How I Turned My Ugly Living Room Into A Brand New Space

Here’s a short rambling of my experience making over my living room (including before and after photos below).


  • I moved into a newly constructed apartment.
  • Makeover took 6 months to complete.
  • Used craigslist to sell the old decor/furniture (made almost 80% back).
  • Donated clutter and unwanted items to local Salvation Army.
  • Drew designs for a clutter-free space that’s functional, classy, and minimalistic.

How I stayed on a student budget:

  • Collected coupons.
  • Slowly bought pieces strategically as they went on sale.
  • Most expensive item: Custom-made Pottery Barn slip-covered sleeper sofa (great for guests and space saver for small apartments).
    • Walnut Twill, Knife edges
    • 2-month delivery
    • Had 500$ gift-card + bought on sale (free shipping due to late delivery)


  • Compromise: Convince my other 1/2 to purge his ugly leather chair and glass media center! Reminder: try to meet your partner half-way by making your space something you both enjoy. For design lovers, it’s hard to keep a non-theme item. For non-designers, it’s irritating to have unusable decorative towels. Relate?
  • Apartment-living:
    • Our blinds are permanently attached so I can’t install curtains.
    • Apartments can have a sterile look and commonality factor to them (ugly).
    • No serious renovation options, i.e.  replacing carpet with hardwood, updating light fixtures, cabinets, or hardware.

Feel free to see the before and after photo slideshows down below.

It’s cozy, comfortable, and relaxing.

My style:

  • Clutter-free: I do not like knick-knacks or excessive decor, so for some, my space may look boring or dull (everyone has different styles and preferences).
  • Candles: promotes the space an ambiance.
  • Pottery Barn art above sofa: drawn by my mother in India when she was only 17! These pieces mean a lot to me and are great conversation starters.
  • Plants & Topiary: gives spaces a natural, earthy, and calming vibe.
  • Pottery Barn: my favorite home decor store.
  • Colors: neutral and earthy, i.e. colors of nature (which are my favorite to use). Ex: greens, dark blues/indigo, sandstone, walnut, and black iron accents.
  • ‘Transition well’ items/colors: Keeping base neutral allows 0 clutter, seasonal beauty (without changing everything), and minimal maintenance + costs.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

8 thoughts on “How I Turned My Ugly Living Room Into A Brand New Space

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s