Easy DIY Living Room Updates on a Budget

March 24, 2022

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Unlike a kitchen remodel, where all of the work has to be done at once, living room updates can be done over a period of time. This not only saves money, but allows for even a novice DIY’er to tackle the projects. No need to rush through to finish the task. There are several easy DIY projects that will change the entire look of any living room. After updating my dining room and entryway to more of a modern vibe, our living room was the room that was not like the others. With our open-concept floor plan, it was vital for these three rooms to flow well together. It was time for a few living room updates.

A quick look at the BEFORE….

Living room decorated for Christmas

After some easy DIY projects, here’s where it is now….

Bird's eye view of a family room after living room updates

As I mentioned before, much of this project evolved over time. One of the first things I did to modernize this room, was change up the fireplace. Knowing I wanted the fireplace to be the focal point of the room that it deserves to be, I took it from this…

Fireplace makeover before adding the living room updates

To this…

Fireplace with decor

This post gives the step-by-step instructions on exactly how I did this. It’s one of my most viewed posts and very much worth checking out! A much easier DIY than you might imagine.

The next change I made, most people either love them or hate them…What am I talking about? Sliding barn doors. Or the more modern term…sliding doors. I personally, still like them. Your house is yours, so do what YOU like! This space was the perfect spot for a sliding door and I love the statement it makes….

Sliding door (black) with a modern wreath and a Peace Lily planted in a basket in front of it

Want to build your own sliding door? Here’s the easy to follow tutorial on how to make the one in this picture.

Want a more modern sliding door? These two options fit that bill. Paneled Sliding Door.   Frosted Glass Sliding Door.

A super easy DIY that will change the look of any space is Board and Batten. Adding this to a room brings a different texture and dimension. Not to mention, it is a timeless update. Who doesn’t love the idea of a focal point never going out of style. Want to change the look of it? Just paint it a different color. Easy! And so simple to do! Check out this post to add your own board and batten.

Living room updates with throw pillows and a black board and batten wall

That frame up there around my beautiful Juniper Otis Print, is custom made too. Another beginner DIY that is so simple and fun to make…Easy How to Make a Picture Frame for a Printable

2 Juniper prints with diy frames

Our home was built in 2003; back when TV’s were still dinosaurs and you needed space for the back of the tv to jet out. Hence the purpose of this built in….

A corner cabinet painted white with shiplap inside and a lot of decor

Enter flat screen TV’s and it’s time to get rid of this awkwardly shaped cabinet space. So, after ripping it out and dismantling it, I added shiplap to the wall to match the fireplace shiplap and built floating shelves. Perfect! I love these simple living room updates. Two easy DIY’s that changed the entire look of this area….Shiplap and Floating Shelves.

Sitting area in a space that has had living room updates

What about building your own furniture? This can be a huge savings! When looking for budget-friendly living room updates, consider building your own accessory pieces. These Pottery Barn dupes from their Folsom Collection would have cost me close to $1500 for both tables. I loved the design, but not the price tag. So, I built them myself. Here’s the plans, so you can build your own too. 🙂 Plans for the Coffee Table.  Plans for the End Table.

Family room view with throw pillows and a modern coffee table with a white planter on it

Back side of an end table during living room updates

Of course, the easiest change you can make to update any space is fresh paint. I chose Behr White Moderne (Satin) for my wall color and Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (Satin) for my shiplap and board and batten. All of my trim is Behr Ultra Pure White (Semi Gloss).

Speaking of trim, that is another easy and inexpensive way to update your living room. Over time, I have been changing out the trim (baseboards, door and window trim) throughout my house. It’s amazing how just this one simple change takes a room from dated to modern. If you don’t do anything else, do this! It will make all the difference!

An Easy How To Install Craftsman Trim Tutorial

Until next week,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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Hop over to Instagram to see all of the RL behind the scenes. What am I working on now?….come check it out!

SOURCES: (Affiliate Links Included)




POTTERY BARN FOLSOM WOOD END TABLE (If you would rather purchase it than build it)

POTTERY BARN FOLSOM WOOD COFFEE TABLE (If you would rather purchase than build it.)



ACCENT CHAIRS (BY WINDOWS) (Not the exact ones I have, but very similar)


More Great RL Table Posts:

Throw Pillows for Every Season-Sign Me Up!

How to Build a Mid Century Modern Slatted Bench

How to Build the Pottery Barn Brooks Dining Table




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