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Keeping It Real Cheap....

Designing a Budget Living Room

Saturday mornings include the following: drinking coffee on the sofa, enjoying the fact that Charlie gets to watch tv on weekend mornings so he needs me NOT ONE BIT (like he doesn’t even look at me), and then I just pin and pin and pin. Recently, as I was doing so, I found some strangely cheap but good things (as I always do) and it occurred to me that we, as “design experts” should start creating full room designs on a budget for you to order and decorate with (if you are into it). So I tasked Mel (from our team) with the challenge – see how cheap you can design a living room for, one that you really like, but REALLY cheap. Here is what she came back with:

Budget Living Room Boho Anthropologie Hippie Casual Emily Henderson Moodbaord Roundup 2

Flower Art | Horse Print | Green Velvet Sofa | Floor Lamp | Orange and Green Pillow | White Pillow | Black Side Table | Orange Side Chair | Woven Pillow | Rug | Coffee Table | Rattan Chair | Pink Pillow | Pouf | Brass Table Lamps | Black Mirror | Credenza | Basket

I loved it a lot. It is happy, fresh, modern, and yet full of personality. But I wanted it RUHL cheap. Nothing in here is particularly high end, but a couple things, the credenza and the rug, and even sofa could be less expensive (although I loved them). I told her “What is the cheapest you can possibly furnish a mid-century boho living room for? Now go!!”

She came back with this:

Budget Living Room Boho Anthropologie Hippie Casual Emily Henderson Moodbaord Roundup 1

Flower Art | Horse Print | Green Velvet Sofa | Floor Lamp | Orange and Green Pillow | White Pillow | Black Side Table | Orange Side Chair | Woven Pillow | Rug | Coffee Table | Rattan Chair | Pink Pillow | Pouf | Brass Table Lamps | Black Mirror | Credenza | Basket

You can’t deny how cheap and wonderful that is. While three thousand is a lot to spend in one day, over a couple months it would be a really great way to guarantee that your living room looks good. Or hell, put it on your credit card.

But I wasn’t able to buy a $1200 sofa until I had my own TV show when I was 30 years old, so I sourced a few cheaper sofas that could look good in this world and we got the price down even further….then we got greedy and brought the price of the pillow, chair, and pouf down.

So without further ado a midcentury boho inspired living room for $1, 878:

Budget Living Room Boho Anthropologie Hippie Casual Emily Henderson Moodboard Roundup 3

Flower Art | Horse Print | Blue Sofa | Floor Lamp | Orange and Green Pillow | White Pillow | Black Side Table | Orange Side Chair | Light Blue Striped Pillow | Rug | Coffee Table | Rattan Chair (similar: we love this one just as much) | Pink Pillow | Pouf | Brass Table Lamps | Black Mirror | Credenza | Basket

Unless something becomes unavailable in the next few days, all of these pieces are purchasable online with the sole intention that this living room could be yours – no vintage or custom this time. If anything sells out, leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to help you find something of similar quality for a comparable price. So what do you think? Are you into these posts? We might typically JUST do the cheapest version now that Mel knows how cheap I was thinking but at the same time I love the most expensive one the best and I’m so glad it’s included here. Thoughts?

Check out our other round ups: Best Affordable Vinyl Tile, Why Matte Brass Might Be The New King Of Metallics, Shag Rugs Roundup, How To Zen Out Your Kitchen, Favorite Pastel Paint Colors (For Grown Ups), 48 Budget Friendly Kitchen Hardware Knobs & Pulls, How To Mix Multiple Rugs in the Same Room, 63 Favorite Temporary Wallpaper Patterns.

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  1. can you please share the link for the first pouf? it goes to the middle pouf instead… thanks!

    1. Shoot. Will fix asap! Still at home but when I get to the office i’ll find out where its from. xx

      1. Same thing with the first rug link, takes you to the other! Love seeing all 3 versions! Keep up the good work 🙂

    2. Love it! Keep em comin!

  2. This is a wonderful post. the strain of a small budget is a position most of us have been in at on point in time. This can give a lot of people a place to start when it can feel overwhelming. It’s not as though better pieces can’t be swapped out as you find them and can afford them. It’s a very solid starting point that relieves the pressure when you want a furnished room but can’t afford everything you want right now. Heck, it looks better than rooms that I have furnished with some misguided pricey purchases.

  3. I definitely like seeing all three versions! I love the green sofa a lot. I also like seeing what just a little bit more could get you compared to the very cheapest version.

  4. Buying that round mirror today. Thank you!

    1. Come back and tells us how it looks in person! I’m unsure about the look of rubber, and there aren’t any reviews on the site yet.

  5. Great post, I’d love to see more of these too! One thing I noticed, the mini tree in the basket isn’t accounted for in the total price.

  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! Please do these posts on the regular!!! It IS possible to have a great room without breaking the bank.

  7. I like playing How Low Can You Go! Show all three versions.

    xo

    1. Oh yes. that’s what we should call it!

    2. I love this! Lots of fun and great ideas. More please!

  8. Love this post and would love to see more. I cringed a wee bit at the credit card comment, but this is a blog about pretties not about finance so I’ll get over it. I really got over it when I saw the room total go from $4k to under $2k. Great job, guys!

    1. Ha. I probably shouldn’t be recommending that … 🙂

  9. It’s a lot more work but you can find similar items to those shown here on craigslist or at garage sales. The price would be far less, and you would have the satisfaction of having recycled/upcycled something.

    1. I thought the same thing, but in this context it’s really handy to have links to widely available items – design for the masses, if you will.

    2. Exactly. Some things I’d never buy used (like throw pillows), but side tables, coffee tables, and lamps are especially easy to find.

      1. Ya’ll know I love to thrift but like you said we can’t link to thrifted stuff (even CL or etsy means it would be snagged immediately) but it is certainly the best way to get an inexpensive home. I will say that every home needs some pieces that feel fresh and new to help it from looking/feeling like a thrift store. Its all a balance.

        1. Also this way people can sub in whichever pieces they DO thrift or find on CL or whatever but the overall design isn’t hinging on something they can’t necessarily find. I love this and I love seeing all three.

          1. Agreed, Kate!

  10. I love posts like these! It also shows how you can mix higher end with more trendy pieces that you can later swap out.

  11. Really like this post! Thank you! Super helpful! And yes I would love to see more of these!

  12. L O V E this post!! Keep ’em coming!

  13. Love posts like these, and please keep all 3 versions! I think the sofa and credenza are worth the splurge (especially since the rest of the room is so budget) but it’s nice to take all price points into account. 🙂

  14. Thank you for this post! I was just thinking recently that I wished you had more info on pricing!

  15. this is so wonderful!!! all are beautiful rooms 🙂

  16. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!! Please keep them coming. This is why I love you – you do incredible work on a budget!

    Would love to know what the first rug is – it links to the 2nd Ikea rug.

    Again, kudos for this post, it’s AWESOME. I love seeing the 3 options (appeals to a variety of styles and budgets) and would love to see more!!
    xoxo,
    Stephanie

    1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!! Please keep them coming. This is why I love you – you do incredible work on a budget!

      Would love to know what the first rug is – it links to the 2nd Ikea rug.

      Again, kudos for this post, it’s AWESOME. I love seeing the 3 options (appeals to a variety of styles and budgets) and would love to see more!!
      xoxo,
      Stephanie

      1. Shoot. Now I can’t find it. I don’t think its this one but I thought it was WEst Elm. Stay tuned: http://rstyle.me/n/brep9wsdhw

  17. Where is the first rug from? All links go to the second rug. Thanks!

    1. On it. Stay tuned and sorry!!

  18. Great post and beautiful room!! I love the progression of the room from inexpensive to really inexpensive. I would love to see more!

  19. So much love for this. I have been trying to design EXACTLY this type of living room for myself (orange chair included) so this post was perfect!

    I also like seeing all of the price options just so I can tell what I might want to save up for vs buy now. I know it is more work for you, but I think it helps to see the progression from, let’s call it “mid-range” to low. Great job team!

  20. Yes please keep doing these posts! I appreciate you understanding that a $1200 sofa is just not in the cards for a lot of people.

  21. Love seeing all 3 versions! Falling in love with your blog all over again now that I’m buying my first house! Especially find posts like this, your color exploration for pastels, and, of course, Target styling helpful!! Would personally love a porch styling for 2016!

  22. I LOVE this post! I always admire the design I see on your site, but spending thousands of dollars on a room refresh, much less convincing my husband that it’s worth it, will never happen for us. It’s so refreshing to see some beautiful and truly affordable options! I’d love to see a minimalist/zen/Scandinavian version of this post soon.

  23. Great post! And I really need the green couch! Do they deliver to Holland?

  24. Keep all 3!!

    I like being able to see them all, plus there are some people who might be willing to buy the expensive couch but go for the $50 side chair, you know?

    1. Love this idea! Please keep a higher end look in the mix since this momma likes to splurge on occasion! I struggle with buying mass produced items and like to recreate your looks with vintage items whenever possible. Great work Mel!

  25. Wonderful concept. Keep them coming!

  26. Love this post and seeing the different versions. Great idea!

  27. Superb post, thank you. More of the same! xxxx

  28. I LOVE this post and would love to see more! This particular room isn’t my style at all, but I love the concept, especially seeing the different price points. Please keep it coming!

  29. Love love love this post.
    Thank you.

  30. I LOVE this post. Please do more of these!

  31. This was an awesome post! I am willing to splurge on one-two pieces but do so within an otherwise sane budget. This shows it is possible. Really appreciate the links.

  32. I loved this post! I would definitely love to see others like it in the future. And I like the scale from cheap to cheapest rooms- keep it up!

  33. Oh YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These posts are fantastic!! They gave me butterflies, made me a little sweaty and totally got goosebumps. Pretty please continue with these – how low can you go – all 3 designs. They are a GREAT working foundation for whatever stage of life/budget you are in. So good.

  34. I do like this type of post and I really like that you gave the three ranges!

  35. I just wanted to stop in and say I love this post! I love the different levels and prices. Would definitely be interested in more posts like this! Great inspiration for people on a budget!

  36. I love this post and the price range options. Even though the cheapest round-up is the most realistic for me, it was fun to compare and dream. I would love to see more posts like this.

  37. Really love this w/ all 3! It gives you the option to mix and match if your budget allows. I struggle with trying to find great pieces that fall at my price point and definitely can’t afford a designer, so getting your expertise, the full vision, and so many options is amazing! Extra points for everything being accessible to the masses and online to boot.

  38. I love the styling and seeing the different budget option, but it does raise some questions. Is the quality the same ? How are we to determine whether we pay for quality or for marketing ? I’m completely lost each time I have to buy something for my house, and I end up not buying a lot because of that feeling.

    In my experience, I’ve regretted buying prints or reproductions every single time, no exception. I have some bare walls now, still looking for the perfect original pieces, and I’m happy that way. But art is easy. How about furnitures ? You show two almost identical rattan chairs, and a 220$ difference… why ? Is one sturdier ? How much sturdier ? Is it about where they’re made ? Labor cost ? What ? I’m puzzled.

    Our philosophy is to scout the internet and thrift shop for that one perfect piece we love, than either wait for it to be available, or put money aside until we can buy it. I find that the waiting augments my appreciation of our new buy and prevents regrets (some of them at least). But I can’t help but wonder whether I pay too much or will get poor quality instead of the good price I was happy about. Spending a loooooot of time gathering informations thankfully helps, but still…

  39. Please keep doing these!

    And I’m so sorry to be negative but I think the lamp might more accurately cost $49 each…the base is $29 but the lampshades are an additional $20. I feel like maybe this is obvious to design people but wasn’t super obvious to a recently graduated law student.

    1. Uh Oh. if you are right then we should adjust. Will look into it now!

  40. As everyone else has said already, I almost cheered out loud at my desk at work (oops) when I saw this post. Amazing! Especially since I had no idea what was considered an “appropriate” budget for a room–I just knew that moths were flying out of my wallet and I needed to save SOMETHING. Thank you so much! If you need ideas, I would LOVE a bedroom version…

    1. Will do. On it now!

  41. Love this post, thanks! Love all three price variations!

  42. so i was surprised that you kept the mirror throughout all 3. I’m pretty positive that target has a similar round mirror for much cheaper – which is about 8 inches smaller. but i still think it’s a GREAT option:

    http://www.target.com/p/round-mirror-brass-28-threshold/-/A-50301089

    1. They do! And it’s a great one! We considered it, it just feels a bit too small for the credenza so we didn’t feel comfortable recommending it 🙂

      1. This is why you da boss!
        We wouldn’t know that.

  43. I loooooove including cheap, cheaper, cheapest. Looking at these, I love number 1 the best. Maybe I would be willing to switch out a few things in number 1 for things in the other two looks to get the look a but cheaper, but maybe I look at these boards and decide that if I wait one more month and save up, I can in fact splurge on my couch or credenza more than I originally thought. Seeing all three levels is awesome. Please do this again (and again and again).

  44. Thank you SO MUCH for doing this. I really can’t afford to drop $1,000 on any one piece of furniture (let’s be real, I probably can’t afford to drop more than $500 on one thing, unless I want to eat nothing but open faced sandwiches for the next month) but I want my place to feel lived-in and comfortable, so this is really helpful.

  45. I love this post, thank you for doing this! I’d love to see more like this. One thing I noticed when I clicked the links…those Land of Nod lamps are $29 for the lamp only, no shade. And that horse print is $89 with no frame. Great inspiration but not 100% accurate pricing. Regardless, this is my favorite post you’ve done in months. Very relatable and useful as I try to decorate my new place on a budget!

  46. I love this post as well! Really fun to see three beautiful rooms at different price points. The only thing is, shipping is not included in any of these rooms, I would imagine each room would go up by hundreds or dollars if the price of shipping each item to your home was included, especially for the big pieces of furniture. Maybe you could could include an estimate of shipping for each room? That would help for people who are on a budget.

  47. Love this — would love to see it as a regular feature. And love seeing the different price points — helps understand where to save and where to “splurge” (but while saving still…)

  48. I love these! Thank you for showing multiple options at different, but all affordable, price points. It’s great to have choices to get to a similar look depending on budget and other restrictions.

  49. Yay, I like this post and the idea for a series!! I actually don’t love the colors of this one but I really like how it’s all formatted – especially the costs pointing to each piece. That’s super helpful. I hate having to click through to a bunch of links only to find everything is out of my price range.

    (PS I don’t think the $49 Rattan Cole Chair from World Market linked to in the third look is available anymore.)

    1. Aw dang, we thought it might sell out pretty quick. This Anthropologie one is only slightly more expensive (but still cheaper than the 1st option) and a great alternative: http://rstyle.me/n/breyr6sdhw

  50. I LOVE this post. I really enjoyed seeing the evolution of the room. Please keep em’ coming!

  51. LOVE this! Thank you for doing this for your readers! The final product does not look too far off from my living room. Definitely on a budget but trying to go for a vintage/boho feel and stay far away from the generic “your parents’ furniture store” look. I’d say I’m trying to stay away from Big Box but… a lot of my stuff is from IKEA sooooo 😉

  52. I LOVE THIS POST! And I really enjoyed seeing the three levels. Though my budget is the cheapest haha

  53. I vote yes to a new series of these types of posts. Maybe it could correspond with your book: you do 2 – 3 different rooms in each of the styles you break down in the book!

    1. I was going to suggest the same thing!

  54. I’d love to see more posts like these on the regular! Since I’m not on the ramen noodle savings plan any longer, I found the first option may apply best to my situation. It would be great to see ‘cheap’, ‘cheaper’, and ‘cheapest’ options for those who may cringe at $200 pillow, but are cool with a $1200 sofa – they could do their own swap out of cheaper items!

  55. Great post! That green sofa is spot on perfect! Being a hard core thrifter I forget that there is really good affordable furniture out there. Even though $1,299 isn’t dead cheap, finding a vintage sofa that needs love isn’t either.

  56. Love this post! And love seeing all three options! Thanks so much!

  57. I love the most expensive one the best, but even still I think it’s very affordable. I also like the different options. This was a fun post! Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  58. I LOVE this post so much! Thank you for designing for the 28-year old you used to be.

  59. I love this! And really like seeing a slightly pricier version–it helps provide context for how much it can be improved with such and such amount of money.

    1. Loved the looks you put together! But I have to ask is it really okay to put lamps on a credenza that’s not even 19″ tall? Version 2 and 3? I loved your photoshopped version look but the actual dimensions and pics on ikea site make it seem more of low storage piece for a TV. Are knee height credenzas what I should be going for? (I thought I wanted waist or higher) thanks and love this post!

      1. If your concerned about height, you can always wall-mount the credenza in version 2/3. They sell a wall suspension for $5. But if you have a lower sofa, the height shouldn’t really be an issue 🙂

  60. This kind of post is great. Thanks! You should check out Danielle Oakey’s blog: it’s budget design, all the time, and very cute too.

  61. Thank you thank you! I love modern style, but I’m on a budget and most options out there just don’t work for me. If you live in a big city, vintage is definitely the way to go, but if you live in a small Midwestern city, “vintage” typically equates to worn out Walmart hand-me-downs and super-traditional bully wood pieces. It’s great to see what mass-market options are available out there.

  62. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS POST!! I absolutely love your writing style and the information on this blog. You guys are awesome!

  63. Great post!! I second the commenter who asked for a bedroom post like this next! I loved seeing all 3 options – because sometimes you want to invest in a nicer piece of furniture, but sometimes you don’t (first apartment, small kids that break everything nice, etc.)

    I feel that Emily and team can do no wrong, but I’m especially loving the content lately – the playrooms rocked, and Brady’s bathroom makeover was especially good!

    1. Ah, thank you 🙂

    2. I love these and I totally agree with the comment above about showing all three. Sometimes I want to invest in a piece that I know I’ll love and use for a long time or could resell without too much equity lost but sometimes I want/need something temporary, something I don’t have to be precious with (have cats and a baby) or just something fresh and trendy to change the look up once in a while. I know it must be more work but seeing all three is lovely!

      Another comment called it “How Low Can You Go” – such a great name for this. 🙂

  64. Love this. Make it happen often!

  65. Amazing post. So much fun. You are the shopping/design goddess. There are so many beautiful, aspirational things on your blog that I sadly am not able to afford in the pursuit of a beautiful home. But this is a reminder that inexpensive doesn’t have to be blah or generic. Love it! And seeing all three version!

  66. Ummmmm yes to all of this. all. of. this.

  67. This is a fantastic feature! I love reading your blog and I really admire the work you do, but I’m also a grad student with zero budget and a tiny rental apartment, so most of your posts are strictly eye candy for me. It’s fantastic to see a room that looks just a great as the custom work you do at a price that’s very accessible for those in my income bracket!

  68. Love that there are Canadian resources on your list! Like for that gorgeous green sofa!!!! This is a great idea, btw. 🙂

  69. It’s already been said by nearly everyone who has already comment but I still feel compelled to say YES! Please do more of these!

    I actually love seeing the range, because for some people — maybe they really love the poof that is just a little pricier from the first example, but their budget it still more in line with the cheapest example. This gives people the option to mix and match a bit, which I think is really great.

    I would looooooooove to see your recommendations for a super cheap and gender-neutral nursery, but that is still packed with style. 🙂

    1. I second the nursery request! A post with versatile, modern pieces on a budget would be ideal!!

  70. LOVE this post. Please keep this series up with all 3 levels of prices!!

  71. Emily I LOVE this!!!!! Thank you so much for doing this! Seriously I like practically broke my keyboard I was copying and pasting the link so fast so that I could share this with my roommate!! I’m a year out of college and it’s always so hard for me to come home to such a drab living room (basically a mish-mash of what my parents gave me and some cheap but not cute furniture). I can’t wait to make some upgrades! Keep these posts coming!!

  72. i would just like to point out that these prices do not include tax and shipping and therefore the budget for these rooms would go up about 20%. clients and buyers forget about the end price and get frustrated when the $1300 couch is actually closer to $2,000.

    1. Depending on where you live, and if you can get a coupon!

  73. Love this, and soo glad that you’re thinking about making it into a series. As someone that’s just started out in their first home, it’s really nice to see some design inspiration that is a bit more attainable!

  74. Yes, please please please more of these posts! Love everything you do, but this is really the only post so far I have read where I could actually afford the final product. 🙂

  75. Thank you for this! As beautiful as your designed rooms are, they are way out of my price range (even with thrifted pieces). To know I can get the look for less, or even discover a new inexpensive source, is great. Keep it up!

  76. EMILY! I love this post! And, well, all your posts actually…really all of them. I have been thinking that ya’ll could do something like this for all rooms for different design styles. That would be A LOT of content! 🙂 I just love that this one is my personal design style.
    On another note, I am in the process of re-doing my bedroom and am torn about the size of rug to go under my king size bed. I feel like you have done a lot of rug specific posts in the past, but dang, they are hard to find. When you search rug on the blog, you get a lot of things to sort, that aren’t necessarily relevant. Also, there is no category for your design tips. I noticed on Pinterest that you have a board with most of the long pins that ya’ll create but they aren’t all on there….or at least it seems like there are more. Your blog is the ONLY blog that I read religiously. I feel like ya’ll are constantly putting out GREAT content on all ends of the spectrum. However, it has happened on more than one occasion that I try and go back and find a post and can’t, or it takes forever and some serious stalking skills 🙁 For example, the first studio party with TinyPrints…i’m convinced it isn’t on the blog anymore.
    Anyway, I know ya’ll are super busy, but wanted to put that out there in hopes that we can both help each other out 🙂

    1. Agreed! Would love if you could make some of those tip-centric posts easier to find!

    2. Unfortunately when we switched our servers, some of our posts were lost. We’re working on recovering them so thank you for your patience. We’re just as bummed as you are.

  77. love this post!!! I love that you gave us a cheap room, showed it three ways and making it cheaper. I also love that you used a green couch because I want one so bad. More posts like this!!!

  78. Loved the post. I come from a long line of frugal and I don’t think anyone in my family has ever hired a designer. I’m intrigued as to what someone’s budget is when they hire your services. I would love a post about the opposite end of “how low can you go” spectrum. Perhaps a hypothetical client with a higher than normal budget. Thanks!

  79. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!! Thank you Mel and Emily! Would love to see more of these!

  80. LOVE this!!! More posts like this please 🙂

  81. Amazeballs! I love this!! Seriously, you have no idea how we amateurs sit at home and think we can’t ever pull off the design we see cause we’re paying for braces and acne medicine and these kids are sucking the money from us!!!! But this is so inspiring and made my day. Please do a good dining room that seats at least 6 and you’ll make my month!

  82. This is terrific! We moved to a bigger house this winter, and our living room is basically empty now. Thank you for doing this! Money’s tight after adding a new hvac system, fixing a water leak in the basement, new gardens, etc.
    Seriously, thank you!

  83. Do I get a prize for being the 100th commenter?! Just piling on to say how much I adore this post. And YES do all three versions!

  84. I love these posts – more, please!!

  85. I LOVE this post–and I love that you have the three price points. It give us a good idea about how to search for a less expensive item to get the look.
    I don’t think even the most expensive option is so far out of the reach of someone on a budget. I would probably go for the best sofa and chair and then chose accessories from the less expensive list.

    I hope we will see more of these decorating on a budget!

  86. I LOVE these posts! This is why your target posts are some of my favorites because I go immediately and buy all your recommendations because they are affordable. My husband and I can’t really splurge on home furnishings so I get really excited when you show me quality stuff that is also affordable. I want my house to look pretty and styled even though I can’t buy the expensive pieces. Thank you!!

  87. Wow! Thank you so much for posting a budget friendly room design! My husband and I are getting ready to move across the country in July for his medical fellowship training in Palo Alto. We have two little kids similar in age to yours, and I’m definitely overwhelmed with the process of moving from the Midwest with just our suitcases and not one piece of furniture for our rental. This guide is so helpful and fits within our budget. I hope these items are still available in a month. I would love more posts like these! Many thanks!

  88. Love this post! Including seeing all three versions, especially since the most expensive (but still very reasonable) design is my favorite of the three. Great new post idea! keep ’em coming!

  89. This is AMAZING, especially for a one-bedroom apartment renter like me where one room can REALLY have a big impact (since we spend 95% of our time in our living room) and is worth styling well. I seriously LOVED this post!!! I second the nursery and bedroom request!!

  90. Thank you Emily! This is coming just at the right time for me! I have my eye on so many things that I just can’t afford all at the same time, but I need to desperately furnish two living rooms! This is perfect, and really takes the load off of thinking a designed room is automatically expensive. PS, I thought the credit card comment was pretty funny 🙂

  91. I like posts like this, and I really enjoy your blog. That first plan is great. I am a retired decorator, but I still love to redecorate. At this point in my life, I still want great quality but for not a whole lot of money because I would rather travel, etc. My personal favorite source is estate sales — you just never know what you will find. I have found sofas which are in pristine condition for $100 on the last day, and many other beautiful large case pieces for well under $300. One just needs to be patient and perhaps not try to completely finish a room in one fell swoop. I hope you continue your blog a long time!

  92. Loved this post!
    Super impressed with the final total. Love the idea that someone could have a super curated look so quickly and cheaply… as opposed to mine which has evolved so much and cost so much spread out over a few years.
    I also like that all things can be purchased online, it’s easy enough for someone to jump on craigslist to look for something similar if they want.

  93. Everything has already been said but I just feel compelled to add another huge “Thank You” to you and your team. I so appreciate your willingness to share your expertise. You all are fantastic!!

  94. OMG yesssssssssssssss

  95. This is awesome! I like looking at all three, and could imagine I might pick a couple items from each to complete the room.

  96. Someone may have mentioned this already, but just FYI: those table lamps are $29 just for the base. It’s another $20 for the shade…for a lot of people though, we have shades laying around to just plop onto a new base. Love the basic brass – thanks!

  97. THANK YOU for this. I love seeing all the wonderful/amazing designs you implement, but many times a $5000 “budget” re-do is out of the question. Because food and student loans and mortgage and stuff. Knowing that it can be done on the cheap (like RUHL cheap) and actually seeing a designer pull it together? So awesome.

  98. The orange Target chair is $170.00 and not available 🙁

  99. This post was amazing! I love the original “expensive” post and then seeing it whittled down…so practical and applicable for my life…and budget! Thanks you guys!

  100. I love this! Yes more posts like this would be great. I get great ideas from your blog & I think you do a good job catering to all budgets but this is a great resource for us 20-somethings trying to achieve style w/ out breaking my (small) bank.

    Thanks Emily (& Mel!)

  101. I love this!!! So useful for those of us who love design but are on tight budgets! I also really liked seeing all the iterations… It gives you an idea of where you could spend more and where you could save to get the look you want. I am in love with that green couch!

  102. Love this! Thank you, Emily.

    Here’s a laugh for today…when I looked at the first picture, I wondered why there was a short board under the couch. Then, I looked closer and saw that it was melting out on to the carpet. Then I took another look and saw that it is a coffee table.

  103. I think the price on that horse print might be optimistic. It looks bigger than the 18×24 available for $89. The next size up is $200.

  104. Great post!

  105. LOVE tjat green sofa. I would be tempted to splurge if it was available in Australia. Has anyone had velvet? How does it cooe with family life?

    1. I have a velvet sofa! i don’t have kids or a family, but I recently spilled a glass of milk on it and sat on a chocolate chip so…it cleans up like a CHAMP!

  106. LOVE tjat green sofa. I would be tempted to splurge if it was available in Australia. Has anyone had velvet? How does it cope with family life?

    1. *that (dang fat thumbs)

  107. I have to say I loved this post! I liked that the prices and the items progressed. Keep doing these!

  108. Fabulous, fun and creative post! Love the rooms and this post idea!!

  109. Love this post! Keep more like this coming!!!

  110. This is so good! Love the first version, and if I were going to purchase things based on this post, would definitely consider splurging for a few items. Seeing three options is the bomb…

  111. Love this idea!

  112. I think this is awesome. Especially the cheapest option, made me happy ?

  113. I LOVE THIS!!! Great design is about shape and form and you’ve proved this point! Everyone can live in an amazing space – you could do even cheaper shopping yard sales with enough time to look around. I am never wowed by amazing transformations that happen on a generous budget – but when someone can achieve a look the hard way, it’s pretty awesome. 🙂

  114. Cool post! I usually haunt my favorite stores for good things to go on clearance. Pillow forms seem expensive, but you can buy ugly throw pillows on clearance and recover them with less than a yard of fabric (small ends of the bolt of fabric may be on sale also.)

  115. Emily and Team-

    LOVED this post. I’ve been a long time reader (I’ve been reading since you were on design star!!) and just wanted to say you’ve been killing it lately. I hope you’ll keep the 3 options going because I feel like it lets people prioritize what they want to spend there money on. Like I adore that couch but would use the budget rug.

  116. Love love love this post. The first room is amazing and I’m glad you included it and it’s so cool that you have 3 price points. I would absolutely adore seeing more of this!

  117. I love everything about this post and would love to see more like it!

  118. Definitely do the range from cheap-cheap to “exxy”-cheap. My take on that post is probably completely different from what your intention was….Its like the first board is the place you want to end up with your lounge room and the cheapest board is pretty much what you have now….

    You’ve already got that credenza and coffee table and you buy the lamp and rattan chair. Later you buy the rug. Then you finally get to upgrade your couch. One day you go out and buy a beautiful wood credenza and you realise that you have made it: you are an adult.

    I have a hard time building my lounge room up slowly. I tend to waste money on 1 million pillows to try and get the room to look the way I want it to instead of saving that money and getting the perfect rug or coffee table…

    So I love these posts. More please.

  119. I love seeing all three versions. Would prefer even cheaper / different art options though, for variety’s sake (art over the sofa and to the left of it are the same in all three versions, as are the credenza lamps) – the prices aren’t bad as-is but if I’m not into horses or flowers then I’d like an alternative… and I would like a “cheap” green sofa too. Please keep these types of posts coming!

  120. Love this! And I agree, show the most expensive and the least, that way people can pick and choose where they want to spend the money. Maybe they want the expensive couch but are willing to go less on the other items. Great idea! PS – we also love weekend mornings where our toddler gets to watch a little TV without needing us 😉

  121. The orange budget-friendly chair from Target is $169 and sold out. :-/

    1. Dang! I think it was on sale for $144…here’s an alternative for $99!
      http://rstyle.me/n/brhq3asdhw

  122. yes! do more of these type of posts! so helpful & love seeing where you pull your resources from!

  123. This is my kind of challenge. If a cheaper version of anything exists, I’ll find it!

  124. These are fantastic designs. Are those items for international- Canada- delivery

  125. Omg LOVE this post! Please do more! A master next???!!! You all are the best.

  126. What a great idea and I love that you have 3 different price points. I also like how Mel had such a mix of high and low in the middle option. Thanks for all your hard work!!

  127. I love this and need it! Love the different price levels too.

  128. Love these posts!!! Keep em coming!

  129. Love this idea! Gives a broad range for all budgets, which is awesome!

  130. Love this post. Thanks! I would
    Love to see the same type for a master suite

  131. Man oh man love this post but I must say I am disappointed it should have come about a year ago. I started to re-do our living room and I have good main pieces but it’s still a little boring. I am still looking for a traditional style rug that isn’t ridiculous expensive and some art work. I might even trade out my new chair. I must say this post is just what I needed. These might be my new favorite posts.

  132. Love the budget friendly alternatives!
    http://www.petiteandhungry.com

  133. This is why you are still my favorite designer after all these years. Even as you continue to evolve and expand and all that, you still make yourself accessible and provide tons of content to the average design lover. Thanks for keeping that as part of your vision. I love it!

  134. This is so fun! The first one is my favorite as well but I love seeing all three. Show all three! Then people can pick and choose what they really love and want to spend money on.

  135. Thank you for this great inspiration! I just love it! This is the info I need. Looking for more posts like this!

  136. Definitely stick with 3 cheap options. $5000 for a whole living room is still SUPER cheap.

  137. Good post….. I have been searching this kind of post… thank you
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  138. I like all three versions too. I like the last pouf better than the middle pouf. I like that you can pick and choose from all three “levels” of cheap. I did notice that you can only get the coffee table in store at Ikea, not online, but we have one close by. I would opt for just one version of the design if it meant it became a regular post. I am sure the man hours for three designs outweighs the cheapness of the room. LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea…

  139. YES. Do the cheapest of all the rooms, like your recent insta, do a roundup of hotel-like bedrooms for RUHL CHEAP. My bedroom sadly needs the most help!

  140. Ahhh the Green Velvet Sofa! I’ve kinda been obsessed with velvet sofa but haven’t taken the plunge. Green, navy or maroon. Love the room by price. More posts like this please 🙂

  141. Emily, Emily, Emily! And crew, of course…this is truly a wonderful post! I’m, ahem, a bit older than the average reader (47) but I’ll chime in anyway. I am an immigrant. I remember how hard it was to start anew, in a new country, on zero budget and no parents to lean on. Instead of buying kids expensive one-time things–limo ride to the prom, ridiculously priced prom dress or an expensive pen for college graduations–I’ve been giving money towards a first apartment. Because once the hoopla is gone, you want to live and enjoy your daily existence and the picture of the expensive dress ain’t gonna make your bum happier. I remember how surprised my friends were that I had a fabulously long, sexy couch that was comfortable. Many people slept on it as it was 94 inches. I found it in the trash and reupholstered it myself with curtains from Ikea but would rather have just bought one! It took over a month after work and I had to climb a steep learning curve, almost vertical. You don’t have to buy everything from your round-up but the basic bones of a room you could get for $1,500–and build from there on. Fabulous! Just in time for graduation and new lives beginning. Brilliantly thought out and executed. I’m looking forward to the bedroom edition….

  142. Great post! Its amazing what your able to pull off on an afforadable budget!

    shopthecoconutroom.com

  143. Fantastic idea. I love the three versions too–people can pick and choose where they want to spend more or less. I just kept thinking make the pillows, make the pillows! (for example). I think having a rough plan and then searching for the items is great–so many things like these could also be thrifted.

    cactiandmountains.com

  144. I liked this post! Very fun 🙂 And I like the idea of the three price tiers–stick with that. I look forward to more posts like this!

  145. What a great post! It makes good design so much more accessible to people like me that don’t have a lot of money to spend. I hope to see more posts like these. 🙂

  146. Obsessed with this post!!!

  147. So I think I need to race to world market to get that rattan chair! Only $49!!!

  148. I LOVE this post. Please oh please keep these ideas coming. I really liked having the range to choose from. That way we can decide where we want to “splurge”. I would love to see a modern/ industrial/ Scandanavian living room design on the cheap!

  149. Please do more posts like this one. We have 5 kids and I stay at home with them. Low budget decorating is all we can afford.

  150. I love your posts, I’ve been reading your blog for years now and I never comment. But I wanted to say I loved this post. At first I was thinking…”Come on Emily, only in blogland is that an affordable room”, but then I shouldn’t have doubted, I loved that you kept pushing it down. As a single mom with a 3 year old, my budget definitely does not include a $1200 couch. And I actually appreciate seeing the three different cost tiers, maybe I really liked that rug in the first option, and I would be willing to splurge there, but then go for all the other more affordable options in third picture.

  151. LOVED this post. I actually haven’t been on here in a while because it just gets discouraging to see a bunch of pretty things I can’t afford (I don’t have my own TV show yet ;)! But we are moving soon and I’m definitely going to use this as a resource! And I’d love to see more like this. 🙂 Thank you!

  152. I love this! I’d love to see boards for all rooms – dining room, playroom, nursery, bedroom, etc.

  153. This is actually a big part of what I do as a designer. I’m originally from the east coast and still work with a lot of clients there. Online resources make it easy and people like feeling like they’re getting good value. My job is pull it all together so it looks cohesive but then they can buy things as their budget allows. I’ve done 2 sofas through Bryght and both have been very well received.

    http://www.christineschwalm.com

  154. Hi, love this post…oh, and everything else on your blog! I’m loving the pouf in the first grouping, but when I connect to Wayfair it features the less expensive pouf. Any way to let us know where you got the fab pouf in the first photo? Okay. Just saw that I’m not the only one. Sorry for the repeat but just goes to show you have great ideas we all want to know about! Thanks!

  155. I love this kind of post! And I like showing a few different budget options because maybe someone is willing to fork over more cash for a couch or something. People could mix and match the ideas you’ve provided to work for their budget needs. Awesome job, can’t wait to see the next one!

  156. LOVE this post! Thank you! I’ve had my eye on that Kattrup rug for awhile now, so I was SO excited to see you use it!! I have two light blue chairs very similar in style to the ones you recommend to go with that rug…do you think light blue would be too out there? Also, any recommendations on curtains to go with the super cheap living room design?

  157. I absolutely loved this post! I live for these types of round ups. Definitely make this a recurring feature!

  158. Love this post and definitely that you did all 3 versions because I snagged that first rug! I didn’t know I needed (wanted 😉 ) a different/brighter on for our living room until I saw this spread – super excited for it to arrive!

  159. Emily,
    This is such a great blog post! A fun challenge and a way for (the rest of us) to access beautiful design affordably. And, hey, bonus: That striped pillow is now in sale at Target for just over $11!

  160. I love this. Could you also include a paint color suggestion? Thanks for always including links. I recently bought a hamper you sourced for a baby’s room makeover from Land of Nod. It’s perfect. Thanks!

  161. Great post! I love the last project… the blue sofa is awesome and the credenza is so nice and simple!
    XO
    Anna From Italy

    https://pineapplemakeup.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/1-birthday-blog-box/

  162. I LOVE THIS ??? do more, do more! (Kitchen next??h

  163. I love this post and I would reccomend keeping the 3 different options of costs for any future posts- here’s why:
    -You guys do a whole lot more for us lazy readers when you source additional amazing furniture and create 3 rooms as opposed to one
    – I’m sure your readers vary in age and financial abilities so it’s more inclusive to see all of the cost options
    – Ppl can totally mix and match different peices and prices from the 3 rooms to suit individual tastes and budgets. Who doesn’t love some mixing and matching?!

    As for me personally, I’m a broke 25 y.o. so I’ll totally be stealing the cheap-o room. Thanks guys ❤️

  164. I loved this post!!!!! Please do more! I love the 3 different price options too. I would love more of these post!

  165. This is one of the main reasons why I love your blog so much. It is very inclusive. Home decoration as well as fashion can be very snobby and I hate those sites that sneer at cheaper options. Not everyone that loves decoration and pretty things can afford to spend 10.000 or more on a room. You obviously live in a very nice house with very nice furniture (you worked hard, you deserve it, good for you!) but that doesn’t mean you don’t aknowledge that not everyone is on that position. I don’t want to sound like a creepy crazy fan but you’re such an inspiration in every sense of the word. I’m so happy people like you gets to be successful. It’s not all about sharks, dolphins can make it too!! 🙂

  166. The most expensive one is my favorite too!

  167. I LOVE this post 🙂 I’ve followed your blog for the long haul, and this is one of my all-time favorites! Please keep them coming!

  168. I love this. What a smart way to give real people something they can actually work with. I think seeing all three is really important. I think it shows off how much one stellar piece can transform a room (the rug and the sofa make such a huge impact) — and it gives people an idea of how they can prioritize their own rooms. I think the process is almost more interesting that the final product!

  169. Yaaass!!! This is why we love you!
    My first thought when I saw the $4500 room was, “How nice for you that $4500 is ‘cheap’. That room would be out of style before I could afford everything in it.”
    When I scrolled further down and saw the room under $3000 I thought, “Okay, I could adapt that and find some similar pieces for less that might work.”
    To keep reading and see a room for less than $2000 made me so happy. You get it, you really get it!
    I am still outfitting my home from square one. I’d love to see what you’d do for a bedroom, eat-in kitchen, and porch/patio.

  170. Yes! I love these posts! What a great way to find affordable items here and there for those that aren’t looking to redo an entire space. I would love to see more like this.

  171. I like the way you have described the entire article. Along with i also like your site structure neat and clean. Thanks for sharing this awesome information with us.

  172. Your blog is really interesting and inspiration to many. I’ll be looking forward for more of your posts. Keep it up! Thanks for share..

  173. Love these kind of posts – so inspiring and yet also useful!

  174. I love the three versions! It lets you also mix and match if you like a different version better.

  175. Very efficiently written information. It will be valuable to everyone who uses it, including myself. Thanks a lot!

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  177. Really great ideas! the style has color but is not overwhelming and has great balance for each room design. I’ve recently redesigned my living room and added a few light colors with a retro look. Also I’ve decided to go with a daybed instead of a couch and It truly was a great decision. Daybed deals has a verity of options and designs. I definitely recommend checking them out http://www.daybeddeals.com/. Overall I’m really happy about how the room was finished.

  178. This is a wonderful post. the strain of a small budget is a position most of us have been in at on point in time. This can give a lot of people a place to start when it can feel overwhelming. It’s not as though better pieces can’t be swapped out as you find them and can afford them. It’s a very solid starting point that relieves the pressure when you want a furnished room but can’t afford everything you want right now. Heck, it looks better than rooms that I have furnished with some misguided pricey purchases

  179. I got a chair similar to the first orange chair. It’s the adeco slipper chair in orange, it was $66 on Wayfair.

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