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6 Steps To An Affordable, Perfectly-Designed Living Room

Having a beautiful home is very important to many people. When a home is decorated, people feel more comfortable spending time in the home or inviting friends over for a get-together. Utilizing home decor ideas won’t always require a lot of money or major changes. Simple, quick changes can drastically make a difference in a home if a person does not want to waste a lot of time or money making their home beautiful.

The look of this living room decor needs to be kept light and airy, so avoid heavy drapes at the windows and use Venetian blinds or roman blinds instead; and keep the background wall colors as light as possible. Extra nice touches that complement the look are exposed beams, tongue and groove or shiplap accents on the walls, sea grass rugs, ceiling fans and lantern or utility style light fittings.

Small living room furniture is best kept simple. Many small living room ideas revolve around tricking the eye into making the area appear more spacious. Such strategies can transform an area that feels cramped and claustrophobic into one that feels cozy and aesthetically pleasing. Decorate in a way that maximizes light and space, and pay attention to how you use color, scale and weight. It can make quite a difference.

When you enter my front door, you come into a combination of rooms: entryway, small living room, and dining room. (You can see my entryway fall decor HERE ) There is also a staircase and a hallway to the family room and kitchen. There is a lot going on in this small space! To make it easier on the eye, I went with a neutral color scheme.

Finding a suitable design strategy for a living room takes time. Let’s say you want your small living room to appear larger and more spacious.

Whether you spend a ton of money on a down payment or a security deposit, you probably want your new home to feel like it belongs in a magazine, even if that means dropping more cash. You have been working on that “New Home” Pinterest board before you even found your dream digs, after all.

We’ve all been at the crossroads of big dreams and little budgets, and we’re here to offer some advice: Start small. That means there are some things you should invest in now — step away from that IKEA sofa — and some things you can afford to buy cheap and upgrade later. The most important step? Stick to one room at a time.

Here’s a “starter kit” we created to show you how to do just that.

living room starter kit

Buy Now: A Quality Sofa
You’ve heard us say this before, and we will say it again: Don’t skimp on a sofa. Yes, it will eat up most, if not all of your decorating budget, but as the (semi-permanent) anchor of most living rooms, the sofa needs to withstand your TV binge-watching sessions and your evolving tastes down the road. Think: Well-made with a timeless silhouette, like this Axel Sofa from Jayson Home.

Upgrade Later: Custom Upholstery
The right sofa doesn’t need upgrading, but if you want to make it your own at some point, the best way to do it is to have it reupholstered in a fabric (or a slipcover) of your choice.

living room starter kit
Photo courtesy of HomeGoods

Buy Now: Table Lamps
Think of these as stylish stand-ins for your main source of lighting. You can’t go wrong spending less than $100 here. Our favorite lighting source (as shown above): HomeGoods.

Upgrade Later: A Statement Ceiling Fixture
When your budget allows, swap out generic flush-mount fixtures for a statement pendant or chandelier. You’ll be looking at your living room in a whole new light — literally.

Buy Now: Standard Pillow Inserts
For around $10, you could even get feather-down versions.

Upgrade Later: Graphic Pillow Covers
If a full-out reupholstery project is out of the question, the easiest way to give your side chairs or sofa a new look is to switch out the pillows. Covers run the gamut style-wise and won’t cost you much more than the inserts themselves. The ones we picked for our inspiration board, above, cost less than $50 at Wisteria.

living room starter kit
Photo courtesy of HomeGoods

Buy Now: Fail-Proof House Plants
Hardy greenery like snake plants and peace lilies are good choices if you’re looking for something relatively low-maintenance (and inexpensive) to give your living room some life.

Upgrade Later: Fresh-Cut Blooms
Floral arrangements will cost you (unless you go the grocery store route), and their short lifespan means you’ll have to replace them every few days — but there is nothing like an arrangement of garden roses to make a room feel magazine-ready.

Buy Now: A Neutral Area Rug
One we love — like this hand-woven piece by Nate Berkus for Target — could easily stand on its own…

Upgrade Later: A Luxe Layer To Top It Off
…But for a designer-approved “layered” look, you could also add a smaller, more detailed piece on top, later on.

photography by LAURA RESEN via Domino

Buy Now: A Storage Ottoman and Tray
You will inevitably find stray items that haven’t yet found a home after your move — this is the place to stash them. Plus, an ottoman can double as seating until you can afford to fill out the room with side chairs.


Upgrade Later: A Real Coffee Table
Next to your sofa, your coffee table is the centerpiece of a living room. Take your time and make it count.

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