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Budget Living Room: Modern Farmhouse

It’s another ‘how low can you go?’ – modern farmhouse edition. Same vibe, three price points. Even the highest one is really inexpensive and when I tasked Mel with the ‘under $5k’ challenge she said “impossible”. But, she did it (with $42 to spare) and here’s what she came up with:


Plant Basket | Navy Dot Print Pillow | Sofa | Throw Blanket | Navy Striped Pillow | Floor Lamp | Vase | Side Table | Area Rug | Round Coffee Table | Striped Lumbar Pillow | Accent Chairs | Wire Wall Basket | Media Unit | Wooden Crate | Pillow in Basket | Throw Blanket in Basket

Feels pretty darn happy, fresh and inviting to me. I just used those chairs in a makeover and I loved them, by the way. They were a really good scale for a medium sized room and while they weren’t ‘lay-around-and-marathon-Stranger Things-or-Unreal‘ kind of comfortable, they were certainly good enough for for a lovely conversation area. And my how that boxy sofa looks great in such a warm, country setting.

But while $5k is really cheap for a pretty full living room we (I) thought that it could be cheaper. So she reached into her inner scrapper soul (or, I told her to reach inside my inner scrapper soul) and dug out another version, less than 1/2 of the original:


Plant BasketNavy Print Pillow  | Sofa | Throw Blanket | Navy Striped Pillow | Floor Lamp | Vase | Side Table | Area Rug | Coffee Table | Striped Lumbar Pillow | Accent Chairs | Wire Wall Basket | Media Unit | Wooden Crate | Pillow in Basket | Throw Blanket in Basket

Pretty darn great. It’s a style difference for sure, but for just a little over $2k that is a lovely, pulled together space that you can feel proud of.

But then Brady was like, “Eh, we can get that down even more” (maybe it’s because we are both former Mormons who historically are resourceful and budget-minded, because Brady and I are co-captains of the GO CHEAPER!!! train). So we did:


Plant Basket | Navy Print Pillow | Sofa | Throw Blanket | Navy Striped Pillow | Floor Lamp | Vase | Side Table | Area Rug | Coffee Table | Striped Lumbar Pillow | Accent Chairs | Wire Wall Basket | Media Unit | Wooden Crate | Pillow in Basket | Throw Blanket in Basket

Where was this series when I was so broke and desperate for a room that looked pulled together? If any of you are actually implementing these rooms, PLEASE email us and send pictures. We have lots of people who are saying they are copying, buying and decorating them completely so if you are, send along pics.

What budget room next? Bedroom? Dining room? And what style? You request it and we’ll get working on pulling it together. Nice job, Mel. By the way a few of you asked to break down how we work over here (I’ll write a full post of it, introducing everyone). Mel is one of our interior designers who mostly works on full service or e-design/design agony but jumped on this budget room challenge series under my hopefully not so micro-managey eye because I saw how good and fast she could pull a room together. Thanks, Mel.

In case you missed the previous budget designs, check out One Bedroom Three Tiny Budgets, Designing A Budget Living Room.


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79 thoughts on “Budget Living Room: Modern Farmhouse

  1. Adore this! And just sent my husband links to get the approval on pulling the trigger on the media unit. My living room is open to my dining room — so (selfishly) I’d love to see a coordinating coastal/modern farmhouse dining room!

  2. I adore this series. I’d love to see an office or dining room post. In any style you please! Or a Boho bedroom 🙂

    One other thought: you’ve done so many budget round ups now (bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom) you could combine them into one master “EHD How Low Can You Go Home” post.

    1. Ooh! I second that! Eventually round ups of entire homes designed in a cohesive budget style. Amazing!

  3. I really love these posts, even though i don’t have a need for doing a room from scratch, but these are pretty amazing to see. Where was this when i needed it?! hahahah

  4. These posts are so great. Your posts have completely taken over my Pinterest at this point.

    I would love a budget dining room post next please! Modern farmhouse style works for me, but I always love seeing your take on other styles.

  5. Have you ever done a collection of nightstands (or accent tables that could be nightstands) at all different price points? If not, would you consider it?

    I’m having such a hard time finding nightstands that look unique and well made but aren’t expensive. Most cheap ones are so flimsy looking (figuratively and literally).

    1. YES – I would love this! The perfect side table for a living room or bedroom is a hard one.

      1. I’ll also add – I’d love to see a variety in the various styles outlined in your book…70s, MMC, Boho…

    2. Yes!!! Our nightstands are pitiful and I’ve been trolling Craigslist hard but I’m tired of waiting for the prefect vintage thing.

    1. Yes please! I’d especially love to see a preschooler bedroom that’s playful but has pieces that could grow with the kid. I’m thinking ahead to when baby #2 takes over the nursery, and big brother gets a new space.

  6. Do a gender-neutral nursery please! I love this series. And really everything you do 🙂

    1. OOh I have one that I need to shoot!! Baby is born so I was giving the parents time but its coming 🙂 I have done a lot though so in case you haven’t seen them google them in my search bar

  7. I’d love to see an eclectic/creative office! It’s nice to see multiple variations of a room at any budget, great series!

  8. What are you thoughts on doing a budget Scandinavian/bohemian bedroom? I ask (100% selfishly) because that’s the look I’m going for and I could use some budget friendly decor help lol. Honestly any of budget bohemian room would be amazing! I love these series! They’re so helpful and they make design so accessible to everyone. Thank you for sharing them! 🙂

  9. Have you done a round-up of media consoles? I ask because that is what stood out the most to me as a difference between these three rooms. And I am finally getting rid of my huge tv armoire and would love to see what you love in terms of media consoles!

  10. I absolutely love this series! Please please do a boy’s room. I am going to turn my son’s nursery into a “big boy’s” room soon and I am desperately looking for affordable furniture choices.

  11. I would love to see a post about a scandi-style study/library/parlour/sitting room type space. Desk, shelving, sitting/reading area.

    These are really great!

  12. Mel killed it. Pinned them all. Saw pieces I’d use from each … but I’m making my own indigo pillows, so even cheaper … if I like them when done.

  13. THANK YOU!! I’m currently renovating a cottage on a super budget to get it ready to rent out, and this is absolutely perfect (last week’s budget bathroom was helpful too!).

  14. This is amazing, my mom is in the process of decorating her “farmhouse glam” home and I am going to pass this along to her!

    As far as budget rooms, I would love to see a budget, colorful mid-century inspired dining room. Mine is only a dream at this point.

  15. I feel so validated after reading this post. I’ve been looking to redo my living room, but have a strict budget I’m working with. I love the modern farmhouse feel and recently decided on those exact IKEA chairs, as well as the IKEA kivik sofa, which has a similar shape to that one. I’m so excited to see that you guys, with all your know-how and excellent taste, put them together! So delighted.

  16. I’m interested in buying a jute rug and want a big one. The rug you showed in the first design is 120 inches long, and your sofa is 99 inches long. That only leaves 10 inches on each end of the sofa. My point, your rug appears to be *at least* 12 feet long, though it’s only 10. It somewhat dashes the hopes of a person search for a big, cheap jute rug :'(

  17. I loooove these posts!!! We are in the middle of a huge house renovation, so I love to come and explore your blog (and your book too!) to dream and to get inspiration and also to help me get through all the horrible steps (like plumbing, ceiling, electricity, roofing, etc) before the great time of decorating! 😉
    Unfortunately, by the time we’ll get to the decorating part, we won’t have any money left!!! So this is great to have very good looking affordable options! 😉
    Thank you very much!!
    PS: sorry for my english :-/

  18. PLEASE do a traditional-ish dining room! I have a rockin’ 22 light brass chandelier, and I need a room to go with it for my 1922 traditional home. It’s visible from the front door and the entire main floor-help! No metal cafe chairs, no eames chairs, something comfortable, upholstered, and a nice table that isn’t made out of freaking pallets or reclaimed barn wood.

  19. I am sure I’m not the first to say that I love how these posts prove that you can have style (if not heirloom quality) on an extreme budget.

    I would love to see posts on handling larger spaces vs apartment size rooms. Scale in mid west / western contemporary builds can be HUGE, but budget furniture looks anemic in these spaces. How can you get great style on a budget for a BIG space?

  20. I would love to see a teen boy room. Having a hard time finding affordable queen beds/night stands/dresser etc..

  21. Family room please! For TV, play, reading and lounging…modern with bohemian touches. Something inviting and comfy.

  22. Um, you have a plant/tree in all the designs for $50 in all three designs but no link to a source?

    1. It looks like a $40 Ikea bamboo I have.

      I notice the $50 for it isn’t in the first summary, so that room would be over $5000 with it, just to compare apples-to-apples.

  23. I would love to see a traditional glam dining room or a feminine office! This series is awesome!

  24. Absolutely LOVE THESE!!! A bedroom will be great. I have a friend that is forced to start over in life and will need to decorate starting from nothing. I’m definitely bookmarking these for her. Will send photos!

    (PS: Not Sure if this can be changed but the animation is too fast…hurts the eyes)

  25. such a fun series! i would love to see some media console options that could sit below a 60″ mounted TV for a basement den. or… if you want to get all crazy, some wet bar options (cabinetry, tile, open shelving, lighting, etc).

    – jaime

  26. I LOVE these posts! It would be great to see a home office/spare bedroom combination. With so many people working from home these days, and a limited amount of space for a guest room AND an office, I would love your ideas on how to combine the uses on a budget.

    1. yes! a guest room/office duo budget post! in the same modern farmhouse style. i am aching for some life in my combo room and just feel at a loss for what to do! also, a modern farmhouse bedroom! maybe a budget friendly modern farmhouse entire house? 😉

  27. Love this post!!! Can you PLEASE do a Transitional-style living room?!?!… I will buy it ALL and send you lots of pics 😉

  28. Lovely! I would love to see a teenager boy bedroom, they are hard to find, or some lovely laundry room. 🙂

  29. Boho-glam bedroom or Mexican/boho/glam living room orrrrr Spanish/European boho glam anything please!! (Ack hope this makes sense!!)

    Also would love to see different ways to style a velvet couch in a way that doesn’t seem too stuffy! You definitely pulled it off back when you had a navy velvet couch before, Emily, but I’d like to see more examples/ a kind of how-to article for it! Xoxo

  30. Hi Emily – I discovered your blog through a friend and it has helped tremendously in designing my new space, I use your blog as a guideline pretty much. I absolutely love these kind of posts, you and your team do a phenomenal job! I love the area rug shown in the third concept, however when I click on the link it takes me to a different rug (I do not see the fringes). Thanks 🙂

  31. Can you design one that mimics your living room? Obviously no 23ft tree nd all that but a living room that oozes your cali chill vibe please! I recently purged and my living room is a blank slate which is great but i do need some more furniture and color in here asap!

  32. The “former Mormons” comment made me laugh because boy, do those Relief Society sisters love to DIY and bargain hunt and I totally inherited that.

    But seriously, this series is KILLING it. I didn’t know IKEA carried those lovely chairs and I’m thinking maybe it’s time to finally buy an accent chair for my living room!

  33. LOVE!! Love these posts, and this is the one is another home run!

    I have the media unit from the third design – it’s from Target and I have it in white and I was VERY impressed with it for the price (I think I got it on sale so it was closer to $100). It’s surprisingly heavy and wasn’t too difficult to put together. We mounted our TV above it and it looks awesome – such a great piece.

  34. Love these!

    Could you do a post (something like this or a different format) that focuses specifically on kid-friendly and pet-friendly products and advice? You have a lot of advice peppered in different posts, but it’d be great to have a post that this topic only and product sources. Tricks and furniture that hides pet hair and kid spills, is cat-clawing proof, etc. I might be asking for the Holy Grail of interiors, but it would be SO helpful. PS – -LOVE your blog for both inspiration and useful advice.

  35. Please do one of these for a beachy budget bathroom that doesn’t look like a cartoon!

  36. These are the best. I’d love to see a budget kitchen upgrade for a rental unit! The cheap, dated cabinet/counter top/lack of back splash or weird tile from bathroom floor being used as kitchen back splash situations I’m seeing in a lot of apartment showings are SO BAD. I’m always stumped as to what I can do in a rental on a budget!

  37. I think the link to the third room’s rug is not the right link (it links to a different rug than what’s shown).

    Also, the media stand in third room is on sale right now (hooray!).

    As far as a budget room, how about a low-maintenance patio? Or a minty bedroom? Or a cozy movie-watching (and Netflix binge-watching) den?

  38. is it possible to slow down the animated gif a bit? it goes by so fast it’s hard to register the changes.

    1. ^This.

      I’d assumed we weren’t really supposed to be able to look at the changes in the GIF because there wasn’t enough time, but maybe the timing just needs to be a smidge slower.

  39. Outdoor living room please! We are finally pulling the trigger on replacing our deck (years of no maintenance on an outdoor deck in San Francisco fog = grey, splintery, sad) and we don’t have a huge budget to furnish afterwards. Would love to see some ideas (and vendors) especially as end-of-year sales start coming around. Thank you!

  40. I would love to see a playroom. Especially a set of great kids chairs and table. Those seem soooo expensive for something so small!

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