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

Hello beautiful people! This Monday’s post will consist of a short rambling of my experience making over my living room (including before and after photos, and if you’re like any other design aficionado out there, before and after photos are pretty much the ooey gooey chocolate fudge of home design, just amazing and addicting).

Still, feel free to exit now if this topic bores you to death. Regardless, if you’re still reading, I feel so happy, grateful, and blessed to have a cozy living room just in time for fall and the holidays. This space just aligns with me so well and I feel so rejuvenated every time I’m in it!

So, recently, I moved into a newly constructed apartment and I was heavenly excited to design this space. This project was however exhausting and it took me almost 6 months to complete! I not only had to sell my old living room items to make room for the new, I also was on a very tight budget so I couldn’t buy everything at once. I waited for my old items to clear out, selling them on Craigslist piece by piece, which took patience and dedication, but all in all was a HUGE success. I made almost 80% of what I had originally paid, but my old items were also from Pottery Barn and in excellent condition, so this is probably the primary reason why my items sold fast. For the other items that did not sell so well, I donated them to our local Salvation Army. Additionally, Craigslist is such a great way to sell your used things and get a small profit. Again, just keep in mind, your profit does depend on your item brand and condition. 

So, enough about Craigslist and let’s get back to my space and how I renovated it on a tight budget!

  1. I decluttered my space (of course) and cleared out any junk, useless items, or old decor.
  2. Sold what I could and combined some savings I had designated for home decor prior to going back to school.
  3. I drew designs and ideas for how I wanted this space to look and feel, making sure to keep it a clutter-free living room that was elegant, classy, simple, and of course, 100% functional.
  4. Hunted down super sales from my favorite stores, collected coupons, and slowly bought pieces strategically as they went on sale. This was hard, because the inner perfectionist in me wanted the space done, well, yesterday!
    1. This definitely took patience and dedication, but it was worth it because I saved a lot of money! I also allowed myself to let go of perfectionism and let my living room look, essentially, horrible and empty for 3 months! My friends still came over and we sat on the floor and played board games or propped our backs against some pillows on the wall. All of this was okay and the wait was so worth it! Sometimes, the longer you wait for something, the more amazing and grateful you feel when you have it!

  5. My most expensive item was the sofa and this item took 2 months to deliver because it was custom made. It is the Pottery Barn slip-covered sleeper sofa (Walnut Twill, Knife edges), but I had a 500$ gift-card saved up so this helped of course!
  6. Argue with my significant other about his ugly leather chair and glass media center! For the life of me, I didn’t understand why he was clinging on to those items in the first place, but he was so angry with me when I tried to redo the space and replace those items! He was so attached to his media center especially, but finally, he got on board with the makeover and I was able to take those items out of my home! Now, he thanks me and says he loves the space a lot more than before and I was right to change the media center. I’m thinking to myself, “Of course I was, that thing was UGLY!” 🙂
    1. Does this ever happen between you and your significant other? Sometimes, others may not understand how profound one’s love for design and home decor can be (and we won’t stop at any cost until our space looks beautiful, so yes, we will throw out your hideous orange colored camel sculpture). All jokes aside, try to meet your partner half way by making your space something you both love and feel comfortable in. Compromise can be important here, because for design lovers, it may be hard to keep an item in the home that doesn’t go with the theme. For non-design lovers, it can be irritating to have decorative towels that serve no purpose other than just sitting there and lookin’ pretty.  Can anyone relate?
  7. Skip over some barriers that come with apartment living, i.e. our blinds are permanently attached so I can’t install curtains. I’ll have to find a solution to this soon! Additionally, apartments can have a sterile look and commonality factor to them, which can seem a bit ugly. Lastly, we can’t make serious renovations, like replacing carpet with hardwood (which is my #1 must have when I do move into a house). Thus, I did my best to make the space look as cozy as possibly for apartment living!
  8. Deep cleaned the space and woolah, it was completed 6 months later!

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

It’s not perfect by all means and I am not a professional interior decorator, but I love the way it came out! It’s cozy, comfortable, and relaxing. Also, I am a type of person who does not like knick-knacks, excessive decor, or a lot of clutter in my home, so for some, my space may look dull, boring, or plain (and that’s okay too, because everyone has different styles and preferences).

  • The candles give the space an ambiance and the minimalist look keeps the space clutter-free!
  • In the frames shown above the sofa, hand drawn artwork is displayed. This artwork was drawn by my mother in India, when she was only 17 years old! These pieces mean a lot to me and they’re great conversation starters as well!
  • Adding some plants and topiary to the room give it a natural, earthy, and calming vibe.
  • If you haven’t guessed already, Pottery Barn is my favorite store for home decor.
  • The colors I used in the room are neutral but still pop and resemble colors of nature (which are my favorite to use, i.e. greens, dark blues/indigo, sandstone, walnut, orange pops for fall, and black iron accents).
    • Also, these colors are perfect because they transition VERY well throughout ALL seasons, so I don’t have to add much or store clutter when the holidays come up. I usually adjust the spaces in small ways, like adding a dark red candle for the holidays with a holiday themed decor pillow cover. This keeps my clutter at 0 and my costs minimal!
    • Sometimes, you don’t have to make huge changes per season, but by simply changing out a few items to match the holiday or season at hand can make all the difference (while again keeping your cost and clutter at 0 and allowing for EASY maintenance)!

Hope you enjoy!



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

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