Home Tours

This 25-Year-Old Completely Transformed Her Living Room on a Budget


Meet Amanda Risius, a blogger who is passionate about helping others create unique spaces in simple steps, similarly to how she’s redecorating her own home, room by room. She knows a thing or two about landing dream jobs and separating social media from real life — something we all need help with of from time to time. So far, she’s remodeled her living room and we got an up-close look at the beautiful end result. Up next, her straight-from-the-70s kitchen and, if her living room transformation is any indication, it’s going to be great.

Name: Amanda Risius
Age: 25
Square Footage: 270 sq. feet (living room only)
Rent or Own: Own
City, State: Council Bluffs, IA

You’re making over your home with your boyfriend, one room at a time. How did you decide what to tackle first?
Our house is small, so the main living area consists of our living room and kitchen. We spend 90% of our time in the living room and it’s the central room in the house, so it made sense to start there. I always suggest tackling the room you use most that needs the most help. You don’t want to spend time redoing a room first that you never use!



What’s the best starting point when seeking out decor and design inspiration? Do you start with specific pieces, a color palette, or a theme?
You should start by creating a new Pinterest board and only pinning images of interiors and decor you absolutely LOVE. They should be spaces that you could picture you (and your family) living. You can pin a variety of images like interiors, specific furniture, and colors you like. But they must all be images that make you happy when you look at them. Then once you have your Pinterest board of inspiration and know what you are drawn to, you will use it to form your color pallette, decide on furniture styles, and create your overall theme.

I always suggest tackling the room you use most that needs the most help.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Pinterest is definitely up there on my list because it’s such an easy and free resource. But browsing cute shops, reading books and magazines, and looking online I find lots of inspiration as well. Recently I’ve taken the pressure off myself to come up with super unique ideas all the time, and now I just decorate for our home and what matters to us, and that’s made decorating a lot easier.

What’s the best budget-friendly, quick fix to freshen up any room?
Accessories! Just like when your outfit feels blah and you throw on a pretty necklace or fun shoes to amp it up, same goes for decorating. If your furniture and walls lack interest, add some throw pillows, hang art on your walls to add some personality, and style your coffee table with a couple books, a plant, and a candle so it looks intentional. These are relatively cheap things you can add that will instantly transform your room. Accessories are easy to swap out too over time whenever you want a change.



Is your boyfriend involved in the redesign and if so, how are you merging your styles?
He’s definitely involved because he helps with a lot of the projects, like installing new wood floors and redoing our bathroom. For the most part, I make all the design decisions and run my final choice by him. He trusts me and likes my style so it works well. He likes the rustic elements and modern designs as well.

Describe your decorating style and tell us how it has changed over time.
After struggling for years to really nail down my decorating style, I finally have a true understanding of what it looks like. A few years ago, I liked many different styles; I couldn’t pick just one. I constantly changed my mind and was redecorating to fit all these different styles I liked, but it was overwhelming because I never felt done and my decor never felt right. I was tired of not being happy with my home and it all stemmed from not knowing my decorating style, so I decided to change that. I did lots of research and some trial and error before I developed a system that accurately identified my decorating style that was catered to me and my lifestyle called, Find Your Signature Decorating Style. It’s a simple step by step system that helps you discover your signature decorating style based on your lifestyle and needs. My signature decorating style is modern rustic cottage, because I like clean modern furniture, with rustic accents like antlers and leather, and I like the beachy cottage color palette of lots of white, blues, and greys. Since finding my decorating style, I have a new perspective on decorating and want to help others find their decorating style too. It’s amazing how simple decorating is when you actually know what colors, furniture styles, and patterns make up your style.

How do you use minimalism and capsule concepts to design spaces?
I actually modeled my Find Your Signature Decorating Style system around capsule concepts because I like how it really simplifies things. Capsule concepts are systematic because it’s all based on creating a cohesive style that fits your lifestyle and I like that. Capsule wardrobes are so popular these days because it makes sense and it simplifies getting dressed, which can be a pain point for lots of people. I wanted to create something that did the same thing but for decorating.

How did you decide which pieces to invest in and which to save?
I invest in the bigger pieces we use most. Like our couch for example. The very first couch we purchased ended up being too big and bulky for the space, but the fabric also started to pill and it just didn’t look or feel quality. We moved that to the basement and looked for new couches, but this time, I actually properly researched what makes a quality couch. We ended up settling on our couch from Article that we love. We use it every day, so I wanted a good couch that would last for years. On the other hand, our coffee table was $50 on Craigslist. It’s all about balancing it out and deciding what you use most and want to last for years and years.

Where are your favorite places to find budget pieces?
Honestly, my favorite places are Craigslist for furniture like tables and shelves, IKEA for some furniture, thrift stores for unique accessories, Gordmans for super affordable decor and pillows, and Target. Gotta love Target.



What’s next of the remodel list and which room are you most excited about redoing?
Next up is the kitchen, which I’m most excited about! Currently, our kitchen looks like it’s straight from the 60s, original oven and all. We have plans to update the oven, install the same BuildDirect hardwood flooring that’s in the living in the kitchen, add butcher block counters and subway tile for backsplash. That’s the last major interior project we have besides painting all of the trim.


sofa, Article
wood flooring, Build Direct
Rug, Rugs-Direct
star pendant light, ATG Stores
woven wood blinds, Blinds.com
blue stripe pillow, Tonic Living
blue patterned pillow, Tonic Living
white patterned pillow, Tonic Living (no longer available)
tie dye pillow, Rebecca Atwood (no longer available)
coffee table, Craigslist
faux fur throw, ATG Stores
glass hurricane, ATG Stores
DIY IKEA hack built-ins
plant stand, West Elm
horse print, friend took photo, framed by Shutterfly
magnolia wreath, ATG Stores
DIY rustic full-length mirror
leather pouf,  ATG Stores
round rope mirror, Gordmans (no longer available online)
blue tufted chair,  thrifted
stripe blanket, Target (no longer available)
floor lamp, Target