Thrift & Thrive: Budget-Friendly Alternatives for a More Sosyal Living Room

Revamp your space with elevated, luxe finds without breaking the bank.

Thrift & Thrive: Budget-Friendly Alternatives for a More Sosyal Living Room

Revamp your space with elevated, luxe finds without breaking the bank.
Photo by Timothy Laurie Ang

Imagine this: You’re a rich tito or tita trotting around the world with a huge mansion to come home to. After your month-long tour in Monaco with Heart E, you fly back home and lay on your million-dollar velvet couch in your Versailles-inspired lounge. In the background, a pianist plays Mozart on the grand piano. Sarap talaga ng buhay, noh? 

In our dreams. Reality hits, and most of us feel like crying sa sobrang taas ng mga bilihin at bayarin. How could we possibly have a million-dollar sofa at home in this economy? (Good for you if you do, though — share naman where you got it.)

But, if you’re in the Home Buddies community, you know you don’t need a million dollars to achieve any interior you fancy — yes, kahit sossy pa ang peg. Even if you only have a limited budget, you can make your living room look like it was commissioned by Solenn Heussaff herself. Here’s how to add class and sass to your space without breaking the bank.

The Kapitbahay’s Guide to a Thrifted Sossy Living Room

We all want the best for our homes. Of course, we don’t dress (our homes) to impress; nonetheless, it’s a bonus to hear compliments when someone comes over. After all, they’re our labors of love, so simple words of “Ang ganda ng bahay mo, mars!” are music to our ears. 

Let’s start with step one: Our living rooms, since it’s the first thing guests see when they visit our homes. 

Finding Inspo is the Way to Go

As with any artistic project, looking for inspo is always the first step to avoid getting overwhelmed with where (or how) to start. Go on Pinterest, create a mood board, and gather inspiration from your fellow Kapitbahays. You’d be surprised at how helpful they can be.

Photo by Catherine Cuerpo

Identify the key design elements you want for your sala. Decide on color schemes, styles, and textures that resonate with you. Once you have the baseline, staying focused with your peg in mind will streamline your options in making the right choices while thrifting.

Look for Vintage Finds

Are you a fan of ukay? Us, too! Except we’re not talking about clothes; we’re talking about furniture and trinkets. The feeling of discovering unique furniture pieces at thrift stores is so underrated — especially at a time when everyone’s clamoring in long, long lines at IKEA. 

Keep your eyes peeled for well-crafted, timeless pieces such as mid-century modern sofas, coffee tables, armchairs, mirrors, and so on. Don’t be discouraged by minor imperfections — more often than not, madadaan ‘yan sa DIY. A little sanding, polishing, and repainting can do wonders. You can even enlist the help of an expert if you’re not confident in handling them. Bonus point: You’ll probably never find anything like them. They’re yours and yours alone! 

Look for incredible pieces of secondhand furniture and accessories in buzzing thrift markets. You can also find them online in specialty shops like Alabaster, Rustic Finds, and Cura Furn, among many other shops. (TBH, sa Facebook Marketplace pa lang, you’d be overwhelmed with so many good deals already.)

Putting the ‘Fab’ in Fabric

A little textile magic goes a long way in elevating anything to sosyal. Remember Cruella de Vil? Her lavish, coveted fur coat gave her the ultimate donya status. Hold it right there — we’re not encouraging you to do what she did. (As fellow furparents, please don’t.) 

Look for affordable but high-quality curtains, throw pillows, rugs, and upholstery. For example, silk, velvet, and faux-fur textures add a touch of opulence to any room. If you want to go the extra mile, use rich and deep colors like indigo, sapphire blue, or burgundy. The right pieces can transform your living room into a royal retreat. Marie Antoinette vibes, ganern.

Light is Love

If you enter a castle, what’s the first thing you notice? Chances are, it would be a grand, gigantic chandelier hanging from the ceiling. While it might look impractical and out-of-place in a smaller living space, lighting fixtures can still make or break the ambiance of a room.

Seek elegant and statement-making lighting options, whether a small crystal chandelier, vintage brass sconces, or Nordic-style floor lamps. Either way, these fixtures literally provide light and will be prominent in any room, which is a double-edged sword. Unless you want Phantom-of-the-Opera levels of drama, choosing lights that offer an excellent visual balance to your living area is best.

Feeling Artsy Yarn

Paintings, printed photos, posters, and art prints can turn blank spaces into a canvas filled with your own character and depth. You see, the things we choose to display reflect some parts of ourselves and our personality. You can easily tell what a person is like with just the type of photos they display. Like to travel? Display postcards. Love nature? Hang paintings of flowers.

Plus, art is always so classy to look at. It’s what makes museums look timeless and elegant. So, if you find that your walls look dull, turn one of them into your own personalized gallery. Aside from maganda na ngang tingnan, it would also make your living room feel extra special.

Feel free to use personal photos, paintings, or store-bought prints. And if they match the overall vibe of your decor — all the better! Your wall art can spark convos, inspire creativity, and provide a source of daily joy for you and the members of your household. 

The ‘Green’ Kind of Glamour

No matter how modern or contemporary a home is, it won’t be complete without plants — the ultimate sign of life. After all, no one likes a sterile environment. Lush greens, like potted plants or flowers, are always a good idea. They bring life and freshness to any room. 

Also, we don’t know if it’s just us, but seeing a healthy indoor plant is so nakakapresko. Let’s face it — we all need that refreshing feeling amidst the Philippine heat. (Can you believe it? Ber months na, kailangan naka-aircon pa rin.) Thankfully, though, plants go a long way. It’s a beloved housewarming gift for a reason. 

(P.S. We’ve also explored how to incorporate gorgeous greenery into your home — plants, decor, and all.)

Sparkle, Shine, Accessorize

When it comes to finishing touches, the little things count. Look for chic trays, stylish coasters, and decorative bowls — accessories like these are fun and easy to find in thrift stores. Now is really a good time to play around by mixing and matching what you have. You never know how your thrifted vintage finds would look against a modern, minimalist coffee table. 

The key, as always, is to find balance. We love budols and showing off our decor (every Kapitbahay can probably relate), but at the same time, we don’t want anything to look too off or overwhelming. Look for unique finds in stores like Bangkal Thriftshop, Retro Alley, and trusted Carousell sellers.

Thrifting Your Living Room? Count Us In

Hopefully, these tipid tips can help you achieve a living room that feels like a grand parlor, no matter where you live. After all, if there’s anything our Kapitbahays have taught us, it’s that we can make anything happen! We’re living proof that, with enough shopping smarts and an eye for design, nothing is ever out of reach.

At the end of the day, as long as you have fun sossi-fying your living room, it’s all worth it. We’d love to be in on your project, too! Come share your experiences and projects with us on our Facebook page.

This article has multiple parts
Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3