Modern Minimalist Living Room on a Budget

Do you want something that looks like these incredible living rooms in magazines described as minimalist, modern and Scandinavian? Unfortunately, if you dig down and see the price tags on these rooms they are pretty outrageous.

Can you recreate a modern, minimalist living room in your home or apartment for $1500? Yes you can. Follow these tips to get that same look in your home or apartment.

Elements of a modern Minimalist Living room

To achieve the modern minimalist look your room needs to have these five design elements. If you look at this inspirational photo you will see all of these things.

modern minimalist living room

Neutral furnishings

Neutrals can include grey, beige, cream or white. Greige is also a very popular neutral color because it’s a warmer tone of grey or a cooler tone of beige. It doesn’t matter which neutrals you choose, just use them for all the big things in the room.

The biggest and most expensive part of any living room is the sofa. If you have read my other budget living room posts you know I really love Ikea sofas. They stand the test of time and many of them have removable, washable slip covers. Unfortunately, the more modern ones don’t. Ikea still ranks high for durability and comfort for a low priced sofa.

For accent chairs you want something that complements the sofa, with clean modern lines. I love to look at Target for accent chairs. They have all the latest styles at affordable prices.

  • Pomeroy Barrel chair from target. This chair comes in blue, grey and beige (which they call elephant). It is only $184 so you can afford to get two. It also has wood legs which add to the wood elements required in any Scandinavian minimalist room.
  • Brayden Tufted club chair from Target. This chair comes in six different colors and it also has the wood I’m looking for. It’s a little more expensive, so I would have to use only one to stay in my budget. It’s $241.

Touches of black

The beautiful minimalist Scandinavian rooms always have touches of black. It could be a black light fixture, a black vase or even a piece of furniture with black accents. In the inspiration photo she uses a black basket by the fireplace for wood.

For our less expensive version of this room I included a black floor lamp. Keep it on the lighter looking side for that minimalist look.

Multiple natural wood accessories

To get a modern Scandinavian look you should add as many wood accents as you can afford. I like to bring in wood with accent tables or a coffee table.

Since it’s Scandinavian modern minimalist, the inspiration room has no TV. After all, would you watch TV in your mountain house? Clearly Emily Henderson doesn’t plan to, or she just doesn’t want to ruin the decor with a TV. So pretend you don’t need one. If you do, you could get a very simple wood TV console.

  • Elam wood coffee table – This table comes in two finishes a walnut and a lighter pine finish. The unique egg shape gives it a modern feel. It’s a bargain at $88.
  • Stockholm Nesting tables – from Ikea for $279. These are more expensive, but you get two.

I’m going to lump my art into this wood accessory category because I think images of nature go with this style. I also want to use a wood frame. You can find many beautiful prints on Etsy that are downloads and very budget friendly. If you choose a black and white print, it is fairly inexpensive to print.

This Scandinavian tree on Etsy is only $6 and it can be printed up to 24″x36″. At this size you can find an inexpensive poster frame at Target. There are hundreds of prints like this on Etsy. You just have to decide what subject matter you like. Maybe it’s animals or nature, or abstract. This tree is very minimal and the wood frame is light and modern.

Include At least one plant – more is better

Ikea is a great places to get bargain plants, both real and fake. If you have windows that get sun, I like to use real plants. If you don’t have windows that get sun, don’t waste your money on large real plants. They won’t survive long term far from the sun.

Many textural pieces

The rug is probably the biggest texture in a room, second only to curtains. Part of what makes the inspirational photo so amazing is the architecture, which I can’t duplicate. Unfortunately I don’t have an amazing mountain and a wall full of two story windows with wood trim. It would be a crime to cover these windows with drapes.

In fact, I want to digress a little. It can be hard looking at images like this to see that a big part of what makes the room look so amazing isn’t the decorating, it’s the fact that the house itself is incredible. Even if you took that exact same furniture and every accessory and placed them in your home it wouldn’t look like this. If you live in a regular home or apartment, your architecture is probably a lot more ordinary.

This is not meant to discourage you. Your space can still get that minimalist and Scandinavian feeling in spades, but a lot of what looks so wow in these magazine photo shoots is the architecture.

Back to our textural pieces. For the rug I want something creamy with a thicker pile. I think Overstock is the best place to find high quality bargain rugs.

  • The Carson Carrington Diamond Trellis rug is just the ticket. It has tons of texture and pattern and it’s only $370 for an 8×10. It goes without saying that this rug is not ideal if you have little children.
  • The Nuloom Tribal trellis rug has more pattern, so it’s a better choice if you have little ones. It’s also less expensive, it’s only $185 for an 8×10.

For curtains I want something that disappears into the background. Curtains with a linen look to them feel lighter and more Scandinavian. I like these drapes from Bed Bath and Beyond because they are very inexpensive (only $30) but they don’t look like it. They come in several colors.


What’s Next for the Modern Minimalist Living Room

These five elements will give the look of a minimalist, modern living room. The next step is to add the fun accessories like picture frames, books and small sculptural pieces that you find over time.

If I had another $500 to spend on this room I would spend it on more textural elements like pillows and a throw blanket with a really chunky feel. I would also add baskets for storage and use one as a planter.

If you are really aiming for a minimalist feeling, you don’t want to go to overboard with accessories. Less is more. Fewer larger things will give you room the feel you want rather than more small things.

If you liked this, you might enjoy a reader’s living room makeover on a budget.

How to get a modern minimalist Scandinavian living room on a small budget

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