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How to ‘Make Change for Less’ in your living room makeover

11 March 2020

Lucy Glade Wright

Lucy Glade-Wright
Designer and Director of Hunting for George

With a background in design and creative direction, Lucy worked for a number of high profile brands before starting her own brand, Hunting for George. Founded in 2010, Hunting for George is an online publication that is your go-to inspiration for all things Home, Design and Lifestyle. As the raconteur behind Hunting for George, Lucy is passionate about design and this self-proclaimed ‘homebody’ is driven to create unique and engaging stories to educate and inspire.

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I recently completed a home makeover that I chose to tackle one room at a time. Before my home renovation journey began, I spoke with Suncorp. They challenged me to transform my home on a budget, because the only thing better than enjoying a newly renovated home... is still having money in your bank account once you’re done! So I’d like to share a few practical tips with you on how I saved money during my living room makeover and hopefully give you some ideas on how you can ‘Make Change For Less’ at your place!

For my living room makeover, I wasn’t planning any structural changes. Instead, I wanted to focus on simple cosmetic upgrades to change the overall aesthetic of the room. Stylistically, I wanted to create a more cohesive and sophisticated living room. Previously, it was a bit all over the place and it felt very chaotic. While the living room is one of the most energetic rooms of my home, I still wanted to bring some tranquility to the space and elevate the interiors with elegant materials. So what did I do and how exactly did I save money?

My top tips for saving money when renovating your living room

1. Don’t buy new, update old

Try updating your floorboards rather than buying new ones! The floor is an integral element to any room and its appearance will have a major stylistic impact. I really wanted new light timber floorboards installed, as I didn’t like the colour and finish of my existing floorboards. However, buying new floorboards can be very costly, so instead I chose to take advantage of what I already had and update my existing floorboards.

I sanded back the timber floorboards to get rid of the existing glossy orange stain. In order to do this, I hired a floor sander and corner sander to get the job done. Once sanding was done, I could choose from any stain I wanted: Dark, white, natural or clear. In the end I chose to stain the timber boards with a white wash finish to create a lighter, Scandinavian look.

All up, this project cost $294 for the hire equipment, sandpaper, white wash stain and painting equipment. That’s a brand new timber floor for under $300!

Hot Tip: If you don’t have timber floorboards that you can update, then take a look at different laminate flooring options… that way you can get the look you want without the price tag of the real deal.

2. Paint don’t plaster

Brand new walls are great, but painting over existing walls is much cheaper! For the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to immediately transform your living room… paint your walls a different colour! Don’t be afraid to go bold and choose a strong feature colour for a major transformation. I chose to paint my living room walls a dusty dark blue as I wanted to create a moody and cosy atmosphere.

Hot Tip: It can be daunting painting colour on your walls. If you’re nervous, try painting one feature wall first. If you like it, paint the remaining walls and if you hate it… you can always paint over it!

3. Don’t move your lights

Lighting is crucial to creating an inviting space and can make or break a beautiful interior. Research and think about what kind of lighting you want in your living room, but if you want to save money when upgrading your lights, then don’t change their current position.

If you decide that you want 4 new downlights and a wall sconce that don’t already exist in your space, then the cost of installing these could blow your budget. For starters, you’ll need to pay an electrician to wire up all those additional locations. Then you may need to modify walls and ceilings in order to make that happen.

I only had one light, a single pendant, in my living room. So I decided to simply switch it over for a brand new pendant to give it a new look. If you’re like me and you’ve just got one pendant light, go bold and choose a design that makes an impact.

Hot Tip: If you’ve replaced your existing lighting and it’s not providing enough light for your room, then bring in some additional light with floor or table lamps. These are easy to move around and you can position them in any room of the home - without needing to pay for a sparky.

4. Fake a ‘new’ couch

When it comes to furniture in the living room, your couch is arguably the most important piece in the room, but you can’t buy a new one every time you want to change up your interiors. Well, I guess you could but it would definitely blow your budget! So if you want a new look without tossing your furniture in the bin… just fake it.

The easiest and cheapest way to update your couch is by changing your cushion covers and other décor pieces like blankets and throws. Adding new colours, shapes and textures will immediately give your old couch a new look.

Hot Tip: When choosing a colour scheme for your new décor, first consider all the other elements in the room and make sure to choose complementary colours. If you bring in similar colours that tie into other colours in the room it will help create a cohesive look.

I hope you found these tips helpful! Next week, I’ll share my bathroom transformation with you and break down everything I did in order to save money in the process!

Watch the behind the scenes footage


Image Credits:
Art Direction & Styling @lucygladewright
Photography @summer_slay for @huntingforgeorge

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