Setting up a new space in your home or redoing a dated room is always a fun endeavour — until you have to pay for it. One major benefit of living in a small apartment is that you don't need much to fill it up. Those beautifully furnished apartments you see on TV, in magazines, or even in our rental property listing may feel like a far-off dream according to your bank account. However, there are a range of options that cater to people who want the look but not the price tag — and no, this doesn't mean the quality has to suffer.
Take this living room, for example. Let's recreate one of our property's living rooms, the Linden Manor Regina Apartment, so we can show you how to furnish a small apartment without feeling like you have to win the lottery first. These beautiful spaces may seem unattainable at first, but using these tried-and-true furnishing tips will transform your old living room into an HGTV special (that won't cost you an arm and a leg).
Tips for Furnishing Small Apartments Without Breaking the Bank
Every apartment needs a comfortable couch. This is where you come to rest after a long day, relax on the weekend and entertain guests after dinner. Couches are often the most expensive piece of furniture in the room, but they don't have to be. Check out the FRÖSLÖV from Ikea, for instance. For only $899, this beige couch is a pretty convincing replica of what's seen above, especially if you cover it in throw pillows (scroll to the end for our tips on these!). Not a beige fan? The FRÖSLÖV also comes in dark grey.
The Coffee Table
Whether you like wood, leather, upholstered, or glass, Wayfair has thousands of coffee tables to choose from — and excellent filters to help you find exactly what you want. Price, shape, material, colour — whatever you're looking for, they'll have it, or a close rendition. There are a few upholstered options like this one for a couple hundred dollars if that's the look you're going for, or keep it simple with their many options below $100 (they ship anything over $50 for free!).
You notice how these upholstered footstools really set off the room? Well, they're both stylish and functional, as they can be used as footrests, side tables, seats, you name it. We found two reasonably priced options on Amazon. This modern-looking beige ottoman with a classy bronze base sets you back less than $100. And this grey ottoman may not look quite as elegant, but it doubles as storage space and is almost half the price.
Some people build their space around their artwork, while others buy pieces based on the space they have left. Urban Outfitters has a fun collection of boho-inspired, modern pieces that add a pop of colour to any space, starting at $24 with $9.95 flat rate shipping. If you want to stick to the larger, more traditional pieces shown in our sample living room, see what Etsy has to offer. From original paintings and prints to photography and mixed-media arts, you can find something for every taste here (plus you'll be supporting an independent artist!).
Good lighting is essential, especially when you live in the northern hemisphere and the sun sets fairly early half the year. The Bay is often lumped in with more expensive stores, but they have a wide selection of affordable pieces (and they have regular sales, too!). This lamp is simple, cute and reasonably priced. Plus, save $10 on your next online purchase of $50 or more if you sign up for The Bay's newsletter.
The Bar Stools
Bar stools are multi-purpose and give your guests somewhere to perch whether they're waiting for a drink or chatting while you're prepping food in the kitchen. They're also a great spot to eat dinner if you live alone or grab a quick snack on your way out the door. These bar stools from Ikea come in eight different colours so you can match them to your décor. Priced just over $100 each, you can choose to buy one or three, depending on your budget and your space.
The Table + Chairs
There's nothing like a trendy table and set of matching chairs to snazz up your apartment. You don't need anything big and fancy in your small space. Check out this best-selling modern table from Amazon with natural wood legs and iron reinforcements. Save some cash by choosing the three-chair option instead of four — no matter what, shipping's free! If this table isn't quite your style, choose from the countless dining room furniture options that Amazon has to offer.
The TV Stand
Often the entire living room is designed around where the TV goes. You want the couch and coffee table nicely spaced out, no glare on the screen from windows or lamps, and easy access to the kitchen so you can grab your pre-movie snacks. This wooden TV stand from Wayfair is the perfect combination of stand and storage, with two open shelves and two large cabinets to store belongings while also housing your TV (and it only sets you back a couple hundred dollars).
If you prefer a more open concept, specific colours, or a different material altogether, Wayfair has thousands of TV stands for you to choose from. Just remember to use their filters to scale down your search and find the perfect stand for your space (and budget).
The Throw Pillows
Whether you want to add a little pizzaz to your couch or you want something to sink into while you watch TV, these accent pieces are great for comfort, style and function. Throw pillows come in all shapes, colours and sizes, and can really bring a room together, so choose them last. From textures and patterns to tassels and buttons, Bed Bath & Beyond has hundreds of pillows, starting from just $15.
If you're looking for something a bit funkier, Urban Outfitters has a wide selection of velvet, printed, fleece, or embroidered pillows you won't see anywhere else. This is your chance to add some personality to your space, so browse around and see what suits your style for the final piece in your living room makeover.
Looking for more design inspiration? We have hundreds of professionally decorated apartments to browse online which will fit a variety of styles and budgets.