Way back when (it was actually last Christmas, I think), we started with this inspiration photo:
She liked the warm, natural colors and pops of green. She also hoped to make these changes spending as little money as possible. I suggested she start by rearranging the furniture (pulling the sofa away from the wall and changing the location of her TV), repainting the walls in a warmer, more neutral shade, and adding bursts of saturated color.
I put this idea board together to help her visualize the main changes I thought she should make:
This is how the room looked before we started making changes:
She had grown tired of the green paint color on the walls, and the TV was oddly placed on a stand to the left of the fireplace.
After our improvements:
Can you believe my dad and I found the coffee table and end tables at a yard sale several years ago for $25 a piece?
Furniture placement gave this room a different feel--and made it easier to see the television from all angles. We also changed out the dark brown curtains for lighter, longer ones from IKEA to let more light into this small space and added some pillows with pattern to the sofa.
I found this cabinet on her local Craigslist and we painted it a vibrant green to match the fun pillow we found on Etsy for her sofa. It gave the room a younger, more modern feel and provided some extra storage.
Before, the window on the other end of the room felt bare and the collection of small frames seemed to get lost:
Since my sister inherited my parents' piano during this process, we moved the frames and arranged them in a tighter formation above it.
We also added the same curtain panels to this window to tie the two ends of the room together. . .
My sister was sick of this star above her mantle (good call!), so we
stole asked for an extra gold mirror from our parents' house and my dad sprayed it black for her.
We're still on the hunt for a rug, but so far, we've managed to make these changes without spending a ton of money. Her main purchases to date have included new throw pillows (found via Etsy and IKEA), new IKEA curtain panels, and the dresser for the TV found on Craigslist.
If you're wanting an update on a small budget, start by thinking of a new furniture arrangement. It's easy, free and can always be moved back. Also, think paint! It's one of the cheapest ways to give your room a completely different feel. And, finally--borrow, steal and beg (well, maybe not steal. . . ). Ask family and friends if they have pieces they're no longer using that you could paint for a fresh look. Scour Craigslist and yard sales. Be resourceful and you'll be amazed at how you can change your space without spending a ton.
****Updated to add: For those of you who asked, the new wall color is Mark Twain House Oak (3004-9C) by Valspar, available at Lowe's.