How to Liven up a Living Room

8 February

My little sister sent me a few links last week asking my advice on pieces for her new apartment. I love this game! She and her boyfriend just moved into a cute space in Walnut Creek– it’s their first nice home together. They upgraded to pretty dark hardwood floors, bright white walls, and nice natural light. She’s been on cloud nine while nesting, it’s the first place that has inspired her to invest and make it feel like home. So far they have a couch, side table, and rug…and that’s about it. Ah, I love blank canvas’! Her focus now is to liven up her living room a bit while keeping in mind their tight post-move budget.

I spent hours browsing the web for pretty and affordable pieces that look like they’re way more pricey than they are, so thought I would share in case anyone else is moving or needing a few little sprucer-uppers! First of all, speaking from trial and error… I try and not go overboard to just fill everything in because it feels empty. I have replaced or given away SO many things after jumping the gun on decor, so only buy things that are functional or that completely speak to you. Plus, minimal is the key to chic. Take your time settling in– figure out the tone, colors, and the vibes you want to your space to make you feel.

I always like to start with neutrals and build the room up from there. Add in personality once you’re happy with the foundation, but again– these fun pieces need to speak to you so you don’t get sick of them. There are a few ways to liven up a living room upon moving in…



Go to IKEA and pick out one of their cheap palm plants! It will magically brighten your room (and I am obsessed with the gold small plant pots above), even something little like a cactus will add so much. Buy greenery over flowers to start. I always pick up palm fronds from the flower shop and they last me for weeks! I have three currently blissed out (fully green still) that I picked up a month ago, which saves me so much money on my habit of fresh flowers. Greens are the way to go.


Add a tray to your coffee table or side table and throw on the said cactus, a couple coffee table books, a candle, and some coasters. Maybe a fun souvenir, chatchski from a vintage shop, etc. I also love that little gold/glass box above (I have one similar) to throw in remote controls or matchbooks, etc. Maybe a couple candlesticks to add some dimension– I find that coffee tables are the most fun to play around with.


Blankets and throws add so much coziness (groundbreaking, I know). Maybe buy one every couple of weeks, and have fun with combining different textures and patterns. I like mixing light and dark hues that play off of other accents in the room.


Target and World Market have very reasonable priced lamps/floor lamps. I swear that having a couple lamps in a room completely change the tone and ambiance of a room. I seriously LOVE LAMP!


Adding a pretty basket to store blankets is another way to add something pretty to the room, while also keeping the space organized and tidy. I like interesting details in the weaving and pretty color. Don’t just buy a boring basket, find something unique. I also love this metal magazine holder– would be so cute next to a couch–don’t you think?

I hope this helps! x

I have a whole list of my favorite places to shop for home stuff here, too!
Featured image by Sarah Elliott / Post photos via Rue Magazine


Thoughts, questions, or just want to say hi?