One of the best parts of life after college so far has been the experience of living alone and on my own, something I think everyone should do at least once in their life. And one fun upside to being the sole occupant: you're in charge! I have loved being able to start putting into action my vision for my home, but let me tell you, it can get expensive. If you've got the cash to get exactly what you want without the effort, more power to you. But for the rest of us who are on a budget, we've got two options: settle for something that doesn't match your vision, or my personal favorite, a combination of research & DIY. And lucky for you, I've done a little DIY and a whole lotta research, so sit back and enjoy the living room edition of Spend vs. Score! Some of this is already sitting in my apartment, some of it is yet to come, and some of it needs a little work, but this is my vision for my living room. I can't wait to share photos when it's complete! Now on to the important part: cost.
Total price of the SPEND living room: $6,506 Total price of the SCORE living room: $959
That's more than an 85% savings! Now let's break it down.
First up, the couch. I had my heart set on a grey sectional with an end lounge, but most sectionals go for upwards of $2000! I loved this sectional from West Elm, and had pretty much determined that I was either going to have to splurge on it or settle for a lesser sofa. Then, lo and behold, I got a flyer in the mail about a furniture sale at World Market (which I love but have never really looked at their furniture). One trip to the store, one borrowed truck, one awesome aunt, and two kind strangers later, this beauty was sitting in my living room! SPEND couch: West Elm, $2,498 SCORE couch: World Market, $525 (plus no additional shipping charge, which would have been another $150!)
I bought my armchair a little over a year ago, and I am still in love with it. I got an amazing deal on it at TJ Maxx (clearance, what whaaat), and it survived a year in a college apartment and is still holding up. SPEND chair: Pottery Barn, $999 SCORE chair: TJ Maxx, $100
I wanted a really colorful chest to set my TV on, but again, everything was so expensive! Even Target didn't have anything below $150. After scouring Craigslist for weeks, I found someone who was selling two dressers (the one above plus a larger, taller one) for $120. Both dressers, paint, supplies, and new hardware ended up being a little under $150. Two for the price of one Target piece, plus these are real wood and have my own stamp on them. Priceless. SPEND chest: Anthropologie, $998 SCORE chest: Craigslist DIY, $75
I don't currently have a dining room table, so all meals and other activities are currently taking place on the sofa. One item that makes this much, much easier (and less messy): a laptop table. No more leaning over the coffee table or sitting with a plate in your lap, this little sucker pulls right up to you. LOVE it. SPEND laptop table: One King's Lane, $139 SCORE laptop table: Ikea, $25
One downside to apartment living-- the inherent lack of lighting. I don't know why, but most apartments seem to lack overhead lighting in the living spaces. Bedroom, check. Bathroom, check. Kitchen, check. Living room, sorry Charlie. There is a fun solution to this problem, though: lots of lamps! I want one good floor lamp for the living room so I can finally say goodbye to my trusty Target lamp (which has lasted 4+ years, but is a little warped from the cross-country move). SPEND floor lamp: Z Gallerie, $229 SCORE floor lamp: Ikea, $60
Now the decor--
A large mirror to open up the space SPEND large mirror: Restoration Hardware, $595 SCORE large mirror: thrifted, $25
Until next time! XO