Are you sick of your bland, off-white apartment? Maybe you have a fancy new job, and you’re ready for an upgrade… or perhaps you’re trying to impress that certain someone in your life. Whatever the reason, coming home to a more grown-up space will be a welcome change. And it doesn’t require much effort at all. Not anymore. Because we’re here to map it out for you, step-by-step.
The space we’ll be using as inspiration has a timeless feel with a dark, manly color scheme. Navy blue is a classic, easy color. It packs a big punch visually, but seems almost neutral in large quantities. It pairs well with white, lending a hint of nautical appeal. In our inspiration image, the designer has played up that maritime feel with the artwork on the walls and the blue rug. We’ve found affordable options that won’t assault your bank account – but the high-end look of your new space will make your friends think that you’re loaded.
1. The first thing you’ll need is a large area rug to anchor the space. This loom knotted wool one from RugsUSA.com is just the ticket. It provides a soft spot for you feet after a long day at work, and the textured finish makes it look more expensive than it really is. Rugs USA often has major sales, too… check their website for deals. Rugs USA, $69-699
2. Next, let’s add an end table to the space. The dark walnut veneer finish on this round table will add a bit of character to the room, with curved legs and a surface big enough for your iPad and a Heineken. All Modern, $88
3. A set of ottomans can be a great addition to a room. They look good, but they are also functional – providing extra seating for friends when the couch just isn’t enough. An ottoman is mobile, too, so you can easily shift it from room to room. This particular style has a modern faux leather finish with tufting, and its compact size will allow it to fit in even the smallest studio apartment. Amazon, $40
4. Speaking of couches, this affordable black one doubles as a futon so your college buddy has a place to crash the next time he comes to visit. The clean lines give it a contemporary look, while the microfiber material lends a soft yet durable feel. WalMart, $199
5. Choosing artwork for your walls can be daunting, but here we’ve picked an abstract print with the same color scheme as the rest of the room. This is a good rule of thumb when choosing any piece of artwork. The waves in the image complement the moody feel of the space perfectly. Buy the large size and hang it above the sofa in a white frame. Society 6, $30
6. Using clear materials such as acrylic and glass are a great way to maximize a small space. Here we’ve picked a compact lamp with an acrylic base. Using a large, dark light fixture in this room would feel clunky with so much navy blue everywhere else. The lightness of the lamp helps to balance out the dark elements of the space. Target, $18
7. Many landlords will allow you to paint your walls; if that’s the case, do it! Paint is the easiest and cheapest way to completely transform a room. While you’re waiting for all of these products to arrive in the mail, go grab a can of paint at your local home improvement store. If you don’t feel like painting all of the walls, consider doing just the one behind your sofa to create a focal point for the artwork that you’ll be hanging there later. This shade of navy from Behr is called Soulful Music, and can be purchased at Home Depot.
8. A functional coffee table is a crucial element for any living room. This particular one has multiple shelves for storage, and a large surface area that will fit all the takeout food you could possibly order. The rectangular shape gives it a modern feel, and the dark espresso finish will coordinate perfectly with the navy blue theme of the rest of the room. And you can’t beat the price. Amazon, $69
9. Throw pillows are often overlooked, but they are a great way to make your room feel complete. These brown and white striped pillows will make your couch feel extra comfortable, and they will add some character with their bright, contrasting colors. The perfect finishing touch! Zazzle, $29
Once you’ve purchased everything, the last step is to arrange your new finds. Use the inspiration image above as your guide. If your living room has a different layout, then start by placing the largest piece of furniture, your couch in this case, in the most logical location and work out from there. Use your gut… if something feels out of place, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to move things around until you have created a layout that is appropriate for your lifestyle.
It can be intimidating to furnish and decorate a room from scratch, but using our step-by-step buying guide, you’ll be on your way to a new living room in no time. Your guests won’t want to leave!