Cheap thrills: Budget-friendly living room styling tricks

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4 min readIn my time as an interior stylist specialising in home staging, I’ve met so many people confused about why their house won’t sell, only to see a mish-mash of decor, poorly placed furniture (or lack of) and spaces overwhelmed with personal stuff!

The impact home styling has on buyer perception is huge. The way a room is styled has a massive impact on how they imagine themselves living in that area. It’s not just the decor either, the positioning of furniture also plays a huge part in buyer perception. Position a sofa one way, and it can make a living room look smaller than it is, position the sofa another way and it’ll make the same space look twice as big. Styling a home for sale is all about playing to the buyer’s mindset.

If you’re keen to give property styling a go to sell your house quickly or if a living room makeover is well overdue, here are my budget-friendly home styling tips.

 Image: Grace & Co. Image: Grace & Co.

1. Faux greenery.

If you’re not much of a green thumb or will rarely be at the property when it’s listed for sale, opt for some faux greenery indoors to get that fresh ‘living’ green feel. Put the greenery in beautiful pots; you can purchase these anywhere quite cheaply. Gold and silver pots are always effective.

 For sale: 24 Austin Crescent West, Yarraville, VIC For sale: 24 Austin Crescent West, Yarraville, VIC

2. Avoid the walls.

Try pulling living room furniture away from the walls; it makes the room seem more spacious and luxurious.

3. Rugs.

Rugs are quite inexpensive these days and add texture and definition to an area. Rugs also add softness where needed.

 22 Pearl Bay Road, Mosman, NSW 22 Pearl Bay Road, Mosman, NSW

4. Old & new.

Don’t be afraid of mixing old and new pieces. Avoid the ‘matchy-matchy’ catalogue look by sourcing products from a variety of stores and pairing new pieces with your older furnishings to introduce character and interest.

5. Art.

Large living room walls are easily brought to life with art. There’s no need to visit an art gallery though. Simply add a beautifully framed black and white family photo to add depth and interest to the room.

6. Add character to a table.

Do yourself a favour and search Pinterest for coffee table vignettes. A vignette is a group of items in different sizes and heights that you typically put on your coffee table or side table. Usually, in odd numbers of three or six, the different sizes and heights draw the eye in.

 For sale: 5 Dickens Street, Richmond, VIC For sale: 5 Dickens Street, Richmond, VIC

7. Books & magazines.

Beautiful books and magazines add a feel of inviting people to relax and read. They will entice potential buyers to imagine themselves in that particular room reading a good book. Look for beautifully illustrated second-hand books at your local op shop or garage sales.

8. Side table.

Never underestimate the power of a humble little side table. It can instantly change the look of your living room and is also the perfect place to stage a vignette or include a cosying lamp.

 Image: Grace & Co. Image: Grace & Co.

Where to source budget decor items

When shopping for home decor, aim to buy a few things from different retailers instead of buying all of them from one shop. Here are a few places I recommend:

TK Maxx Outlets – TK Maxx constantly change their stock and you never know what you’ll find.

Ikea – Ikea is great for frames and basics including faux greenery stems and pots.

Adairs – If it’s cushions and throws you’re after, Adairs always seem to have great quality ones on sale.

 For sale: 106 Darling Street, Balmain East, NSW For sale: 106 Darling Street, Balmain East, NSW

Kmart – Yes, Kmart is popular, but it’s important not to have your living room appear ‘Kmart staged’. Avoid the marble and furry Kmart cushion look and instead shop at Kmart for smaller items such as pots, vases, candles, storage boxes and baskets.

Freedom – While a little more expensive, Freedom often has sales, and their artwork is perfect to brighten up any space.

If you stick to these top tips and ensure you maintain a layered and thoughtful mix of materials, textures and vintages, your living room will take on a custom-designed, luxurious look for a lot less. Not only that, it’ll excite potential buyers, and because people buy with their eyes, you’ll likely have an offer (or two!) before you know it.

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Melanie Grace
Melanie Grace is an Interior Stylist and the creator of Grace & Co. Property Styling. Grace & Co. works with reputable Brisbane real estate agencies to transform houses going under the hammer into every buyer’s dream. Need an experience property stylist with a great eye for what sells? Contact the team at Grace & Co. Property Styling today.

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  1. I’m looking for cheep way to my living and lounge room more livable ,homely and happier without painting walls I would like to add plants and other features
    In the hallway id like do family tree in the hallway with pictures of family members.
    My walls are China white 1/4 strength.
    I’d appricate pictures as ideas to help me as im an a low budget. I would buy covers for my sofas also.
    Thank you for your help.


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