Living Space: The $50 living room makeover: Ideas for a fresh, easy-to-create look

Aug. 18, 2011 at 3:18 a.m.

By Kathryn Weber

Is the economy taking a toll on your home decorating budget? Furniture is a big investment and hiring an interior designer might be too costly. But if you have a yen for a new look in your living room, you’ll be glad that know that if you’ve got $50 and a little time, you can refresh your look.


The wall you see first when you walk into the room should be your starting point. This is the stage your restyle will revolve around. Find a color you like and paint that wall in the standout hue. A gallon of paint will run you about $25. If you have bookshelves and some leftover paint, consider painting the back of the shelves the same color as the accent wall.

For an adventurous change, apply some anaglypta wall covering to the back of the bookshelves, then paint them with your accent color. Anaglypta is paintable textured wallpaper that costs about $25 a roll. Next, look for accents you already have that feature the new wall color – throw pillows, artwork or an area rug. Place these around the room. By pulling the color out into the space, you create a unified look.


If the room has mismatched lamps, borrow some from another room with a matching pair. As people, we all have two eyes, two legs, two arms, two ears. We feel most comfortable and balanced when we see things in pairs. Pairs of matching chairs or end tables will also help make it feel pulled together.


After you’ve painted your accent wall, take the largest piece of furniture in the room, such as the sofa, and place in front of this wall to anchor the room. If possible, pull the sofa away from the wall and out into the space. Place a cocktail table in front of it and two chairs in front of the table to create a conversation zone. Find a large piece of artwork to hang over the sofa and arrange your side tables and lamps.


Sometimes, it’s not a huge change that makes a difference but small details that shift the way a room feels and looks. Look around your living room for spots to add small touches borrowed from other parts of the house. These could be as small as tassels you hang from the knobs of a dresser, armoire door, lamp switch, or chair.

Using some inexpensive gold craft paint, gild a lamp, the details on a piece of furniture, or mismatched picture frames. A large bottle or can only runs about $3. Don’t like the way your books look on the shelves? Wrap them in brown or ivory craft paper or leftover anaglypta, and stencil on designs with gold paint. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding nail head trim to a sofa or chairs.

A bold coat of paint, a new arrangement of decorative elements and a few small decorative touches can add up to a refreshed feeling in your living room without emptying your wallet.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



Powered By AffectDigitalMedia