No matter how much money we have, everyone likes a good deal.  Even with an unlimited budget, you generally don’t want to spend ALL your money.  It’s nice to have a little left to have a nice glass of wine (or martini) while basking in the new and improved space.  So here are my top 5 tips and an example for

How to Transform a Living Room on a Budget:

To illustrate the point, take a look at the difference we made in this family room without breaking the budget and without a total overhaul.  This homeowner is very family focused. She has a very clean sophisticated style and she values her family – AND all their photos. She’s a “Glam-ma” and we just needed to tweak her family room to reflect that.  Take a look at the updates we made large and small, for transforming her space on a budget.


How to Transform a Room on a Budget ~ Tip #1:

Assess your current situation. How are you currently using your space?  Do you want to enhance that usage or change it completely?  This will help keep you (and your decorator/designer) focused on function and form, and could ultimately save you lots of money and headaches – hard decisions become simple.  In this case, the homeowner loved her space and just wanted to take it up a notch – that made it easier to keep perspective when seeking out items for her space.


How to Transform a Room on a Budget ~ Tip #2:

Assess what you already own.  Go through the items that you already have stashed away in closets, attics, basements, etc.  More often than not there are many items we bought but didn’t fit in, or that we intended to use for some specific purpose, or that we were supposed to donate, or that we simply we forgot we had.  Sometimes these items can be re-purposed in unique ways you may not have considered before.  Get crafty (but go easy on the spray paint and mod podge!).  Here the homeowner already owned most of the large furnishings.  I simply brought them out into the open (chairs, console table, prints above the sofa) or modified them slightly (re-stuffing the seat and back on the sofa and chair, breaking apart the TV/display unit).

One of the biggest items in the room also made the biggest difference.  That massive TV unit.  For all it’s enormity, it still could not accommodate  multiple electronics and all the cords that come along with them.

I broke apart the unit and used the 2 side display cases elsewhere.  I drilled holes into the back of the smaller center section to pull cords through and relocated it to the angled wall, which was painted with Sherwin-Williams Sea Serpent.  Topped off with a decorative mirror, the TV unit is no longer the sole focus of the room.
Scaled TV Unit Scaled TV Unit – AFTER


How to Transform a Room on a Budget ~ Tip #3:

Decide what you are willing to splurge on.  Every room should have at least 1 item that you just must have – no matter the cost.  Within reason of course.  Choose what that item should be before getting started because that can often dictate the rest of the project.  For this project, it started with the rug for a very specific reason… the homeowner hated how it rolled up along the edges.  It was also completely out of scale for the room.  She was willing to spend a little more to get a higher quality rug and that ultimately became the starting point of the entire remix.

Before - The Family Room The Family Room – BEFORE


Family Room Remix Family Room – AFTER


How to Transform a Room on a Budget ~ Tip #4:

Don’t get tied up into labels. This is twofold – 1) name brands, and 2) style (i.e. traditional, contemporary, modern, transitional).  These are labels that no one will ever see so put the focus on quality and details instead.  Look for things like:

  • pillows with down filled forms and removable covers
  • special details on furniture like nail head trim
  • tie in seemingly opposing items using color, print, and/or texture (colorful embroidered pillows with tonal embroidered window panels)
  • mix up seating options – for example, mix comfy casual chairs with a slipper chair, just don’t place them right next to each other.

These are all combinations of concepts that were used in updating this space.



How to Transform a Room on a Budget ~ Tip #5:

And last but probably MOST important, have fun and enjoy the process.

After. It’s kid approved!The new family room is totally kid approved!  Perfect for this homeowner and all her grandkids!


Every project doesn’t have to be a huge change; sometimes it’s the small changes that make a big difference.

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