The comfort and aesthetics of our home can have a significant impact on how we feel. And luckily, if your living space is looking a bit tired, bland, or uninspired and you’d like 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, vibrancy, and life to any room – plus, they’re affordable to buy and many are easy to look after. Perhaps the biggest benefit, however, is the effect that they can have on your wellbeing.
Multiple studies show that indoor plants can boost mood, productivity, focus, and creativity, as well as reduce feelings of stress and tiredness. Plants also help to 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, supermarket, or garden centre, as well as online. You might choose to have a few larger statement houseplants 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 advice on how to create your own urban jungle in your living area from The Little Botanical to find out more.
Or, for more inspiration, you might like to check out our articles; 8 plants that are good for your health and 10 low-maintenance indoor plants that can add life to your home.
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 ambience, 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. With a bit of imagination, you can create 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 a couple of feature lamps that represent your style and personality. It can also be nice to choose floor or table lamps of different heights as this creates a pretty, layered look. Amazon has a wide selection for a range of budgets.
Alternatively, depending on your style, you might want to hang string lights from your ceiling or walls, which can create a nice shimmery effect, and add a more ethereal touch. Or, you can have a look at this article from The Spruce to find some more lighting inspiration.
3. Layer 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 this way?
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 carpets 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, and faux fur, for example – and depending on your style, you can be as adventurous 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 Country Living’s advice on layering rugs for more inspiration.
4. Consider your curtains (or blinds)
Curtains don’t just block out light and keep prying eyes away, but they also help to frame your entire room. If you raise them above your windows, they can make the whole window area appear considerably bigger too.
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, for example.
While curtains usually always look good on big windows, 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.
For more guidance, watch the video below which explains how to measure and hang curtains.
5. Paint your walls
Another easy way to spruce up your living space is to put on 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 Bark to 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. To explore different colour schemes for 2024, have a read of Dulux’s trending colours guide, or head over to your local B&Q or Homebase instead.
If you’re hesitant about painting an entire room, you could always paint a single wall or alcove as a feature wall for a pretty pop of colour. You’ll save a few pennies this way too.
If you’re doing a DIY paint job, check out the video below that’ll 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 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 even change the colours and patterns every season to make sure that your sofa always looks like an inviting place to curl up. Etsy has a great range of stylish cushion covers, which you can browse here.
Bright throws are another easy way to add cosiness, colour, and texture to an old, tired sofa. Simply draping a pretty throw over an armchair or sofa can help give a brand new look to your living area. There are plenty of lovely, low cost throws available at IKEA.
Or, if you want some ideas on how to actually style your sofa cushions, you might like 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 space appear bigger and brighter – and they look great on the wall too.
With so many different frames around, from glittering gilt to colourful mosaics and classic wood, it’s easy to find a mirror that’s the perfect match for your style and personality.
Browse some IKEA mirrors here, or if you prefer more antique furnishings, you can pop along to your local second-hand shop and see what’s on offer.
Alternatively, for further inspiration, have a watch of the video below to see the big difference that 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 to 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 newly painted floors to look lovely and smooth. Try giving them a good sand with medium-grade sandpaper to get rid of any bumps and shine – this will also make sure the paint sticks well.
Then give your floor a good vacuum and wash it with warm water. Once it’s dry, you can get painting. You’ll find more about how to prep your floor in this useful guide from Real Homes. Alternatively, you might like to check out the video below.
9. Hang some statement wallpaper
Hanging some patterned wallpaper to create a feature wall 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 maybe a bit bland.
There are so many different patterns to choose from – tropical prints, bold geometrics, and pretty floral designs, to name just three.
If you’d like to make a statement with your wallpaper but aren’t 100% sure what style would work best, you can even buy some peel-and-stick wallpaper – so if you change your mind, you can just peel it off. For inspiration, why not have a look at WallsNeedLove’s list of peel-and-stick wallpaper designs?
You can choose to have your wallpaper hung by a professional, or if you’re able to do it yourself, it’s worth watching the video below first.
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. For example, you could hang stylish black and white photos on one wall, prop up oversized wall art against another – or choose a large, eye-catching painting to hang as your room’s main feature.
While original paintings could be expensive, you could always choose a print instead. Once these are framed, they can look similarly stylish.
Have a look at some of Desenio’s 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? Check out 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 involve a lot of time and 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 it can be.
Many of us like to keep a close eye on our budgets, so it’s great to see what a difference you can make with a few well-placed plants or a mirror in the right place. Plus, as the place we relax, entertain, and call home, there’s really nowhere better to get creative.
For more ideas and inspiration, why not visit the home and garden section of our website?
Have you recently improved your living space or done some DIY? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!