We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post, and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my full disclosure for more information.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been moving into my new flat. In the past, I only ever lived in rented accommodation that was fully furnished (whether we liked the furniture or not), or I lived with my parents where obviously you don’t get much say in how things are decorated. So, this was my first time fully decorating a flat from scratch.

Let me tell you, furnishing an entire flat to make it livable is expensive. Especially when the only things you already own are an armchair donated by your sister and her husband, and a weirdly large collection of quirky bowls thanks to a slight tableware obsession 😂.

For that reason, I’ve been doing my best to make the flat comfortable to live in, but still within my budget. My thought process has been this: I can add non-essentials like lamps, soft furnishing, wall art etc now that I’m here, but to move in, I needed essentials like a bed, mattress, sofa, towels, and stuff to cook with.

This process has helped me learn a lot about what I need versus what makes life a little more comfortable (minimalism in real-life!).

Below, I’ve shared some of the best living room ideas on a budget that I’ve discovered.

How can I decorate my living room for cheap?

My mantra is that it’s better to take longer buying fewer items that are better quality than racing to decorate a room on the cheap and ending up with furniture that won’t last, looks poor quality, and doesn’t really make you happy.

However, if you’re on a tight budget and want some quick ways to make your living room look better on a budget, here are a few quick tips to get started:

  • Follow the two B’s: bigger and brighter. Simply taking away an item or two of unnecessary furniture can instantly transform a room, while a lick of cheap white paint can make a room look more spacious and full of natural light for a low-effort, high reward update.
  • Shop for second-hand furniture on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Pre-Loved to find some great bargain deals. Make sure you ask a seller what condition the item of furniture is in, and if they’ve got more photos if you’re unsure!
  • Often, small changes can make a big difference so think about updating your soft furnishing (cushions, curtains etc), adding some beautiful candles, vases, and flowers, and perhaps investing in a lamp to give the room a nicer ambience.
  • Add some art – order some prints online and pick up some cheap frames (white or wood frames often look more expensive than they actually are!) and create your own gallery wall for a cheap, high-impact way to update your home.

10 Top Living Room Ideas On A Budget:

1. Find ways to bring light into the room

A bit of light can instantly transform the way your living room looks. If you’ve got dark colours on the walls, it’s going to be difficult to make your room look spacious, no matter what budget.

A cheap tin of white paint can instantly transform the way a room looks – giving you a blank template to really make your own with choice items of furniture and wall art, while instantly creating the impression of a lighter, more spacious room.

2. Re-organize your furniture

Sometimes, it’s not about adding or replacing your furniture. If you’re on a budget, simply re-organizing your furniture could totally transform the way your living room looks.

A few ideas:

  • Move your sofa away from the walls and make it more of a statement piece
  • Choose a piece of art as the focal point of the room (rather than the TV!)
  • Get a coffee table
  • Re-shuffle the layout of your sofas etc
TV Unit with a TV and houseplants, plus the top of a blue velvet sofa in the foreground for living room ideas on a budget.

3. Invest in a few statement pieces

When looking for living room ideas on a budget, you will often be faced with making the decision between budget-friendly, and, well…eye-friendly. While saving money is always ideal, it’s also worth considering if spending a little more is going to get you a better-looking, and better quality, item.

Investing a little more in a good quality sofa, or coffee table, for example, could really transform your living room – the rest of which you could easily do on a tight budget.

4. Get second-hand bargains on Facebook Marketplace

Second-hand sites are absolute treasure troves for finding ideas for your living room on a budget. In my experience, people are pretty honest about the condition of the item they’re selling – and when it comes to furniture, are a few scratches on the legs of a solid wooden table really a deal-breaker for you?

I’ve also seen a lot of items still in their original packaging for sale on Facebook Marketplace – from where, I assume, someone bought the item and then waited too long to return it (or didn’t what to pay the return postage fees!)

From lamps to dining tables, there are plenty of opportunities to bag a bargain – and gain a fantastic new piece of furniture to really transform your room.

5. Place some houseplants around the room

Houseplants are not only proven to improve our air quality and well-being (alongside a bunch of other benefits) but they are also a cheap and easy way to improve the way your living room looks.

I spent £70 on three new house plants and pots for each one – and the difference they made to my living room was instant. My plant purchase was a little more expensive because I really wanted a big palm-leaf plant – but you could get three smaller ones for much less money, and still make a big difference to the way your room looks.

6. Do a picture gallery or DIY wall art

Wall art is a really easy way to take your living room from boring and plain, to full of life.

A picture gallery can be a really effective low-cost way to transform a main wall in your living room. Look on sites like Desenio and Society6 for inspiration – they actually have picture gallery examples so you can order different sizes and prints and see what they’ll look like all together.

7. Add a rug to transform your space

A good-quality rug can make an instant difference to an outdated or cold room.

I got a diamond-patterned rug from Dunelm for just £80, but the quality is amazing – and it totally transforms the way my living room looks. Reading customer reviews is a great way of finding out whether you’re spending money on a good quality product that is excellent value for money, or if you’ll be spending your money on something that’s not really worth the expense.

Just make sure you’re getting the right size for your living room – there’s nothing worse than a big space with a tiny rug sitting on top of it!

8. Homely touches

Another budget-friendly way to update your living room is to add some homely touches, such as photos of your family, friends, and pets, a few candles, and other accessories that make your home yours.

No one wants to feel like they’re living in a show home all day every day (well, most of us don’t!), so adding a few carefully thought out homely touches can be a small but valuable addition to your living room.

9. Update your soft furnishings

Do the cushions on your sofa look kind of…old? Worn? What about any throws or blankets you have?

Have the curtains been there longer than you have? Your soft furnishing can be easy to forget about (especially because older cushions and blankets can be so much cosier!) but these are items that can be relatively inexpensive to update while having a big impact on the way a room looks.

Three cushions, some books, and a house plant for budget ways to do up your living room.

10. Clear the clutter and keep it tidy

Possibly one of the cheapest living room ideas on a budget (and, arguably, make one of the biggest impacts), is to declutter.

If you’re looking around your living room right now and have stuff on the coffee table, an over-flowing TV-Unit, maybe a full-to-brimming bookshelf…plus more surfaces that are stacked up with stuff….maybe it’s time for a declutter.

Even if you don’t feel like your living room is particularly over-cluttered, scheduling a day to declutter, tidy, and re-set the room can make a huge difference. Just re-organizing a previously messy shelf into a more minimalist style can instantly change the way a room looks.

Comment below – how have you updated your home on a low budget?