How to Create a Warm and Inviting Living Space on a Budget

We live busy cluttered lives in a good year. This past year, when so many of us were stuck at home, never was it more necessary to have a safe haven. A place to feel warm and free to breath without obstruction and fear.

I’m no professional decorator but I know for a fact that creating a pleasant atmosphere wherever you are (this is why office workers decorate their cubicles) make you happier, more at ease and ultimately healthier.

I live in a small NYC apartment and don’t have a ton of money, so I’ve discovered vignettes. Small moments around the room that catch your eye. They take a boring room and add color, interest and conversation.

Think of the New York City skyline. Famously thought to be stunning.

Flying into NYC, isn’t it amazing when the pilot takes you close to the buildings so you can see it as if you’re a bird gliding through the skyscrapers? There’s a reason why this skyline is so visually pleasing. It’s layered, has peaks and valleys much like a view of a mountain range. There’s always something to look at.

This is an antique wooden secretary In my small living room. It’s the first thing I see when I step out of my bedroom and it makes me happy every time. Even when it’s not lit up.

I added the card for Christmas.

Notice the levels. I used books as a riser for an antique tea cup I normally put an led tea light in, but, here, for the holidays I put a couple small ornaments. Behind it is a plate from the same incomplete set of China. Don’t sleep on garage sales, stoop sales and thrift stores when looking for home decor. You can easily find small things like this that can become a center piece. Different sized candles, a snow globe and a bracelet add interest in the cubbies and surfaces. That’s a mason jar on the right that I stuffed some twinkle lights into, the rest of the string frame the vignette. The mirror, I got at a craft store with a plain unfinished wooden frame. I decoupaged some Indian sheets of paper I found in the scraps bin of a decorative paper store.

This is on another wall in the living room. It’s a cheap three shelf bookcase. I used a table runner on top for color and to soften the wood, the lamp I’ve had for over ten years and now has a smart bulb. I tried many colors but settled on this warm golden yellow. A couple candles add those layers I talked about and the moment is finished off with a set of yin and yang stress balls.

This is my kitchen. It’s not exactly my aesthetic, dark brown cabinets, black stove, I like light colors. This is why the kitchen table is decked out so that’s where my eye is drawn.

Starting from the bottom right, I used a colorful trivet as a base for that sparkly gold Pilar candle I light twice a year. I made a calendar on vista print with pictures from my trip to Scandinavia (always a great conversation) and propped it up on a table top easel. Every month I flip the page. In front of that is an image of a tarot card from an old magazine pasted to a piece of cardboard. The vase is filled with all my pens and pencils. On the wall, a framed New Yorker magazine cover and a holiday fake deer head I keep up year round (got that at pier one imports).

I moved the kitchen table to the living room.

Here you can see the secretary, the bookcase and table set for Christmas dinner. Moving the table in here was the most wonderful thing especially since we haven’t been able to dine in for so long. It also made me love my apartment more knowing I can transform it into something completely different at any time.

Here’s my living room not decorated for the holidays and before the smart bulb.

Here’s another iteration of my living room. Believe it or not, the tree in the left corner is a cat tree! It’s from Chewy and looks like a potted plant. Not crazy expensive either. This is what it looks like when people come over which can hopefully happen again very soon!

What are some interesting things you do with your home decor? Let me know in the comments!

Published by Cindy

For money, I’m what you call a banquet captain. That means I’m in charge of timing and staff at special events, weddings, benefits, movie premiere parties...ect. I’m also a filmmaker and freelance writer. I’m owned by two cats, Samantha and Harrison Chase who reluctantly allow me to travel, something I’m made to do.

4 thoughts on “How to Create a Warm and Inviting Living Space on a Budget

  1. Great read! And your decorating skills are fantastic. What is a “smart bulb”?

    Molly D. Rodriguez LCSW-R,BCD 69 Ogden Place Dobbs Ferry NY 10522 914-522-1154 Sent from my iPhone


Leave a Reply to CindyCancel reply