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DIY remodeling on a budget: Your living room

If you’ve moved into a new home and aren’t feeling that the living room is really “yours” quite yet, or it just feels like it needs an upgrade, we’ve got you covered. There are many different living-room remodel ideas out there, and here are some incredibly easy projects that are all $1,000 or less than that. Let’s get started on sprucing up that room.

Large living room with sofa and chair
Kara Eads/

Swap your carpet for new floors

While carpeting in homes was popular in years past, there are other considerations — such as featuring the wood or tile underneath. Carpets might seem appealing for family homes, but they require a lot of maintenance, which includes constant vacuuming. Take a look under your carpeting to see if there are hardwood floors, then remove them. And, if you’re renting, it’s a good idea to check with your landlord if they’re OK with you doing this.

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You simply need to sand the floors down and apply a new stain to make them look brand-new again; don’t forget to let the stain dry for a day or two.

If you don’t have wooden floors already but like the look of them, laminate is a good substitute. Either option costs less than $1,000 and requires just a weekend to complete.

Embrace the power of an eye-catching area rug

Now that you have your sharp-looking hardwood floors, how do you tie the living room together? A beautiful patterned rug can immensely improve the overall look while protecting your floors from scratches, scrapes, and stains. For instance, this eye-catching, power-loomed rug from Zipcode Design serves as a great focal point for your floors that’s affordable. The rainbow of colors allows you to choose an accent color you can incorporate through the rest of your living-room decor.

Replace old furniture with new finds

Sometimes, rearranging furniture isn’t enough of a change, so you can make this an opportunity to get new pieces. Keep in mind that “new” doesn’t have to mean straight out of the showroom. Thrift-store finds and antique gems add wonder and character to any room, especially in larger areas like living rooms.

You should also consider reclaimed wood tables with metal features for versatile decorating options. For instance, this condo coffee table from Magnussen Home Furnishings combines dark reclaimed wood and distressed iron legs for a contemporary table that also doubles as a storage compartment. It features unique characteristics, has a hidden drawer, and measures 24 x 48 x 18 inches, making it suitable for standard-size living rooms in need an upgrade.

Living room with orange wall and yellow sofa

Repaint the walls

Another classic living-room remodel idea is to repaint your walls. Calm shades like green, white, blue, or off-yellow help make your living room appear more spacious, but feel free to decorate the wall behind your couch with a patterned design. Alternatively, you can install open shelving behind for more storage and to dress up the wall without having to use wallpaper.

Darker shades tend to make rooms feel more intimate, but don’t shy away from jewel tones like red, emerald, blue, and even orange if you want to make a statement and stay on trend.

Painting a room will only set you back around $300, which includes the cost of paint, primer, and painting tools. Larger rooms will cost more, so take that into consideration when planning a remodel. Again, renters should check with their landlord before making any major changes.

Remodeling your living room might be necessary when you’re moving into a new space with outdated features. Try switching out carpets for fresh new wood or wood laminate to modernize the room. If your floors aren’t the issue, consider purchasing an area rug and furniture, or attend estate sales for some unique vintage pieces. With any of the living-room remodel projects here, you might want to renovate other parts of your home when you discover just how easy it is to make a room look great without spending a fortune.

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Tom Warnick
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Tom has worked been a writer and editor for several years, working at the Starlog Group, Billboard, Bed Bath & Beyond…
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