We Asked 7 DIYers to Share Their Best Living Room Project Ideas

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a living room with a green velvet sofa, accent pillows, greenery, and shelves with decor

Want more DIY tips, tricks, and inspiration? Check out more stories featuring the 2023 Apartment Therapy DIY Collective. This content is presented in partnership with The Home Depot; it was created independently by our editorial team.

Want more DIY tips, tricks, and inspiration? Check out more stories featuring the 2023 Apartment Therapy DIY Collective. This content is presented in partnership with The Home Depot; it was created independently by our editorial team.

It’s the coziest time of the year — meaning you’re probably spending more time indoors and might be thinking about giving your living space a fresh look. Buying new furniture or decor gets expensive, but the good news is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make your space look new. In fact, there are plenty of you can do that will make your living room extra inviting, whether you use it to host game nights, binge the latest must-see TV, curl up with a terrific novel, or simply sip a warm cup of tea. Here, Apartment Therapy spoke to a few talented and creative DIYers for their ideas to help you get inspired. Here are their top project recommendations.

Add a DIY fireplace. 

“I think one of the best DIY upgrades for a living room is to incorporate a fireplace if there isn’t one already,” says Carli Alves, the creator behind the Made By Carli blog and a member of Apartment Therapy’s DIY Collective. “Creating a DIY electric fireplace with built-ins can add so much value and ambiance to your home.”

If you’re lucky enough to already have a fireplace, consider using Beyond Paint to turn an existing fireplace into a stunning focal point. These all-in-one paints come in a variety of matte and metallic colors and adhere to everything from wood and tile to granite, plastic, metal, glass, laminate, and linoleum, making the possibilities truly endless (bonus: No need to sand, prep, or prime!). 

And adding custom built-ins is an “amazing way to make a space more functional and visually appealing,” Alves explains.

Credit: Meg Baker

Make a quirky piece of decor.

Meg Baker, a DIYer who specializes in colorful, eclectic home design, recommends two of her own beginner-friendly projects to instantly upgrade your living room space. The first: a DIY snake mirror, which she made using rubber snakes, super glue, and gold spray paint. For those who get the creeps even from faux snakes, try Baker’s DIY plant hanger instead, which she made using an extra curtain rod. It’s great for plants that need lots of light and keeps them off the floor and other surfaces. 

Change the paint color.

“Painting a feature wall, or giving the whole room a fresh coat of paint, can really transform a space,” says Marcel Dagenais, a member of Apartment Therapy’s DIY Collective who puts his love of interior design and art on display on his Brew City Builds YouTube channel. “It’s pretty amazing what a difference you’ll feel with this simple DIY project.” 

Another fun option is painting or wallpapering the back of a bookshelf or built-in unit to match the color palette in the room. “I love this one because you don’t often see this outside of custom design work,” says Isfira Jensen, principal designer and chief executive officer at Nufacet Interiors. 

Build a storage-packed bookcase.

Dagenais says even if you don’t have an arsenal of tools, you can still build furniture. 

“With hardware stores cutting the wood you purchase for you (for free), all you need is your dimensions of the wood that needs to be cut and you can do the rest with pretty much just a drill,” he explains. “Once you have what you need for your project, it’s as simple as screwing the boards together.”

Check out his how-to video on YouTube on building a sleek mid-century bookcase from scratch that breaks down how to make it with very minimal tools. Or, for a refresh of your existing furniture, consider painting it to make it feel new.

Credit: Sylvie Li

Add picture frame molding to the walls.

Using decorative trim to add detail and dimension to the walls of the room is a timeless project that instantly adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the space, Jensen says. 

Farwa Moledina, a U.K.-based artist and member of Apartment Therapy’s DIY Collective, agrees. “This is my favorite project to do in a living room,” she says. “It really adds character.”

Swap out your rug and throw pillows.

You can keep your DIYs simple by skipping the builds and instead focusing on accessories. Dagenais recommends swapping out your old rug and throw pillows for a whole new vibe. “This is the easiest way to feel a change with minimal effort,” he says. For throw pillows, you have tons of affordable DIY-friendly options. Shop your closet to make a no-sew scarf pillow cover like this one, or try one of these DIY makeovers for a plain white pillowcase.

Create a DIY picture ledge.

If you have an empty wall behind your living room sectional or sofa, you can make a DIY custom picture ledge over a weekend, says Vivianne Chow of Viv and Tim Home

“We had trouble finding a long picture ledge that would fit in one piece above our sectional, so we decided to make one ourselves,” she explains. “The project just involves cutting the wood to length, drilling in screws, and staining it (we chose a walnut color for ours). Now we have a beautiful picture ledge with curated wall art and frames creating a cozy and inviting space!” 

For an intermediate-level DIY, Baker recommends creating a plant wall shelf with grow lights to create a fun, space-saving display for plant-lovers.

Credit: Design by Marina Del Rey, Photo by Jenna Peffley

Craft a DIY art piece.

Fresh art is an easy way to transform the feel of your space, but you don’t have to shop for expensive ready-made pieces. Dan Mazzarini, founder and creative director at BHDM Design and ARCHIVE by Dan Mazzarini, says handmade framed art can be accomplished with a quick trip to the craft store or hardware store. Go for a set, or create a single oversized piece for a simple, impactful accent. Want some inspiration? Check out these DIY art ideas that you can pull off for under $20 a piece.