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Maximize Apartment Living Room Style on a Budget

Searching for tips on how-to decorate an apartment living room? I’m here to help you maximize your budget and style!

Have you just signed the lease on your first apartment and want to decorate your living room on a budget?

I’m here to share some general “rules” on how to choose the right furniture and decor for a small living room.

Plus give you some budget friendly options to decorate your apartment living room so it’s not only functional, but has maximum style too!

How-to Start Decorating an Apartment Living Room

It’s SO exciting to get your first apartment and be independent.

If you are like me, the best part is getting to decorate it the way YOU want to…not for your friends or family.

However, you are likely on a budget and are wondering how to maximize your dollars and focus on the key pieces you need right?

If you’ve never decorated a room before, you may want to start with this post first:

How-to Start a Room Makeover

My son is graduating from college this year, so he’s getting excited about decorating HIS first apartment. His girlfriend is starting her first job and moving into HER first apartment.

Finding affordable apartment living room decor is now top of mind for my family!

I thought I would share with you our approach and process to maximizing style on a small budget.

How-to Budget for furniture and decor

First and foremost, think about what you NEED not want. Common sense, right?

You will need a place to sit, prop your feet or eat, read, some lighting, and to watch TV.

Key items for a living room:

  1. Sofa
  2. Coffee table (how-to choose a coffee table for your space)
  3. Side table
  4. TV stand
  5. Lamp

These are the critical items you must have in an apartment living room.

Think about the primary furniture items a little differently, so you maximize their purpose as well.

It’s all about getting the most for your money!

Choose living room furniture that has two uses:
  • Find a sofa without back cushions, so the seat is deeper, that can double as a bed for an overnight guest.
  • Select a c-shaped side table that can be used as a laptop stand or for eating while watching TV.
  • Think about the ability to sit on the floor around your coffee table to play board games or to eat.
  • A TV stand not only will hold your electronics, but also adds overflow organization space.

Click the pictures to shop!

TV Stand $69
Sofa $630
Coffee Table $228
C-Table $23

Next let’s look at decor accents and accessories.

They make your apartment feel like a home and also can provide more seating for your friends and family when they visit.

Nice to have items for a living room:

  1. Accent chair
  2. Artwork
  3. Throw pillows
  4. Accessories
  5. Area rug (over carpet)

You can see why I say these are nice to have…they can wait if your budget is really limited.

Think about thrifting area rugs, accessories, and artwork because they add color and personality for very little expense.

I’m all about maximizing style…spending as little as possible to make it affordable.

Click the pictures to shop!

Velvet Chair $160
Geometric Rug $28
Geometric Pillow $13
Wooden Beads $11

I’ve got champagne tastes on a beer budget, so guess what?

For around $1000, you can decorate your apartment living room and it will be stylish too!

No one will know how little you spent because it will look so pulled together.

Decorate an Apartment Living Room for Less

Now it’s time to talk about how to pull all of the furniture and decor together.

I’ve written a GREAT article to help you avoid some common decorating mistakes, so make sure to read this too!

6 Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

As I pulled together this look, I kept in mind that in most cases the walls of an apartment are white.

That’s something important to think about as you find decor.

You’ll need your accessories like a rug, pillows and artwork to define your color palette.

First I’ll share with you the living room pulled I together and then tell you why I chose the piece I did.

Are you surprised at how much I was able to source to fill a living room with only $1000 budget?

Guess where I found all of these gorgeous living room finds? WALMART from their summer home trend look book!

Walmart home products have been one of my go to sources for years. Things like furniture, picture frames, indoor/outdoor rugs, and seasonal decor.

My favorite home brands are Better Homes & Gardens and Walmart’s Mainstays brand. The looks are on trend with a value price.

These brands ship directly from Walmart and many items are free 2 day delivery!

You can’t beat it.

Shop the Post

Tips to Maximize Living Room Style

These are good tips to use when decorating any room!

  1. Find a rug in a pattern and colors you love. Use this as your color starting point.
  2. Choose a sofa in a neutral color that you can live with for a long time…this will be your biggest expense.
  3. Dress up the sofa with pillows that coordinate with the shapes and colors in the rug.
  4. Use accent furniture to further emphasis color in the living room like I did with the chair.
  5. To anchor the space, choose “hard goods” or the wood toned pieces that are all the same stain color.
  6. Soften the edges with interesting lamps and accessories like plants and the wooden beads.
  7. Choose a TV stand that doubles as a place to contain your electronics and to display or organize other items.

See now isn’t that easy??? You can follow these steps as you decorate your apartment living room.

Decorating tip: Make sure the larger pieces will fit in the space!

Something that will be a tremendous help is to keep the measurements of the room in your phone.

BEFORE you buy always map out the item in the space to make sure they will fit.

Pay attention to how much walking space is between each piece of furniture too.

Between the sofa, coffee table and chair you’ll need about 14 to 18 inches.

I hope all of this helps get you started, so you can decorate like a pro now and in the future!

Want more decorating advice? Check out this page for all of my home design posts: Decorating Resource Guide

Please consider following me on InstagramPinterest, or Facebook for more inspiration and helpful advice.

Until next time…



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  1. Thank you so much for this post – after being married for 52 years and a widow for 3 years I am now preparing to downsize into my “first apartment” in a lovely independent living “resort” – I will be able to take some of my own furniture and accessories but also want it to be “new to me” – I’m saving your post as it will be a great reference as I start that journey 😊

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