5 Easy and Affordable Ideas to Update a Living Room

Have you ever walked into a room you once loved and when you walk it just feels a little stale? Like it could use a little freshening up? That’s exactly how my living room was feeling a few months ago. Overall I love how my living room has slowly evolved over the past few years, but the space was missing something. It need a little oomph. 

Not everyone in your home needs a major overhaul and all new everything. The reality is easy affordable updates in a living room go a long way in making a room feel fresh and new. Its those little tweaks in room that can add big impact. Today, I’m sharing five affordable ideas to quickly update your living room and while staying on budget. 

ONE. LIGHTING // A few months ago, I updated our overhead living room light with a Grammercy Mid Century Modern style light. The new lighting is so pretty and really helps draw eyes up and out making my small living room appear larger. The quick update in my living room was under $125 and only took a little while to complete. In addition to overhead lighting, you can also swap out so-so lamps for a new pair. Also consider visiting a thrift store for lamps, my favorite lamps in my home have all been from thrift stores / consignment stores (including my beloved aqua lamp in my living room) Read more about my recent living room update.

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Dreamy affordable lighting ideas for, under $ 200

TWO. NEW PAINT COLOR // Never underestimate the power of paint! Without fail, painting a room or painting baseboards creates the most bang for your buck. You can go big and change the color or just touch up your existing wall color. I also love the look painting the baseboards and trim in your space a color other than white. YUP, baseboards and trim don’t have to be white to look chic. In small rooms, consider matching your wall color and baseboards, it helps trick the eye and make your room appear larger

image via  Elle Decor

image via Elle Decor

image via  New York Times

image via New York Times

THREE. ARTWORK // When it comes to artwork, I say more the merrier on walls, bookcases! I love a good gallery wall! Gallery walls are timeless and have been around for ages. I love how that can easliy be Incorporated into almost any space. Consider, affordable artwork updates, but just swapping out what you currently have framed with new artwork or family photos. I love looking for original artwork on Etsy! I love that a lot of artists give you the options of printing at home. I’ve used Costco several times to print artwork, the prices are quality can’t be beat! My favorite mix of artwork in my home is: Abstract, Photography (color and black & white), Landscape Painting.

image via  Breyi.com

image via Breyi.com

Here’s a few of my recent favorite Artwork finds on Etsy.

FOUR. NEW PILLOWS // Did you know the average home dweller has the same sofa for an average or 7-10 years? After a while of seeing the safe sofa with the same pillows, your sofa can look like wallpaper. Meaning you don’t even notice it in your room anymore. The quickest and affordable way to update the look and feel of your sofa, new pillows of course! My pillow preference is always feather-down pillows over poly-fill since feather maintains is shape longer. Skip the pillows where you can’t use a feather down insert. Trust me you don’t want lumpy pillows on your sofa. Mix + Match pillows or go all neutral and opt for texture or color. The right pillow combination on a sofa only enhances the look.

image via  Style My Pretty

image via Style My Pretty

Below are a few neutral pillows ideas that will look good on any sofa all $60 and under

FIVE. ADD BOOKCASES // If your living room is lacking storage or has an old piece of furniture that’s no longer needed or useful, move it to another room of donate it! Life is too short to keep ‘things’ in a space where you spend so much time. Out with the old and in with a bookcase that’s more versatile in your room. IKEA, Target and CB2 have a lots of affordable modern bookcase styles that can provide storage and make your room feel new and refreshed.

image via   Decor Your Home

image via Decor Your Home

image via  here

image via here

image via  Home Polish

image via Home Polish

I hope my ideas for for updating a living room are helpful in making your space feel fresh! It’s always exciting see the impact small tweaks can make in a room. Any recent changes to your home that made a big impact on a budget?

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My Kitchen Design, Six Years Later: What I Love & What I Would do Differently

It’s crazy to think we remolded our kitchen six years ago, our kitchen renovation story is a little different than most, for new people to my blog, here’s a brief background story on our home. Seven years ago, we were giving our kitchen a makeover, working with what we had making budget-friendly improvements. We tore out the old date tile counters and back splash and installed new counters, removed some cabinets to install a wall mount Range Hood above our stove. I was so proud of how everything was coming together, and then a few weeks later, the home next door to ours caught fire, and then caught our house on fire. It was devastating, we lost over 97% of our belongings, our home had to be gutted done to the studs, and we spent a year living in an apartment while re-building our home. It was one of the hardest years of my life, read more about it here.

The light at the end of the tunnel after dealing with the insurance company, mortgage company, contractors, was seeing our home being re-built and making thoughtful improvements along the way. Read more about the Kitchen Design here.

Over the weekend, I gave my kitchen a good cleaning, including cleaning out the interior of the cabinets! That was a huge chore, I checked dates and toss all the old crap, plus updated our spice containers to ones that fit better in our cabinets. Kitchens feel better when clean!

Since it has been six years since I designed my kitchen, I thought it would be fun to share what I still love and share what changes I would make if designing my kitchen today. Below is my kitchen, don’t peonies my it prettier? Oh, I also gave the grout behind my stove a little refresh, with the help of this Grout Pen it comes in a two pack! I have a few more areas to touch up in my kitchen and then time to tackle a few areas in my bathroom, trust me if you have white grout you need this!

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My Kitchen Design, Six Years Later: What I Love & What I Would do Differently

Below are my thoughts on my kitchen design, highlighting the major components of my kitchen.

LAYOUT DESIGN: We have a small kitchen, only nine feet wide. I’m so happy I changed the layout from L Shape kitchen with a floating fridge to a U Shape Kitchen Layout. The U Shape Layout of the kitchen creates a nice ‘working triangle’ and fully utilizes the floor plan our spaces and maximizes it. I love how the refrigerator area of our kitchen is built, fully incorporating it into the design. Most often fridges look like after thoughts and just randomly attached to the wall.

So yes, I would still go with the U Shape Design!

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WHITE CABINETS: I love my all white kitchen, BUT there have been plenty of moments over the years when I’m over washing them to stay clean. For the size and layout of my kitchen and lighting, I prefer white cabinets, both lower and upper. In my next kitchen, when and if we ever move I can see myself playing with the idea of going with darker cabinets of the bottom and white upper cabinets. This two-tone kitchen below makes me smile.

image via  Grant K Gibson

image via Grant K Gibson

CABINET STYLE & STORAGE: Personally, I love classic shaker cabinets, depending on the other elements in a kitchen they can go country, boho (when paint a fun color) or modern. I love these style cabinets so much, I made turned our basic ‘flat front’ cabinets in our master bathroom into shaker style cabinets (see here) One thing we should have splurged for was a Lazy Susan in our lower corner cabinets (on either sides of the stove) pulling out pots and pans and other dinnerware is such a chore, and its so hard to see what’s down there. In my next kitchen Lazy Susans will be a must!

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OPEN SHELVES: that it breaks up all the cabinets and creates a special moment in my kitchen for display storage: for bowls, cookbooks, cookie jars, etc. I can't see myself forging all upper cabinets, ‘I like things out of sight’ such as spices tucked away in the cabinet, or cereal boxes hidden. We don’t have a separate pantry in our kitchen, having upper cabinets keeps clutter on my counters at bay. I realized over the weekend in my next kitchen; I still don't want a pantry! Instead, I would love a Butler’s Pantry to hold all my entertaining items: platters, cake stands, bowls or all sizes, plus a small built-in wine fridge! A girl can dream right!

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KITCHEN FLOORING: Hardwood floors in a kitchen can be controversial, some people our on camp tile or wood. Give the small layout of our home and our eat-in dining room, keeping the flooring our living areas all hardwoods was a must! I know people say, only tile is practical in kitchens, but let’s be honest is you spill water you still have to wipe it up, if something leaks, you’ll have to replace it even tile. Knock on wood, that doesn’t happen regardless of the flooring material you choose.

BACK SPLASH: In our kitchen, I went with classic subway tile, I love its timeless look at affordable price point, now would I do subway tile again? YES, its affordable and easy to care for. Marble back splashes are so pretty, but they also stress me out. ! I might not do just white tile and instead opt for color tile or a crackle glaze subway tile to mix it up, I also love the idea of a little niche shelf above the stove, like below its so cute!

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image via  Traditional Home

APPLIANCES: The next time we purchase all new appliances for our home, I doing a crazy of amount of research and reading all the reviews! We replaced our dishwasher two years ago, after repairing our dishwasher a few times and for the past year we’ve been dealing with bottom freezer drama. The bottom drawer is very hard to open and hard to close! We’re going to have a repaid company checkout the issue and decided if we want to repair or replace. Ugh the annoying part of home ownership! Lesson learned do the homework and take your time when selecting appliances, I personally feel like they should last at least 10 years below replacing. We do however LOVE our built-in range and I would be buy it over and over! It’s amazing and a workhorse and so pretty!! Our range is Frigidaire Gallery, with convection oven and all the fun features.

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If you were designing your kitchen today, what changes would you make?

I learned to do the research when it comes to selecting appliances, that timeless kitchen vibes appeal to me long-term and that splurge on interior organizers, like Lazy Susans in small kitchens, its worth it!