How to Style Your Living Room Without Breaking the Bank

While it would be nice to walk into a showroom full of sleek, modern Scandinavian furniture, point to everything and say, “I’ll send a truck on Tuesday” — who really has that kind of money? Unless you’re Miley Cyrus, or you just won the lottery, chances are, you’re working with a slightly more modest budget.


The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to give your living room a makeover that will make you feel like a million bucks. By starting with the big-ticket items you already own, streamlining your color scheme and adding just a few, new statement pieces, you can have the living room of your dreams that will make all your friends think you suddenly hit it big.


First things first: Start with an anchor piece. This will usually be the largest piece of furniture in the room, and in your living area, that’s the sofa. If your budget allows, consider buying a new sofa in a classic, modern style. Or stick with your old sofa if it’s in good condition and suits your needs. You can also consider reupholstering to freshen your current sofa’s look. If space allows, get it away from the wall. This isn’t a middle school dance; you want that puppy out front and center — or at least a few feet from the perimeter. Don’t be shy!


Assess what you own and choose a color scheme. Before you start adding more furniture, do a little Marie Kondo-ing and get rid of (or decide to replace) furniture that doesn’t hit the mark. Now, use your big keeper items — such as a rug, artwork or anchor piece — to pick what colors you’d like to use throughout the room. Keep in mind the color of your walls, or decide to repaint if you have the freedom.


Remember the 60-30-10 rule. Decorate with 60 percent in a dominant color (walls), 30 percent in a secondary color (upholstery) and 10 percent in an accent color (accessories). For instance, if you own a lot of wood items, you may want to stick to colors of nature, painting the walls a light green hue with white upholstery and your wooden accented furniture.


Finally, choose your statement pieces. Now comes the fun part. Add flair with an accent chair, decorative pillows, art and accessories. You can go trendy with bold geometric designs, classic with clean and simple lines or mix it up and be eclectic. Keep your color scheme in mind when choosing trays, bowls, sculptures and other items. Match your metals. Match your woods.


And remember: You don’t have to do it all at once. Pace yourself, collect decorative items slowly and have fun experimenting with the arrangement. Incorporate lots of open space for fresh air and light to flow. Don’t forget a green plant or two (make sure they’re indoor plants and can tolerate low light).


And voilà! With a small investment and a little creativity, you’ll be well on your way to having the living room you always knew you deserved.