9 Small (But Powerful!) Updates You Can Make to Your Living Room in an Afternoon

updated Jul 17, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Think you need a lot of time to make a big impact on your living room? It’s not the case! If you want to refresh a living room in an afternoon, you need only choose one (or more) of these small but impactful ideas.

1. Add a painted detail to a furniture piece or accessory

Do you have a little paint already on hand, perhaps from a previous DIY project? Why not add a small painted detail to something in your living room? You don’t have to lay down tons of drop sheets or paint an entire piece, just a little detail addition can be a charming thing to add to a room to give it a punch of personality or make something in the room that’s been a little too blend-y in with the rest of your space stand out more!

2. Hang a plant

Chances are you’ve got plant (or two or three) in your living room. Why not consider taking one of those existing plants and hang them from something? This small action will do all kinds of things in a living room, from spreading the green feeling around, to adding something up high (which is always good for any space), to even adding movement to your design. And it’s pretty darn easy to DIY.

→ Buy or DIY: 10 Hanging Planters

3. Rearrange art

Just even switching the places of a few art pieces in your home (whether on a wall or leaning somewhere) can make for a dramatic look in your home. It doesn’t even have to be permanent; it can just be something to help you see your space with a fresh perspective.

→ Art Hanging Ideas to Take Your Interiors to the Next Level

4. Rearrange a vignette

It’s the same idea as mentioned above, and maybe even easier to play around with.

→ Easy Home Decorating Ideas: 9 Tips For Your Best Tabletop Vignettes Yet

5. Fix up your lighting

You can fix the actual lighting pieces —by cleaning, repairing or DIYing light fixtures — or you can adjust the amount or placement of your lighting. Lighting is a vital element to any room, and anything you do to make this element better will have a big impact on your living room.

→ 3 Ways You Can Improve the Most Important Element in Your Home

6. Make a bunch of little fixes

Like repairing or replacing light bulbs, tightening knobs, straightening art pieces or cleaning up stains. When accumulated over an afternoon, a lot of little things can really refresh the look of your living room.

→ 3 Tiny Tweaks That Will Make Your Home’s Lighting Better

7. Clean up and down

You might not really notice the layer of dust, dirt and grim covering your baseboards and your ceiling fan right now, but believe us when we say that you’ll notice the difference after you clean these spots.

→ Spruce Up This Spot in Your Home That Probably Never Gets Cleaned (But Totally Should)
6 Easy (& Some Weird) Ways to Clean Baseboards

8. Plump up a sofa (or give it a thorough cleaning)

Your sofa is a no doubt a major focal point of your living room. Why not make it look its best? From cleaning it really well to even plumping it up to give your cushions a new lease on life, you can spend time on this soft spot in your home to really upgrade the look of your living room.

9. Get control of wires

Getting a wild set of wires under control will up the look of your living room immediately and may even make it function a little better, too.

→ Tame This Out-of-Control Spot for an Instantly Less Messy Looking Space

Re-edited from a post originally published 9.22.15-nt