Find out how you can add 5 simple and easy upgrades to any room and instantly make it look fresher and brighter for less than $300.
This post does NOT contain affiliate links – I just really happen to like all the products I am showing you!
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After having had our current living room decor for 10 years we were ready for an upgrade.
Our house is a 1910 Victorian shingle-style home and the living room decor matched that style color-wise: deep reds and bold colors.
We wanted something fresher and brighter.
Of course, you can always invest in let’s say a new couch. That is a bigger investment and a bigger decision that involves my husband and by default becomes a lengthy process.
Therefore, I prefer the quicker and less expensive upgrades (also read here about how I updated our dining chairs).
A new area rug
We love having the original hardwood Douglas fir floors in our home. They are easy to clean and give it a warm, homey feel. To soften the rooms up, however, we like to use area rugs. They also protect the floors.
Our old one was a bit more Oriental-inspired and had dark, bold colors. Overall, the color scheme worked.
In order to brighten up the room, we chose a natural jute rug. We like the Lohals jute rug from Ikea. It has a nice natural color variation that is very forgiving in terms of spills. Even though it looks knobby and not that comfortable, it actually has a pretty soft feel to it. And for $99 for the 5’3″ x 7’7″ this is a very inexpensive choice.
New lamp shades
Next, we chose to change the lampshades. We had two, again in dark red colors. A simple choice was the Jära lamp shades from Ikea. They have a nice linen look to them, even though they are a linen blend. It was an easy swap for the lamp by our couch.
However, we have a bigger one in our library corner that didn’t look right with the size of the lamp shade that Ikea offers. What’s a girl to do? Somehow we had a pure white lampshade that matched the Ikea one in style.
So, I simply bought Ikea’s linen tablecloth that I actually use as “fabric” for crafts. It’s a bit longer than 3 yards and comes out to about $8 per yard! Yes, at that price for 100% linen, I buy tablecloths as “fabric”!
From that tablecloth, I cut out a piece big enough to cover the lampshade and simply glued it on. Now we have almost completely matching lampshades.
Another deep red was our pillow covers on the couch. They matched the red in the old rug and the red from the old lampshades. This was another easy, inexpensive update.
I can’t get enough of linen. It’s a very durable fabric with a nice natural feel that has a much lower environmental impact than cotton.
Ikea’s Puderviva is a great find. I got 2 of them and they set me back $15 each. They look very pretty on our light green couch. Depending on your preference, you can choose to have the plain front facing forward or the ribbon side.
The old curtains were a light color with a floral look. We wanted something a bit lighter that also matched the pale yellow paint in the room.
Have I told you that I love linen? It has such a simple, classic, and natural look.
Linen can be expensive. Here’s where my two love affairs come together: linen and Ikea. Ikea has great linen curtains in a few different colors. Their white is actually more of a natural white that works perfectly in our updated room.
Flowers always look great and fresh in every room. I like to decorate with colors that match the season. White mums always have a fresh look.
To compliment that look, I like to use very simple, clean vases. At $4 a piece, you can’t beat Ikea’s simple glass vases. They are so inexpensive that you can afford to have a few of them. You can even find cheaper ones, such as these Ikea Vasen vases for $2 a piece!
As you can see, these are all very easy, simple upgrades to will instantly freshen up the look of any room. Best of all? You can do this for less than $300. I paid around $271! We love this new look that feels like spring!
5. Area rug
You might also like to check out my easy DIY post about how I changed the look of our dining room chairs