Spruce up the living room in a few easy steps

While the living room was considered to be the main room in the house 20 to 30 years ago, in today's construction ,it typically takes a backseat to the family room or great room. As a result, the living room is much smaller in size, and often not included in a home decorating plan. However, if you plan on putting your home on the market, or simply want it to look its best when guests come to visit, it shouldn't be forgotten. Here, we'll show you simple ways to spruce up the living room, without spending a lot of time or money.

New color - A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in sprucing up any room. It's also one of the least expensive ways to give any area a quick makeover. Not sure which color would work best? Look to your furniture or accessories for inspiration. If your sofa has throw pillows that you adore, take one with you and use it as a guide to make choosing the right paint color a snap.

Be dynamic - Take that fresh coat of paint and kick it up a notch by using one wall in the room as an accent wall. If all the other walls in the living room are a bright yellow, for example, paint an accent wall a warm chocolate brown. Or, if the walls are a neutral shade, be bold by painting the accent wall red. Because it's only on one wall, the accent color won't overpower the room, but will help bring things together and make them feel comfortable.

Rearrange - Rearranging the furniture will cost you nothing, yet it's one of the fastest ways to make over a living room. Move seating away from the walls and group them together in a cozy fashion. Find a focal point for the room, such as a fireplace or large window, and arrange the furniture so that it's facing it.

Define - Once you've rearranged the furniture, define the space with a pretty accent rug. Place the rug in the center of the seating area, which will work to warm up the entire room and make it feel inviting. If the room is large, use a room divider or decorative screen to divide the room into two separate living areas.

Declutter - In a room that isn't frequently used, we tend to toss our excess "stuff" into it. This doesn't necessarily have to mean large boxes of unused clothes or toys, either. It may be that we put a mix-match collection of knick knacks, or artwork that just doesn't fit anywhere else. Spruce up the living room by removing all the excess and showcasing only your favorite items.

Makeover the windows - Aside from new color on the walls, a new set of window treatments will be the quickest way to dramatically change the look of your living room. If the room is small, the windows should be covered with light colored blinds, shutters, or fabrics. This will give the illusion of a larger space and make everything in the room look brighter. If, however, the room is oversized, you can warm it up with thick draperies.

With your new living room makeover, your home will feel more inviting and show better if you plan to sell. Don't forget to add a few potted plants for a personal touch, and ambient lighting to bring the look together.

More from Jennifer Wagner:

How to use decorative molding to improve the look of your home

Light layering basics for the home

Fireplace decorating ideas for the mantel and beyond


Personal experience