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12 Tips for Decorating a Living Room on a Budget

Save your money and get a beautifully decorated living room with these tips.

Hi! My name is Ashley and I blog over at athomewithashley. Thank you to Kati for letting me guest post on her blog today!

Kati and I used to work together and I always admired her for her energy and her ability to lead and get things done. Oh, and her cute high heels! I am excited to share my top 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget with you.

I am a girl with big dreams, but a little budget. Regardless of money, I am convinced that people can have the home of their dreams! And what better way to prove this than using my own home as a guinea pig?!

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Let’s start with the before pictures of my living room:

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

Ugggh! Those are scary! So dark and bland. But things got better!

Here’s how I slowly transformed my living room on a budget (and tips so you can too!)

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

How To Decorate on A Budget

1- Paint.

I painted the walls white. Paint is such an inexpensive way to quickly make a huge difference in a room. A bright white paint will make your room feel bigger and super clean.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

2- DIY a custom wall treatment.

For me this was chair and picture molding. This gives the room a very classy look. It was around $150 to install (so not the cheapest, but still reasonable), but the room has a whole new feel now. Below are more ideas on ways to make a statement with your walls. 

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

3- Create a gallery wall.

I created a ledge gallery wall using $14.99 ledges from Ikea and added in inexpensive art (framed cards, printables from Etsy) and personal touches to pull it together.

Ledges are a new trend that I love because you can easily change out your display without putting holes in your wall which keeps it looking fresh longer. Or you can fill a large wall with a thrifted pictures frames and wall art. Use removable picture hanging strips to make it super easy!

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

4- Wait for sales.

When I added in the desk area to our living room, we got the desk for $200 on a President’s Day sale when it’s usually over $300! If you can be patient and wait for a good sales day (I have included the best ones below) than it will pay off!

My wall lamps were also on sale for $15 each from Target! The deal in the store was better than online, so I called customer service and they were happy to honor the sale price for me so I could get a second to complete my pair.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

5- Shop thrift stores.

My best tip for thrift store shopping is to go with a list of what you need. Be open minded and look for good bones as the finish can be changed.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

I love using old oak frames from the thrift store for $1 and giving a fresh coat of paint. Sure, it takes time, but it is by far the cheapest way to buy frames. I also got an old beat up shelf for $3 and gave it new life with paint. Also, I redid a $2 bulletin board and gave it a whole new look.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

6- Decorate with books.

I got most of them for gifts (aka they were free) and guess what, they are fun to read too. I love the color they add. Check out your library for sales or a thrift store. You can find great coffee table books that way for around $4!

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

7- Get creative and think outside of the box.

The large botanical wall hanging was only $2! I go over the details here, but it was a free printable for wrapping paper and I printed it as a $2 engineering print and put it in a frame I already had on hand.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

8- Save up money, then shop when you find a good deal.

I got the drapes for around $20 when I found them on sale at DownEast Home. These are originally Pottery Barn drapes for $178! And here are more tips for getting drapes on a budget. 

Make sure to put a note in your phone the dimensions of what you are looking for so when you are out and about you can buy the correct item if you find an awesome deal!

I also found my pink bench for $75 (originally $349 from West Elm) and just had to take it home. My husband wasn’t super excited about it, but it now the perfect spot to take off shoes or throw your bag at the end of a long day.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

9- Try your hand at DIY.

I got my DIY on by making a table runner. It’s super simple and made out of outdoor fabric so I don’t have to worry about ruining it when I over water my plants. If you can sew you can make all kinds of things for your living room! Pillows or drapes are other great options.

Here are some more tutorials for things to sew for the living room:

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

10- Use pillow covers that can be changed up easily.

These are Caitlin Wilson knockoffs and are $14 each instead of $60 each (here’s a whole list of inexpensive places to find Caitlin Wilson look alike pillows). Invest in a good pillow fill and then change out the cover. This saves your budget and storing a pillow cover takes up much less space than a whole pillow!These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

11- Used items you already have around the house.

The cameras on my desk were just in a closet before and now they can shine! Always take a minute to shop your home before heading to the store. You probably have something around that will work!

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

12- Photographs are an inexpensive way to decorate your walls.

I had an extra frame that I painted white and then put our favorite Instagrams inside. This is pretty much the only reason I print photos now a days and I love pointing out the images to my son.

Having a framed Instagram wall art is super cheap- each photo is around $0.20 and you can get a frame at the thrift store. Pretty much any photo printing location prints square images now, so this is a really easy project.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

How have you decorated on a budget? Any awesome ideas I am missing?

Thank you again Kati for letting me stop by! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will drop by and answer them.

These tips are exactly what I needed! Just because you don't have a big budget, doesn't mean you can't have a designer home. Check out these 12 tips for decorating a living room on a budget. | Housefulofhandmade.com

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Derek Dewitt

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

I want to get new decor for the house when I remodel this spring so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about using shelves for art. I will definitely consider getting a display without holes so it doesn't damage the wall.

Kati

Monday 25th of February 2019

You can never have too many shelves!

Wild West Living

Thursday 7th of February 2019

Nice idea to decorate my room with photo frames and changing the wall color. I'm a hobbyist photographer and I already have many photo frames lying in my store room now after reading this I think it is time to use them for decoration.

Kati

Monday 25th of February 2019

Yes! You should totally use all your hobby photos to decorate!

Katherine

Monday 6th of August 2018

Thanks for all these pictures that go with the tips. Having a visual example really helps me to decorate. Do you have any more tips about shopping online for decor? Thanks!

Kati

Thursday 16th of August 2018

Thanks Katherine!

Mina Edinburgh

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

Thank you for pointing out that painting the room a different color is one way to make a huge difference in the room without spending too much. That was actually done by my brother, and I can say that a lot did change. From gray, we are now using pink in the living room. Now we are in the process of changing the decors completely since the old ones are more than a decade old. What do you think is the best decor to use for the fall?

Kati

Saturday 4th of August 2018

Paint is so fantastic at transforming a space and fairly easy to do. For fall, I love using found things from nature like branches, acorns, etc. These can be painted or kept natural. How pretty would some pink spray painted acorns be in a bowl or hurricane vase?

John

Monday 4th of June 2018

I like your idea to use paint to quickly change a room. Walls are like a canvas for decor. Their color sets a tone and can help you choose accents.

Kati

Monday 11th of June 2018

So true! Paint is the easiest way to make a big change.

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