Before and after: small space living room makeover

small space living room home decor

H&M; bow dress, Home Decorators Collection Watkins couch, West Elm chair, DIY pillows, Threshold bar cart, vintage trunk, Homegoods rug + mirror (similar), mini Meyer lemon tree – (my baby!)

I’ve gotten several requests to do home posts, and wanted to share a few favorite finds so far as well as a super easy pillowcase tutorial (coming soon!). Our space is very small and much of it is still in progress from renovations, adorned with luxurious cardboard boxes, rubble and paint swatches. We want a home that is bright, comfy and functional but just haven’t been able to devote much time to it yet. We do love to entertain guests, so the first area that finally saw a little progress is our living “corner”…

Before vs. After:
living room before and after 670

Although I was all emo parting with the old sofa thing that’s served us since Nick’s college apartment, this linen couch has to be my favorite element of the update. I wanted a slightly old-fashioned design with tufting and textured fabric, and Nick’s only request was “nap-friendly and not too girly.” Most couches we looked at were too wide for a small space, while loveseats were tight for two adults to sprawl out comfortably. I stumbled across this cute sofa by Home Decorators Collection that seemed to meet all of our needs, and was a bargain compared to other options we looked at! And FYI, just noticed they have free shipping for the holidays which is huge as it’s usually $150+ for pieces like this.

small space living room home decor2

Target tray, Homegoods cheese dome (similar) also good for trinket storage, Ikea pitcher

We were wary of buying a large furniture item sight unseen, so took advantage of a Chicago trip and trekked out to a HDC showroom (found inside a Home Depot). They didn’t have this exact couch, but we were pleased enough with the similar items to take the leap of faith and order online. Here are two other styles that we “tested” before going with the Watkins – I felt like Goldilocks and the three chairs:

Outfit from this post

home decorators collection couches

Arden Club Loveseat – 75″ wide (also comes in 93″ sofa)

Gordon Tufted Loveseat – 66″ wide (also comes in 91″ sofa or side chair)

Clearly there is something for every tufted couch lover…for our space, the Watkins ended up being the perfect happy medium both style and size-wise compared to everything we tried. If we had more room, then the larger Gordon tufted sofa would’ve been a serious contender.
The couch also comes with two little same-fabric pillows perfect for mixing and matching. I know little about home decor so my mind could only go at it like with outfits, starting with a neutral base and adding prints, texture, and accent colors to complete the look. Decorative pillows can be pricey and the right patterns are hard to find…but these easy ones cost about $10 each on average (including the pillow insert) and I took photos for a step-by-step tutorial.

target bar cart1

Threshold bar cart, undermount rack, thrifted map book and tray


Given the limited space we had to work with, we tried to keep the color scheme light and airy and find multi-purpose pieces whenever possible. This popular bar cart (no assembly required…woohoo) serves us as a drink/snack station, side table, and wine glass holder in one and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s Nick’s happy corner of whiskey manliness in a home full of handbags and shoes. We choose a simple wine rack hanger (can also find in-stores at BB&B; and Home Depot) to tack on, but depending on your needs, the choices for undermount hanging storage are plentiful. Just make sure the width will fit, and that the screws aren’t so long they’d poke through the top surface!

A coffee table with storage was also a must. We were donating appliances at a Habitat for Humanity “Restore” store and were giddy to spot this rustic cedar trunk in pristine condition – quite the upgrade from our cardboard boxes left over from moving! If you like such trunks, check your local Craigslist since I regularly see similar options on there.

Coffee table tray

Another great thing about making your own pillows is leftover scraps of fabric for coordinating small touches. I might’ve gone a little overboard with making a placemat, vase thingy, and a bow tie for Nick at his request ; ) This gold tray is plastic and shiny in-person, but when tempered using other textures like wood or fabric it looked nice. I can’t find it online but got it from the holiday section in store. If you’re tray searching, Target is a gold mine!

What are some of your favorite functional home pieces or small space decor tips? I’d love to hear them!
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When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

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