Sivanayla house
Nothing excites me more than home decor, nothing! Since I was a teenager I had this obsession with styling my parent’s house. At the time I was very into Shabby Chic and started painting all our furniture white and distressing it myself (because Shabby Chic the brand is extremely expensive). My mom loved it, but my dad was just a liiiiiiiitle pissed that I was painting over their expensive wooden furniture just to make it look old and used??? Yeah, that was fun to explain. Now that it’s 2017 and more than 10 year later, he is just now understanding the concept of Shabby Chic, meanwhile I’ve long moved on. Sorry!

Prior to living in my house, Paul and I lived in a 2-bedroom apartment and we pretty much used hand-me-down furniture with accessories that I slowly started to purchase. I had no design motif / theme / concept, I would just buy random items that I liked individually. Because of this my place was erratic and all over the place and I had no clue how to fix it. After purchasing our house I decided we needed to start from scratch. It was the only way to fix my problem.

Having a blank canvas [house] to furnish and decorate was my dream. I was finally going to have the home I always envisioned (once I figured out what I wanted). But, not so fast. Here comes the money police, aka RICHARD, to shatter all my dreams. RICHARD wasn’t into me blowing our life savings on a couch. Because I didn’t furnish our apartment he had NO fucking clue just how savvy I am in this department. Nice try, RICHARD.

To find out how I styled my home on a budget read my tips below.

Sivan Ayla Home

Home Decor On A Budget Processed with VSCO with j5 preset

Processed with VSCO with j5 preset Processed with VSCO with j5 preset

-Make a Pinterest board. First and foremost, gather inspiration and decide on a concept. Like I said, you can go broke buying the wrong items and the end result will just depress you further. Pay attention to the details in an inspiration photo–what kind of hardware is being used? What color floors / walls? What kind of lighting does that space have? These will help you establish if the look is achievable for your space.

-Take your time. It’s very easy to get carried away and excited to furnish an empty home. It is this exact scenario that has caused me to redo my bedrooms over and over again. I purchased on impulse instead of being patient. I really need to start practicing what I preach…Taking your time also allows you to save up or make sure this is really the piece(s) you want to invest in.

-Get a discount on large items. Furniture. It’s going to be the most expensive part, but it’s also the most important pieces in the house. Keep in mind most furniture online (West Elm, CB2, Anthro, etc.) takes 8-12 weeks to deliver so you definitely want to get that part handled first. My giant sectional in my “comfy” living room is from Z Gallerie and since it was such a pricey item they gave me 10% off. In fact, most furniture places will extend this discount on large purchases. If they don’t offer it, ask for it! Any dollar saved helps, right?

-The sneaky stuff. Ok, so I have no shame, but this side of me has saved me 100’s of dollars. Sometimes it’s too much of a headache / mission to do, but overall if you can spare the 20 minute phone call, do it! Places like West Elm, CB2, Urban Outfitters, Pottery Barn, etc. all offer an array of promotions weekly–20-25% off, free shipping, $10 off, sign up for our email and get an automatic coupon, you get it. If you are planning to purchase anything from these places, you should confidently be able to do it with at least a 20% off coupon. However, if you can’t find one, not to worry. Buy it, and when you do get that coupon, call them and make them refund you the difference.

Sometimes you have to argue with them, but most of the time there are no questions asked. Also, sometimes I just keep talking in circles until I confuse them and eventually they discount me even more? That part isn’t a guarantee but I always get at least the difference back.

-Home Goods. My secret weapon. Home Goods was how I afforded to decorate my parents’ house when I decided everything should be Shabby Chic. Clearly nothing has changed, as I frequent Home Goods a little too frequently. Sometimes I have to cut myself off cold-turkey. Home Goods shopping is like an addiction. You go in there secretly hoping you won’t find anything because you’re going to spend a minimum of $100 on like 20 items…but also secretly hoping you hit the home-decor-tchachki jackpot, which is usually the case.

Occasionally I find myself purchasing items that really aren’t that fabulous, but I’m under that Home Goods spell and can’t stop. So I bring it home, decide I don’t like it, then give it away. Very wasteful, I know. But if I go back there to return it, I’ll just spend another $100…so you see the problem?

-My decor is not expensive. Every now and then I’ll make the loop–Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, World Market, Target–to make sure nothing to-die for is just sitting on those messy-ass shelves waiting for me to arrive. Typically these are the type of stores I find most of my decor-type pieces. Things like a cute magnifying glass, brass statues, baskets, throws, pillows, marble items, copper accessories, a vase, canister, dish towel, frame, coasters, etc.

I splurge on things I absolutely LOVE, and usually it’s at Jonathan Adler or Amber Interiors.

-Go to flea markets. My BFF and I have a ritual of hitting the Rosebowl Flea Market each month, as we are both very slowly furnishing our places. Our latest infatuation is Danish and Scandinavian design, which involves a lot of unique wood pieces, so the Rosebowl Flea Market is perfect for this look. It’s not cheap, so I save up for my one big item for the month. So far I’ve purchased my red rug in the sitting room, my wooden dining table and bench, all my plants, and most recently, the ladder in my guest bathroom.

-Ikea is your friend.  I know, I know, it’s the most annoying and fun place on earth. Like Disneyland. You LOVE being there, but everything else is just stupid–the lines, the parking, the loading area, the kids running wild / screaming, endless carts everywhere…BUT, it’s cheap and good. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box, but overall Ikea is great. Things like a shelving unit, which can be spray painted gold or left black for an edgier look, faux sheep-skin throws, jute rugs, plants, dressers, and hardware are all basic items that can be worked into your space and made fabulous with the right accessories.

My black shelving unit in the sitting room is from Ikea and no one thinks it’s a cheap $70 thing because I’ve styled it with items that look expensive.

-Make your own art. Grab a canvas with some neutral colors and paint something abstract. OR, print off images from Pinterest and frame them. I buy all my frames on Amazon from this seller, they are inexpensive and a good basic black or white frame.

-Books add a lot. They range in price, but for the most part you can order a TON of fashion books, home decor books, and artsy books on Amazon (new or used) at a good price. Stacking them with a cute candle on top, or lining them up with a cool book-end from Home Goods is a great space filler that looks super chic.

If you have any additional questions for me about this, leave them below in the comments!


Posted in Design, My Home · 28 Comments


  1. Annie Vardi says:

    Love this article.
    Spot on!

  2. Morgan says:

    I needed this as I am doing the same thing right now! Totally asking for tons of books for my birthday!!! xx

  3. natasha says:

    Do you usually buy your book ends from Home Goods? I am currently on the hunt!

  4. Niza says:

    So funny I do all the same things… guess it comes natural when you are on a budget! Where are your kitchen stools from?

  5. Lily says:

    Your home is a pinterest dream! Absolute perfection! Xx

  6. Thanks for sharing this! I love seeing your home in all your snaps, your style is so up my alley!

  7. Gabrielle says:

    Love this post!! Where did you get those stools at your kitchen island?? Absolutely in love!!

  8. Herika says:

    Great post! Lots of awesome tips and tricks!


  9. Samantha says:

    I love your decor and style! It reminds me of my own so I love to see what different/new things you got.
    Home goods is the best! I was wondering what gold spray paint you used to cover your furniture in the past? I am doing research but was wondering if you have a great recommendation.

    • Sivan Ayla says:

      Thank you!! I usually just use any metallic gold spray paint from Michaels. I don’t stick with a specific brand. However, I like to get a cooler gold rather than a yellow gold. Hope that helps!

  10. Jordan Searcey says:

    Love this! Where did you get those sheepskin throws on your barstools??

  11. Eva says:

    I’m in love with the throw on you’re dining table, where is it from? :)

  12. Nicollette Sawyer says:

    I love the living room rug… please share where you got it!

    • Sivan Ayla says:

      The red rug is a vintage rug from the Rosebowl Flea Market. I waited MONTHS to purchase a rug since they are pretty pricey but I had a vision and when I saw this one I knew it was “the one.”

  13. Noone can get happiness in their life and make others happy in their house untill they décor their house and its furniture or everything in the daily use according to their choice or in a budget. So take some time and furnish your house according to your choice.

  14. Kelli says:

    Great tips Sivan! I am kinda obsessed with your home decor! The hubs and I are moving into a new house next week and will def be taking some of your interior inspo as motivation! Hope you are having a great week!

    xx Kelli
    Lovely in Gold

  15. Desh says:

    Haha Sivan you kill me! RICHARD lol I can so relate!
    This post was amazing as usual, love your tips – so helpful! And you style everything so wonderfully, it’s truly surprising how inexpensive some of your pieces are!
    Thank you for sharing your style tips with us! Your content is amazing and you have such a beautiful home!

  16. Iris Dayton says:

    This post is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. You did an awesome job laying this process out, and I can’t wait to use some of your tips. As always, love your style and your essence!

  17. Paty Avery says:

    Thank you for this post! Love your home decor and style! I’m in need of some help buying bed sheets, do you have any brand to suggest? Thank you! Xx P

  18. Anika says:

    I love your style! I am decorating a bedroom and would love to know the style number or name of the black shelves you got from Ikea – I am struggling to find them online. They are perfect for what I am looking for! Thank you :)

  19. Wioletta Parker says:

    Please share where your barstools are from. I’m in desperate need to get barstools and these may solve my problem

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