How to quickly elevate your living room in under $100 - easy pick-me-ups the designers swear by

It's easy to elevate you living room for not too much money, and these designer workarounds make a huge difference to the overall look

A living room with sheer curtains and decor
(Image credit: Kensington Leverne. Design Maison August; Atelier Ochre)

You don’t necessarily need to throw money at your living room to give it a spring reboot. Small and budget-friendly changes and simple touches can also refresh your living space and make you look at your room in a brand-new way. 

These simple additions and living room hacks are a surefire way to breathe new life into your interiors in mere moments - crucially, without breaking the bank and saving you precious time. 

1. Refresh your wall art

A living room with wall art

(Image credit: Shade Degges. Design: Ashe Leandro)

Wall art can be a simple and cheap addition that can really rejuvenate a room and add a bit of character. This doesn't necessarily mean original prints, and you can find your favorite art prints online for cheap, have them framed. Pick out colors that already exist in the room and make sure your art complements the scheme. 

Sometimes, refreshing your living room is as simple as reshuffling the pieces you already have. It doesn't always mean buying new living room wall art and decor for the room.  ‘I love the idea of adding colorful, contemporary art to any living space for a simple update,’ says Tom Stringer of the eponymous design studio. 

Eva Bradley and Alicia Cheung, principals at San Francisco-based, Studio Heimat agree. ‘To get a fresh perspective on the room, switch up the layout of your room, moving around your art. Art can really change the mood of a room!'

Le Jardin poster from Desenio, $11.97
Editor's pick

<a href="https://go.redirectingat.com/?id=92X1623317&xcust=hawk-custom-tracking&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fdesenio.com%2Fp%2Fposters-prints%2Fart-prints%2Fle-jardin-no1-poster%2F&sref" data-link-merchant="SkimLinks - desenio.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Le Jardin poster from Desenio, $11.97

If you're looking for a site with an abundance of cheap prints in many different styles, Desenio is a great platform, showcasing many different artists. This is a simple design with lovely colors that could bring some brightness to your room.

2. Add a statement plant

A living room with indoor fiddle fig tree

(Image credit: Bill Abranowicz. Design: Matt Blacke)

Bringing the outside in is always a great way to revitalize your living room, and it won't cost the earth. Those beautiful big-leafed cheese plants or fiddle leaf plants or indoor trees are a one-off investment that brings freshness to your space. Place in a corner with a lamp behind to cast interesting natural shadows on wall and ceiling for extra impact.  

If you're looking to go as cheap as possible, see if you have any green-fingered friends who might be able to part with a cutting of their plant. 

Monsterras are actually easy to propagate. Just get a cutting, stick it in water and in a sunny spot, and watch as the roots grow. Once your glass is filled with roots, you will know it's outgrown the glass and needs soil. March is the best time to plant a monsterra. Keep it in bright, indirect light, mist and water it regularly, and it will grow at a very fast rate.

Large fiddle leaf fig tree, Amazon, $32.16
Editor's pick

<a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=107651&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FCosta-Farms-Lyrata-Fiddle-Leaf-Indoor%2Fdp%2FB07M9CRFJN%2F%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Large fiddle leaf fig tree, Amazon, $32.16

I love the broad leaves of the fiddle leaf fig tree with prominent veining. It enjoys a spot in the home with bright indirect light and will thrive with frequent watering. In a beautiful pot, it has a sculptural look that can bring structure to an unloved corner.

2. Give your trim a lick of paint

A living room with white trim

(Image credit: JM Morris)

Painting trim is a really quick way to give your interiors a lift. So much so, that interior designer Max Rollitt refers to it as 'one of the great unsung heroes of interior design.' So often our trim gets unnoticed, and you might not realize just how in need of a lick of paint it is. White is the go-to and a way to bring real brightness, and as our white trim is exposed to scuffs and the rigors of the home, it can fade to a grey or yellowish tint. Go for a bright white like Benjamin Moore's Brilliant White

'Painting trim white is a classic move, and can feel fresh and updated,' says designer Molly McGinness.

'You should definitely paint your wood trim,' agrees Mia Jung, director of interiors at Kligerman Architecture & Design. 'It will freshen a room and you can add the color in along the way and stop you from being limited on your color choices.'

It doesn't need to be bright white either. Another great paint trick to elevate your trim is to pick from the same color family as the wall and go a tone darker for your trim. Otherwise, go for a modish color – sage green, pistachio, light pink – for a quick and easy update to your living room that will breathe new life into your interiors.

Finally, if you've recently painted your trim, try a high gloss instead to really refresh these architectural details.

Farrow &amp; Ball's All White, from $8&nbsp;
Editor's Pick

<a href="https://www.awin1.com/awclick.php?awinmid=20199&awinaffid=103504&clickref=hawk-custom-tracking&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.farrow-ball.com%2Fpaint-colours%2Fall-white" data-link-merchant="farrow-ball.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Farrow & Ball's All White, from $8 

This bright white from Farrow & Ball gives off a lovely gleaming white with a resilient and long-lasting finish. Unusually, it contains no other pigment except for white, creating the brightest color without colder blue undertones.

3. Add a radiator cover

Blue bedroom with texture wallpaper

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

A radiator is functional and, let’s be honest, not always the most beautiful of items. You can however make a virtue out of necessity by simply hiding it. There are many different styles of radiator cover, from plain and simple to intricately patterned covers, and come in a variety of colors that can suit your living room color scheme and wall color choice. Paint the cover in the same color as your wall for a monochromatic look, or embrace contrast and go for something more surprising

They are designed to ensure that they block out as little heat as possible. (Some heat will inevitably be retained by the cover, so make sure your room will still be warm enough). 

Finally, use the shelf that you have now created to showcase your interior design style with candles, frames, maybe a plant or two (just make sure it's happy to be in a warm place).

Symple stuff panel radiator cover, Wayfair, $85.99
Editor's pick

<a href="https://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-100624753-13771918?sid=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https://www.wayfair.com/home-improvement/pdp/symple-stuff-salsbury-radiator-cover-panel-heater-xlvd6415.html" data-link-merchant="wayfair.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Symple stuff panel radiator cover, Wayfair, $85.99

This radiator cover is on offer for under $100 and is a quick fix addition that gives your wall a bit of texture. If you're not keen on the color, paint it something a bit more in-keeping with your home.

5. Opt for a coffee table reset

A decorated coffee table

(Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez. Design: Interior Fox)

An easy way to give your living room a refresh is to curate your coffee table display for an aesthetic focal point in the room. Clear that pile of magazines and books off the coffee table, find a better place for all that clutter and restore the coffee table’s role as a beautiful item itself. Keep it simple with coffee table decor - maybe just a small plant in its center, a candle tray with a grouping of candles and a smattering of your favorite coffee table reads. It's all about creating those small moments that help you feel relaxed in your home.

'Restyling accessories is an easy way to change up the living room,' say Eva and Alicia. 'Coffee table books, scented candles that better accentuate the season, and changing out flowers will also give your living room an instant pick me up.

Round marble tray from H&amp;M, $29.75
Editor's pick

<a href="https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=kXQk6%2AivFEQ&mid=43148&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww2.hm.com%2Fen_us%2Fproductpage.0633039001.html" data-link-merchant="www2.hm.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Round marble tray from H&M, $29.75

I like this simple marble tray from H&M, a perfect plate for a grouping of three candles on your coffee table.

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.