5 Inexpensive Objects That’ll Add Instant Polish to Your Living Room in Less than an Hour

published Nov 6, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Adding polish to your living room doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can bring in tiny touches of sophistication and visual interest into your space to round it out, all without having to fully overhaul your furniture. In other words, your living room can be gussied up in under an hour if you add in some key pieces. I spoke to a few designers to get their ideas, and these are their five picks to focus on for finishing off your living area.

Credit: Cabana

Stack it up

“A stack of two to three coffee table books with intriguing topics and great images brings instant class to a room and are great conversation starters,” says designer Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe. “Choose some with patterned covers for an added layer of interest.” 

Cabana Magazine’s cloth-bound magazines (which are definitely coffee table-worthy) are great if you want to add a pop of pattern to your tableau, since Liberty of London has created these maximalist covers for their latest issue.

Buy: Cabana Magazine, $40.00 from Cabana

Credit: Wayfair

Mirror, mirror

“Instant polish in a living room can be achieved by leaning a simple mirror with a minimal frame on a console (if it’s a smaller mirror) or against a wall for a larger-sized leaning mirror,” says designer Taniya Nayak of Taniya Nayak Design. “I love to add other accessories like a plant and/or a stack of books in front of the mirror to create layers and depth.” 

If you love arched mirrors (who isn’t all about some curves?), this minimalist model feels both timeless and modern (plus, it’s a great price, to boot!).

Buy: Leyburn Arch Metal Mirror, $118.99 $149.99 from Wayfair

Credit: West Elm

Branch out

“Adding instant glamour to your living room is simple and doesn’t have to cost much,” says designer Gray Walker of Gray Walker Interiors. “Clipping branches with a bit of height from your yard can instantly create drama. I love showy fall branches in a tall vase on the center of my coffee table. The range of color is delightful, and it brings the outdoors in.”

Foraging in your own backyard is ideal, but if that’s not an option, there are plenty of gorgeous faux options, like this bean leaf bundle from West Elm.

Buy: Faux Beach Leaf Branch, $31.20 $39.00 from West Elm

Get lit

For a little ambiance and warmth in a room, Munroe suggests shopping to find a special candle with a nice scent. “A candle in a pretty, reusable vessel adds the perfect touch to a coffee table or shelf,” she says.  “It looks gorgeous even when it’s not lit, and when it is lit, the scent will set the mood — [that’s] high-impact!”

L’or de Seraphine’s candles are a favorite. Not only are the scents beautiful and the patterned vessels pretty, but the designs are also especially easy to repurpose for stashing small things, thanks to their ceramic lids.

Buy: Frida Candle, $36.00 from L’or de Seraphine

Credit: Etsy

Basket case

“Declutter and organize your things into woven baskets,” says designer Andi Morse of Morse Design. “Nothing brings a room down more than too much of anything or a mess. Just picking up the extras and eliminating some [things] will make the room feel and look more expensive.” Hot tip: A basket with a cover or top, like this design from Etsy, is a great way to keep that clutter even more out of sight.

Buy: Handwoven Garland Basket, $68.00 from Etsy