Clever, Classy Contemporary Living Room Ideas On A Budget For Your Home

by Charmaine Kenita | February 12, 2024 | 8 mins read

contemporary living room designs for your home on budget

Simple details, little ideas and lots of imagination go into designing contemporary living spaces on a budget. Where the money falls less, the creativity is maximised and possibilities are limitless

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Making plans, trying to bring about a change because of the sameness, brainstorming and budgeting and suddenly realising that there may just not be enough to do what we must to decorate our home. It’s frustrating when the money decides any kind of room design ideas.

For the vast majority of us owning homes, we’ve lived in one for years. We’ve done it up the way we want, lugged around furniture and decor, furnished and upholstered, designed as per our needs which largely depends on use. With time this design has become old, homes have become dated and there’s the constant need to infuse new life into space.

New homeowners too who are just starting out face this dilemma in choosing how to do up their home, where to divert the spend and how to make every coin count. This is all the more difficult with choices. Do you focus on the furniture and leave the decor for later? Do furnishings need to be bought or basic necessities will suffice?

Contemporary living rooms need to be updated frequently. There’s a constant change in design, look, colours that keeps it fresh, vibrant and colourful or you’ll be drowning in one that hasn’t been changed for years. Doing this on a budget can be a challenge, only when you let it. If you’ve oodles of creativity and are alright with letting your imagination run wild, here are a few living room ideas that help you work more with less.

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Flaunt An All-nude Look For A Contemporary Style Living Room

Nudes are neutral. Period. The colour is timeless, the design flawless in execution. Nude sofas and curtains, even carpeting is the foundation upon which you can build the rest of the living room space. Practically it works phenomenally, since you’ll not have to change basic room design for a long time but can play around with the other elements. It might seem too bland for some homeowners’ sensibilities. But you can pep it up by choosing a major furniture or art piece in this colour and lift everything else with contrasts. A slightly warm pink toned nude or a love seat in this colour works just as well to tie the look together. Being a basic colour tone, nude shades are relatively inexpensive and in the long run helps keep expenditures in check.

Contemporary style living room with a sofa set in nude beige on budget
A living room sofa set in nude beige is the central theme contrasted with bright coloured cushions and dark wallpaper, creating a beautiful seamless balance.

When In Doubt Pick Chairs For A Contemporary Style Living Room

A home has many versatile pieces and the more of these that double up for different functions, the better it works out to. When it comes to furniture, go light on the heavy pieces and hoard on chairs. Whether foldable or straight backed, with cushions or in cane, chairs are versatile, can be moved around and stacked. They are useful when guests come and can be put away when not in use. Armchairs are stylish, especially in material like steel, cane and repurposed wood. It’s also easier to match with a chosen theme and works well on smaller budgets.

A modern contemporary living room with a recliner and wooden chairs works well on smaller budgets
Chairs do what sofas can’t, make the living room lighter! A combination of metal and wood in different designs transform living spaces and works well within budget

Bring Out Period Pieces For A Budget Friendly Design

Doing up a new home can be quite taxing on the finances. One way of going about this is to pull out all the period pieces you’ve collected and that which have been passed down through the family. Touch them up with colour, contrast them with furnishings, update bolts and arms and other parts falling apart and give them a new spin. Besides avoiding unnecessary expenditure, it also gives the living room a period, nostalgic feel and sets the tone for the home which can be continued or changed whenever the need or funds arise.

An old styled sofa looks classic in the contemporary living room ideas on a budget-friendly design for your home
Old period furniture carries memories and tradition, taking an empty living space and giving it a unique identity of its own

Plan On Open Space Living For A Contemporary Style Look

When it comes to contemporary living rooms, it’s amazing to note how much we spend filling the space with material. From furniture to vases to cupboards and separators, all of these lend a heaviness to the space while increasing budgets quite considerably. Open space living rooms do away the need for all this separation, increase the flow between rooms and prevent the need for different themes, colours and tones for different parts of the home. A single, neutral colour for the walls, a mix of floor rugs, wall decor and mixed-furniture pieces keeps the look singular around which different themes can be worked around.

Open contemporary living room cum dining area with different functional spaces without physical separators on budget
The living and dining spaces merge seamlessly in this open plan room, blending different functional spaces without physical separators

Wallpapers Are A Godsend

A surefire way of changing and transforming the living room is by using wallpapers. Imagine doing away with the money spent on using different colours for different walls, adding texture and layers and instead of going for paper. The spends automatically reduce and you’ll be left with a feature wall in your living room that plays up the beautiful design and wall decor. Besides, you can always change the wallpaper, plaster it on all sides and work the design around furnishings.

Living room with beautiful wallpaper design on a budget is the best contemporary living room design idea
Wallpapers do everything paints can’t. Lend texture, look, interest and finesse at literally half the cost!

Living Rooms Doubling Up As Family Rooms

Keeping different rooms around the house designated for different activities can be too much and cumbersome. Besides, it can even get costly, what with the furniture and furnishings. One way of budgeting is to make the living room a family space where anyone can congregate, children and adults talk, watch movies and generally hang around. Making the living room a family space will need practical thought as well as stylish design. A large soft sofa upholstered in a practical spill-free fabric that can accommodate everyone, hidden storage to keep away toys and other material and different activity areas saves up on space, money and keeps the entire engagement centred in space.

Contemporary living room interior on a budget with a large sofa with hidden storage
Plenty of chairs, seating, floor cushions and storage and families need not go any place else in the home to entertain
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Building Up The Layered Suspense

While it is natural to go all out and buy colour coordinated furniture and expensive upholstery to give your living room the look it deserves, it’s not easy when doing up a new home. To work around a budget, try layering, mixing and matching materials and colours to get a rich luxurious look without spending too much. Consider a rattan chair with fluffed up faux-silk cushions, or layer cloth sofas with velvet throws and vibrant cushions. The trick to layering is to work with contrasts of texture, colour and material without making it too heavy.

Living room contemporary interior design layered different tones and materials on sofas lends an inexpensive yet luxurious
Layering in different tones and materials on sofas and for living room floors, lends an inexpensive yet luxurious touch

Recycling Your Favourite Designs

Whether you renew, upcycle or recycle living room decor, this is a great way to channel your sustainable goals and do good for the environment while saving some hard cash. Living rooms are spaces to showcase your art, and what better way to engage visitors, pique interests and have fun while at it than this? You can try unusual materials for living room furniture such as long floor lamps, reupholster chairs with unusual fabric, rubber tyres converted into stools, trunks doubling up as coffee tables, or reconfigure floor rugs into wall art, or use old window frames as wall hangings. The possibilities are endless.

Low cost contemporary look living room with a reupholster chair lends a spark to space and is a budget-friendly option
A bright lettered single-seater lends a spark into this beautifully laid out minimalist contemporary living space and is a budget-friendly option too

Contemporary living spaces are a great canvas to play with. Sky’s the limit when it comes to design, colour and experimentation, and the theme can be worked around any kind of budget you can afford.

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Charmaine Kenita is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Charmaine Kenita

Charmaine Kenita is a content strategist, editor, marketer, & doctor. A professional storywriter providing content across various verticals, she searches for metaphors in everyday experiences connecting ideas and thoughts across industries. She mentors startups & women entrepreneurs, and works with NGOs in the handloom sector.

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