[Star Tips] 5 budget-friendly ways to spruce up your living room

We have a good friend from Dubai staying over this week (yes the guest room is like Picadilly Circus this month but that's the way, aha aha, I like it). She's home conscious too and, of course, the first thing she wanted to do as soon as she dropped her suitcases (and her baby) was to have a tour of the house to see what had changed since she last visited. While we were going around the last room, she asked me if I was, at last, 'done' now, as in, if I felt like the house finally felt finished, decor-wise. And the first words that came out of my mouth were: hell no! 

It sounds insane, I know, as I have spent the past few years restyling and redecorating our 4-bedroom townhouse, room by room [you can see the before and after of my living room makeover here] and there are finally no more rooms to revamp (well actually, now I think about it, the downstairs toilets could do with a little makeover... sigh). The reality is, I never feel like 'my job is done' here. Each time I finish a room, I want to start again... I don't know if it's because I spend most of my days looking at interiors magazines to get the latest trends, inspiration, and newest products both for this blog and for my e-styling clients, but I am constantly bursting with ideas. Is it like an interior stylist- specific syndrome, or is it just me? Who knows. What's certain is that every time I look at an area of our house, in particular the living room as that's where we spend most of our time, I want to change something again. This is an issue because a. my husband's patience has limits and b. I don't have unlimited funds to fuel my room-revamping addiction. So it made me think: how can you give a room a needed spruce up that doesn't involve remortgaging the house or calling in the big guns (aka the builders). Refreshing your living room doesn't have to break the bank. If you need (erm, or even just want, like yours truly) to spruce up your living room decor without getting dragged into a full-on, expensive overhaul, here are 5 simple and purse-friendly ideas to help you just do that. On a budget. 

 Stella + the Stars' own living room after the revamp

Stella + the Stars' own living room after the revamp

1. Swaparama 
Swap and rearrange furniture and accessories around. This is the first thing I do when I get 'itchy' about a room and before I start buying anything. I recently completely moved things around in our study for example, and the room looks so much better and spacious. I usually wonder why I didn't think about doing that sooner. Even my house fairy (aka our cleaner) was ecstatic when she came round after my swaparama saying it was so much better and easier to clean... Words of wisdom... If you don't know where to start, try with the big bulky furniture first. Just try moving your sofa away from the wall for example, or reorganise a book shelf with accessories from another room. Swap cushions around, move picture frames from your bedroom... The possibilities are endless, it's totally free and you'll be amazed how much you can do by simply shopping your own home...

2. Declutter
Another simple idea that needs a budget of exactly zero is to have a little declutter session. Just look at existing decor items like you would Facebook friends. If you haven't interacted with them for, say, over a year or 18 months, maybe it's time to say aurevoir? Or for a less drastic way of thinking, maybe it just needs to be stored away, which would be the equivalent of the 'see less of' someone button on Facebook, your choice. Again, it doesn't sound like much but decluttering your living room will give it a new lease of life, and make the room look so much more spacious and inviting... 

3. Rug it out
Adding textural, an eye-catching pattern or a burst of vivid colour in the shape of a rug is a great and affordable way of livening up an otherwise bland room. Statement and patterned rugs are really in right now and can really finish the look of a living area without having to rethink the whole scheme. Urban Outfitters are my go-to place for affordable rugs. They have an amazing collection with a lot of the models under the £50 mark. Be rude not to... 

4. Lighten up
How about buying a new statement light? Nothing worse that bad lighting in a living room. By bad lightling I mean sticking to one source of lighting like spotlights or a chandelier. To feel cosy and inviting at night, a living room should have several several sources. Ours has five and that's just the minimum! A fabulous new floor lamp for example can really add that je ne sais quoi to a living room. The French Bedroom Company have got a few beautiful (and affordable) designs as does Graham & Green.   

5. Get cushy with new cushions
If despite my efforts, all of the above sounds like way too much work, then worry not, I still have one last trick up my sleeve. Cushions! Yes they are totally useless but highly decorative and just adding a set of colourful, textured or patterned cushions (hell, why not all three?!) to your sofa will completely change the look of the room and add that little bit of extra chicnesss for the tiniest of budgets. My temple for affordable cushions is H&M Home (I am talking under a tenner here...), I challenge you to not find at least three you fall instantly in love with from their collection. The Loft & Us is also one of my favourite places to find affordable and unique home accessories and their range of cushions is just fabulous.

Happy decorating!