There’s a spot on the couch. It feels too dark. There’s clutter you don’t know how to disguise, and you just feel bogged down by the floor plan. A million obstacles of drabness prevent you from achieving your dream living room.
Pumping life into the hub of your home repays itself tenfold. In fact, little budget-friendly DIYs are only getting easier and more readily accessible. These relatively simple projects — plus a few showstoppers — will elevate your living rooms into gorgeous sanctuaries.
1. Rope Basket: Rather than drape your blankets over the back of the couch, create a rope basket storage bin to give them an elevated home. Take a laundry basket from the dollar store and hot glue rope around the outside.
YouTube / Let It B (Official Boysen Blog)
2. Glowing Table: Movie nights in the living room would be way cooler by the glow of a DIY resin coffee table. Mix resin with a glow-in-the-dark powder in the color of your choice and fill in the divets on an old sanded piece of wood.
3. Pallet Daybed: Old pallets are a DIY dream tool. There are a million different ways to use them, but stacking and screwing a few together and adding cushions on top creates a very simple yet functional daybed.
Your Biggest Fan Grace Blog
4. Painted floors: Don’t be afraid to put some paint on your floors! Sand down and clean wood flooring to paint patterns right on the surface. While bright orange might be too much of a statement, black and white stripes are a popular option.
15. Reupholster furniture: Scan flea markets, yard sales, Facebook marketplace, or wherever you look for secondhand scores for a piece of furniture that’s maybe too well-loved. You can reupholster furniture, chairs in particular, fairly easily with fabric and a staple gun.
Grand Forks Herald / John Stennes
5. Make Macrame: Add variety to your room with some hanging plants! Macrame is back from the ’70s with vengeance. So why not weave some hanging planters of your own with jute twine? This gal elevated the earthy quality with a driftwood base.
The Bulletin / Peter Haley / Tacoma News Tribune / NS
6. Hanging Garden: Once you’ve finished your new macrame planters, you’ve got to figure out where in the living room to put them. There’s the unique solution of a hanging window garden, which these homeowners fashioned from an old copper pipe.
Probably This Blog
7. Repurpose Dresser Drawers: Think creatively when it comes to wall art. These old dresser drawers create functional shelves that also work as shadow boxes to display artworks. Plus, they’re a huge conversation piece!
HGTV / Courtesy Jennifer and Kitty O’Neil
8. Elevated Pet Furniture: Dogs make every space homier, but their beds aren’t always statement furniture pieces. You can easily transform your pup’s cushion by securing it in something creative like a vintage suitcase or old dresser drawer.
Lindy Cottage Hill Blog
9. DIY Storage Bins: Piles and piles of toys are another common living room eyesore. Give your kid’s stuff a more polished home by dressing up a plastic storage container with fabric, rope, and a hot glue gun.
HGTV / Flynnside Out Productions
10. Blanket Ladder: These offer an alternative to on-the-floor storage bins. In fact, a wooden ladder draws the eye upward and plays with the furniture proportions. They’re quickly becoming a craft class favorite.
St. Croix Splash / Sawdust Savvy
11. Wooden Pallet Wall: Some recommend painting the wall black, particularly if your pallets are on the rugged side, so the white won’t show through any cracks. From there, use nails, liquid adhesive, screws, or whatever method you want to attach the boards to the wall.
Green Home Solutions
12. Painted Lampshade: Turn a boring old lampshade into a custom work of art! It’s pretty much a canvas anyway! Create an abstract geometric pattern with a bit of paint that would cost a pretty penny at a boutique furniture store.
13. Basket Wall: You’ve probably heard of the gallery wall, where people arrange a collection of photographs in one cohesive area. Now the trend has moved on to basket walls! Thrift store baskets can easily be nailed to the wall for a one of the kind custom design.
Roost and Restore
14. Paint Floor Vents: Even the nicest hardwoods in the world would still look better with sleeker floor vents. Clean dust and grime, then sand them to a rough texture so the paint sticks. Finish them off with your choice of spray paint!
Bower Power Blog
16. Faux Fireplace: Everybody deserves a mantle if they want one. If your living room lacks a fireplace, no sweat. Either go for the elbow grease and build one, or secure a store bought mantle to the wall.
17. Geometric Wall Design: This is much easier than it looks! Start with a wall painted the color you’d like the lines to be. Next, run masking tape in a series of zigzags. Then connect all the points with smaller lines of horizontal tape and paint as desired!
YouTube / Justin R.
18. Paint Window Molding: One way to put a jolt of modernity into your living space is with black window moldings. These pop against white interiors for a budget-friendly DIY that gives an automatic expensive-looking finish.
Plank and Pillow
19. Aquarium Coffee Table: For those ready to dive into statement-making living, this aquarium coffee table might just what you’ve needed. This one requires some handiwork and power tools but the end result is completely priceless.
YouTube / Greg’s Channel
20. DIY Built-ins: On every episode of House Hunters, someone mentions built-ins. Little do they know you can make a shortcut version. Purchase a bookshelf from Ikea or the like, secure it to the wall, and finish it off by framing with wood or molding.
Place of My Taste Blog
21. Floating Shelf: Let’s get this straight. There’s little more to a floating shelf than a shaped piece of wood and a rope, but they’ll add a special something to any room, especially if decorated with gorgeous plants or personal knickknacks.
HGTV Handmade / YouTube
22. Electrical Tape Décor: Walls don’t have to just be canvasses for paint. Try inexpensively creating insane patterns fit for an art museum on them with electrical tape! Similarly, you can add sleek stripes to out-of-date appliances.
23. Mason Jar Chandelier: Dreaming of regal chandeliers? While these cute mason jars might fall just short of what you might find in a royal dining room, they can be an awesome, eye-popping addition to any home. Best of all? You just need hanging bulbs and jars to create this unique look.
East Coast Creative
24. Rustic Shutter Bench: Decrepit shutters can make the outside of your house look ancient, but they’re too cool to just trash. So why not re-purpose them? With the addition of legs, and some TLC, shutters can make unique benches—the focal point of a dining room.
Liz Marie Blog
25. Butterfly Cloches: Couple spray-painted branches, battery-powered fairy lights, and fake or real butterflies (dead from natural causes) inside a glass cloche to add a bright, colorful pop to an otherwise dull room. A fun project to undertake with the whole family.
26. Antique a Mirror with Fabric: By simply lining the edges of a mirror—or even an old picture frame—with a fabric that matches other colors in the room, you can create an accent piece that’ll pull together any room.
The Crafts Channel / YouTube
27. Stainless Steel Paint: Stark white kitchen appliances like refrigerators are relics of decades past, and all the electrical tape in the world can’t make them cool again. With stainless steel paint—yes, paint!—you can give the fridge a more modern look.
28. Trashcan End Tables: When decorating, it’s easy to forget about end tables and how expensive they can be. But by simply sticking two wire-frame trash cans butt-to-butt, you can circumvent cost and get a nifty, customized living room accent piece.
JustMagan 247 / YouTube; BargainBethany / YouTube
29. Upcycle: Like end tables, brand new furniture will set you back. A solution? Salvage older furniture from thrift stores and decorate. Re-purpose chairs into coffee bars or place fabric patterns onto weathered dressers. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Home Design Inspiration
30. Paint Shower Fixtures: Similarly, water-stained fixtures can hamper the looks of an otherwise gorgeous shower. But by just sanding them down and adding a coat of paint—one that matches the bathroom décor—you can make them an asset to a beautiful room.
31. Succulent Garden: Succulents along the windowsill can add color and life to a dead and dull room. Either leave ’em in small ceramic pots or create a larger, more diverse piece that’ll draw everyone’s eyes. Either way, they’ll take little effort to maintain.
Hannah Hagler / YouTube
32. Paint Exposed Pipes: For the most part, pipes are not something you feature in a home, but something you hide away. With a touch of gold or matte black paint, though, they can give a bathroom an interesting, modern look.
33. Build Honeycomb Shelves: Square shelves? For squares, maybe. Crafting honeycomb-style shelves—by breaking up the monotony of straight lines in your home—can make a bedroom far more pleasing to the eye.
Phillips Made / YouTube
34. Marble Contact Paper: For just a few dollars, you can buy an adhesive vinyl that cloaks anything in luxurious marble. Cheap kitchen counters and islands or living room end tables can look ripped right out of a wealthy estate!
35. Mason Jar Soap Dispenser: More mason jars! These soap dispensers give any kitchen or bathroom a hint of Southern flare that’s far classier than just a plain hand soap bottle. And all for the cost of a jar and a nozzle! And hey, if it’s good enough for Rachael Ray…
Rachel Ray Show / YouTube
36. Decorated chairs: Cheap, ugly chairs will drag even a well-decorated room down. Simple patterns like maps pinned to or painted onto an uninspired wooden chair can give any room a more personal and engaging feel.
37. Doormat Headboard: A bold concept, yes, but something worth considering if you’re looking for a striking but cheap bedroom accent. Four doormats organized into a rectangle can make the headboard you’ve been looking for.
FABLifeShow / YouTube
38. Crate Table: Work with crates or have easy access to four of them? Sand them down, coat them with paint, and assemble them into a coffee table that’s as functional as it is unique—perfect for giving a home a coastal feel.
39. Underground Oven: Ready to take the party outside? A simple dug-out pit filled with firewood and covered with grill racks makes for the perfect barbecue pit or meat smoker. Invite friends over for a tour of your new, classed-up place and then head out back for celebratory grilled meats!
40. Mesh over ceiling cracks: We’ve all got those unsightly cracks, but now there’s an easy fix. Simply tape over the pesky crevice with mesh, plaster over the tape, smooth it out, and paint — voila!
41. Tuck your router in an old book: Ugly router got you down? If all those cables and wires are making your living room a mess, try carving out an old book and tucking them away!
42. Cinderblock planters: Cinderblocks may be useful, but they’re definitely not a cute accent piece. For a quick way to spruce up an outdoor space, tuck some peekaboo plants in your cinderblocks to go from “no” to “woah!”
43. Propane tank camouflage: No matter how beautiful your garden is, it could all be ruined by an ill-placed propane tank. Hide that terrible thing under a fake rock and say hello to your new paradise!
44. Hidden laundry baskets: Everyone’s got laundry, but no one likes looking at it. Forget your growing mountains of laundry by tucking your hampers away in some large drawers that say, “I can do this later!”
45. Light switch gallery wall: Nothing ruins a clean wall like an ill-placed light switch. For a fun way to draw focus away from it, make the switch the centerpiece of a gallery wall! That’ll definitely switch things up.
Little Bits Of Home
46. New outlet covers: We often forget about one of the most common fixtures in our houses — outlets. By easily swapping an outdated cover for a nicer one, you’re on your way to transforming the entire room.
47. Handmade ceiling lights: Drab light fixtures ruining your decor? Grab an old hanging planter, drape it in yarn, and hang it over your old ceiling fixture to give the room a dash of that craft store charm.
48. Chalkboard paint in the garage: If you think a garage can’t be both functional and adorable, think again! With a little chalkboard paint, you can revitalize the space while creating a useful spot for messages.
49. Chalkboard paint in the kitchen: But don’t stop there! Chalkboard paint has more uses than just the garage. Try covering the refrigerator with the stuff and watch your child’s imagination go wild! Plus, no more sticky notes.
50. Wallpaper the fridge: If chalkboard paint isn’t your thing, why not throw some wallpaper on there? Simply remove the handles, stick on some of your favorite wallpaper, and watch your kitchen go from “drab” to “fab!”
51. Fabric cabinet covers: Old kitchen cabinets looking stale? Freshen up the room by adding some fabric accents! Simply remove the cabinet doors, measure out the fabric, and staple to give the room a bold pop of color.
52. Faux stainless steel appliances: If you want stainless steel appliances without the high cost, just grab some metallic contact paper and stick it over your old pieces to give them a realistic stainless steel look.
53. Upholster the box-spring: All box springs are ugly. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to turn your ugly mattress holder into a creative accent. Grab your favorite fabric and a staple gun, and you can upholster the box-spring in no time.
54. Build a laundry table: To fill in those pesky gaps between your washing machines, simply craft a laundry table. Just measure the space, cut up the wood with a circular saw, and in no time you’ll be saying, “I built this table from scratch!”
55. Splash up your backsplash: Backsplash looking a little beat-up? Don’t break the bank on new tile — just grab a can of your favorite paint and give it a fresh coat to instantly brighten up your kitchen.
56. Bottle up those products: Hygiene products are crucial to our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean they’re so cute to look at. Ditch the ugly containers by placing the products in new glass bottles to go from “throw up” to “glow up!”
A Simple Nest
57. Paint those poles: Basements can be a great place to relax, but they’re not always the prettiest. Give your basement the pop of color it needs by painting over those old columns with a coat of your favorite shade.
58. Hide the printer: Printers are bulky, which means they’re hard to tuck away in a cabinet. For a simpler solution, cut a hole in a decorative box to create a practical — but beautiful — hiding place.
59. Birdbath that septic vent: If you’ve got a septic vent in your yard, you’re probably tired of looking at it. The solution is simple: grab a birdbath and plop it right over that vent to say “goodbye turds” and “hello birds!”
60. But if you’re looking for some simple home improvement hacks, look no further. By attaching a scrubber to the drill bit, you suddenly have a power washer that will have your kitchen and bathroom sparkling almost instantly!
Reddit / DingoDamp
61. Hitting your finger with a hammer is the worst. It hurts like crazy and leaves you feeling like a moron. To avoid any future hardware blunders, you can simply stick a nail through the eraser of a pencil, and use that to hold your target still. Your fingers will thank you!
Instructables / FPSXGames
62. Stinky shoes keeping you down? You can eliminate that lingering odor by placing a couple of ordinary teabags in each shoe and leaving them overnight. Just don’t make tea with them afterward, or you will regret it.
The Homemade Experiment
63. When it comes to lawn care, you could always go out and buy a proper sprinkler. But what if there was a free alternative? As it turns out, putting your hose inside a soda bottle with a bunch of holes poked through the plastic does the job just as well.
Reddit / yeadude
64. Are you the type of person who’s always misplacing your things? For a key holder that you’ll never forget, just cut a hole in an old tennis ball and attach it to your wall. You have a clamp perfect for any object! Googly eyes are optional, but highly encouraged.
Reddit / hossainabir150
65. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you need to wrap something up for storage, but the bag is just slightly too small. But there’s always a bigger bag! In fact, you can make one by sealing two zip-lock bags together.
Reddit / Vega_128
66. Next time you’ve got a clogged drain, try this science fair strategy before you call a plumber. Just like a middle school volcano, pouring a combination of baking soda and vinegar will bring about a foamy explosion. It will also clear any clogs right up!
67. Dog sweaters in stores sometimes cost just as much as people clothes, even though they have less fabric and dogs only wear them in certain weather. But there’s a cheaper way to outfit your dog — a pair of long socks, with a bit of trimming, serves as a very stylish canine cardigan.
Reddit / llaunay
68. Cleaning out the gutters has to be one of the most reviled chores, but most people make it harder than it has to be. Put that ladder away, and instead, attach a length of PVC pipe to a leaf blower. Now you have a tool that can suck out gutter gunk in minutes, all from ground level.
69. After a while, some charging cords lose their ability to click perfectly into laptop ports. Instead, they fall out with the slightest movement. A quick way to remedy this annoyance is to put a washer on your cord and glue rings of velcro to the washer and charging port.
Reddit / Evil Shogun
70. Are your kitchen cabinets an organizational nightmare? To make a bit more room, here’s a way to keep your pot lids from clanging together every time you move something. Simply mount a couple towel racks inside the cabinet door, and the lids will never get in your way again!
Reddit / hgska
71. No matter what, it always seems like you run out of chip clips. However, you probably have some great substitutes scattered across the house, but don’t even know it! Pants hangers — particularly cheap ones that come with clothes — usually have removable clips on each side. Just pop them off and use them to keep your snacks fresh.
72. Most tie racks get cluttered and tangled with just a moderate tie collection. But if you have a ton of ties that you want to show off in style, you can attach an unused bed frame to your closet door. In terms of size and weight, frames from old baby cribs tend to be the best.
Reddit / robinbiro
73. Can’t find a funnel? Well, there’s a much better alternative to pouring the old-fashioned way and hoping for the best. If you pour the substance into a plastic baggie and snip of the corner with scissors, you’ll be able to effortlessly transfer it even into the most narrow of openings.
Instructables / mikeasaurus
74. Sometimes your desk gets so crowded that you don’t have any room for snacks. We’ve all been there. But what if we told you that that old hoodie in your closet has a built-in feedbag? It’s true — all you need to do is flip that bad boy around. To avoid public humiliation, this hack is best tried out in private.
Reddit / anonymeowz
75. Whether you’re a budding artist or a real Van Gogh, paint can get sloppy. To keep your supplies in check, you can put together re-sealable paint bottles with just old soda caps, a plastic sheet, and a knife. Soon you’ll be focusing more on your masterpiece, and less on the mess.
Reddit / alansartlog
76. Everybody hates the theft-proof plastic packaging that surrounds so many retail goods. Sometimes, it seems like you spend more time opening an item than actually using it! However, an easy way to slice right through these plastic prisons is to trim of the edges with a can opener.
77. Nowadays, it feels impossible to live without a cell phone, which means that nobody wants to see a frayed charging cord. However, this DIY-er came up with the clever trick of braiding leather around the damaged section. It actually looks better than the original version!
Reddit / hahnatelier
78. Even the nicest furniture will acquire little dings and scrapes over time. Luckily, you can erase these marks just by rubbing them will a walnut — really. The nut leaves behind an oily residue that blends in with the wooden finish and makes your furnishings look brand new.
Reddit / cametodropbombs
79. Here’s a nightmare scenario: you want to pop open a couple brewskis in your hotel room, only to discover that the room has no bottle opener. It’s hard to imagine yourself in a more depressing situation. But don’t panic. The lever over the door happens to be the perfect size to pry off that cap. Emergency averted!
Reddit / AlbertDumblestein