I always see these amazing living rooms on Pinterest, you know which ones I mean?
It’s not a huge house, not some celebrity’s home – and yet it looks absolutely gorgeous.
Like, I stare at it for a full minute gorgeous.
And I want them all. But sadly, I only have one living room to decorate. Better make sure to make the best of it!
But if you look around, and you see your living room – does it look like it could be an inspiration on Pinterest? Does it look as good as those homes that you always see in catalogs?
I’ll be honest – mine doesn’t.
Because let’s be real here for a second. I don’t have the money to spend a few thousand on a coffee table. Hell yes I love it, but my bank account says no.
But guess what?
You don’t need expensive furniture to make your home look expensive. With a few simple tricks, you can upgrade your home on a tight budget.
And I don’t mean like “Oh, you got a new side table, nice.”
I mean you’ll get reactions like “Oh WOW, when did you redecorate? And who did you hire!?”
(Except if you have design-ignorant friends. They might just go “Hey did you change anything? Your home looks nice now. Erm, I mean, even nicer.”)
So let’s get started!
Design Trick #1: Palettes
Whether you have a modern design, mid-century, or farmhouse style living room – most beautifully designed homes have a carefully selected color palette, and coherent style.
(If you have a modern style living room – check out my post
How to Copy this Amazing Modern Living Room on a Budget)
What you can do: If you have predominant colors, stick with them. Remove or repaint stuff that doesn’t fit your color theme. You can get started with small things, like throw pillows, decoration, picture frames and similar small, cheap items.
This will make your home look more like it was planned and designed very intentionally, like professional designers do.
Design Trick #2: Directing Attention
Imagine the streets of Manhattan. Cabs everywhere. Yellow cab, yellow cab, yellow cab.
And then there’s a red Lamborghini.
You know it’s gonna stick out, and people are going to stare after it.
How does this relate to your living room?
If you can put a Lamborghini in your living room, that would be pretty cool. But since this is a post for budget friendly options, here is an alternative:
What you can do: Direct attention by making your most important pieces stand out. Do you have a white or very light couch and chairs around it? Why not contrast it with a beautiful, dark wood coffee table? Have a cheap coffee table that you can’t switch out? Put a contrasting, eye-catching side table next to it.
You don’t need all-designer furniture. Having 90% IKEA furniture doesn’t matter if everyone is drooling over that amazing, luxury coffee table you got! (And don’t tell them you got it for less than $200 on Amazon!)
If you followed step #1, you can have a coherent style, with a few pieces standing out (without breaking the style). This doesn’t only go for color, but also material. If you have a white leather couch, white leather chairs, and white wood side tables – a gold metal frame coffee table with marble top will be an automatic centerpiece!
Design Trick #3: Adding Color
If you are like me, you prefer a simple palette and matching furniture in neutral tones. Adding a soft color to various places in your home can make a big difference!
In a survey, they found that bathrooms with a light blue color increased the value of a home by over $5000! (source)
Blue is a calm, peaceful color, conveying a certain clarity. Instead of your home looking like a child’s painting in every color of the spectrum, using a small, neutral palette with one accent color will make your home look well designed and purposeful.
What you can do: Again, clean up some color-clutter if you haven’t done already, and then choose a soft color your like. You can paint a wall with it (inexpensive, yet highly effective at making the room much more interesting and unique!), get towels in that color, use it for picture frames, rugs, curtains, china, and much more. Just don’t overuse it!
Design Trick #4: Spaciousness
Think of a king’s palace. How does it look?
Now you might not have a huge home, and probably can’t change it, but there’s one thing you can do: Make it feel bigger.
If you think of a huge room, you probably imagine lots of space. If you think of your own room, you probably have a lot of clutter. See the difference?
What you can do: Find smart ways to declutter, use storage space more efficiently, and add some empty space to your apartment. You don’t have to use every bit of storage you have – luxury is having left over space!
If you have a bookcase – start by decluttering it, putting books that you don’t want or need in there somewhere else – maybe a storage box. Then, put a small item of decoration in a compartment – and nothing else. That can be a little statue, a picture, or a souvenir from traveling (makes you look sophisticated!).
If you don’t have smaller compartments, get book ends and create open space this way. Or, another fun trick: instead of putting the books in the “normal” way, take a few books and stack them up horizontally, topped off with a small trinket.
Design Trick #5: Decoration
Expensive homes usually have one thing in common: Expensive decoration. Anything from collector pieces of art, rare designer lamps, or eccentric trinkets and statues.
Why not copy that style? You can get stylish lamps, cool art, and interesting trinkets at many affordable stores! Or check local artists for a real, hand-painted canvas – now that’s sophisticated! If you don’t go to big art galleries, you can often pick them up super cheap, especially if you have good street artists in your city. (You’re also supporting local artists, which is great)
What you can do: Look around and look for empty, bare spaces. Is your coffee table empty (when decluttered)? Add a flower vase or fancy bowl! Empty side tables? Add a small lamp! Empty walls? Add pictures, paintings, or wall decor!
Don’t forget about trick #4 – empty space can be good – as long as it doesn’t look bare and forgotten. Balance is key, here.
If you follow all these tips, your home will look positively transformed.
The best part?
You can shop most items online, choose from a much bigger selection than shopping the same furniture stores all your neighbors go to, as well.
“Where I got that designer piece? I won’t tell…” (Because it’s from Amazon. 40 bucks. The hit on every party.)
Comment below which trick helped you the most, and pin this article for later!