Tips & tricks to styling a living room

How I Styled My Apartment Living Room, Including My Tips & Tricks

While Tony and I have been living in our Northeast Minneapolis apartment for almost 3 years, I’m just starting to be happy with how it’s decorated. We have a few pieces of hand-me-down high quality furniture, but didn’t want to collect too much since we still plan on moving every few years. This meant we bought a lot of low quality and cheap pieces from Ikea, Target, and Wayfair, and since I started working from home in March 2020, I realized I wanted to be surrounded by a space I really enjoy. I started making a plan for slowly replacing furniture and adding home decor items, specifically focusing on our living room. And while I’m no home decor expert, I wanted to share the current state of my apartment living room along with the tips and tricks I’ve learned while making these changes!

While I use Pinterest a lot for inspiration, I’ve learned that you need to figure out your style first before you’re able to apply what you’ve pinned. The first thing I had to learn (that is probably extremely obvious to everyone) is that I’m a maximalist. I love to display everything and have shelves and counters covered in knick-knacks and trinkets. This helped me narrow down my “Home Decor” Pinterest board to bookshelves that actually held books and shelving units that weren’t just weighted down by a single picture frame.

Another trick is to get inspired by a piece of furniture. I found the perfect rattan cart (middle image) and matched the pot, picture frame, and other accessories to it after I brought it home (thankfully Luna matches everything).

For decor I like to include at least one plant, something with height, and a few personal items. I kept reading about “the rule of three”, meaning each space should have 3 pieces to look complete, but I’ve found one short and one taller item works better for me. I played around with everything in different locations until it looked right. The top shelf of the rattan cart is my favorite right now (and includes my favorite plant)!

If you’re on a budget, expensive new furniture isn’t your only option. I’ve had great luck with Craigslist! I found my rattan cart there and managed to snag my bookshelf for $5! Another great option is antique stores. They often rotate inventory fairly quickly, so jump on anything you like and check back often for new pieces. Older pieces are often higher quality as well. Don’t forget you can always stain or paint something that isn’t quite perfect.

For couches, I highly recommend only buying a couch you’ve seen in person and been able to sit on. We bought our first couch from Wayfair and quickly regretted it. I was attracted to the low price, but the cushions flattened quickly, it showed stains easily, and it was overall way too small for us. For our new couch, we visited a few different discount furniture retailers and sat on tons of couches before deciding on this one.

I used the throw pillow and rug to pull in the wall colors and make everything feel cohesive.

Now that I’m finally happy with our living room, it’s time to move on to another room! Should I focus on our bedroom or home office next? πŸ€”

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