8 interior design hacks to revitalise your living space on a budget

26 Aug 2020

Decide on how much money you want to spend, and then decide which types of pieces you want to buy. This will determine if you can afford big-ticket items, or if you’re going to update the room with smaller items such as coffee tables, décor accessories and rugs.

1. Start with a blank slate
Some designers recommend removing everything from a room to approach it as a blank slate. Interesting ceilings, large windows, wood floors, built-in bookcases or an attractive fireplace can serve as a focal point. Build the décor around these features.

2. Refresh walls
Wall art is one of the easiest pieces of décor to DIY, since just about anything you have on hand can look cool when it’s stylishly hung or framed in your space. You can turn colourful scarves or throw blankets into eye-catching tapestries by hanging them with thumb tacks or transform everyday objects - think: pretty serving trays, costume jewellery or dish towels - into creative wall art by grouping them together on a blank wall. You can even frame your favorite mementos, like vinyl records or sentimental letters to add to your gallery wall.

3. Add architectural detail
Architectural detailing draws the eye away from unattractive elements. Adding crown moulding, wainscoting or baseboards changes the look of a room. Home improvement stores sell an array of materials, including wood, embossed metal and plastic, which work for these improvements. If walls are damaged from chairs hitting them, cover dings with a chair rail. Use different shades of paint above and below the rail. Add a cornice over a plain window to transform it from drab to interesting. To add drama, paint window mullions a different colour than the frames.

4. Swap items from room to room
Another easy free way to refresh your living room is to swap your wall art and décor from room to room. For example, move the plant from your bathroom to a new home on your side table for an easy and effective change.

5. Bring new trends to your living room
“Layering old and new furniture pieces will be ‘in-style’ this year, giving you the perfect opportunity to update your home with some of the latest trends while keeping your favourite furniture items. Don’t be afraid to combine your good quality, existing furniture with new items, as this will add a new dimension to the existing character of the space," says Alon Sachs, co-founder of Mobelli Furniture + Living.

Soft to the touch, velvet finishes add a level of comfort and glamour to any room.

As a style that will not date soon, velvet works well in living rooms. Bring this trend to your home through an occasional chair, an upholstered sofa or an ottoman.

See: New year, new home: 4 trends to bring into your home in 2020

6. Jazz up a fireplace
If you have an outdated fireplace, jazz it up. Paint old bricks a neutral colour and add moulding around the entire fireplace. If the fireplace is decorative instead of functional, paint the interior and display baskets of flowers or whimsical flea market finds. A great way to make a fireplace a focal point is to paint the cornice, mouldings and interior the same colour. Top it with a large mirror to accentuate light.

7. Work from the ground up
If your floors are attractive, don't hide them. Refinish hardwood floors to bring out the shine. Try painting worn linoleum to give it a new look.

Rugs can be used as accessories or a focal point. Although you can spend a fortune on rugs, you can also decorate inexpensively with them. Natural materials such as jute, wool and sisal add texture. Layer several for interest, or lay them at angles instead of aligned with walls.

In large rooms, use rugs to define an area. To pull a room together, place a large rug under sofas, chairs and tables. If you have a rug that you love, put it on the wall.

8. Accentuate with light
Windows and mirrors can make a room look bigger, serve as a focal point and brighten a space. Accentuate a window using curtains, blinds and shades. Hanging curtains at ceiling height makes a room look bigger.

If a window is ugly, extend a rod across the entire window and hang full panels that hide unattractive mouldings. Add Roman shades behind curtains next to the glass for a layered look. Have fun repurposing old belts, neckties, bracelets and necklaces as curtain tiebacks.

Apply window film to block a bad view but still let in light. If you have an artistic touch, make a stained glass design with glass paint. Use mirrors as wall art, over fireplaces or as a focal point. Paint a decorative frame around a mirror to match a colour in the room.

9.Update accessories and fixtures
New curtains, decorative pillows and area rugs can redefine a space. Simply moving furniture to other rooms gives a new look. A settee in a bedroom with a floor lamp for light makes a cosy reading nook.


Simple changes can make a room look better, such as getting rid of clutter and ugly furniture. Consider the contents of your home as an interesting flea market. As you find odds and ends, be creative in ways to reuse them. You can add interest and sparkle to your living space with just a few dollars and a little time.

See latest COVID-19 updates on government website www.sacoronavirus.co.za.