Transitional Living Room Design on a Budget: Mixing Modern + Vintage

I’m FINALLY getting around to sharing our room designs. We technically moved into our house at the end of December so it’s been a sloooow process to fix things up and decorate. (Check out my HOME tab for all of my house updates). For example, it’s been about five months since we moved in and we just started installing baseboards! (That’s also one of the reasons I haven’t shared photos yet). But anyhoo…things are starting to come together so I wanted to share some quick photos and resources before everything sells out! So without further adieu, here’s my Transitional Living Room Design!

Transitional Living Room Design

I’ll be honest – I don’t really know what I’m doing…lol. I’ve always had a love for design but never got to “practice” or implement any of my ideas because we lived in apartments up until I turned 36! This is the first time we’ve lived in a space where we got to make changes and decorate without having to worry about changing it back when we moved out. So the good news is – anyone can learn how to design a space! It just takes a little research and trial and error.

What is Transitional Design?

So I’ve basically done a crash course of home design by following home decor/DIY bloggers and professional designers on Instagram. I picked up a copy of Amber LewisMade for Living book and started doing a lot of pinning! I think I’ve realized that my design style would be categorized as “Transitional” – which means a mix of modern and traditional. We inherited a lot of old furniture that was left in the house so I’ve been using those pieces when I can – for convenience and budget reasons. I also have a few more modern pieces (like our IKEA couch and Target floor lamp) that we brought from California. Luckily, I feel like the Transitional style is very popular right now so it’s been easy to find pieces to fit our spaces.

Transitional Living Room Collage Moodboard

Transitional Living Room Design Moodboard
Shop My Transitional Living Room Design

Velvet Drapes || Sheer Curtains || IKEA Sofa (similar)|| Loloi Rug || Accent Chairs || Coffee Table || IKEA Bamboo Poufs (similar) || Floor Lamp || Side Table || Target Pillows (here)(similar)|| Faux Plant || Crock || Faux Flowers

Transitional Living Room Design on a Budget

Transitional Living Room Design

Using What We Already Have

I tried to use the furniture that we already had to the best of my ability so that we didn’t have to spend a lot to redo the space. The IKEA sofa isn’t in the best condition since we got it used and we’ve had it for awhile now. I was looking into replacing the covers with a BEMZ slipcover but decided to keep as is for now. Eventually, I’d love the couch to be a green or blue velvet!

I had an arched floor lamp that was in the kid’s room in our old apartment that I decided to use for the living room since we don’t have any overhead lighting. I also had IKEA bamboo footstools in the kids room that I moved in here for additional seating. Thankfully, they fit perfectly under the coffee table so they are able to be out of the way when we don’t need them.

Amber Lewis X Loloi Rug

Since we already had the grey sofa my first task was to find a rug that matched the sofa but would also be versatile enough to work if we decide to upgrade the sofa later. I believe that picking a rug is the first order of business when designing a room. It really helps to inspire the color palette and design of the rest of the space.

I decided to go with an Amber Lewis X Loloi rug because they had that vintage vibe at a fraction of the cost. I would LOVE to buy a real vintage rug one day but those things run thousands of dollars! The Loloi rugs also have a very low pile which is great when you have kids (or pets).

The Amber Lewis X Loloi Georgie in Antique Ivory rug was perfect because it had neutral shades mixed with teals, blues, burgundy, and a little olive. I feel like it works well with cool and warm room designs. And you can’t beat the price – the 8’4″ X 11’6″ rug that I got was around $250!

Amber Lewis X Loloi Georgie Antique Ivory Teal Rug

So far I’m really loving the rug. I think it’s great for kids because it’s easy to pick up crumbs and wipe away tiny messes. It’s also a busy enough pattern that stains aren’t noticeable. It’s definitely a thin rug and not soft and fluffy (because there’s little to no pile) but that’s ok with me. If you add a cushioned rug pad underneath it’s definitely more comfortable.

Luxe Drapes for Less

Who knew that curtains and window coverings were so expensive?? Not me! Lol. We have a HUGE window in the living room – which I’m not mad about – but that means it needs a lot of panels and a really long rod. Both of which were kind of hard to find!

I originally thought I’d do linen drapes. I love the Pottery Barn Emery Linen Curtains but they are SO EXPENSIVE. Even at the Pottery Barn outlet they were still pretty pricey. Luckily, I found some drapes similar to Pottery Barn’s Emery Linen curtains on Amazon! The Half Priced Drapes linen-blend drapes look really similar to the Pottery Barn ones at a FRACTION of the cost. I actually bought a panel of the Pottery Barn drapes to compare and they were very similar. Obviously, the Pottery Barn ones are higher quality – they are 100% linen and have a cotton lining. The Amazon drapes are a polyester/linen blend, slightly more textured and more sheer. But you can see for yourself how similar they look!

(In both photos the left is Pottery Barn Emery Linen Drapes and right is Amazon Half Priced Linen Drapes)

In the end I decided to go with velvet accent drapes and inexpensive sheer cotton panels. I really love velvet so I was looking for a way to incorporate it into the room. I went with velvet drapes from Half Priced Drapes on Amazon because I was really impressed with the quality of the linen ones. What I love about the Half Priced Drapes curtains is that you can hang them multiple ways. They have a rod pocket, back tabs, and drapery belt! They also have weights sewn into the bottom hem which helps them lay really nicely. The linen panels are also lined which make them seem even more luxe.

Amazon Half Priced Drapes Velvet Curtains

I wanted to hang the curtains on the West Elm Double Curtain Rod but it was backordered so I went with this double curtain rod from Macy’s. At the time it was under $100. I still prefer the West Elm rod though. I think it looks more polished.

Vintage and Secondhand Furniture + Decor

The rest of the living room is pretty much made up of vintage and secondhand finds! I was really trying to decorate on a budget so I looked for furniture at local thrift shops, antique shops, and on Facebook Marketplace. This is actually my first time really “thrifting”. I’m not a fan of thrifting for clothes (I’ve tried, I just don’t really like it for some reason). But thrifting for furniture and decor is a different story. Turns out I really love it!

The square coffee table is from FB Marketplace for $30. The two vintage cane accent chairs are also from FB Marketplace for $100 each. My side tables are thrift store finds for around $35 each. The crock holding the flowers was $20 at the antique store. I have a few other decor items in the living room that are all from thrift/antique stores!

Final Design Thoughts

The transitional style is great if you have eclectic taste in pieces because it allows you to mix styles. I love both modern and vintage styles so it’s nice to be able to have them both in our design. I had a totally different living room design in my head when I first started but it eventually evolved once I started collecting pieces. When you are vintage furniture shopping you don’t really have control over finding exactly what you are looking for. I found pieces similar to what I had in mind (that I still loved) and sort of let the final design flow from there.

The secondhand pieces I found (like the coffee table, accent chairs, and side tables) are a mix of all different wood tones so there’s not as much cohesiveness in the look as is in the collage photo. I think eventually I will fix up some of the pieces (the coffee table is a little rough right now) but for now they are fine. I can eventually reupholster the accent chairs and even paint the wood black for a more modern look. So thinks might change but that’s ok! It’s all about the process.

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