Home & DIY Projects

Easy Peasy $160 Living Room Makeover

Even if you’re not a hippie like I am, shopping for secondhand clothing/furniture should be #1 on your priority list. Why? Well, because you can totally makeover your home (or your wardrobe) on a really small (or, *cough* virtually nonexistent)  budget.

Case in point? This was my living room.



This is it now.



Suddenly it looks so much lighter and fresher and …girlier, somehow?

I really loved my tufted Cedric couch, but I’ve wanted something with a chaise for a while now; reading while snuggled up with a blanket with my legs stretched out in front of me is one of my favourite things to do and while Cedric was A+ for looks, it rated an abysmal D- for cuddling or relaxing. So, earlier this year I listed Cedric for sale and began stalking Kijiji (a site similar to Craigslist) for a replacement.

I almost always sell my old piece before investing in a new one. First of all, I’m typically using the money I get from selling one to purchase the other (either fully or in part), and second, clutter and mess drive me nuts. It’s always tough to tell how long it will take sell something, and when you find something you want on a secondhand site, you have to jump on it right away.  The thought of having to buy a new couch before I’d been able to get rid of the old one, and then having to live in some sort of cramped, two-couch purgatory in my tiny living room made me feel itchy and claustrophobic all over.

And now, because I feel like an old pro at this point, a primer on selling things second hand. When I list things online I want to make the process as painless as possible. To do this, I clearly list each and every possible fault or flaw with the item I’m selling, which ensures that I’m not dealing with a steady stream of people coming out to look at something and then being disappointed with its condition. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

In this case, it meant saying that one of the buttons on the cushion’s reverse side was missing and had been replaced by a different (very cute, but nonetheless mismatched) button, and a few of the legs were a bit wobbly and could probably use some TLC. I’d steam cleaned it before listing it because I think it’s nice to give people a fresh start (also, this couch has weathered both Gus  and  Olive. It probably needed it.)

It took abut two weeks before Cedric was sold to a really lovely couple, and then for a very brief time, my house looked like this.

It was very, very tempting to keep it like that. Look at all the spaaaaaace!


At this point I’d been lurking on Kijiji and local buy and sell groups for weeks, searching for the right couch. That’s the other part of this whole deal –  you have to be patient. Something always comes up. Trust.

Sure enough, I eventually found exactly what I was looking for. A dark grey couch with a chaise that could be switched to be either right or left facing (a necessity for me since I didn’t want to commit to a furniture layout when I’m not sure how long I’ll be in my current place and don’t know the layout of my next one).

The couch is the Karlstad model from IKEA, which is now discontinued, so I was really happy to find this one, it was a mere 8 months old and they were asking just $150 more than the amount I got for my couch. I was in business!

Then I bought a sweet little coffee table for $10 from a friend who was moving to the Cayman Islands (I know. I hate her, too.) (Kidding! Hi, Tanya!) and spray painted the silver frame a warm gold. I looooove how it turned out. I wanted something round to break up all of the square and rectangular pieces in the room, and it being on wheels was an added bonus because we often need to clear the room for impromptu dance parties and puzzle marathons.

IMG_20160131_114228221 (1)


My big brown leather chairs are on loan from my mother, and my little sister Lizzie took one of them so I would be able to open up some space in the living room for Olive to have a dedicated play area. Her kitchen lives here now, alongside her big basket of library books, her apron, and a rotating posse of  “aminals” and babies.IMG_6196

So, friends, that is the fascinating story of how I re-did my living room for $160. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for another thrilling tale, this time about how I’m slowly relinquishing my role as vintage suitcase hoarder and whittling my collection down to a mere three. Three!

Utterly monastic.

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  • Reply Andrea February 27, 2016 at 6:45 PM

    What gold spray paint did you use? When I last used a metallic it turned out super fake looking. Yours looks great!

  • Reply Sam Pereira February 27, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    Looks great! Nothing like a bargain makeover to make everything feel fresh 🙂

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 28, 2016 at 1:17 PM

      Aw, thanks, Sam!

  • Reply Livia February 29, 2016 at 2:37 PM

    It would be great go hear about how you rotate toys in and out for Olive. I’d love to do something more intentional with my girl’s toys to keep things fresh.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine March 2, 2016 at 10:59 PM

      That’s a great idea. I think I’m overdue for one of those “this is how we do things” posts! Thanks for the suggestion, Livia!

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