Live large in your living room for $100 or less

There’s a reason we call it “the living room.” We might all spend most of our time in the kitchen, but when we want to relax with family and friends to watch a movie, take in a TV show or just enjoy some good conversation, we head to the living room.

Between the kids playing trampoline on the couch or taking the “throw” in throw pillows literally, the family dog decorating the carpet with her hair, and the overall wear and tear the room gets, it may be hard to imagine living large in your living room anymore. The good news is, refreshing the room and making it a showpiece of your home again needn’t cost a bundle.

In fact, you can give your living room a facelift by making some key changes that each cost $100 or less. From wall decor ideas to furniture fixes, here are some easy, do-it-yourself decorator moves that can update the look of your living room for less than the cost of a designer handbag:

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

Just as the right shoes and a bright scarf can add pizzaz to an otherwise so-so outfit, the right mix of accessories can add power and pop to your living room decor. Accessories can also help conceal a host of flaws, from worn-out upholstery to stained carpeting.

Hit a discount home goods store and replace tired accent pillows with new ones in bright colors. Add designer-inspired tiebacks to the same old drapes after you’ve freshly laundered them. Scatter plush throws around the room. Cover carpeting that’s seen better days with an area rug that looks fresh, new and fun.

Back to the wall

She who wields a paint roller well (or is even just reasonably OK with one) has the power to completely change a room – for less than $30 a gallon. Paint is a fast, cost-effective way to make a lived-in room look move-in ready again. And since you spent so little redoing three walls, consider a wallpaper mural for the fourth.

Murals like those found at www.DecorPlace.com can transform any room with a nature mural or images that evoke a tropical getaway, a vibrant cityscape, an undersea wonderland or a rustic Tuscan villa. On the website, you’ll find plenty of easy-to-install murals for less than $100. You can use yours to create a focal point in your living room, accent an architectural feature, make a small space feel more open and airy, or add interest to an otherwise boring wall.

Fire it up

Wish your living room had a fireplace, but find yourself without several thousand dollars to have a real one installed? You can evoke the warm, cozy atmosphere of a fireplace in a number of ways.

Purchase a small chiminea for less than $100 and invest in a pillar candle to place inside it. The candle will create a warm glow (and appealing aroma if you choose a scented one) with less fire risk than burning wood in the chiminea. Just remember to follow good fire-safety practices, and keep children and animals away from all open flames. Spend a little bit more, and you can construct your own faux mantel and place several pillar candles in the hearth area of the mantel.

Furniture fixes

If your wooden furniture is still sturdy but suffering from scratches, dings, dents and watermarks, consider refinishing it yourself. One gallon of wood finish can cost less than $30, and cover a lot of wood furniture. Or, you can check out used furniture stores, flea markets and yard sales in search of gently used items in better condition than what you have. Another option would be to visit a big box store that sells unfinished furniture and do the finishing yourself.

Living large in your living room again is possible, and you don’t have to have the large budget of a home improvement show to achieve it. Some creativity and the willingness to try some fun do-it-yourself projects can go a long way toward making your tired old living room look and feel new again.

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