Even though I’m desperately clinging to summer, I must begin to accept that the days are getting shorter and cooler. We can all mourn the loss of beach weather together by opening several online shopping tabs. Today we’re shopping for things to refresh your living room.
I’m personally in the middle of a living room refresh after buying the mid-century couch of my dreams. The couch turned out to be the missing piece that allowed me to completely flip the layout of my apartment and change my entire life. This layout flip opened up a whole new world of decor possibilities. A new rug? Pillows? Maybe a projector? Rushing to decorate my old living room is how I ended up with stuff I didn’t really like or use, so I’m being intentional with my choices, taking it slow and making sure everything works together.
Here’s a tip: When refreshing any room, it’s really helpful to mood board it out so that you can see the pillows you’ve been eyeing next to a rug you like, and so on. I do this on Landing, an easy mood board app, and Pixlr, a free photoshop alternative. I also love West Elm’s room planner, which I “hack” a bit to meet my needs.
Everyone loves (and needs) some throw pillows
If you want to experiment with colors and patterns, throw pillows are a great way in without much of a commitment. This Dusen Dusen pillow embroidered with a glass of water is one of my favorite things in my living room. It’s cute as hell and doubles as a cheeky reminder to hydrate.
But maybe you’re over colors and patterns. Maybe you’d rather play with shapes. Is there anything more delightful than a round pillow? Look at this beautiful, cushy ball. For the safe but still chic route, these linen pillow covers from H&M could add some nice texture and depth to your sofa.
Dusen Dusen Water Pillow
Embroidered pillow in multi-colored Water print. 100% cotton, back zip, non-embroidered natural canvas back. Available as 18″ x 18″. Spot clean only. Made in India.
Pillow insert is a polyfill down alternative and mimics the fluffiness of natural down. Insert is made in USA.
Some grown-up security blankets
With Cozy Season upon us, you need to make sure you have an assortment of blankets to cocoon yourself in while watching yet another season of Love Is Blind. (Netflix, if you’re reading this, I will watch 10 more seasons of this show. Keep it coming.) I’ve had tabs open for this weighted blanket from Bearaby for almost two years now, whenI used one at a friend’s house and was honestly blown away by how comfortable it was! If you want something lighter, this waffle knit linen blanket is a good option. And lastly, I love a print, so I have to recommend this beautiful floral throw from Valley Cruise Press.
Turn the lights down low
Lighting is so, so important, especially in a living room, and you really want it to be easily adjustable. “Home automation” generally creeps me out, but I’m all in on smart bulbs. Most of the lamps in my apartment are powered by these smart bulbs that I can control with my voice or an app. Their brightness scale is pretty wide so you can make these super dim or bright depending on your needs. This particular bulb is white, but you can get the ones that turn different colors. (I personally do not believe in colored bulbs but support your choices.)
My absolute favorite lamp is this little Murano-inspired one that comes in a ton of colors. I love that the entire lamp glows when you turn it on but it’s also so nice to look at when it’s off. Same goes for this globe lamp that’s in my IKEA cart as we speak. It’s an interesting shape and the price is right. And if you have the space for a floor lamp, this one from an Etsy vendor made me gasp! It’s fully customizable, too.
Everything’s nicer by candlelight
Living room candles are an absolute must. My favorite one is made by a company hilariously named Scentsational (get it?), in the Fig Leaves and Cedar scent. (I first found this candle a few years ago at HomeGoods, the best place on earth.) I’m not great at describing scents but this candle smells expensive. I also keep seeing TikToks about this reusable candle brand called Notes. Their refillable silicone inserts should dramatically cut down on the number of empty candle vessels you need to find new uses for.
If scented candles are not your thing but you still like the candle vibe, get yourself some unscented prayer candles. I buy a pack of these about once a year and use them all over my apartment, but I especially love to stick them on my corner side table and window sills. They produce a really nice glow and will burn forever.
Don’t mess up your table!
As the proud and sometimes regretful owner of a glass-topped coffee table, coasters are a must. A friend recently got me these burger coasters as a gift and I love them. The tomato slice in particular brings me so much joy. Maybe you’re more of a ceramic deli sandwich person? Don’t worry, I hear you whispering, “but Veronica, what if I don’t want my coasters to look like food?” I simply don’t understand this way of thinking… but you do have options! These tile coasters are relatively classic and look nice in a stack. Or you can opt for this silicone set that looks like little notebook doodles.
Everything in its right place, which is a tray
Where are you going to store all these beautiful coasters, candles and your various remotes? A tray, obviously, like these geometric metal ones. They fit into each other, so you can stack them or spread them out as you need. If metal isn’t your speed, you can’t go wrong with a classic wood tray. There are endless options online but I love this one with handles. If the arms of your couch are wide enough to accommodate an accessory, this armrest tray that drapes over the surface it lays on is maybe one of the best things ever invented? Finally, these straw cushions aren’t officially trays but they are tray-adjacent and double as floor seating when you have company. They stack nicely in a corner or you can slide them under most couches.
Rugs! Rugs! Rugs!
Rugs are a great way to bring a room together, especially a living room. First and foremost, make sure you’re shopping for the correct rug size. If the rug you love is too small, try layering! Jute rugs are perfect for layering and/or high-traffic areas. Ikea has a well-priced jute rug that I’ve used as a layering base in past living rooms. Note that these rugs are made of natural fibers and will smell a bit earthy for the first day or so, but this fades!
I’m going to tell you a secret: I have had dreams about this rug. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this but we’re all friends here. I love this rug so much, and I hope one of you buys it so I can live vicariously through you once I’m done dying of jealousy. (While I haven’t dreamt of this rug, I do think about it a lot and have sloppily Photoshopped it into my living room several times.)
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
Mirrors are my favorite things to decorate with in any room. I live in a first-floor, North-facing apartment, so I like to use mirrors to amplify the low to medium light I’m getting from my windows. I have nothing against a rectangular or round mirror but, in my opinion, irregular shapes are more visually interesting. This one from Zara Home, an underrated home decor store, is a great option. If you have room for a standing mirror, the Ikea Hovet is one of the best ones out there. It’s massive but understated. Perfect for mirror selfies!