So evidently there are a lot of other lady ballers on a budget out there, because I got a fair amount of positive feedback on the post about furnishing a chic bedroom on an entry-level salary that said it was helpful. As promised, here’s the run-down on my favorite stuff from the walls outside my bedroom.
My poor roommate Rob is less than thrilled about our feminine aesthetic (see if you can spot him in some of the pictures below), but I think he generally benefits from the trade-off: he has to live in a girly place, but it’s astoundingly clean and organized 24/7. His future wife will thank me.
I did the living space about three months after my bedroom (because I was, you know, still financially recovering from furnishing an entire bedroom and figuring out what aesthetic I wanted to build in the rest of the place), and I think that lead-time helped me find some solid stuff.
Another fun side effect of waiting three months to furnish your living space is that your place looks like a yoga studio for 12 fun weeks—nothing but wood floors and mirrors! People would walk into my place, confusedly look around, and then awkwardly laugh about my sociopathic minimalism.
Legend has it that Steve Jobs lived in an empty place for months while he was starting Apple because he’s such a perfectionist that he couldn’t settle on what he wanted his place to look like. So yeah. Call me Steve.
Let’s get started, shall we?
I want to start with my favorite part: the rug/coffee table situation.
This coffee table is gorgeous and took about 10 minutes to assemble, and was only $130. I’m very much into the sleek marble look right now because it’s bright and clean.
This was the other one that I liked, but it has black legs and I was really feeling the gold accents. This one is only $114.
I wanted to keep the surface of the table fairly uncluttered, and while I love coffee table books, they’re pretty expensive and—in my experience, at least—I never end up looking at them. (If money were no object, I’d have a stack of Hermes and Chanel coffee table books taller than me.) But for right now, they’re effectively expensive dust collectors.
I will say, though, the coffee table book I probably will get is the Gray Malin “ESCAPE” book. I love his photography, and that book is gorgeous. It’s $30 on Amazon. Here are two of my favorite shots. I like his stuff because it's unusual and quirky—the photo above my bed is my favorite, a KLM airplane landing over Maho Beach.
But instead of coffee table books, I did this acrylic tray with gold handles, a vase with flowers, and the dankest candle known to the interwebs.
The acrylic tray with gold handles was about $30. Guys, I just love acrylic stuff. I know it’ll go out of style eventually but I love it. I think it’s so pretty. The gold handles tie it to the legs of the table well, too.
This vase felt like the only ‘stretch’ product that I don’t consider especially bargain-priced, but still reasonable compared to the in-store versions I’ve seen. I love the blue oriental vibe and think it adds some timelessness to a room that’s otherwise pretty modern (marble, acrylic, etc.). It was $48, so not a steal, but under $50 nonetheless.
Ok guys, I know fake flowers are tacky as hell, but I’m obsessed with peonies and one peony (yes, one) at Whole Foods when they’re in-season is $15. That means if you want a modest bouquet (about five flowers), you’re on the hook for $75 a flower arrangement. And in the cruelest twist of all, the flowers effing DIE on a weekly basis. So basically, peonies are a money pit of sorrow and disappointment.
…Unless you embrace your inner gaudy queen, suck it up, and go the fake route. You can even make yourself feel better by euphemizing them: faux silk flowers, anyone?
I’ve had several people get close to inspect these and ask if they’re real—I think they’re fairly convincing and I’m just such a fan of having flowers that this was just about the only reasonable way to do so without draining my 401K savings on petals. For the low, low price of $10.99, you too can enjoy pink peonies year-round. I got the “Spring Light Pink” color because I thought it looked most realistic.
This is also a very convincing option, also for only about $10.
Moving on to a more nuanced component of design—the scent of the room. Y’all, if I had to smell one smell for the rest of my life, it would be this. I want everything to smell like Mahogany Teakwood. My apartment, my hair, my laundry, my dog—and I don’t even have a dog! It’s that good. It smells like the hottest man you’ve ever seen but in a musky, fresh way. Just trust me on this. I order several at a time and just disperse them.
And because our living space has wood floors, I wanted to add accent rugs to spice stuff up (but truly, I think rugs on carpet still look nice, as I added in my carpeted bedroom). It serves a focusing function, in my opinion, where it draws the attention to the focal point of the room.
This $90 rug is everything. It’s navy and gold (mostly picked because the couch we had was navy) and I’m obsessed with it. It’s so pretty and the perfect size for between the couch and the TV for the coffee table to sit on. I especially like how the gold legs in the table and the gold in the rug look together. I got the 5’1” by 7’6” option.
The media stand I bought is glass (instead of marble). I didn’t want to do everything marble in case someday I decide I don’t like it, and the glass seemed like a safe bet. This one was easy to put together and looks nice under our mounted TV (but you could definitely just set your TV on top of it, too).
So moving on over to the couch. Sadly, y’all, I can’t recommend a couch in good faith to you because Rob brought this couch from Kentucky. But when I move out and have to buy my own, I will absolutely do the legwork and show y’all. But when it comes to accessories, I can hook y’all UP.
I’m a pretty big fan of this faux fur throw I bought for about $30 because it’s huge and plush and makes for some solid Saturday afternoon nap sessions. It adds a little flair to our otherwise plain navy couch. It gives you that cozy ski-cabin-in-the-mountains vibe when in reality you’re parked on your butt 8 feet from an urban swimming pool in the middle of Dallas, Texas.
Much to Rob’s dismay, I had no other choice but to completely feminize his couch. And how do you make an innocuous navy couch look girly? VELVET BABY BLUE ACCENT PILLOWS! Sorry, Rob. These puppies are $15 for two (nailed it) and the inserts are only $20 for a two-pack. There are several other colors, too, if baby blue ain’t yo vibe—but the quality of the pillows is nice.
I went with the matching end tables for either side of the couch; they’re the same style as the coffee table. They were $60 each, which was slightly more than I was hoping to pay, but I combed Amazon for a couple hours trying to find cheaper alternatives and these were the best value, in my opinion, for something that was cute and reasonably priced.
And if anyone wants to laugh at Katie’s online shopping mishaps, these lamps I bought (and was super excited about) arrived in a suspiciously small box. I opened it reluctantly and, wincing, pulled out the smallest damn Barbie Dreamhouse lamps you’ve ever seen.
But, on principle, I kept them and use them. We must all face our follies, my friends.
I’m also really into the ‘nesting table’ look--I liked these because the spindles are intricate (and gold) and add some visual interest. It’s only $90 for both, and I stuck them in the entryway (only one is pictured below; the other is a little larger).
Speaking of entryways, I’m not sure what got into me when I was buying pieces for our little mirrored entry area, but I was having a teal MOMENT, people. I loved how strong the teal velvet looked and felt interesting and bold. I wanted to add some drama, ya feel?
Turns out finding two teal velvet chairs in my budget was a bit of a challenge, but your girl came through. I love how these turned out in the space. Unfortunately, the exact chairs are no longer available (likely because some other desperate broke gal snagged them), but these are so similar I thought they were the same.
I decided to go with chairs for the entryway because I felt like they were more inviting when positioned next to a literal cart of alcohol, but if your entryway is more hallway-like and less open, I’d suggest going for a bench and putting art or a mirror above it. The bench is nice because you can set your bags on it when you come in or do a tray with books/candies/etc.
I love this one, and it’s only $139. Amazon calls this an 'ottoman,' so just make sure you measure how much room you have in your entryway to make sure it won't be too big. Again, the acrylic legs just get me goin'. Same with the tufted velvet. There are several other more neutral color options available.
And OK, I’m kinda pissed, because I paid way more for this, but my entryway rug is legitimately on sale right now for $29. It’s a 4’ x 6’ and it’s gray (which is reminiscent of the bedroom rug in this post), but felt like an appropriate neutral given my wild ass teal thrones. It comes in about 10 other colors, so go crazy.
My other semi-splurgey item was the bar cart. A bar cart is the #1 best way to say, hey, I drink alcohol, but I’m classy about it! This one was $158. I found a cheaper one at Target, but it was much smaller and nowhere near as cool. That was one of those situations where I thought, OK, having a bigger, cuter bar cart is worth the extra $20 to me.
I like how you can display all your glassware and liquor and add fun accents (like straws and shakers). I didn’t get too wild with my accents because I was buying literally all of this nonsense at once and that stuff adds up, but if you’re looking to spice up a bar cart you already have, I suggest the copper cocktail set for $40. It comes with all the necessities for really wooing your lush friends.
And that's it, y'all! Hit me with any questions. And if you don't like my design style; well, you're not the one who has to live, are you?