How To Make An Affordable Living Room Look More Expensive

Easy updates to instantly upgrade your living room!
Anna Kocharian Avatar
amanda greeley dhurries
Photography by BEN JACK

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White Dining room

A living room makeover shouldn’t have to entail a big budget. With a little creativity, it’s easy to make subtle swaps that are both easy on the wallet and grand on impact. Take a look at a few of the ways we’re looking to bring in a little luxe to our space.

Put your books on display.

Nothing says luxe like a well-stocked library, and this built-in shelf situation is simply proof. Display all your curated titles in the living room to impart your space with a more worldly and engaging zone.

[Updated June 27, 2017]

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Bring in an unexpected pop of color. 

Nothing captures one’s attention quite like a bold splash of color in an unsuspecting spot. Be it a vase of colorful yarn bundles or playful pom poms lazily draped along the window panes, a little color never hurt!
Wall Moulding Ideas White Ceiling Detail

Add an element of elegant flair.

An intricately detailed crown molding can do wonders for a room, especially one that is clad in a timeless shade of gray. Note the powerful impact the set of moldings have in this space, strategically placed on opposite sides of the room.

Photography by BEN JACK

Paint the walls.

There is no denying the instant transformation that can result from fresh paint. Take to a new shade in an on-trend color, or opt for something a little more crafty and creative such as this color block bookshelf!


Install a faux fireplace.

Don’t have the real thing? Bring in a faux fireplace to instill a luxurious element to the living room. Outfit the fireplace with an intricately patterned frame or molding for a hint of defined elegance.

living room updates exposed brick living room with pink sofa
Photography by GLAMOUR PARIS

Invest in a rug.

A living room sans a cozy landing pad isn’t a complete one. Bring in a piece that will complement the decor of your space and elevate the overall aesthetic. Bonus points if it’s patterned!

Photography by Douglas Friedman

Utilize mirrors.

Set an oversized mirror high up on a wall, preferably near a window, to maximize the amount of natural light that radiates throughout the room. What is more luxurious than extra square footage? Psst, we won’t tell it’s only an illusion!

Bring in fresh greens.

Designate a corner to hold plants in an eclectic arrangement of styles, colors, and sorts! 
Bronze and White Living room
Photography by NICOLE FRANZEN

Go monochrome.

There’s something so effortlessly chic about a minimalist design scheme of a

monochromatic palette

. Not only does the aesthetic cleverly conceal clutter, it also establishes a streamlined detail in a room.

living room updates  white vignette with plants
Photography by VONTRUEBA

Establish a spot that signifies you.

Create a personal shelf and outfit it with a handful of items that best represent you and your style. Be it books, trinkets, or items collected throughout various travels – there are no rules!

living room updates  white living room with purple console and mirror
Photography by SAS + ROSE

Refurbish the old.

Hiding within that one piece you salvaged at a garage sale could potentially be the missing accent piece from your living room. Put your DIY skills to the test by upgrading an existing piece of furniture.

living room updates  pink and white vignette with plants

Set out fresh florals.

Fresh flowers can do wonders for a space – even if it’s just a few sprigs or leaves paired with an eclectic assortment of upcycled glass vessels.

living room updates  white living room with blue sofa and fireplace
Photography by NICOLE FRANZEN

Embrace feng shui.

The arrangement of your furniture not only sets the tone for your space, but it also has the power to affect your outlook within the area. Rearrange the furnishings to establish a more breathable flow throughout the space. Appoint a new focal spot – whether this be the windows, the TV, or a fireplace – and see where things go from there!

Discover the 31 ways we’re still using feng shui, here!

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Tidy up.

This one is a no-brainer. Surely it has been proven that the less cluttered a space is, the cleaner it will look. Get rid of the superfluous to make room and let the existing pieces in your living room shine!
White Living room
Photography by STADSHEM

Bring in something new.

A living room makeover doesn’t have to entail a total overhaul. Invest in one new key piece that will help transform the look of the room.

living room updates bohemian console with plants
Photography by JUDITH DE GRAAFF

Utilize decorative accents.

Simple trinkets, framed prints, or mini potted plants can help establish a personalized and relatable element to a living room. Even if it’s something as simple as a new basket for the plants!

Taupe and White Living room

Incorporate in textures.

Bring in textures where you can, to instill a dynamically defined layer to your existing decor. Experiment with a variety of materials and items to find the decorative piece that will work best with your decor.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Invest in new lighting. 

Lighting is a component of design too often overlooked. While it may typically be an afterthought in a remodel, it has proven to be a significant element of a room, regardless of its size or purpose. Bring in a new piece that will elevate your decor to pure perfection.

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Anna Kocharian Avatar

Anna Kocharian


Anna has a penchant for travel, fresh flowers, and books. You can usually find her on some sort of culinary adventure, seeking the best burgers or waffles in the city.