Most of us have never spent so much time in our homes as we have over the past year. While being indoors led to many of us picking up new habits and learning new skills, spending so much time in our living space can also shine a light on the aesthetics and comfort of our homes. If your living space is looking a bit tired, bland or uninspired and you want to give it a revamp, you don’t need to spend a fortune. From jazzing up your sofa with bright cushions and throws, to painting your floorboards, here are 10 affordable ways you can improve your living space.
1. Buy some house plants and arrange them
Plants are one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your living space. They add colour, vibrance and life to any room, and they’re affordable to buy, and easy to look after. Perhaps the biggest benefit, however, is the effect they can have on your wellbeing. Multiple studies show indoor plants can boost mood, productivity, focus and creativity, as well as reduce stress and tiredness. Plus, they also help create clean air by absorbing toxins and producing oxygen, so they can quickly turn a stale and stuffy room into a living, breathing indoor space.
You can buy plants from your local florist or supermarket, or browse in garden centres or DIY stores. You can choose to have a few large, statement house plants, or plenty of smaller plants – or both, if you like the idea of a really green living space. To create the illusion of your living space being filled with greenery, it’s best to arrange groups of small plants at varying heights. Have a read of this article on how to create your own urban jungle in your living area.
2. Choose the right lights
Getting the right lighting is an incredibly important, but often overlooked aspect of improving your home. It can add warmth and ambiance, is quick and easy to update, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Even the most simple and minimalistic living areas can seem cosy with the right lighting – and with a bit of imagination you can create lovely pools of lights that are lovely to sit under. It’s not very relaxing to sit in a room with glaring light, so even something as simple as switching to a warmer coloured light bulb can make a difference.
However, for a bigger transformation, you might want to consider buying at least two feature lamps that represent your style and personality. It’s also often nice to choose a couple of floor or table lamps that are different heights, as this creates a pretty, layered look – Amazon have a wide selection at a range of budgets. Alternatively, depending on your style, you might want to hang string lights from your ceiling, which can create a nice shimmery effect, and add a more ethereal touch. Or you can have a look at this article to find some more lighting inspiration.
3. Layer up your rugs
Recarpeting your living space can be expensive and time-consuming… so why not consider buying a few new rugs (or second-hand ones) and changing up your flooring that way? IKEA have a great selection of affordable rugs, and if you’re happy to spend a little more, have a look at the beautiful rug collection at John Lewis. Whether you have red wine stains or grubby paw prints to hide, or you just want to give your living area an edgy new look, layering up some rugs is a quick and easy way to give your room texture and cosiness – plus it works just as well on carpet as it does on hard floors.
Layering rugs is simply the act of placing rugs on top of each other to create a layered effect. There are dozens of different types of rugs you can choose from – Persian, jute, faux fur, etc. – and depending on your style, you can be as eclectic as you like. If you prefer a bohemian look, you can go all out with contrasting textures, colours and prints, or you can keep it classic and stick to simple colours and neutral rugs. Have a look at this guide if you want some advice and inspiration for layering rugs.
4. Consider your curtains (or blinds)
Curtains don’t just block out light and keep prying eyes away – they also help frame your entire room. Plus, if you raise them above your windows, they can make your whole windows area appear considerably bigger. Window coverings are another aspect of decoration that’s often overlooked, but they can really help make or break a room. If you’re not a fan of full, flowing curtains, there are plenty of other options: choose from shutters, blinds, drapes, or more modern coverings.
Curtains usually always look good on big windows, and softer colours look great during the summer months. If you have small windows, or a more casually-styled room, a blind might work better – plus they’re much easier to clean. Whether you want your window coverings to be purely functional or mainly decorative – or maybe a bit of both – there’s something out there for everyone. Have a look at the video below which explains how to measure and hang curtains.
5. Paint your walls
Another super easy way to spruce up your living space is to don an old shirt, get your rollers out and paint your walls. It might seem like a big task, but painting a room yourself can actually be pretty therapeutic – or if you don’t fancy doing it yourself and are happy to pay, you could consider getting a professional painter and decorator in. To compare qualifications, ratings and reviews of painters and decorators nearby, simply enter your postcode on BidVine and find the right painter for you.
Painting your walls can instantly reinvigorate and transform your whole living space, and there are literally thousands of different paint colours to choose from – have a look at Dulux’s helpful colour inspiration guide here, or head over to your local B&Q or Homebase. If you’re hesitant about painting an entire room or living area, you could always paint a single wall or alcove as a feature wall for a pretty pop of colour. Plus, you’ll save a few pennies too. If you’re doing a DIY paint job, check out the video below that will show you step by step how to paint a room..
6. Liven up your sofa
If you don’t want to splurge on a new sofa, you can easily liven up your couch by adding some new cushions or throws. Cushions have got to be the most versatile of all the soft furnishings. There are so many different colours, shapes, sizes and textures, and mixing them up can create a fun, artistic effect. You don’t even need to buy new cushions – you can just buy cushion covers. This also means it’s easy to switch them up whenever you like. You can change the colours and patterns every season, ensuring your sofa always looks like an inviting place to curl up. Etsy have a great range of stylish cushion covers, which you can find here.
Bright throws are also an easy way to add cosiness, colour and texture touch to an old and tired sofa. Simply draping a pretty throw over an armchair or sofa can help give a brand new look to your living area – you can browse some lovely low cost throws at IKEA here. Or if you want some ideas on how to actually style your sofa cushions, you might want to watch the video below.
7. Buy a big mirror
If you don’t already have a large mirror in your living area, you might want to consider getting one. Mirrors reflect light and make the whole place look bigger and brighter – plus, they also look great on the wall. With so many different frames around, from glittering gilt to colourful mosaic and classic wood, you can ensure your mirror is the perfect match for your style and personality. Have a browse of some IKEA mirrors here, or alternatively, if you prefer more antique furnishings, you can pop along to your local second-hand shop and see what they have. Have a watch of the video below if you want to see the big difference a feature mirror can make to a living space.
8. Paint the floor
If your living space has a wooden floor, you can transform its overall look by giving the floorboards a lick of paint, which can create a stylish-yet-rustic look. It might not be as quick as buying a rug, but it’s still very budget friendly – all you need is a tidy floor, a pot of paint and a little bit of patience. If you want to make your living area seem brighter you can paint your floorboards white, which is a great way of giving the illusion of light and space. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, black painted floorboards are very on trend right now!
You might need to do a bit of prep first if you want your new painted floors to look lovely and smooth. Try giving them a good sand with a medium-grade sandpaper to get rid of any bumps and shine – this also ensures the paint sticks well. Then give your floor a good vacuum and wash with warm water, and once it’s dry, get painting! You can find out more about how to sand your floorboards and prep your floor in this useful guide, or watch the video below.
9. Hang some statement wallpaper
Hanging some patterned wallpaper to make a feature wall or chimney breast is an easy way to make a big statement for a small price. Wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to invigorate a tired living space and inject character into a room that’s currently a bit bland. There are so many different types of patterns to choose from – tropical prints, bold geometrics, and pretty floral designs, to name just three – so there’s something for every style. If you think you want to make a statement with your wallpaper but aren’t 100% convinced, you can even get some peel and stick wallpaper – so if you change your mind, you can just peel it off! Have a look at some peel and stick wallpaper designs here to get inspired.
You can choose to have your wallpaper hung by a handy-person or professional, but if you’re brave enough to have a go yourself, have a watch of the video below.
10. Get creative with art
Just as a big mirror and vibrant wallpaper can help make your living space look beautiful and unique, so can artwork. There are so many different ways to inject some creativity into your living area: you can hang lots of stylish black and white photos on one wall, prop up oversized wall art against the wall, or choose a large, eye-catching painting to hang as your room’s main feature. While original paintings can be expensive, you can always choose a print – and once you have it framed, this will usually look similarly stylish.
Have a look at some of these gorgeous examples of wall art to get inspired. Alternatively, if you have an artistic streak yourself, why not consider making your own art to hang on your walls? Have a look at our guides to painting and drawing if you want to create your own pieces to hang with pride.
When thinking of making home improvements, many of us assume it’s going to cost a lot of time or effort – but this isn’t always the case! There are many small ways you can freshen up, or entirely transform, your living space – and one of the best things is how quick and easy many of them are. During a time when many of us are watching our budgets closely, it’s great to see what a difference you can make with a few well placed plants, or a mirror in the right place. And with many of us still spending lots of time at home, there’s never been a better time to get creative!
Have you recently improved your living space or done some DIY? We’d love to hear your stories and see your pictures! Join the conversation on the house and home section of the Rest Less community forum, or leave us a comment below.