4 Tricks to Furnishing a Living Room on a Budget

Looking to decorate on a budget? Our guest blogger Katie Holland (@hollandersauce on Twitter!) shares her best furnishing tips below. We’ll have one more great design post to share as part of design month before February draws to a close and then, come March, we’ll get back to our “regular programming” as we continue to cover everything you need to know about first apartments, roommates and living on your own.

I had always lived with a roommate until I moved in with my soon-to-be husband. So when we upgraded to our first place this past year, we had very little furniture for our living room but plenty of duplicates of the basics. With a limited budget and a desire to make the room look good, I used these four tricks to get it done:

1.)   Start with Pinterest

I’m a big fan of Pinterest, so it was my go-to for gathering room design ideas and helping me visualize how things would look together. It also helped to pull up the mobile app while shopping to remind myself of colors and patterns I wanted to replicate.

Katie living room2.)   Pick large pieces first

Ikea was great for the larger pieces we needed because it was cheap and helped us save money for accessories. Also, if you order furniture through Ikea directly, the flat rate for delivery in range (within 30 miles in Chicago) is $50. It was really worth it because we had a lot of furniture we needed and no way to fit it into our car.

Our next go-to was Cost Plus World Market. We signed-up for their free loyalty card and got 10% off the entire purchase. Definitely a huge saving when you’re talking about buying furniture (although in Chicago that basically just paid for our sales tax). We found our dining room chairs, coffee tables and end tables there and they all worked together incredibly well.

3.)   After finding design inspirations online, bargain hunt locally

I focused on the overall look and elements of the rooms I liked instead of the items. I noticed that the room designs I liked used geometric patterns.Katie patterns During the Pinterest search I recalled finding a pillow that I liked and then clicking through the pin to see it was over $100! So, instead I got a similar patterned pillow from Target for around $20, and used patterned accents throughout the room to give the space a nice visual pop. Some fabric patterns just look very luxurious and are relatively inexpensive for what they are.  You’ll find that most of the time the high-end splurges you want have low-end counterparts.  Also, check online at stores like Target and Kohl’s before making a trip to the store. They have online only products that are priced similar but are different than what they have in stock.

Katie rug4.)   Consider “outdoor” rugs as bargain alternatives to indoor rugs

Another downgrade I took was with our rugs. Rugs are incredibly expensive, so instead of picking indoor rugs, I chose to use “outdoor” rugs instead. If you only care about how it looks and not so much how it feels, outdoor rugs are perfect. Plus they are really easy to clean in case of any spills and are more durable than the traditional indoor rugs.



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Comments (3)

  1. Avatar Sam J.

    Reply to Wendi,
    I have shopped at MHD also but didn’t think to wait for sales. What a great idea. Thanks. I have bought furniture from Barcelona-Designs they have a lot of the same furniture as MHD and they regularly have a clearance section. I have gotten some amazing deals there.

  2. Avatar Wendi Moore

    I got all of my furniture for my new apartment at Manhattan Home Design. Well everything except the bed. I waited for sales and picked up pieces when they went on sale. They have great furniture.