Thursday, October 10, 2013

Along For the Ride: Living Room Makeover {Sneak Peek}

Welcome to 
Day 2 
Our Prairie Home's
Makeover Series!


I'm so glad you're here and joining me during our living room makeover!

I promise, you CAN decorate like a blogger and today's when we really get started.

Are you ready?


First off...

And I know you've heard this before...

The BIGGEST and CHEAPEST change you can make to a space is with paint.

For as little as $27.00 (Glidden at Wal-Mart),
you can make a huge impact by changing your wall color.

Is your room small and dark?

Go with a light paint.

It'll make the room seem larger and brighter.

Sick of light paint, but not really sure you're ready to go bold or dark?

Paint a focal wall in a brillant accent color, to see if you want more.

Do you have a huge room that seems large and cold?

Paint it with a darker neutral to warm it up 
and make your space feel smaller and cozy.

Paint can make a GINORMOUS difference in any space!

Our living room has windows to the east and the south,
so it gets morning light, but is darker during the day.

I love color on my walls, but I can't go dark because it would make
the long, narrow room seem like a cave.

{And I'm not really going for a Flinstone vibe.}

Lots of people nowadays are going with white or a light neutral wall color.

This is a great idea because those colors go with anything and you have the option
to change out your furnishings/pillows/decor without the cost of repainting.


Personally, I like color on my walls and then decorating with white or neutrals...

Creams, beiges, grays, etc.

But I also like blues, greens, and yellows.

Figure out what colors you like to by perusing Pinterest and seeing
what decor pins you're really drawn to.

Then look at your pins and sure enough, you'll see a pattern in the colors
and decorating styles that you like.

That is a great starting point!

Choose your paint color according to what kind of feeling you want your room to have
and what kind of decorating colors and styles you keep pinning.

Right now, our living room is painted a barely there blue.

It was this color when we moved in 7 years ago.

I actually like it, but it's definitely in need of a paint job.

Some people like to paint swaths of color on their walls to see if they like the color.

You can do this.

It also allows you to see how a paint color looks during different times of day.


I wing it.

I choose a color and more often than not, it's exactly what I was envisioning.

But if you're a little leery of such a decor commitment, this is a great option.

So, this is the color I chose to go with on the walls:

It's a little blue, a little green, and very fresh.

It's very similar to the color of Eva's room, but more green and a little lighter.

With painting the trim Glidden's Muslin White, it's really going to open up the living room
and make it very bright and airy feeling.

This is what I'm going for in our room makeover.

I want our living room to appear bigger and brighter than it actually is.

Once you've hemmed and hawed over your paint color, what's the next big step?

For me, it's MOTIVATION.

What gets you going?

For my first makeover ever, I tried to do everything at once.

That room was our office (which is now our dining room).

I painted furniture and created decor in between coats of paint.

I got it done in a week.

But to be honest, it was exhausting - and not very much fun.

For the next two room makeovers,
(Eva's Room and Our Bedroom)
I decided to get the hard part over with first...

The priming and painting of the trim and walls,
followed by making and buying the things to go into the room.

But by the time I got around to making and purchasing the decor,
I was exhausted and just wanted the rooms D-O-N-E.

For our Boys' Room, I tried a different tact.


It was a huge motivator to see the items that I had bought or made
come together at the end, which really made me kick some butt with the painting.

Plus, I was so exhausted after painting that it was nice to know that everything else
was already finished and ready to go in after all that hard work!

As I look at it...

Who says you have to save the dessert for last?


And for me, the shopping, painting furniture, and making stuff is dessert!

Figure out which way works for you and do it.

There's no hard and fast rule here!


Having my dessert last time worked so well,
I decided that I would do the same for our living room.

But there's some boring stuff to get out of the way before I got started...

TIP #1:  Decide on your budget, FIRST.

My budget on this room is a little larger than other spaces I've done,
but then again...

It's the biggest room in the house and the one we spend the most time,
so I'm willing spend a lot more money for it.

My budget is $800.00.

{Okay...  Now don't freak out.  I know that amount doesn't seem like a "budget makeover".  And I wouldn't consider $800 thrifty either. 
This amount is including new furniture, that we desperately need.
So, don't let me lose you here, okay?  :) }

TIP #2:  Figure out your go-to places in your area.


Thrift stores (I ALWAYS hit these first.)
Local antique/junk stores (BUY LOCAL!  HELP SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS!)
TJ Maxx (Decor)
Hobby Lobby (Decor and crafting supplies)
Jo Ann Fabric (fabric only - their crafting materials are pricier than Hobby Lobby)

Occasionally, I'll go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond or
some of the bigger box stores, but I only buy on sale.

TIP #3:  Make a list, so you stay within your budget.

The biggest thing you're looking for initially are your HAVE TOs.

Start with the MUST HAVES.

Primer, Paint, Paint Rollers, Painter's tape, etc.

If you spend all your money on items to go into your space,
you won't have any money left over for the necessary stuff.

My list looked like this:

The order I put them in denotes importance.

The further down it is, the more I can do without it.

I also notate the stores the items are located in, so it makes it easier when I'm out and about.

Being we live so far from a large city, I try to do everything in one trip.


TIP #4: When it comes to decor... BUY WHAT YOU LOVE!

It doesn't matter if it doesn't match.

To accomplish a well-loved unique space, don't go matchy-matchy.

You'll get tired of it.

I guarantee it!

Been there, done that.

If you love it, it'll work!

Things that you love have a great way of coming together in the end.

I promise!

TIP #5: Have a friend go with you to bounce ideas off.

My friend Natalie has a great eye and is always fun to go out with,
even if our decorating styles are vastly different.

It's amazing what a different perspective can bring!

Our first stop Monday was actually our local Wal-Mart.

Yes, I know...

I hate Wal-Mart too.

But the fact is, I'm on a budget and they're cheap.

There, I crossed the first seven items off my list.

Total Spent:  $124.39


My absolute must haves are paid for and I still have $675.61 left to spend.

Next Stop...


We stopped by a thrift store in Cedar Falls that I've been wanting to go to,
but had never taken the time to stop when I was near it.

I wasn't too impressed, since I'm pretty spoiled with a local one in Waverly,
but I did pick up an oval wood tray and a dark brown wicker basket.

Total Spent:  $2.14

Remaining Amount:  $673.47


There was a leather chair that I was considering purchasing for $15.00.

In fact, I told them I wanted it, only to change my mind right before we left the store.

TIP #6:  If you're even the slightest bit iffy on a purchase...  WAIT.

You might find something later that you like better, later.

Next stop:  Menard's

This is a home improvement/hardware store out here in the midwest.

My main goal here was a new rug, painter's drop cloth, a piece of plywood for some wall art,
and maybe a light fixture, if I could find one for the right price.

Behind all the high priced rugs, on the last row, they have carpets that are remnants
or that the manufacturers have discontinued.

These are bound into 6'x9' rugs for $44.99.

The one above was absolutely perfect for the feel I'm going for in the living room.

Sometimes it's hit or miss there, but this time it was a hit!


TIP #6:  You can do A LOT with canvas drop cloths!

While I was there, I also picked up some stain cleaner, screws,
a 9'x12' canvas drop cloth, and I made a surprising find!

Did you know that they have plywood already coated with chalkboard paint???

I didn't!

I found a piece ON SALE in the exact size I was thinking for some subway art!

Seriously, I get so stinkin' excited about stuff like this!

It was $7.97 and it saves me time to boot!


And with that, I crossed another 3 items off my list and only spent $6.98
not on the original list, but still definitely needed.

I did find a light fixture that I liked, but it was $109.00, so I decided to hold off
and see if I could find another one somewhere else that might be a little cheaper.

Self-control is key!

And that took me a loooooong time to learn!


Total Spent:  $83.90

Remaining Amount: $589.57

And here's where we get into all the fun stuff!

My friend, Natalie, encouraged me to check out the clearance room
at the furniture store where she bought all her living room furniture.

For real, I was thinking that it was going to be a waste of time.

It'd be way more than I was willing to spend and probably too modern for my taste.

Boy was I wrong!

I am sooooo happy we went!!!!!

They had a TON of furniture on clearance at super great prices.

Most had a little something wrong with them,
but lucky for me I've learned to fix stuff myself the last two years.


I absolutely fell in love with the colors in this Flexsteel accent chair!

Yes, it's a little modern, but paired with chippy and shabby items,
it'll be a welcome surprise in the living room.

TIP #7:  Don't be afraid mix and match modern with vintage.

Paired the right way, they will balance each other.

The retail price on this chair was $699.00.

Because it had a loose leg (totally fixable with a couple of screws),
they had marked it down to $149.00.


That's my kind of deal!

Next was this fabulously shabby light aqua chenille club chair:

Regularly priced at $529.00, they had it clearanced out at $124.00.


It was missing 3 buttons on seat.

But, no worries...

All three buttons were there, they just had to be sewn on.

I can handle that!

And finally, this creamy slate leather ottoman by Amsterdam Furniture:

Regularly priced $299 and clearanced at $149.00.

What's wrong with it?

Absolutely nothing!

It was just left over from their tent sale.


And a great place to prop your feet up after a long day.

Now, here's where I got an even BETTER deal!

I was a little iffy on spending such a huge chunk of money out of my budget.

I originally only wanted 1 accent chair and an ottoman,
and now I was considering buying two chairs.

I loved both chairs equally and really couldn't decide which one I wanted.

TIP #7: Don't be afraid to ask for a lower price!  It never hurts to ask!

Natalie and I both kind of whittled the sales guy down on it.

At first he said they were as steeply discounted as he could get them.

We hemmed and hawed some more.

Then he said he could ask his manager,
but he couldn't promise anything and she was on the phone...

Did we mind waiting?


And this is what he came back with:

$99.00 on the multi-colored accent chair!

That's an additional $50.00 off, which was a lot more than I had even hoped!


So, with tax...

Amount Spent:  $398.04

Remaining Amount:  $191.53

TIP #8:  Don't be rigid with your list.  
If a great opportunity presents itself...  Grab it!

In this case, I was willing to do without some of the lesser items on my list
and do without buying smaller items for decorating to be able to get the additional chair.

Figure out what's more important to you.

And with that, I crossed one more item off my list...

At that point, we ran out of time for the day.

Kiddos to pick up from school...

Football and gymnastics practice...

So, we called it a day.

Not too shabby for the first time out!

11 of 18 items off the list and I still had $191.53 left to spend.

Since this turned into a super long post, we'll start tomorrow with
my super awesome trip to the local thrift where I got A LOT
of awesome stuff to decorate with.

Thrift stores are my #1 Go-To for everything decor related!

And I'll leave you with this last tip:

TIP #9:  Cool and unique doesn't have to mean EXPENSIVE!

I hope I'll y'all back here tomorrow for Part 3 in the series!



  1. Oh I can't wait to see it. And holy freaking deal on those chairs. That is awesome! Hugs, Karin

  2. I can't wait to see the finished product! Thank you very much for sharing the details!

  3. You make it sound so easy!! Ohh why can't I be that organized?! A LIST?! What's that? I am so jealous. Looking forward to the final reveal. :-)

  4. You sure stole the show with those chairs! Now I am even more excited to see the finished room.

  5. Laura thank you for inviting me I had a great time shopping for a room Makeover and I didn't have to spend any money (even better). I now have tomorrow free minus the trip to hobby lobby, so if you need me and my power tools just give me a call.

  6. These are great tips. Sometimes we get in a rut placing the furniture one way and just by changing a few things around, you can transform a whole room. Nice examples! sofa bed

  7. You are really lucky that you bought $99.00 on the multi-colored accent chair with an additional $50.00 off. Great informational post it was. Thanks for sharing this great informative article. Italian Furniture Store


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