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Interior designers share 8 ways to make your living room look better for free

Alyssa Towns Swantkoski   

Interior designers share 8 ways to make your living room look better for free
  • We asked interior designers to share how people can upgrade a living room without spending money.
  • Decluttering and rearranging furniture is an easy way to refresh a space.

Sometimes small changes can make a big impact to a space.

And with high housing costs and low inventory making it trickier to relocate, you may be looking to make the most with what you've got without spending the money you're setting aside for your next move.

So, we asked interior designers to share their best ways to upgrade a home for free, starting with the living room.

Here's what they said.

First off, declutter the space and get rid of items you don't need

Tara Dennis, interior designer and cofounder of Archie Bolden, said decluttering your space can help it feel more relaxing.

"The goal is not to take away from the beautiful art or furniture pieces you may have in your home," Dennis told Business Insider. "Decluttering will make for a less hectic look so you can take in all the wonderful pieces and accents you may have."

Group items together to create 'moments' throughout your space

If you have many items or small decorative objects in your living room, try grouping them to "create little moments" that look cleaner and more intentional, Dennis said.

"For example, put a lamp on a stack of books with a few smaller things underneath. On the other side of your console, have another grouping of items and incorporate different scales with accessories, floral, picture frames, and other objects of different weights and sizes," she said.

Dennis also recommends styling with an odd number of things when grouping items together.

Hang your curtains higher

Yasmine El Sanyoura, a home designer at Opendoor, said hanging your curtains higher can create a more elegant and larger-looking space.

"A low-cost way to instantly make your living room look better is to relocate your curtain rod to be closer to the ceiling," she said. "This will draw the eye up in all the right ways and elongate your walls to give the illusion of higher ceilings."

Rearrange your furniture

Interior designer and color expert Diana Hathaway says rearranging furniture is an easy way to mix up a living room.

"It's easy to get comfortable with your furniture layout after living with it for a long time," she said. "Sometimes all a living room needs is a new layout to give it a fresh look and increased livability. "

One of her favorite simple and impactful changes is trying the "wallflower layout," which is simply moving furniture away from the walls.

Organize your bookshelf differently

Jade Joyner, cofounder and principal designer of Metal + Petal, said rearranging your living-room bookshelf is an easy way to achieve a new look without much effort.

"Organize your books by color instead of by size. This rainbow organizing effect can immediately make a space feel fresh," Joyner said.

Give your coffee table a makeover

Jessica McCarthy, global director of interior design at Blueground, said giving your coffee table a makeover with pieces you already have can revitalize your living room.

"Use items from other parts of your home to zhuzh up your coffee table," she said. "Stack books from your library, grab a candle from your bathroom, or florals and branches from your garden to give your coffee table a refresh."

Find new uses for items you already own

McCarthy told BI that finding new uses for items you own is another great way to repurpose what you have.

For example, they said, they recently used a trunk that had been storing blankets as an "unexpected side table" that "adds a lot of visual interest" to their space.

"The same can be done with a stool or chair. Stack some books, add a table lamp, and no one will ever know it wasn't meant to be a side table," McCarthy added.

Use fresh fruit as a prop and accessory

Moving food from your kitchen to your living room can give your space a new look and add a pop of color, said McCarthy.

"I love a big wooden bowl filled with oranges, lemons, or limes to bring color into your space," McCarthy told BI.

The designer also suggested layering pomegranates with pillar candles on a table for an "old world" centerpiece you won't spend extra for.


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