Blair is Apartment Therapy’s Style Shopping Editor, where she covers the latest brand launches, need-to-buys, and anything related to her two unofficial beats — cane and rattan. Whenever she’s not perusing for the latest home finds (a rarity), you’ll probably find her reading, watching a horror film, or on the hunt for the best tacos in New York (recs are encouraged).
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Decorating a home from scratch can seem like a daunting (and expensive) task. Sure, you know you’ll need the basics, like a couch, dining table and chairs, and a bed, but smaller pieces of decor can contribute just as much to the overall style and feeling of a home as larger ones. Your living room is one area in particular that you likely spend much of your time at home in, so instead of filling it quickly with items you may grow tired of, consider taking a bit more time to curate thoughtful, quality pieces.
Finding decor you love doesn’t have to be pricey, though. Plenty of decorative touches ring in under the $50 mark, and even well-established interior designers turn to these kinds of budget pieces time and again to add finishing touches to rooms. I asked three interior designers to recommend living room decor items under $50, and they delivered, each sharing a few of their favorite affordable pieces. Read on for five of their recommendations.
A sculptural ceramic vase
“Incorporating a beautiful vase is an excellent way to spruce up your living room,” says designer Leslie Murphy, owner and creative director of Memphis-based Murphy Maude Interiors. Murphy often opts for vessels that feel like sculptures in their own right, like this Veda Vase from Moe’s Home, because these types of pieces can be used with or without flowers or greenery. She loves “its understated form and textured exterior” of this piece and likes to switch her vases out seasonally to freshen up her coffee table and other living room surfaces.
Cult-favorite candle brand Boy Smells is likely best known for their collaboration with Kacey Musgraves, but these vessels are also beloved by designers, for both their unique fragrances and their chic, dark glass packaging. “This is my favorite candle currently from Boy Smells,” says designer Mary Patton of the brand’s Ash variety. This scent in particular blends notes of dry hay and black charcoal with lemon peel and charred clove, which makes for a luxurious burn in any room.
Speckled Candlestick Holder
Instead of stocking up on plain candle holders without character, consider investing just a bit more on ones made with elevated materials or with subtle texture. “This uniquely shaped piece easily holds any taper candles,” says interior designer Shoshanna Shapiro of Sho and Co. Tapers are usually reserved for the dining room table, but why not try one or two in a living room in a spot beyond the mantel (where they sometimes also pop up)? Shapiro says these holders look great on side tables, as centerpieces, or shelves.
Better-than-down pillow inserts
Most interior designers recommend stuffing your throw pillow covers with oversized down inserts, as opposed to stiff polyester filling, for the loftiest, most structured cushions. Some people don’t always love the look and feel of down though, and down allergies are also common. Instead, Patton recommends these synthetic pillow inserts from Amazon that she says ”are better than down, hold shape beautifully, and are very budget-friendly.” Hello, throw pillow upgrade!