You don't have to spend a lot of money to make your apartment living room look more stylish and high-end. It takes less work and less stuff to make an impact in a smaller space. Making thoughtful choices about furniture and decor means focusing on small details that create an outsized impact in a compact living room. These budget-friendly apartment living room decor ideas in a range of styles will help you to elevate your small space.
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Hang Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
Travis Londons/Studio London added a mix of bold colors and lively prints and patterns to this small NYC living room that makes the railroad-style layout feel more dynamic. Hanging DIY peel-and-stick wallpaper costs less to install, and because it's removable, you can roll it up and take it with you when you move.Continue to 2 of 20 below.
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Hang Some Baskets
Hanging lightweight, inexpensive woven wall baskets is an easy and accessible way to add interest and warmth without spending a lot of money, like this warm and sunny living room from interior designer Ashley Peterson of The Lifestyled Home.Continue to 3 of 20 below.
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Add Warm Metallic Accents
Desiree Burns Interiors created a link between the semi-open kitchen and living room in this bright and cheerful apartment with an all-white palette accented with soft colors and rose gold metallic accents on everything from the floor lamp to the bar stools and kitchen cabinet hardware that makes the space look more expensive.Continue to 4 of 20 below.
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Decorate with Botanicals
This London apartment living room from Emilie Fournet Interiors is graced with a period fireplace that gives the room a cozy focal point. A collection of plants and simple botanical prints complements the simple white walls and boho-style Moroccan rug and pouf.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
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Keep It Minimal
Sometimes the best strategy for designing a budget-friendly apartment living room is to buy less stuff. This studio apartment living room from Fantastic Frank is Scandinavian minimalism at its best, with a clean and crisp palette of white and black, pale hardwood flooring, a few choice pieces of simple wood furniture, and plenty of natural light. The loft bed blends into the background, allowing the small living area to feel airy and light.Continue to 6 of 20 below.
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Make DIY Candle Holders
In a minimalist living room, even small details can make a big impact. Simple, affordable taper candles add ambiance to any space. Your DIY Family created stylish minimalist DIY candle holders from mini terracotta pots, black acrylic paint, and gorilla glue that add a finishing touch and soft ambient light to this living room coffee table.Continue to 7 of 20 below.
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Surround the TV with a Gallery Wall
The living area of this Brooklyn studio apartment that blogger Annie Diamond of Most Lovely Things helped design for her daughter Madeline is located between the bed and the dining table, and anchored by a colorful area rug. A gallery wall hung on the wall opposite the couch helps make the TV disappear, adding color and interest that defines the space. You don't have to spend a lot on framed art, just be sure that the wall art has meaning for you. "We took art from Madeline’s childhood like an underwater photograph of her swimming in The Great Barrier Reef, A Jane Mount original painting of her favorite college books, and several other pieces that are all part of her story," Diamond says.Continue to 8 of 20 below.
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Separate the Bed With a Curtain
Hanging simple inexpensive curtains to divide space is a simple and budget-friendly fix for an awkward layout. Fantastic Frank carved a bedroom out of this apartment living room by hanging a simple curtain rod and plain white curtain that blends into the background and can be closed when you have guests over or don't want to look at the bed.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
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Add a Bar Cart
Adding a stylish bar cart to your apartment living room can make it feel like a destination without taking up space, and serve as a dedicated space for seasonal decor. In this airy Oakland, CA highrise apartment living room from Forbes + Masters, a warm metallic bar cart is ready for entertaining. Source affordable bar carts in a range of styles from local thrift shops and flea markets or online marketplaces.Continue to 10 of 20 below.
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Swap a Couch for a Daybed
Fantastic Frank skipped a pricey sofa and installed a simple daybed in the corner of this Scandinavian apartment living room that can work as a couch or a bed. Moroccan textiles add warmth and an octagonal Moroccan tea table is paired with a Danish modern armchair for an eclectic look.Continue to 11 of 20 below.
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Add a Home Office
If you find yourself working from home in a small apartment, carving out a dedicated space can help you maintain work-life boundaries and keep clutter to a minimum. Travis Londons/Studio London installed a sleek corner living room desk that matches the white, black, and gold tones of this NYC apartment for a seamless look.Continue to 12 of 20 below.
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Choose Jewel Tones
Neva Interior Design chose a compact love seat in a bright jewel tone that gives this tiny Parisian living room a sense of grandeur and adds contrast with the hardwood flooring and original brick feature wall.Continue to 13 of 20 below.
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In this open-plan apartment living room designed by Ajai Guyot for Emily Henderson Design, an inexpensive jute rug anchors the seating area, while a patterned rug layered on top adds coziness underfoot. Sticking to neutral tones such as white, beige, and brown will help make your living room look more pulled together for less.Continue to 14 of 20 below.
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Style the Coffee Table
While there's nothing wrong with keeping your coffee table free and clear if it's your go-to spot for meals, board games, or other projects, in an apartment this choice sliver of real estate can make an outsized impact when styled with decor objects, candles, plants, or art books, like this stylish apartment living room from Becca Interiors.Continue to 15 of 20 below.
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Add a Pair of Armchairs
If your apartment living room is large enough for a sectional sofa, consider saving money by opting for a smaller sofa and adding a pair of armchairs instead that will provide extra seating but won't dominate the room, like this light and airy space from Desiree Burns Interiors.Continue to 16 of 20 below.
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Add Vintage Accents
Thrift stores, yard sales, junk stores, or online finds can add personality and interest to an apartment living room without breaking the budget. This apartment living room from Inspired By Charm features a weathered green-painted vintage cabinet that serves as a drinks station stocked with bottles and glassware. The top is styled with art and flowers, helping make the piece a destination of its own as well as helping to visually separate the open-plan living room from the dining space.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
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Check Your Proportions
The biggest expense for any living room is usually the couch. In an apartment living room, skip the giant sofa and opt for small-scale furnishings with a light footprint like this curvy tufted sofa in a Scandinavian apartment from Fantastic Frank whose proportions look tailor-fit to the room. Add a stylish armchair for extra seating and a small round coffee table with a tray on top to make entertaining a breeze.Continue to 18 of 20 below.
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Swap Art for a Wall Hanging
In this cozy boho-style apartment living room designed by Ryann Miller for Emily Henderson Design, a budget-friendly textile wall hanging over the couch adds color and pattern without the expense of a large piece of wall art.Continue to 19 of 20 below.
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Accent with Paint
A DIY painted accent wall is a simple way to upgrade your apartment living room and to help define zones in an open-plan space. Brexton Cole Interiors added navy paint to the fireplace wall in this apartment's living room that helps camouflage the TV and anchors the seating area.Continue to 20 of 20 below.
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Focus on a Signature Piece
Creating a stylish apartment living room on a budget involves knowing where to save and when to spend. This small but upscale NYC living room from Tina Ramchandani Creative is filled with designer pieces, but it's the industrial double wall sconce that makes it feel special. Get the look by pairing affordable furniture with industrial lighting that you will keep forever and that can work in future homes. And remember that there are plenty of options at all price points if you don't have the means to spring for a design classic.