7 lovely living room decor ideas that are chic but (oh so) cheap

Planning a living room makeover on a tight budget? These quick tricks will get you speedy results for a tiny spend

Living room decor ideas
(Image credit: Ikea)

If you really want to switch up your living room but don't have the cash to splash, you've come to the right place: these budget living room ideas will let you do chic on the cheap. Some might require a tester pot or a stick on spotlight – others just require a quick rethink of what you already have or an instant revamp. Best of all, none take too long, nor cost too much money. That makes us happy.

So scroll on... and for more happiness-inducing inspiration, don't miss our dedicated living room ideas gallery – it's packed with rooms you'll want to recreate.

1. Rethink bookcases

Sofa in living room at the house of Gabrielle Blackman

(Image credit: Gabrielle Blackman)

Are yours a bit of a jumble? There are a number of approaches (you've probably seen them on every Zoom interview on TV in the past couple of months and got your own ideas of what works...), but changing them up can make a vast difference to the look of a room. Neat and uniform, colour co-ordinated books like this will look smart and curated, but we love to add in a display of curvaceous objects, too, to make it look much more interesting. You can either do this on top of your shelves, as in this room, or sacrifice some shelf space to the display. 

Find more reading nook ideas: 13 inspiring spots for book lovers in our guide.

2. Sometimes the smallest storage details are most effective

Living room

(Image credit: IKEA)

Although a few statement pieces can really bring the WOW factor to a room, smaller features such as this rail for £17.50 from IKEA can be utilised to spice up a room. A hook doesn't have to be used to hang coats – why not create a picture and artsy wall instead? It's perfect for hanging whatever takes your fancy off the rails. Of course, this is also a great help when it comes to storing and displaying the things you love, so you just can't lose with this rail. Check out our feature on living room storage ideas for more hot tips.

3. Paint woodwork in a contrasting colour 

Living room

(Image credit: IKEA)

One of our favourite eye-catching design trends around right now, that is perfect if you love experimenting with new looks, is to paint woodwork in contrasting colours. This will introduce a pop of life and vibrancy into your living room, for a cheap and easy update, because who doesn't need a space to match or boost their energy? 

We recommend going for chalky colours that are not overpowering. And, why not continue this colour theme in small ways throughout the whole room, whether that be with window frames or just picture frames? Check out our feature on living room paint ideas for more inspo.

Living room

(Image credit: IKEA)

Whether it is a collection of family portraits, some of your favourite artist's pieces or just random knick-knacks, why not create a wall that perfectly encapsulates you? The gallery look is timeless, and if you're wondering what a room is missing, you should totally consider creating your own wall of fame.

Enjoy the freedom to mix and match frame styles and colours, or choose to coordinate, coordinate, coordinate, because this look is so simple and effective, whichever way you go about it. We'd say avoid filling more than one wall in your living room with this – your eyes won't forgive you – but do complement your creation with the right wallpaper or paint colour to really make it pop. This look is full of personality, so check out our feature on gallery wall ideas to find out how to make your wall gallery best suit you.

5. Display house plants

Living room

(Image credit: IKEA)

Plants bring life and joy into any room, and with living rooms in particular you have space to create a corner packed with all sorts of greenery and flowers, whether they be real or – if you don't want the hassle of maintaining them – fake. Both types of indoor plant are highly recommended.

Another thing we love about plants in an indoor space is how versatile you can be when displaying them. Why not decorate a shelf or inactive fireplace with hanging plants? Forget dripping with diamonds because having your living room dripping with greenery is far more trendy. How to achieve the look? Grab a few hanging wicker baskets and have plants coming from the ceiling, from hooks or even in pots on the floor... either way, it will look tropical and beautiful. Check out our feature on house plant display for more ideas.

6. Make an artful display

Living room

(Image credit: IKEA)

We all love a vintage look, and why not go full force by combining a collection of your favourite items together to make an artful display? From lining your windowsills with enchanting bits and bobs, to dressing coffee tables or even filling an empty fireplace with candles and sculptures a personal touch can achieve this vintage look. 

Our feature on how to display collections in your home should help navigate this minefield. One tip to take away? Unless you love the cluttered BoHo look, limit your displays to just one or two per room.

7. Illuminate the inside of display cabinets

Living room

(Image credit: IKEA)

Lighting in a living room is of key importance and this is a great way to do it: simply display your favourite pieces in cabinets and light them from above and below. Ikea is selling LED spotlights for £17 for a 4 pack. For more living room lighting ideas we have you covered.

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