Build it on a Budget: Furnish a Living Room for Under $800

published Feb 23, 2017
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(Image credit: Jacqueline DuBois)

Back when I made the coveted transition from dorm to first college apartment, my living room consisted of a Walmart futon, curbside coffee table, and my roommate’s gigantic, cheetah print shoe chair lovingly transported from Long Island. And even though I’m well into early adulthood, I’m still slowly but surely building up to having a fully furnished, grown up apartment. Starting from square one can be tough, but smart secondhand shopping means that you can keep things stylish (aka, no cheetah print shoe chairs) and on a budget.

These finds from Apartment Therapy Marketplace cover all of the living room basics, meaning you can slowly add extra decor details as you come across them. Let the saving begin!

It wouldn’t be a living room without a comfy place to crash. Originally $1700, this subtle ombre gray sofa offers you all the style at an insane $1300+ discount. Plus, designing your room around a flexible neutral means that you have way more options when it comes to the rest of your accessories. When in doubt, go gray.

For every couch, a throw pillow. This particular one was hand-dyed by traditional crafters in Java, Indonesia, so it’s not something you could snag at your local chain store. When your couch is a neutral, adding bold pops of color (like this mix of emerald and kelly green) is a welcome visual change.

Anything under $100 is a good deal in my book. This two-tiered industrial style coffee table lets you keep everything organized and strategically out of sight. Store hardcover coffee table books or coasters on top, and tuck a throw blanket or magazines on the bottom level. Basically all of the little elements that go into making a living room a comfortable place to gather can be stored in this wonderfully-priced piece.

Next, you’ll need an area rug. And for $75, the deal on this 5′ x 7′ beauty is pretty much impossible to pass up! Like the sofa, this blend of classic neutrals is ready to play nice with the rest of your decor, and the traditional pattern means you won’t be tempted to swap it out for next year’s model.

Now that the foundation of your living room has been laid down, you’ll need to add some personal touches. Flea markets and secondhand shops are great resources for one-of-a-kind art at an affordable price; this little seascape painting adds a retro touch (and muted pop of color) for under $50.

And finally, what good is a fully-furnished living room if you can’t see anything?! This secondhand Crate & Barrel lamp ties together all of the decor in the room, while also acting to keep everything illuminated. At $80, this discount deal is the bright beacon of light at the end of the interior design tunnel.