5 Completely Free Things Stagers Do to Zhuzh Up a Living Room

updated Apr 12, 2021
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There’s no better spot to kick back than in the living room. It’s a place that gets a lot of use in your home, inevitably leading to wear and tear. Refreshing such a popular room, however, doesn’t require a major overhaul — or the need to drop loads of cash.

Home industry professionals know this, of course. A few simple strategies can give your home’s central gathering space a little oomph. Ahead, find five completely free things stagers and interior designers do to zhuzh up a living room.

Rework the angles

The key to making a living room look organized and put together is sticking to 90-degree angles whenever possible, according to Justin Riordan, founder of home-staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency.

While it might seem unexpected and, in turn, interesting-looking, to place the sofa at a 45-degree angle, right angles lay the foundation for a clean, professional, and fully developed space.

Fold your throw blanket

The throw blanket on your sofa is another area where it’s actually better to think inside the box. Riordan says the “artfully thrown” throw blanket has reached a saturation point. Plus, it often ends up looking random and messy — not cool or creative.

“By folding your throw blanket and placing it neatly over the back or arm of your sofa, you will decrease the visual noise in your living room, and who doesn’t want less visual noise their life?” he points out.

Shine light just right

Brightening up your living room with natural light or an overhead light is a great way to make it feel instantly cleaner and more inviting. If your living room has good exposure to natural light, this can be as simple as opening up the curtains or drawing the shades.

If sunshine isn’t an option, the type of artificial light you choose can make a big difference. Riordan recommends using 3000 kilowatt bulbs in the living room. They produce a “warm white” color, which he feels is the perfect tone of comfortable — yet not lazy — lighting.

He also emphasizes creating a uniform look. If there are multiple types of bulbs in the room, see if there are bulbs you can swap out from other rooms in your home to make a matching set.

Go ‘shopping’ in the rest of your house

Bookcases and shelves tend to get cluttered with so-called junk, or items that don’t quite go together. If you want to create a more stylish and intentional look, you can skip spending money on expensive knickknacks.

Instead, Marlene Fao of London-based design services firm My Mindful Home suggests going “shopping” for items from different rooms in your house to coordinate a cohesive display. 

“Think about vases, crystals, hardcover books, candle holders, pottery, or ceramics,” she says. “Style with a few pretty objects of different sizes to create depth, and try to keep in theme with the colors of your living room.”

Bring the outside in

Take the “shopping” from your own home strategy one step further by venturing out to your patio or backyard. Gerard Splendore, a broker with Warburg Realty in New York City, says grabbing a plant from outside can work wonders to soften a mantle or other hard surfaces in the living room. As an added bonus, they can also be worked into tablescapes. 

If you lack a green thumb, Fao suggests choosing hardy indoor plants, such as cacti and succulents, or even artificial plants as accents. Beyond greenery, Splendore adds that bringing in a wicker or rattan piece from your outdoor space can lend some interesting texture to a living room.