For someone who loves perusing interior decor sites, reading magazines about architecture and decorating, and just generally loves pretty things, I am spectacularly lazy when it comes to actually bringing these elements of style into my own home. In fact, two years after moving into my current apartment, I think most people would guess that we just moved in, which, let’s be honest, is shameful.
So when we recently resigned our lease for two more years, I was really inspired to take the bull by the horns and actually make our house look like a home. The only problem is, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m on a very tight budget in 2012. But where there is a will, there is a way.
I have three main areas of focus: the living room, the master bedroom and the kitchen, as these are the areas where we spend the most time. I showed a brief preview of the bedroom last week, but the living room came together a little faster thanks to some super-helpful tips from a truly wonderful book: SouthernLiving Style. Not only is the book absolutely gorgeous, but it offers really easy tips to update any room in your home.
I’m a big fan of cozy rooms, with mixed-yet-matching patterns that don’t shy away from color but aren’t super bright. For the living room, I wanted to create something calming, that takes advantage of the great natural light we get in the room. The only problem? Without much money, you have to be clever. How clever? Well, the couches I’m working with look like this:
What you see here is a hand-me-down couch that despite being clean and extremely comfortable, looks anything but -covered in make up stains, food spills and other accidents from over the years. The pillows were a little something I picked up in a bad attempt to make it better.
But with new couches out of the question, I was a bit stuck until I picked up SouthernLiving Style. Imagine my delight when right there in the front of the book, they give a whole lesson on slip covers as an easy way to transform couches. Say what?!
So, I searched high and low for months to find two slip covers – one for the sofa, one for the equally disgusting love seat – that could bring these babies back to life. Since I loved my new pillows, I used their palette to guide me during my search – looking for anything in dark green or brown. Finally, I found them at a great home store in my Queens neighborhood – two, dark green, corduroy slip covers from SureFit. The total cost for two? About $130 – just a fraction of what a new couch would cost. Here is the transformation!
And that’s not all. To help finish the room, I:
- Painted the walls a nice tan color (Behr’s “Plateau”) to create a nice, neutral wall color
- Decided to use the end table I repainted last week in this room versus the bedroom.
- For more funkiness, I had salvaged these lamps from my apartment’s giveaway pile as their greens, blues and browns matched the pillows. I put one on the end table, and one on the bookshelf to provide some symmetry.
- Put a comfy throw blanket a few shades lighter than the paint across the loveseat. What you see there yarn-wise is me teaching myself to crochet so I can crochet some cozy afghans to continue this trend!
- Placed my recently recovered lamp in the corner. I love how the lamp fabric and the pillows are getting that that mix-and-matchy feel going.
And though looking considerably better from where we started, the work isn’t done. I’d still like to:
- Paint this stool to serve as a nicer home for gadgetry and other doodads.
- Paint this chair to go with the pillows and recovered lamp. I think it could be REALLY cute when done.
- Find a rug that can fill the floor up a bit.
- Create either a window box or some nice, sweeping curtains for the windows
So stay tuned…more to definitely come on this front. And find SouthernLiving Style on Amazon.com for just $19.77! It’s worth every penny!