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Living Room Flooring Guide

As Australia's flooring specialists, we know how important living room flooring is when you're looking to create a certain look and feel in your home. Our 5 budget living room tips tell you everything you need to know to help you decide which flooring is right for you.

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Living Room Flooring Guide

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Living Room Flooring Guide

5 Budget living room tips

Designing a living room on a budget can be pretty easy if you're just sticking to a new paint job, but once you add in the cost of a brand new sofa suite costs can soon ramp up. With a few simple money saving ideas though, you won't have to go cutting corners and compromising on style:

1. Free-cycle

Smart shopping is the basis of any budget room makeover. And before even beginning your living room designing, or picking your colour schemes, you should head out to some thrift markets, vintage fairs and antiques shops to see if there are any bargains available.

Finding an affordable sofa that looks good can be difficult, and with sofa prices probably taking the biggest chunk out of your budget you probably don't want to plan too much else until you have an idea on what sort of sofa you want. So if the vintage fairs don't throw up anything worthwhile, then a trip to the internet might prove fruitful. First stop eBay to scope out the market and see what's on offer.

Once you've made the step to go second-hand on your big ticket furniture you'll realise that the real cost is the transportation and, in fact, if you have a van handy (or a friend with a van) you can practically pick up a sofa for free. That's where Free-cycle, and a whole host of similar websites come in: People are prepared to give away fantastic items for free just to avoid high removal/postage costs. Always make sure you check out the item before you buy though, because you never know how "used" it might be!

2. Make a smaller space seem bigger

Making a small living room look much larger can save the need to fuss around trying to squeeze everything in and improve the overall aesthetic without spending a penny. Many of the ways to do this are completely free, here are just a few:

  • Get a big mirror in the room to visually multiply the size.

  • Use glass wherever you can to keep the room looking light.

  • Emphasise height by fitting high shelves and putting pictures just above the eye line.

  • Draw attention to a single wall to make a room look longer, with either a different colour wall or a particular feature.

  • Use light blinds instead of heavy curtains to keep the room feeling open.

  • Keep the colour scheme light to make the room feels airy.

  • Reduce your furniture needs to the bare minimum to emphasise floor space.

  • Keep clutter to a minimum to reduce the busyness in your living room.

  • Use foldaway furniture so that space can be available when it's needed

3. Arrange around a focal point

A completely free way to turn a standard living room into a stylish one is simply to rework the arrangement by drawing focus to your most impressive features. This can come from an easy rearrangement of furniture without any additional expenditure. For instance, if the main use for your living room is to watch TV, then positioning the TV furthest away from the door is a good start, then by working furniture around it you will help keep the room open, clear and neat. Ultimately this avoids filling the room too full of furniture or allowing too much clutter to distract from your design.

A focal point for these purposes can be enhanced with a good colour scheme that uses a central colour surrounded by complimentary tones. By having a single wall in a different colour you can draw attention to that area. It can also be really stylish to have three plain walls and one with a more vibrant pattern. The fourth wall approach also utilises another rule of focal points - contrast. Contrast separates out parts of your room to help add emphasis. This can be done with colour, space, lighting and arrangement, so try different things out and see what works best for you.

4. Reclaim surfaces and storage

Surfaces, bookshelves and mantels are going to cost big bucks if buying in new. But their simple structure and design makes them easy pickings for saving. Not only can you find second-hand shelving easier than any other furniture items, at reclaim yards or vintage markets, you can easily find chunks of wood to make your own for virtually nothing.

That old student trick of making bookcases out of breeze-blocks and planks is actually quite fashionable now that vintage is in vogue and rustic features are considered more stylish than modern brands. Scanning a few Pinterest boards will reveal clever reclaim ideas like putting planks across ladders for rudimentary but stylish shelving, fixing old crates onto walls for storage and transforming old suitcases into coffee tables.

5. Bring the outside in

Extra chairs for the living room can cost an awful lot when bought separately, but thinking outside the box really does help. Just like the idea of bringing garden furniture into your dining room as a cheap table and chair set, you can also get some easy garden recliners and chairs for your lounge. They may not seem that comfortable but with a few throw cushions you'll barely notice. And there's something to be said for adding in a couple of deck chairs: Old wooden seaside deck chairs are beach vintage, and if your living room is styled just right it can save shelling out hefty sums for extra seating. The great thing is they can fold away too, so you can save them just for when you have a few too many guests round.
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           5 Budget living room tips - Darren Palmer

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