home. Her styling top tip is to always create a focal point in a room. Whether it’s a feature wall, a piece of artwork, or a bright patterned rug, having a focal point can help to drive the decisions on the rest of the rooms layout.