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….



  1. radn says:

    What a difference accessories can make.

  2. Ange says:

    Love it! You did a great job! I am loving the framed postcards and your black lights are also amazing!

  3. Love the new furniture and the new color. Your accessories are perfect. Great makeover. Well done. Hugs, Marty

  4. Wow, great job, girl!

  5. Martina says:

    Kristine your parents living room looks amazing!! I LOVE the bird prints that are hanging over the couch. Martina

  6. Anonymous says:

    OMG!!!! I love this. It’s a total transformation…and all for free. Your eye for detail is truly amazing.

  7. Absolutely beautiful job, Kristine! What a huge difference. It looks stunning!

  8. Amanda says:

    oh my! that is farrr from a nana-ish room. really really amazing transformation.

  9. It’s a really great space! I bet your mom loves to just go in there and relish in her new beautiful space!

  10. Linda says:

    The room looks fantastic and I especially love the revamped coffee and side tables.

    Are you planning to add a rug with the remaining $$?

  11. Hi Linda. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that a rug is on the ‘to do’ list still.

  12. The Moerks says:

    That is so clever. I love it. I love how it was a family affair. The side tables are so clever.

  13. SHERRY HART says:

    Really unbelievable!!!Job well done and it looks so fresh and updated. I love the stripes on the wall….that was brilliant!

  14. How wonderful to share the experience with your mum!
    How cozy and charming the space is–I think the wood floors are divine!
    All the little touches make it a reflection of who your mum is!
    I’m sure she feels very loved!
    Did she put her feet up and have a glass of wine when you were all done?
    Congratulations to your sister, too!
    Blessings to you all!

  15. modern jane says:

    Wow! I can’t even believe this is the same room! I love the lines on the sofa and chair.. good job girl!

  16. just gorgeous! i love the muted vertical stripes- they update the space nicely.

  17. Amazing job. And for free. I can’t get over the transformation. You did such a beautiful job. I love the furniture and the light and postcards are genius!

  18. Ann says:

    wow it looks beautiful!! and for zero bucks!

  19. Inspirational and brilliant!

    Love it. It’s a completely new room. You have lucky parents – middle child syndrome and all I bet they love you tons! (I’m a middle child so I can say that!)

  20. Ange says:

    Looks fantastic! Hard to believe it is the same room. I bet your parents just live in there now. What a great achievement! Ange

  21. This is a great chronicle of the room makeover! Love to see the full transition. Great work! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my painted upholstery chair. I agree – I’d try that technique next time.

  22. Pearl Maple says:

    Well done, it is good to see how a space evolves over time and looking fabulous right now

  23. Maggie says:

    omg this is stunning, can you come to my house??? lol
    would luv for you to add it to our linking party this week.

  24. I’m loving this for a lot of reasons.
    It proves you can make something really beautiful for zero dollars but a lot of imagination and style.
    It also shows that with a bit of said imagination and style you can get the desired effect by thinking about things and taking your time.
    Let’s face it, there wouldn’t be as much satisfaction in the end product if it had all been done in a flash and with a bigger budget
    Great job!

  25. Andrea says:

    Amazing! I can’t believe how great the space looks now. Way to go.

  26. how lucky were you to find the suite w/ such amazing modern fabric!! makeover is lovely!

  27. Kristine, The room turned out beautiful! I know your mom must be thrilled.

  28. Autumn says:

    Just wonderful, simply wonderful. I would have thought you bought the pieces just for this look. Unbelievable transformation with so little financial contribution. Your mom is lucky to have you! Middle children are the best helpers! ;0
    Autumn Clark

  29. Kristine,
    It looks like a lot of work. It turned out beautiful. I bet you just sit in that room with a big smile on your face. :}


  30. Wow, what an amazing job! Really terrific. I think I have some of the same birds nest prints in my dining room.

  31. this living room turned out amazing!! would love for you to come link up to handmade tuesdays @ http://www.ladybug-blessings.com

  32. Shayna says:

    That is so gorgeous. It took my breath away.

  33. So different! The vertical stripes are classy!!! Very good job, take a bow!!!

  34. I just found your blog and am your newest follower. This transformation is AMAZING!! I am completely blown away by how beautiful this is and by how cheap it all was. I think you all should be thanking a certain miss K-ristine for bringing all this on!! :)

    No. I don’t know Kristine.

  35. Hi Kristine, I had to drop by again to say Thank You for sharing this wonderful transformation at my new party.

  36. Rita May says:

    Great job and great price. The art wall is very dramatic and looks expensive. You’d never know that they were plastic frames sprayed.

  37. WOW!!!!!!!

  38. Carol says:

    One of the cutest FREE redos I have ever seen… and I help a lot of my clients stage their homes!


  39. JDzJane says:

    It looks fantastic. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the furniture. It definately looks more modern. Great job!!!

  40. shopgirl says:

    Wow! I just found your blog and this is an incredible transformation on a zero budget! That’s fantastic! Since, we’re on a tight budget, I’m always just rearranging things around our home to give it a new fresh look.

    Great job!
    Rambles with Reese

  41. Lynda says:

    Great job and I love the ceiling fixtures! Where can I purchase them!!

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