Photo Credit: Green Panda

I had a lot of fun this past Friday: a friend came over and helped organize and redesign the living room space in our apartment. She has a real eye for spaces and she was kind enough to offer her help.

We have been in the apartment for about 8 months and we needed to rearrange it a bit. We have fireplace and since winter is approaching, we want to be able to gather around it. We also want to have a more open feeling with the spot. When we bought the second couch and chair from friends, we kind of just dumped them where we could.

The big concern was budget. We wanted to spruce up the place without spending a ton of money. Fortunately, our friend brought over some stuff she had in her basement and storage and gave us some ideas on how to use what we already have and change it up. Sometimes you don’t have to buy stuff new, you can just reuse items that you have or reuse other people’s ‘treasures’.

Not only are we happy with our living room, we saved hundreds of dollars. It goes to show that with some planning, you can upgrade your space without killing your bank account. We couldn’t do it without our friend. Now I just have to keep the apartment clean.

How did I calculate how much we saved?

I went to Target and Walmart’s site to find a comparable product. I’m not including the fee for a stager/interior designer into the total (for our city, a stager can charge $200 for  de-cluttering and rearrangement!).

  • 4 Solid Color Pillows: 4 @ $12.50 => $50
  • Patterned Pillow: 1 @ $25
  • Set of Curtains: 1 @ $30
  • Decorative Candle: 1 @ $10
  • Decorative Plate: 1 @ $3
  • Poster: 1 @ $5
  • Couch Slipcover: 1 @ $60
  • Candle Holder and Votive: $10

Total Saved in Living Room: $193

Some Tips on Creating More Space in an Apartment

  1. De-clutter your room of unnecessary furniture. We moved the back shelves to the home office where it fits perfectly between our two desks.
  2. Keep the walls light in color. Our apartment was painted in tan, so it wasn’t changed. Tan is better than that harsh white shade many apartments complexes use. If we decide to paint later, I prefer light blue, green, or even a pale yellow.
  3. Make sure your furniture size works for the room. Our other living room chair was switched with the office chair. While it was comfy, the size a bit too big and made the space seem crowded.
  4. Let in more light. The living room has a great view outside, so we leave the shades up and curtain pulled during the day. The natural light helps open up the room.

How much have we spent since the move on fixing up the new apartment?

Here’s what I came up with so far. I might be off by a little, but here are the big purchases in the last 8 months:

  • Curtain rods: $30 for a set of 3
  • Couch & Comfy Chair w/ Ottoman: $100
  • Whirlpool Washer & Dryer: $150
  • Washer Cable: $20

For those keeping track with me with Ramit’s 30 Days to Save $1,000 Challenge:

  • Tip#1 $45/month
  • Tip#2 $10/month
  • Tip#3 has brought me $15 for two books I haven’t used.
  • Tip#4: $10 for an ING Referral bonus
  • Tip#5: $7.25/month
  • Tip#6: $235/month once the car loan is paid off
  • Tip#7: $80/month
  • Tip #8: $20/month *note we did this before the challenge
  • Tip#9: $240 this month * this also include items we got for the dining room

Grand Total:$407.25