Living Room Makeover (on a $150 Budget!)


My daughter lives in an off campus rental house that she shares with three other girls. From the first day I saw this space, I way dying to give it a makeover!
Before: it was SO dark and depressing with old paneled walls and brown rugs. Adding to the darkness were black leather sofas that were given to the girls and dark green curtains one of the roommates had hung in the space. I knew with the amazing features in the room, it could be a dramatic makeover without spending a fortune.
First I painted the wood paneling - with the homeowners permission. That in itself really lightened up the room.
The girls had no intention of ever using the fireplace. They also adopted a cat that kept getting into the fireplace and were looking for a way to block it off. I filled it with books to both keep the cat out and as a design feature. I used books I already had, some from family and friends and some I picked up for pennies at my local antique store.
I accessorized the shelves using mostly items from my own home. I updated a few old, inexpensive vases with gold paint. I also used a few of the leftover books here. I used gold accents to match the existing mirror with blue and pinks to match a painting done by one of the girls.
I purchased a rug for $70 and curtains for $30. I also picked up a few very inexpensive pillow covers and used inserts I already had. Lastly, I arranged the sofas and the coffee table into a better floor plan. The girls will be in this house for the remainder of this school year and all of next, so I figured a $150 investment was worth it! You can see the whole transformation and more after pictures on my blog!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 14 questions
  • Antonia_bishop
    on Oct 15, 2017

    they aren't the original black as are they? They are newer looking brown ones?
  • Teresa Culver
    on Oct 19, 2017

    Curious...did you clear this makeover with the landlord first? It looks great, but if that is a rental...
    • Amy Parker Zupancic
      on Oct 20, 2017

      Direct quote from the article:
      "First I painted the wood paneling - with the homeowners permission. That in itself really lightened up the room."
  • Kcole
    on Jul 21, 2018

    Where did you get such a large area rug for that price!? You did such a great job and the room looks much bigger. I’m trying to visually expand my dark rental as well.

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