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Budget Room Design: An Eclectic and Modern Living Room

Let’s face it, we all want that big comfy sectional in our living room (you know… the kind that you can kick your shoes off, throw your feet up, and enjoy a good netflix binge on). But, we don’t want to sacrifice style, sophistication, or our friends/neighbors thinking we are total couch potatoes or worse, have zero taste in stylish furniture. So, we typically end up going with a nice pair of chairs next to a sofa, and sacrifice said comfort. But we love anything that serves a dual purpose over here at EHD, especially when it means a room that can be extremely comfortable and inviting while still feeling pulled together and stylish. Enter this budget living room complete with a sectional. We tasked ourselves at pulling together a budget room that had a full-size sectional and all the textiles, accessories, and furniture needed to enjoy a cozy weekend on the couch and this is what we came up with for under 5k, under 3k, and under 1.5k. So with that said, TGIF and let’s get into it.

Emily Henderson Budget Room Living Room Sectional Neutral 5000 Final

Floor Lamp | Abstract Print 1 | Abstract Print 2 | Black Frames | Pillow 1 | Pillow 2 | Pillow 3 | Pillow 4 | Pillow 5 | Sectional | Side Table 1 | Table Lamp | Planter | Coffee Table | Rug | Accent Chair | Side Table 2 | Throw | Vase | Tray | Media Unit

You might notice that we took some design cues from the recent living room project we just revealed on the blog a few weeks ago. But with this one, we wanted to infuse it with a bit more pattern, some darker earthy tones, and that beautiful army green chair (that is only $349!) which was the jumping off point for this design. We kept the rest of the room fairly neutral throughout, other than through the pops of earthy toned colors (green, beige, mustard) and a few hits of metallic. The rug pulls in the neutral foundation of creams, greys and blacks and sets the tone for the other earthy tones. Which is a good rule to keep in place no matter what style or color palette you go with. Every room needs a foundation of neutrals to ground it and keep it from feeling too chaotic and busy. Those neutrals allow the eye to visually rest and also allow the other colors to pop more and stand out. Then to keep it modern and fresh, we added in the stark white hits in the planter, floor lamp, and media console. We obviously love everything in this room, but that coffee table at under $200 and that flat weave rug are something you should definitely snag up before they sell out.

Emily Henderson Budget Room Living Room Sectional Neutral 3000 Final

Floor Lamp | Abstract Print 1 | Abstract Print 2 | Black Frames | Pillow 1 | Pillow 2 | Pillow 3 | Pillow 4 | Pillow 5 | Sectional | Side Table 1 | Table Lamp | Planter | Coffee Table | Rug | Accent Chair | Side Table 2 | Throw | Vase | Tray | Media Unit

For the next variation, we knocked off around 2k from the price. The major pieces that we swapped for more affordable versions were the sofa, although we have sat in this one and love it, the side tables and the lamps. Although some of the colors changed on a few of the accessories and small furniture pieces, by keeping them in the color palette it allowed them to still work seamlessly with everything else. If you are wondering about the art, both of the pieces above the sofa are print-at-home pieces. Meaning you purchase the digital file online and then can have it printed locally at a print center. Once you have it printed then you can frame it yourself with the frames we linked up above. (Check out this post for more info on digital prints and how to frame at home). It’s an incredible way to get beautiful large-scale art for your room at a fraction of the price. And last but not least… the most budget-friendly room with a sectional we have ever featured here (winning by $3 to our last budget-friendly family room). This last one comes in at $1,474, which is pretty impressive for an entire room with a sectional.

Emily Henderson Budget Room Living Room Sectional Neutral 1500 Final

Floor Lamp | Abstract Print 1 | Abstract Print 2 | Black Frames | Pillow 1 | Pillow 2 | Pillow 3 | Sectional | Side Table 1 | Table Lamp | Planter | Coffee Table | Rug | Accent Chair | Side Table 2 | Throw | Vase | Tray | Media Unit

This one was cut in half mostly due to the fact that we pieced two smaller rugs together to make this large sized rug. It’s not quite as good as having one large rug, but it’s a really good trick if you are trying to get things as budget-friendly as possible (which we were on this one). We wouldn’t recommend it as a long-term solution for a room, but it does make for a quick and affordable way to get the look of a larger rug that typically would have been 2-3 times the price. The coffee table and the chair from the last one were swapped out for these more affordable versions and they still totally work with the design of the room.

So there you have it, three very affordable living rooms, that are all begging for some cozy cuddles. Which is your favorite and what are you wanting to see us do next? Let us know below.


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35 thoughts on “Budget Room Design: An Eclectic and Modern Living Room

  1. Hi guys. Loving the content lately, as always. I’ve spent hours (enjoyably) scouring the archives looking for recs on affordable but non-depressing vanity lights (that provide adequate light) and was surprised to find nothing, or no roundups anyhow. Sure, I’d love to do a pair of sconces on either side of the mirror, and maybe someday an electrician will appear and rewire my bathroom, but for right now I need to just replace my single hideous and dated builder grade vanity light with something that doesn’t make me angry everytime I use the sink. Please, I beg of you, free your readers of ugly big box lighting. PS: in my search, I came across the animal lamp roundup, which really ought to be refreshed, because it is so cute and fun, and I had forgotten about it. 🙂

    1. I replaced my vanity lights (one sconce on each side of my bathroom mirror) which were originally a French, baroque kind of look…I live in an apt and this is what my landlord had installed. Yeah, I used lights from a big box store, but the bath looks so much better now. The ones I liked best were coincidentally the cheapest ones ($10 for both)! They’re meant to be installed outdoors and have a simple, nautical look–I’m sure you’ve seen this style–it looks like a mason jar covering the bulb…anyway, I chose white fixtures with clear globes and installed them upside down: the globes are facing up instead of hanging down. They look quite cute, if I do say so myself.
      All of which is to say, I’m sure there’s a cheap, easy fix that will fit the bill for the time being!

    2. Sign up for Lamps Plus open box sale emails. You could get what you are looking for at a much cheaper price point and they have a wide variety.

  2. Killin’ it lately with content, for sure. A question about those awesome-looking green UO chairs…has anyone sat in one? $350 for a metal chair seems spendy to this teacher if it’s not comfy! (and sturdy)

    1. It’s well made and good looking but wasn’t comfortable for me. The height is really low and the only back support is the black bar in the back. If the back pillow were firmer it wouldn’t be too bad.

    2. my husband I sat in them at the UO in San Francisco. They were very rickity! I thought they were cute after seeing Sarah Sherman Samuel use them, but when I saw them up close, and sat in them, not good quality! they felt very cheap, not even worth $350.

  3. Is the link to the rug in the third room (cheapest) correct? I leads to an Ikea rug that is half the price and much smaller than you normally use. Thanks!

    1. right rug -she suggested using two of the striped ikea RASKMÖLLE rug to achieve the correct size : )

      1. My heart is broken. The rug has been discontinued and not available online or in any store on the west coast.

  4. Dream come true. I have quite a few of the things from corbet’s room and was working my living room
    Around it…..but my sectional is grey! Needless to say, I’ll be using this and that post to finish my room.
    I just bought the coffee table and the art….it’s coming along!!

  5. I like that your 1K version mixes in elements from the 5K version, which keeps that cheaper look more elevated. These look-for-less posts are always helpful to me.

  6. This is the living room style of my dreams! Thanks so much for styling this post. And I’m thrillllled to see that green chair is back at Urban Outfitters! I missed out last time they had it to maybe now I can convince my husband that it’s a “need” 😉

  7. nice job. However, I struggle with finding large wall worthy art at affordable prices. The prints you chose are great choices, but the cost you have quoted is only for the download of the digital file. Printing and framing could cost an additional $200, making each of the rooms about $400 more.

    1. There is a link to the frames used here above – $26 for two at Target, though you’re right, I didn’t see the cost of printing included. Costco does a pretty good job for a low price but MPix or BayPhoto are my personal choices for quality prints.

  8. I have that rug from Rejuvenation, and it is WONDERFUL. Good quality, not overly expensive, and great to tie in neutrals in the room without being boring 🙂

    1. This is so good to hear! I think this rug is exactly what I have been looking for for months. Mind if I ask, is it comfortable to walk/sit on? It would be going in our family room.

  9. I have a question about floor lamps. I’ve tried to incorporate a floor lamp into my living room but it always looks awkward and awful. (We are working in a tight space with two large couches.) What should I know about positioning a floor lamp?

  10. This is so helpful. Thank you! Would love some advice on choosing the best furniture for wall to wall carpet rooms. I’m on the hunt for a sectional but am weary of the kind with metal or pointy legs. Carpet indentations are a given anywho but am thinking a block away style leg may be better. And also how to choose an area rug to layer onto carpet for the sectional to sit on? So many decisions.

  11. Anyone know what the quality is like on the UO coffee table ? I’ve had my eye on it for awhile but hate buying something I can’t see in person.

  12. DANG IT! The coffee table in the first two from Urban Outfitters says it’s no longer available. 🙁

  13. I really like this post – i will need to replace my living room sectional & other pieces in the next year and I love a mix of things from all three options. i am wondering, can you recommend wall paint colors with this post? that part always stumps me – i realize it depends on size of room, how much light it gets and what time of day – so a general guideline or a couple of “tried and true” options would be helpful. or, if not this post, maybe add that to the next budget series post? thank you – I really value your blog’s content.

  14. Um those chairs are so Good! I wish I had found them sooner. Good reminder to always check with UO. Thanks for all of the great ideas!

  15. I’m so happy to see the same Ikea floor lamp and $15 side table that I just bought for my gray-sectional living room in two of these boards – I must be doing something right LOL. Love these budget round ups!!! Cannot express how awesome they are. My LR is about done now but I am heading over to check your archives for all the budget room round ups as I move on to other rooms of the house.

  16. These are all great options! I feel like it’s always the little details that make the biggest difference. I love that geometric vase. I’ve been trading through this to get some inspiration, trying to make my home as positive as possible an atmosphere as possible!

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