I write about decor for a living — here are 5 top tips to instantly upgrade your home for 2024

Sofa with throws and cushions
Sofa with throws and cushions (Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to our living spaces, we all want to create the perfect home, straight out of an interior magazine. But even if you don’t have the grand budget for a renovation, don’t despair! You can still give your home a stunning makeover, without breaking the bank. 

And as Homes content editor and an interiors obsessive, I’m always on the hunt for affordable ways to spruce up my home, and give it an instant refresh. From reviving dated furniture with a lick of paint, to swapping out cushion covers, you don’t always have to buy brand new items.

Here, I’ve put together some of my favorite quick, easy, and budget-friendly ways to instantly upgrade your home. 

1. Upgrade your cushion covers or sofa 

Modern living room

Modern living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re bored of your cushions or throw pillows, simply change the covers instead. There are so many cushion covers available, in all sorts of colors, sizes and fabrics to suit your interior style. What’s more, these are interchangeable, so you can easily change the styles according to your mood, without having to buy new cushions. 

In addition, if you can’t afford a brand new, upholstered sofa, you can find couch slip covers to suit. Covers like these H.VERSAILTEX Super Stretch Individual Seat Cushion Covers ($33, Amazon), will not only give your sofa an instant update, but are also washable and long-lasting. 

2. Create a cozy corner 

Storage stool and basket in living room

Living room with fireplace (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s nothing better than a warm and relaxing home, so why not create a cozy corner to snuggle in? Be it your favorite armchair, chair or even several beanbags, this is a great way to give your home a makeover. 

To achieve that cozy factor, layer up your seating with chunky throws, soft blankets and plump cushions. It’s also good to mix-and-match the textures and color scheme so that everything doesn’t look the same. You want to create an inviting feeling that is also aesthetically pleasing. In addition, soft rugs such as this Ophanie Area Rugs ($24, Amazon), can add instant warmth, and a pop of color to a boring space. 

So whether you want to curl up to a good read, or binge-watch your favorite Netflix shows, a cozy corner will do the trick!

3. Style with oversized mirrors 

Large mirror in bedroom

Large mirror in bedroom (Image credit: Shutterstock)

I absolutely love full-length or oversized mirrors, and they can instantly elevate a boring space. Not only do they reflect natural light and make a space feel airy and fresh, they’re also known to make a small room look bigger, or brighten a dark room — without moving!

You can choose from various shapes and styles — ranging from the classic rectangle or round, to arch or irregular mirrors. Just be sure to check they are either wall-mounted or lean mirrors — which are only designed to lean directly against the wall. In fact, this is one of the most popular styles in homes, and looks more stylish. 

Alternatively, if you have children and pets running around, and you don’t wish to have heavy glass, opt for a plexiglass acrylic mirror. Bendable acrylic wall mirrors much like this Shatterproof Wall Mirror ($29, Amazon), are designed to be safer and won’t get accidentally broken or damaged. 

For more top tips, check out these 7 clever ways to decorate with mirrors in your home. 

4. Light up your home with table lamps 

Living room with fireplace

Living room with fireplace (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another quick and easy way to add character to your room are table lamps. Having stylish table lamps or one of the best desk lamps are a versatile way to create the right lighting and add warmth to any room.  

Whether you want a bold, statement lamp or minimalist style, there are plenty of options to suit your room. These Industrial Touch Control Table Lamps set of 2 ($49, Amazon), are touch-controlled and dimmable.

And if you have limited electrical sockets, you can opt for cordless table lamps that can be placed anywhere around the home. These are either battery-operated or USB rechargeable like these Newrgy 2 Pack Cordless Table Lamp ($28, Amazon). What’s more, you won’t have to worry about any unsightly cables on show, to ruin your overall aesthetic!

Before installing however, watch out for these 7 home lighting mistakes you didn’t know you were making

5. Upcycle dated furniture 

Painting kitchen cabinet white

Painting kitchen cabinet white (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Before you throw out those tired-looking chest of drawers, chairs or that coffee table you’ve had for years, why not upcycle and give it a new lease of life?

All you’ll need is the right type of paint for the specific material, a primer if needed, and quality paint brushes like these Pro Grade - Paint Brushes - 5 Ea - Paint Brush Set ($8, Amazon), for a gorgeous finish. And if you’re a complete beginner, there are plenty of tutorials online on how to paint wooden furniture the right way.

Repurposing what you already have could save you tons of money, and allow you to still keep your favorite items. 

If you have outdoor, wooden pallets lying around, check out these 7 clever ways to upcycle wooden pallets in your yard, for  inspiration. 

Gallery wall in living room

Gallery wall in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether it’s your favorite vacation, children's’ milestones or other special memories, why not get your best pictures printed and framed for a gallery wall? 

There are plenty of frame styles and sizes available to suit your space. Before hanging your frames, experts recommend the ‘odd number rule’ when creating a gallery wall. Rather than hanging in even numbers, stick to three or five on one wall, or even one large frame. Typically, this rule is considered to be more aesthetically pleasing, and look less cluttered. 

However, if you did want to hang two pictures side by side, make sure the frames are identical and hung at the same height. Generally, while this should be 57 inches; pictures should be hung at eye-level, so you’re not forced to look upwards.) 

For more inspiration, check out these 7 clever ways to decorate a blank wall in your home. 

7. Add giant floor plants

Large plant in living room

Large plant in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Lush plants and beautiful botanicals can not only bring the outdoors in, but instantly transform a space. And the bigger the plant, the more impact it will have!

Opt for exotic palms, birds of paradise, corn plants or olive trees to add a touch of greenery. In addition, place them in beautiful concrete/stone style pots, rattan baskets or tall planters to enhance the decorative feature. 

If you suffer from allergies however, or don’t have the right conditions for plantcare, you can always invest in some stunning fake plants that look just as great as the real thing.

And if you’re opting for fake plants, you might need to know these 7 ways to make your fake plants look more real. Plus, these 7 indoor plants that will make your house smell nicer. 

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!