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3 Simple ways to breathe new life into your dated living room

Is your living room stuck in time? The latest home decor trends make it easy to update your space. Try one or two of these simple upgrades to make your room feel less dated.

1. Update with paint


Paint the walls. The easiest, most affordable updates you can make to a room involve paint. “A fresh coat of paint can make a room look clean, and a drastic change in wall color can make the room look completely different,” says Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada digital home management. Even changing the color of one wall — creating an accent wall — can make a space feel brand new.


Paint the trim. Don’t stop at wall color. Painting your living room’s dark wood trim can dramatically transform the space. Wood trim lends an old-fashioned feel to a home. Consider painting it a few shades darker (or lighter) than your wall color. Paint it white, cream or even black. Match it to a favorite rug, drape, pillow or home accent. Or run with a fun trendy color, like gray-blue or red-orange.


Paint the furniture. Matching living room tables are definitely out of fashion, but there’s no need to replace them. Paint them! Use milk paint or chalk paint for a shabby chic effect, or use a bright glossy hue in a paint sprayer to get a sleek, contemporary look.

More: How to paint furniture

2. Update the floor


Modern wood floors. “Changing a floor can transform the entire dynamic of a room,” says Frank Santana of T.F. Andrew Dream Floors in Elmsford, New York. “Right now, we’re seeing a remarkably high demand for wider plank wood products instead of the narrow plank wood floors often found in older homes.” If wider planks or more exotic wood species are not in your budget, trying faking it. “Faux wood floors require much less maintenance,” says Santana.

More: Pros and cons of hardwood flooring


Modern carpeting. If you prefer soft carpeting underfoot in the living room, consider replacing your dated rug with something more updated. Debbie Gartner, “The Flooring Girl,” recommends these trending looks:

  • Colors: Neutral grays and taupes, muted blues and teals, earthy greens
  • Design: Patterns, textured loops, ribbed, striated, two-toned, geometric
  • Features: Pet resistance, environmentally friendly, super-soft

You can go wall-to-wall with your carpet or utilize area rugs to define areas. If you’re not ready to replace your existing carpeting, just layer a few new area rugs on top! Check out all of Gartner’s carpeting tips!

More: How to design around an area rug

3. Update home accents

Home decor is fun and easy to update. And it’s perhaps the least-expensive change you can make to your living room. “There are so many stores that provide a variety of home accents and using a new color scheme in the living room can make a big difference,” says Dodson. “Swap out…



… throw pillows. Display pillows that fit the season. Or have fun with quirky pillows that express your personality, like this Gerbera Daisies Pillow. (, $38)

More: 29 Of the coolest pillows… ever



…table decor. Instead of old-fashioned crystal or brass decor, look for bright, contemporary pieces that will attract the eye — like the Key West Party Time Giclee Paley White Table Lamp. Again, let your personal style shine through with these little touches. (, $99)

More: 13 Animal decor accents that aren’t tacky



…artwork. “It’s easy to forget what we have hanging on our walls,” says Dodson. Step back and observe your hanging pieces. Update them with edgy framed posters (like the DENY Designs “Punk Bird” wrapped canvas by Robert Farkas), funky portraits of the family or even pieces of your favorite fabrics! (, $22)

More: How to make your own cutout canvas wall art

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