Have you ever looked through interior design magazines just lusting after the gorgeously designed spaces, dreaming of a newly designed living room….until you look at the price tag? Cringe…as if…
Well I am here to tell you, that no matter what the budget, there are a few basic design principles that can make any space cozy and inviting. Read on for a few practical tips to make the best use of your space.
1.) Start with your sofa: First off, you will want to take measurements of any walls that you plan to place the sofa. Make sure to notice any plug or cable outlets as well. Then, start by giving your new couch a proper test run, and have a few different body types do so as well. One trap of looking through the design magazines is that there are these absolutely gorgeous sofas and chairs, but there is not a comfort review attached to it. Form follows function – so make sure and test it out. In our family, we have discovered that what is comfortable to me, may not be to my husband, so, much to his chagrin – he needs to join me when narrowing down the field. Just be careful of the options you are showing. For example, think back to that lazy boy recliner purchase. Hubby is happy, wifey…not so much…and looking for the prettiest blanket she can to cover it up? We’ve all been there, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one~
2.) Make sure to select a fabric that will stand the test of time: don’t forget to read the upkeep tabs before making a choice. In general, the thicker the fabric weave, the easier it will hold on to dirt. Therefore, you might want to go with a darker color. However, you may be able to choose a lighter color when choosing a fabric with a tighter weave, or fabric that feels a bit more smooth. Also, patterns tend to date quicker than solids, so proceed with caution…and don’t forget to ask about the scotch guard finish. Lots of places will add it on for a minimal fee.
3.) Avoid “matchy” side chairs – think of the side chair as a pair of gorgeous shoes. They bring in an element of fun and whimsy, a pop of color, and punctuate the living space. Discount stores are fabulous for picking out fun and stylish accents pieces. I once purchased an Italian faux snakeskin chair for $70 at TJ Maxx, and to this day, it’s in great shape, it’s never lonely and can light up a room.
4.) High dollar items should be neutral: When putting together a budget friendly space, it’s usually wise to stick with neutrals for your high dollar items, and that will grow with you. For instance, if you typically have small space requirements, aim for structural pieces that tend to be on the smaller side. When you move later, you will be so glad you did!
5.) Have fun with low dollar items: If you’re craving that exciting punch of color – leave it for the smaller ticket accent pieces. That will give you freedom and flexibility to switch out your color scheme as often as you like.
6.) Invest in one piece of art that makes your heart sing: This is not about price, as much as it is about giving you something to come home to that you absolutely love. It could be a high end art piece, or it could be something that a friend made for you and is totally goofy. When you look at that artwork, it should evoke emotions, and hopefully happy, playful ones too! I never understood the pull of abstract art until recently. I have 2 pieces in my office – one day they make me feel empowered, the next giggly. Sounds silly, but when you find the right one – you just know it! This artwork can also be the base of your color palette depending on how long you plan to keep it in the space.
7.) Don’t overlook grandma’s old beat-up coffee table: Just because she paired it with a burnt mustard couch and blue shag carpet, does NOT mean it will be the ugly little sister in your space. Pull it out of context to determine it’s full potential. Things were made with such integrity back then – wood was solid, and furniture was well built…and if you’re lucky enough to have a generous grandma with a mid-century style – well – that’s even better!
8.) Fill in with green space: In design school, they used to say you can never have too much greenery or too many mirrors. Oh dear – that just sounds awful, doesn’t it? Lol! Seriously though – greenery can fix a boring corner, soften harsh edges, hide unsightly cords, and the list goes on. However, one of the best benefits is they purify the air in your castle. They are a living, breathing and loving addition to your home. If you’re not the green thumb type, there are really nice artificial ones out there, though they are a bit more pricey.
9.) Add a humorous element: pick one item that can be a silly conversation piece. For instance – I happen to love that Great Dane statue in the image. For me – that’s silly, because I can’t have a dog, much less a large one, but I tell you, that statue would make me happy and giggle every time I saw it. I would probably name it too…and talk to it…(confession time). Yes – I am that girl.
All in all, an irresistible seating area should beckon you to sink in with a blanket and a cuppa, and be a nourishing place to soothe your soul. The right living room is like your favorite pair of sweats – it always feels good, can lull you to sleep, or facilitate the best pillow fight ever. After all, home is where we nourish our souls – and you’re so worth the time it takes to give yourself that!
If you’re still struggling to come up with ideas on a budget – have a wee gander at my space planning services in the shop.
Sending you squishes and nourishment and giggles~
***This post contains affiliate links***