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Steamboat Magazine

8 Inspirational Upgrades to Your Living Room

10/17/2017 02:35PM ● By Alesha Damerville

Photos provided by Cheryl Foote

If you’re like most, the living room of your home is the place you find a well-deserved retreat at the end of the day and the room you most like to entertain when guests come for a visit.  So it goes without saying that you naturally want this space to shine.  But how do you effectively upgrade the focal point of your home without breaking the bank?  Here are some suggestions that can be easily achieved by even those on a tight budget.

1. Group your artwork:

Attractive artwork doesn’t have to be expensive to appear that way, so long as you put thought into how it’s arranged.  Taking simple framed pieces and grouping them together on walls can make a subtle visual impact much like an art gallery.  And grouping artwork on two adjacent walls can go even further in creating a focal point that naturally draws attention away from other, more basic aspects of the room.

Ideas for art that you can acquire inexpensively include a collection of travel postcards, photographs of far-away places you’d like to visit, or that colorful artwork your children bring home from school.  Pick up affordable frames at your nearest chain store or thrift shop and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can transform the visual appeal of your living room walls.

2. Center the room around and an area rug

Arranging your furniture in relationship to one great rug can make a huge impact on the visual appeal of the room.  And with so many avenues available to purchase vivid and lively rugs at low cost these days, decorating from the floor up is easier than it’s ever been.  Rugs with stylish geometric shapes have become a modern trend that can offer just the right color splash you’re looking for. 

But before starting your room makeover crusade, make sure to measure the size of your room along with the space you need for furniture.  There’s no sense in purchasing a rug that’s too large if your couch and other seating is only going to cover it up.  But a rug that’s too small for the area will appear out of place as well.  Ideally, your furniture should rest just alongside of the rug’s edges while still showing off the hardwood or other flooring below.

3. Don’t shy away from texture

Especially if your home radiates a neutral color tone, placing pieces with different textures throughout your living room will provide a subtle feeling of depth to your design.  Sophisticated looking fabrics like grooved corduroy or sheer velvet give distinctly different accent properties.  Combine these with contrasting pieces made from steel or leather and you can achieve a blend of textures your guests want to mimic.

If you’re a room makeover do-it-yourselfer, you can find some great materials at your local fabric store or hobby shop.  Then take a trip to a nearby consignment boutique and look for one-off pieces to fill in the gaps.  Keep an eye out for inexpensive lamps and throw pillows that contrast with items you already own.  You’d be surprised at how seamlessly it all fits together when you get it all home.

4. Go dark

Some of our most coveted and cozy spaces in a home seem to be those that portray a dramatic feeling from the start.  You can achieve this remarkable presentation without spending too much by simply choosing wall colors with rich, dark tones and painting the walls yourself.  If you fancy the nation’s top boutique hotels and regal lounges, you’ll quickly note that the dark tones used in these escapes radiate a cozy, comfortable vibe.  If you’re scared of taking things too far or losing any sense of naturally stunning light then make sure to balance your darker paint colors with vivid and shining accent pieces.  A bright green table lamp blends beautifully with navy colored walls, and a side table with yellow accents would shine brightly against a background of deep gray.  All of this is food for thought when considering your pursuit of this designer look.

5. Grow the room height

 Of course you can’t simply raise the ceiling in your living room overnight.  But you can portray the appearance of lofted ceilings by hanging floor-length draperies.  Look online for a plethora of places to purchase budget-friendly window accents and hang them at a height that spans from the top of the window to just above the floor.  This vertical trick on the mind’s eye has been successfully used for decades to evoke a feeling of grandeur in some of the finest estates worldwide.  Similar to your choice of eye-popping shapes and colors in your rug, look for curtain styles that stand out and frame your windows in regal charm.

6. The vintage look is in

So many living room remodels I see go to the extreme of contemporary charm and modern elegance.  But don’t shy away from showcasing a vintage piece or two, even amongst a room of pieces primarily pulled from today’s era.  Examples of ways to incorporate a well-planned vintage look into your design include a classic wooden chest or framed photographs from the past.  Poke around on sites like eBay and Etsy for crafty ideas and items you can pick up for just a few bucks here and there.  Positioned appropriately on your mantle or entertainment armoire, a select number of classic-looking items from the mid-20th century can add a pop of shabby chic that’s all the rage in today’s interior design.  

7. Don’t shy away from wallpaper

Depending on who you ask, a slight twinge of disgust might bubble up when you first consider adding wallpaper to your room.  I admit that pasted vinyl covering has gotten a bad reputation in the world of home decorating in recent history.  But selecting the right pattern and adhering it to just a small, select wall panel or two can give a grand impression to an otherwise modest space.  Budget wallpaper can be found all over the place these days and this often overlooked concept has been revived by some of today’s hottest designers.   Just make sure to order and review samples before you go all-in.  Choosing paper with the right texture and color can be an inexpensive game-changer in your living area when applied sparingly in key focal points of the room.

8. Color is the spice of life

 By splashing in some contrasting color accents to your overall palette you can effectively spice up an otherwise neutrally toned environment.  Cost-effective ways to add a dribble of color to the room include accent pillows, throw blankets, vases and lamps.  These have proven to be an incredible way to spruce up a perfectly good sofa you may not be ready to shoulder the cost to replace at this time.  A mixed use of color can take a bland backdrop from boring to vibrant for less money than you’d ordinarily think.

This article is sponsored by:

 Cheryl Foote has been awarded the honor of Steamboat’s Top Producing Real Estate Agent for the last 2 years running. She is a wife and mother of three. Cheryl’s experience in working with buyers and sellers to maximize their Steamboat real estate investments spans over 20 years and has earned her Sotheby’s International Realty top awards. If you’re interested in the Steamboat Springs real estate market, contact Cheryl at 970-846-6444 or visit: