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Small Living Room Decorating Ideas on a Budget

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Transform your cozy living space into a stylish haven without draining your wallet with these easy small living room decorating ideas on a budget. Discover budget-friendly tips and tricks to maximize space, enhance functionality, and infuse personality into every corner.

Check out the budget-friendly projects we did in our space, including the addition of picture frame molding, as well as our paint colors and decor choices. Plus you can see the before and after of our cozy cottage style living room and how it works for our lifestyle.

neutral sofa and gallery wall in small living room

This space didn’t have a whole lot going for it when we moved in. It was just a small square box without any character. The pluses were the large window, that lets in plenty of light, and the hardwood floors.

empty living room space with gray walls

The minuses were the old baseboard heaters and the chandelier that we walked into every time we passed through the room.

This 10×10 room is right off our small entry, at the front of the house. We’re pretty sure that the previous, and only, owners used this as their dining space. We don’t need another dining space so it will serve as a sitting/living area for now.

empty living room space with gray walls

Small Living Room Makeover

The first project I tackled in this room was to get rid of the chandelier and both baseboard heaters. We don’t need the heaters, and they’re just plain ugly, so I removed them and fixed all the holes and damaged walls.

I also removed the old thermostat and filled that hole, as well as all of the other holes and nail pops.

Next up was caulking all of the trim and windows (old house problems) and then it was on to priming the trim.

living room in the middle of a reno

By this point in the project I was so ready to get some paint on the walls. First though, I rolled a couple of coats of bright white paint on the ceiling. What a difference that made!

The trim also got a couple coats of the same color that I’ve been using in the rest of the house, Behr Polar Bear mixed in BM Advance.

Finally it was time for the wall paint. I’ve used this house to experiment with different sheens, namely soft white paint colors in a matte sheen. The walls in this house have a lot of imperfections so I was hoping that the matte sheen would minimize them.

The paint color I chose for this room was BM White Dove in matte. I’ve used White Dove before on trim and I’ve always loved it so I went with it again.

I couldn’t believe how much this soft white color brightened up the room. It was painted in a medium gray color that was…ok. The soft white though, really made a huge difference.

white painted living room wall

Picture Frame Molding

I’ve been trying to add a bit of character to each room I renovate in this plain 1965 ranch, and do it on a budget. The entryway got a new door and fun wallpaper. The breakfast nook has beadboard.

This room was going to get molding, picture frame molding to be exact. It was my first time doing this kind of project but it really was easy to do. Figuring out the math for spacing the boxes turned out to be the hardest part of the whole project.

measurements and numbers written on a white sheet of paper

Originally I was going to do the whole room, then it was 2 walls. In the end I just went with 1 wall, the sofa wall. I think it was the right call because it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the room. I love what it did for this space.

picture frame molding installed on one living room wall.

Adding doors to a room

In my original plan for the living room I wanted some kind of metal door for the large doorway between the kitchen and living room. After some research and price comparisons, I decided to find a more budget-friendly option. I settled on sliding steel and glass doors.

I wanted something a bit more modern than a typical barn door. When I saw the glass and steel doors, I knew they would work well with the feel I was going for in this room.

installing glass and metal sliding doors in a living room doorway

I love that they add a bit of character to the room but still let tons of light into our kitchen.

Gallery wall with printed images

Like I said, this is a small room with only one long wall so it was the only place to put a sofa. Since it’s the only wall that I can hang any kind of art on, I decided to do a gallery wall with vintage art.

Remember, I’m trying to do budget-friendly when I can and this is the perfect spot. I’ve collected flea market and estate sale art for years so I pulled a few favorites out. I also found some public domain prints online that I printed out and framed in vintage frames.

small decorated living room with gallery wall

Decorating on a budget with what you have

I love shopping my house and decorating a room with things I already have. Besides being budget-friendly, it’s a great way to use things you love in different ways.

Let’s discuss the big ticket items that make up the room…the furniture.

The sectional has moved with us from Florida to Illinois and now to two homes in North Carolina. It’s a bit big for this room but it’s a piece we love and I couldn’t justify buying new when we don’t use this room every day.

The chair in the one corner of the room and the cabinet in another, are both long loved pieces that have been used in several of our homes.

Since I mostly decorated the living room with furniture and decor I already had, it allowed me to buy the steel and glass doors and a few small decor pieces.

small living room with chair in corner and black cabinet

Decorating a room with thrifted finds

As I get older, I find myself more drawn to decorating with thrifted and estate sale finds. Not only can it be a budget-friendly option for decorating (usually), I also love that I can find unique well-made pieces that fit my design style.

I already mentioned the thrifted art wall gallery but I also found a beautiful vintage wooden coffee table that fits this small space perfectly. And it was only $30.

Finishing a room with curtains

If you’ve been around Chatfield Court for a while then you’ll know that I am not a curtain kind of girl. I’m more of a window dressing minimalist, and if I’m being honest, I don’t want to have to clean curtains.

The plan for this room was to hang the woven shades back up that I installed when we moved in.

But after I hung them back up and put my room together something felt off to me. Like something was missing.

large window wall in a decorated living room

I gave it a few weeks to see if it was just the change to the room but the window wall still looked unfinished. In my gut I knew I needed to hang curtains. The curtains I went with are from Two Pages, the Liz Linen Drape Pleated.

small corner of living room with chair

I think my gut was right. Although they are simple, the curtains add softness and finish off this side of the room.

small living room with sofa and coffee table

I’m thrilled with the way this room turned out. It’s truly my style and I find myself going in to escape the reno madness and just sitting on the sofa to enjoy the peaceful feeling I get when I’m in here.

I can’t sit for too long though…too much to do. The little area next to the kitchen, the hallway and a new dressing room are all waiting for their turn. On a budget of course!