Budget Living Room Makeover

Recently, I took up the creative challenge to help my Mum make-over her sitting room on a non-existent (and I mean ‘zero dollar’) budget. Course we did have a little more than zero dollars though we just wanted to see what we could come up with.

Here’s the space before (quite a few years ago, complete with my brother and sister in pre-Débutante poses)….

The room had changed since these photos though I didn’t have a proper ‘before’ shot which included the floral lounge suite.

You see, up until recently that floral lounge suite was still in the space, and although Mum did have plans to update it, the motivation didn’t come until some irresponsible pet owner (whose name may begin with ‘K’ and rhyme with ‘pristine’) left their new puppy unsupervised on what was clearly a very tasty looking floral sofa. Needless to say, that sofa is now in heaven.

So, with the old floral lounge suite finally gone, the hunt was on for a thrifty replacement, and if we were going to replace that, why not update the entire space? So that’s just what we did.

Mum wanted a sophisticated, semi-formal yet comfortable feel on a tiny budget (I know it may be hard to believe though she’s even tighter than me when it comes to spending cash on decorating!). She has more traditional and less eclectic taste than me, so while I feel the final result is a little too matchy-matchy, Mum just loves it (which is the main thing – plus it’s a vast improvement on how it began!).

After a long search I finally found an appropriate pre-loved lounge suite to form the basis for the ‘new’ room on eBay for just $100! It comprised two sofas (we only used one in this room) and two armchairs plus a bonus coffee and side table.

And here’s where the ‘zero dollars’ thing comes in. As we didn’t need the two ‘bonus’ tables we on-sold them both for double the price we paid for the whole set to begin with – crazy! Hence we managed to makeover the entire room for FREE using just the profit from the sale of the tables. In fact, we actually came out waaaay in front cause we were still super stingy!

Anyhoo, here’s the space before with the new lounge suite in place….

And after….

The lounge suite could easily have been overlooked for being too ‘Nanna-ish’ though I saw some potential for a Soho feel in the regency lines and geometric upholstery so we teamed it with ice-blue, apricot and silver highlights to pull it more towards contemporary.

Aside from the new lounge suite the other big changes came from a coat of paint (to one wall only) and ripping up the ugly old carpet.

Mum polished-up the rustic hardwood floorboards herself while Dad gave the north wall a fresh presence by painting subtle wide stripes.

The coffee table (which I failed to get a before shot of – sorry!) and two end tables (as can be seen in the first set of ‘befores’) had been in the room for years. Rather than replace them we simply attached some resin mouldings and painted the bases black to add some drama and depth to the space.
Dad also added bun feet and shelves to the base of each end table to give them some extra height and another area to display decor.

We retained the neutral curtains. I simply removed the tie-backs to streamline them a bit.

Mum made all of the cushions herself from inexpensive fabric we found at Spotlight.

You may recognise the framed pictures above the sofa – I have the same ones in my living room. They are vintage style postcards I received as a gift. The pack came with double-ups so I gave some to Mum. She cut the matte boards herself and transformed some cheap black plastic frames with nickel spray paint.

The gallery wall is currently a bit of a mish-mash (and note, whilst there is a nice grown-up photo of both my brother and sister there’s only me as a baby – middle child syndrome or what?) though with more grandchildren on the way (have I mentioned my sister is pregnant too?) more photographs will need to be added so it will be re-done soon anyway.

Pretty much all the decor was sourced when we ‘shopped the house’. The only exceptions being the lamps, which Mum bought ages ago on sale from Target, and the larger of the two cases beside the armchair which was purchased from a discount store (The Reject Shop I think) for just $20.

Now, just because I haven’t already totally overloaded you with photos, here’s some side-by-side before and afters just for comparisons sake….

 

 

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Refurbished Dining Setting

Whilst not necessarily in-keeping with my usual style I knew this was a special find.

A stunning 13 piece vintage Drexel dining setting comprising a table with three optional leaves, two carvers and ten standard dining chairs!

The enormity and repetition involved in the refurbishment led to two years of steady procrastination, but hey, I got there in the end, right? Right?

Given the heritage and mid-century styling of the setting I wanted to maintain as much of the original integrity as possible so decided on a sympathetic restoration rather than a full-blown renovation.

The table top was completely stripped, sanded then sealed with several coats of danish oil. The timber is really quite beautiful, I wish I knew what it was. Pecan, maple or walnut perhaps?

I decided to re-finish the apron and legs, which were in poorer cosmetic condition, with a few fresh coats of rich ebony satin acrylic.

The base of the legs were quite damaged (and I wasn’t loving their bulbous shape) so as a solution I affixed some vintage brass cup castors for a more tapered line – the wheels also come in handy for rolling the table open when adding or removing leaves.

To accommodate the castors I used the inside dimensions of the cup as a guide then trimmed down each foot with a hack saw until it could neatly fit inside.

The chair frames were in great original condition so to retain the natural character of the timber I simply nourished them all using raw linseed oil tinted with a dash of teak stain.

The seats were originally upholstered in a ‘lovely’ mustard gold corduroy – well, I’m sure it was lovely at some time – which needed replacing so I unscrewed all of the seats from the frames then prized off the staples affixing the original fabric. A fresh layer of wadding was then layed over the existing foam (which was still in great nic) then my chosen fabric was positioned over that – I went with a very neutral mini houndstooth for a classic finish. I flipped the seat over, pulled the fabric sufficiently taught and staple-gunned it neatly in place before trimming away any excess (oh, and remember when recovering seats try not to staple or upholster over the holes needed to re-screw them to the chair frames!).

This was a pretty ambitious project and suffice to say I won’t be attempting another one this big for quite some time!

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Distressed Coffee Table

Update: Check out my complete distressed coffee table tutorial here.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been a very, very bad blogger of late (tist, tist to me).

And whilst I wouldn’t be surprised if due to my month long hiatus there’s no-one still around here to actually be reading this right now, just in case there is, I’d like to beg forgiveness (pretty please?).

Thing is, I’ve now got just a few weeks of ‘real’ full-time work left before I begin TWELVE WHOLE WEEKS of leave prior to the baby bundle coming along and boy is my decorating ‘to-do’ list chockers!

Soooo, this means once the un-fun stuff finally starts to slow down I promise to make it all up to you. And for those who thought I’d dropped clear off the face of the earth I just wanna clarify that my intention is to keep blogging as long as I have something interesting enough to share.*

(*Disclaimer: Level of interest may be subject to reader’s enthusiasm for interior decoration :-)

Anyways, to begin my attempt at redemption I thought I’d share a coffee table makeover.

You may remember how I wrote about our new living room sofas and some associated impending updates. Well, I was originally looking for something a bit out-of-the-box and industrial in style for the coffee table though when I spotted this gem on eBay for just $25 I couldn’t say no.

Given the unorthodox shape of our living room I’d always liked the idea of something round and when I put this table in place (aside from everything being all too ‘brown’) it was just right.

A mini makeover to create some character and break-up the ‘blahness’ was all it needed so I painted the base white before heavily distressing it (by hand using a sanding block) then glazing and sealing it in one step (using a mixture of acrylic sealer and burnt umber craft paint).

The top was sanded back to raw (using an orbital sander), scuffed up just a little bit with a prick punch, hammer and heavy steel chain then stained walnut before being sealed with one coat of danish oil. Over time the danish oil will mellow and leave a lovely natural soft lustre.

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Quick and Easy Robe Door Revamp

Firstly, thanks so much to everyone for all the baby well wishes – you guys are just too sweet :-)

Now, on to some decorating stuff!!!

I wanted to finally share the little face-lift I gave my master bedroom built-in robe.

Remember how a little while ago I put out an S.O.S for some dummy strap hinges like this….

Well, despite a tonne of friendly offers and advice from you guys (THANK YOU!) that particular style still managed to elude me here in Australia so I ended up with two of these instead….

If you’re interested I found them here on eBay.

Because I didn’t actually need the hinge function I simply cut them off with a hacksaw to create these plain individual straps.

So, here’s the built-in before….

Ewww, right?

Well that’s actually after I already painted the knotty orange pine infills pure white.

I had initial thoughts about replacing the doors completely though because I’m all about easy budget makeovers I decided it was best to try and make the most of what I already had.

Soooo, with a minimal amount of work and cashola here’s the robe now….

It’s a subtle change though certainly more in-sync with the rest of my master bedroom.

All I did was remove the doors, bottom rail and fascia (which simply unscrewed), took them outside then spray painted all the beige enamel white. Once dry I attached my four hinge straps then reassembled everything again inside.

I was a bit concerned the new white paint might scratch or chip off the metal frame though it dried rock hard and around one month on it’s still in perfect nic.

UPDATE
Wanna know how the painted metal has held up one year on?
Click here to read my ‘wearability’ report.
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An Exciting New Room Redo

Phew, it’s been a crazy few weeks…in a very good way!

I guess I should start by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy New Year’ (cue streamers and those roll-out party horn thingos).

Now, I should explain my recent absence. I’ll blame it on the following ten factors….

1. Beautiful weather
2. Pure laziness
3. My parent’s beach house (which forced me to stay in it for a whole week!)
4. Over-eating
5. Over-sleeping
6. The baby in my belly
7. Family and friends (the non-virtual kind :-)
8. Pure laziness (again)
9. PC problems
10. Menial boringness

Okay, so did you notice the biggy I kinda slipped in there? If you’re a bit of a skimmer (like me :-) and missed it per-chance, then for a more obvious visual clue I’m excited to announce that the next of my room makeovers will be along these lines….

Due early July (both baby and nursery reveal!).

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