Easy, Affordable Updates to Make in Your Space (Right Now!)

Small spaces can be difficult to decorate, no? You can probably relate, but this is a reality I’ve grown accustomed to having lived in a big city for most of my adult life.

The key to looking like you’re living large is all in the details, though — and you don’t have to spend a fortune to make it look like you’re doing so.

pretty gold hand figurines peace thumbs up

That’s what we’ll get into today, so read on.


Getting my apartment into more of a livable, personalized state has been a big priority for me all summer long (we recently discussed the importance of that in this post); and at last, I’m starting to feel settled… Or at the very least, like I’m living in my home rather than a storage unit of sorts.

It continues to be a work in progress, of course, and there’s a few missing pieces I plan to put into motion over the next few days.

Labor Day Weekend is one of the biggest home- and furniture-related opportunities to save big each year. (Obviously, there’s a lot more than just furniture on sale, but we’ll get to that in tomorrow’s link love.)

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Whether you’re renting or in a house that you can finally call a home, there’s no reason you can’t have a swoon-worthy space. And having one that’s clutter-free and true to y-o-u is so damn important to living an inspired life.

Ifyou’ve been needing a little boost to get your ass in gear, here’s a few of my tips for sprucing up your space this season, including (1) Where to start, (2) where to splurge and (3) how to fill in the gaps.

(Oh, and where to shop… Scroll down: There’s some insane sales happening this weekend!)

gold hand figurines peace thumbs up from wayfair

*The foundation:

Get organized. Or in other words, put shit away! Bins and baskets are a simple, chic and inexpensive way to give your space a space-conscious update. Tidying up is the easiest way to make your place seem more peaceful — and when in doubt, throw it out. (Or better yet — donate!)

Hide your electrical cords. Under rugs, behind plants — whatever you have to do.

Work your way up. To create an illusion of height, draw the eyes up by putting eye-catching prints, frames and/or shelves toward the ceiling. I have these marble shelves from CB2 in my office (as shown), and I just bought two of these to stack on the wall in my living room.

art prints from gray malin on marble shelves from cb2

Add clever seating. Go ahead… Pull the trigger on that Moroccan pouf you keep Pinning — or tuck this natural, woven statement piece in a corner of your living room and create a cozy reading nook.

Personally, I keep two benches nested underneath a media console for extra seating. I’ve also got a few cute bar stools along my kitchen counter. I use a Mongolian lamb stool as an ottoman, and I keep a little pouf tucked away under my coffee table, too.

*Suggested purchases:

Seagrass basket, Serena & Lily ($88)
Slim rose gold wire basket, Lulu & Georgia ($85)
Marble wall-mount shelves, CB2 ($59.95)
Mongolian lamb stool, West Elm ($399)
White and gold bar stools, One Kings Lane ($111)

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*Where to splurge:

Art. I don’t mean you have to splurge on all the prints and pieces for your home, but these are items that prominently reflect your personality. Plus, you’ll have them for years to come. It took me for-ev-er to decide on a statement piece of artwork for my home, but I finally went with two Gray Malin pieces. The first (pictured above/below), is “The Porter II,” from Gray’s Palm Springs Collection. I love how the color adds some eclectic energy to my office — it’s the perfect pop of color with playful, quirky edge.

As an FYI, too, Gray Malin is offering free framing through 9/7. That saves you a whopping $150, so do not miss out!

home office decor cb2 marble shelves and gray malin the porter ii

Rugs. I never used to have rugs in my space, but I can’t believe how much of  a difference they make. The zebra-patterned rug I have in my bedroom is an extra 20% off right now… I highly recommend it, the colors are beautiful!

Lighting. Think about it: Lighting sets the mood in your home. I have a mix of floor lamps and table lamps in my space from Target, West Elm and CB2. My biggest lighting-related splurge was this floor lamp ($299), and I love it a little more every time I walk into the room. It makes all the other pieces in the room look a little bit more expensive, too. You’d never guess this gorgeous gold lamp is $99, would you?

Side-note: One Kings Lane is offering an extra 20% off lighting this week.

*Suggested purchases:

Nyala rug, One King’s Lane ($100-$476)
Gold table lamp, Safavieh (via Target) $132
Overarching floor lamp, West Elm ($299)
The Porter II art print, Grey Malin ($299+)

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*Finishing touches:

Add texture. Keep it simple with blankets and blinds, or up the ante with pillows, stools or a cool zebra-patterned rug. There’s tons of way to add texture to a room with statement finds like sheepskin stools or Mongolian fur throw pillows. Tread lightly, though — less is more.

Go green. Teeny-tiny terrariums are gaining ground in popularity — largely because they’re affordable and easy to care for. Glitter Guide posted a cute article on how to decorate with houseplants not too long ago.

lifestyle blogger hallie wilson shows how to decorate with succulents

Splash some color with art. Adding color through artwork is a simple, versatile way to show off your taste — plus, each piece can be moved around with your home’s shifting or seasonal aesthetic.
Reflect with mirrors. Mirrors are one of the most transformative additions to any small room, as they visually double your space. The longer and wider, the better. I have this bone mirror leaning against my dresser in the bedroom — a splurge, yes, but I love how it ties together the white and cream elements to my room. Plus, it makes it look so much more open. You can usually find everything at Wisteria on sale, so wait for a promo code this weekend!
Accent! This is the fun part — accent pieces are a way to punctuate the statement you’re making with your decor style. One of my favorite recent purchases is these gold hand figurines. Anything by Jonathan Adler, too.

*Suggested purchases:

Three-piece gold hand statues, Wayfair ($54-64)
Wool shearling pillow, Nordstrom ($149)
Moorish bone mirror, Wisteria ($649)
The Porter II art print, Grey Malin ($299+)
Nyala zebra-patterned rug, One King’s Lane ($100-$476)

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cute home office

Lastly, here’s a few sales I’ve rounded up (and plan to shop) this coming holiday weekend. I’ll update these as I find more, so check back again and often!

Where to shop:

PS: Full home tour is coming soon… Like I said, it’s a work in progress!

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6 comments

  1. Great advice! Also, if you have a piece of furniture you’ve inherited or bought second hand that has “good lines” but a bad finish, you can always paint it. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint covers anything without having to strip or sand. It’s virtually odorless, so it can be used indoors. There are plenty of other paints out there, but I happen to be partial to that one. Happy Labor Day!

  2. I’ve been trying to figure out some ways to clean up and spruce up my apartment! These are great. Decluttering and getting more bins sounds like a great place to start.

  3. LOVE these recommendations. I’ve been looking into purchasing a couple of the CB2 marble wall-mount shelves, and the reviews say that they’re really heavy and some people have problems with installation. Was that the case for you? I’d love any tips!

What do you think?