How to spruce up a space on a budget in Nashville

A stylish space can be done with a budget.(Photo: Enliven by Melanie Severin)

Thinking about sprucing up your home? Maybe you just moved into a new space? If so, you’ve likely started the process of pinning breathtaking spaces on Pinterest and have a pile of design magazines on your coffee table for inspiration.

Ever wonder how much those beautiful spaces on the cover of a design magazine cost? That home featured on your favorite design site, curious what that would run? You might want to sit down for this, as you may feel a bit queasy. The average cost for those magnificent rooms run in the ballpark of $70,000-100K. Yes, I meant for that many zeros. Absurd, right?

I’m all about high quality and investing in your space. But good grief, that is excessive. Granted, most people are not spending this much on each room in their home. But they are spending $20-30K for their main living areas. A lot less, but still a steep price to pay. Especially for anyone under the age of 35, aka the millennials, whose yearly income is somewhere between $30-50K and has a lifetime of school loans to pay off.

So how does one achieve the swoon-worthy look from a magazine spread and not break the bank? The key is knowing when to save and when to splurge. Living on a budget is not about being cheap, it’s about being smart with the money you have. Purchase high and low items, always incorporate vintage, and never sacrifice quality. You may have less pennies then your parents, but that doesn’t mean you should live like a college student.

Challenge: Design a Luxurious Living Room for Under $6K with 12 Home Goods

Now, I can talk all day long about what you should and shouldn’t do when styling on a budget. But why not put the idea to a test? Below is everything you would need for a mid-century inspired living room that is high on style and kind to your wallet. I’ve gathered a collection of new and vintage pieces, limited-edition art, handmade lighting, local finds and even a record player. All for a fraction of the cost, but equally swoon-worthy to its design magazine counterpart.

Urban Outfitters $549
Make a bold statement with this 1930s-inspired peach velvet swivel chair and give your space a sultry retro vibe.

Urban Outfitters $79

Every swivel chair needs a cocktail table, and this accordion table is perfect with its slender frame and antique finish.

CB2 $1399

Contemporary, vintage style and affordable. This Parisian 1950s-inspired sofa with its brass legs are downright dreamy.

#B306 Gas Lamp Antique Mall $169

No reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a coffee table. Your nearest antique mall is likely sporting a brass and glass gem like this one for a small cost.

#B235 Gas Lamp Antique Mall $1428

Mid-century furniture is well-made and always strutting big style. This rattan and brass armoire will add a ton of character to your space, and can hold anything from books and TV to a full liquor bar.

CB2 $699
Rugs can be pricey, and can run you well into the tens of thousands. If an antique Persian rug is not in the cards, look for handwoven wool rugs that are of good quality in antique malls or places like CB2.

Cadeau $49

Every room needs a bit of cheekiness to give the space a playful vibe. This “selfie” pillow is humorous, and a great way to bring in color without spending a lot.

and CB2 $34.95-$49.95

Neutral pillows in bold graphics go a long way. No need to fill your space up with a lot of décor when you use strong statement pieces.

by Southern Lights Electric $145 (x2)

Instead of table lamps, why not strut a pair of pendants over the low bookcase, desk or media center? These handmade lights will give a lot of personality to your space.

#B2010 Gas Lamp Antique Mall $340

Why go with a boring storage unit to hold your TV or décor collections? This mid-century buffet with its retro hardware is one for the books – so much style and costs so little.

$169

Play those tunes with a bit of panache and add a record player to your living room This record player plays both vinyl’s and your favorite iTunes.

(limited edition) Minted $580

Art is the crown-jewel of a room. The colors, movement and overall design should tie the furniture and décor of the space together. An abstract painting is always a smart move when choosing art. If you can’t afford a one-of-a-kind, Minted offers beautiful limited-edition pieces (like this one) fully framed by artists around the world for a very affordable price.

For more Millennial Money Experiment reads and resources, head here: 

Stephanie Van Hoesen (Photo: Flock South)

Stephanie Van Hoesen is a Nashville-based scout, curator and stylist. She currently lives in Germantown with her husband and two pups, Jack and Luna. After closing Nest Interiors, she began freelancing as an interior stylist and designer. You’ll find her most days scouring quirky boutiques, salvage yards and antique malls for unusual décor. She often works with tastemakers, entrepreneurs and creatives for whom nothing is too over the top or bizarre. When she’s not styling or shopping, you’ll find her writing for , a design blog featuring home décor, styling tips, trade secrets and local finds.

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