Trying to make your living room look like a million bucks (for way, way less) might sound like a tall order. But for our design network? Piece of cake.
After all, it doesn’t take a full renovation budget and weeks of work to give your living room a few key upgrades. In fact, you can completely transform your living room to something très chic in two days or less.
Ready to get started? Here are seven of our favorite weekend DIY projects that will modernize your living room and give it that high-end feel—without the high-end price.
1. Throw in an accent rug
Photo by Janof Architecture
Looking to redefine your space in one fell swoop? Look no further than a high-end accent rug.
“The trend right now is to layer rugs on top of each other,” says Pamela Durkin, owner of Pamela Durkin Designs. “You can have a larger, more neutral rug in the room and then layer a smaller rug with more color and patterns. This is an easy way to bring a fresh look into the space.”
2. Build your own blanket ladder
“A blanket ladder is always great because your storage doubles as art,” says designer Carmen Smith of Living Letter Home. “You don’t have the look of being unkempt with just tons of blankets lying around. Instead you’re storing them in a visually pleasing way that takes up even less space.”
3. Create a feature wall
Photo by MK Property Photography
Big-ticket changes don’t just take place on the floor—you can also easily upgrade your living room by redesigning at least one wall to really make a statement.
“I love the idea of a feature wall,” says Smith, “especially one that has some visual dimension or depth. Add in some grid molding or big picture frame, and paint it all the same color as the wall. This is always a great talking point with company, and you can get some great creative looks without spending a ton of time or money.”
4. Build a rustic coffee table (that would make Joanna Gaines swoon)
If you haven’t gotten the hint by now, we’ll say it again. You really don’t need to spend thousands on furniture to get pieces that look expensive. Example? Just check out this DIY rustic coffee table.
“This coffee table is great because it creates a functional piece in your living room that can also double as storage,” Smith says. “Put a couple of cute baskets on the bottom to tame the clutter or toys if you have little ones.”
5. Add a room divider
Photo by Into interior design
Whether it’s functional or decorative, an elegant room divider will instantly make your living room look more interesting and exotic.
“There are some amazing products out there that can really make a difference in a space,” Durkin says. “If your room has the front door that puts you right into the living room, this is an easy way to create a visual separation.”
6. Upgrade your overhead lighting
Photo by Imagine Design
You won’t have to get your hands or house dirty for this one—and yet the results can still have a major impact on the overall look and feel of your living room.
“Changing the overhead lighting can make a huge difference,” Smith says. “There are so many cool chandeliers available which provide great light, are dimmable, and also art pieces in their own right.”
7. Give the fireplace a makeover
If the most exciting thing about your fireplace is its ability to display holiday decor, it might just be time to give that central space a bigger makeover.
“We have done this, and I swear it updated our room 20 years in the matter of a couple hours,” Smith says.
Smith did a light lime wash, added a chunky mantel, and removed the gold fireplace insert. Then she added a modern screen and spray-painted the inside of her fireplace with a fireproof black paint designed for grills.
“Easiest and cheapest project we have done to date,” she says, “and is still one of my favorite budget-friendly ways to update a space.”