If you’ve been around here for a while, you know my family pretty much lives on a budget. From grocery shopping to household upkeep, to holidays and vacations – practical spending is a must for my crew of 10.
And, because of said family of 10, we have occasional need of furniture replacement. Don’t get me wrong, I try to get as much life as I can from our furniture. And I’m a firm believer in pride of ownership of all things. Meaning, a strict no eating or drinking rule on the couch mixed with an attempt to keep the dogs off (at least when I’m in the room. Otherwise, the dogs are on the couch as if they’re the Masters of the house.) and a regular machine washing of dirty pillows and covers. But, even still, a couch and loveseat can only last so long.
This time, we opted to do our furniture shopping in-store as well as online. After many, many hours entering and exiting all the value/bargain furniture stores in and around our area, we found a sofa set that was sensible on the wallet, sturdily made and practical for our family.
One thing I was certain about all along was my desire to add more color into my family room. Not so much in the couches themselves, but in everything around them. So a neutral shade of furniture was important for me. After all, I am a woman and I have been known to occasionally change my mind. A neutral colored couch set would be easier to accommodate any changes in décor I may decide to implement in the future. What can I say? I’m always thinking ahead!
Colorful Throw Pillows!
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to add a splash of color to your living space is through accessories. And there’s no better accessory to a couch or loveseat than a few fluffy throw pillows! Most new couches come with a set of throw pillows made to “match” the fabric of the furniture. The ones that came with the set we purchased were gag-worthy, for sure. Certainly not anything I “loved”. So, off to Amazon I went! I chose to go with colorful pom-pom trimmed set of covers. I transferred the filling from the original, boring pillows to the new vibrant cases. The color mix and matching coordinated with the new armchairs we were adding. Which, leads me to step #2.
Online Bargain Shopping!
Buying furniture online, sight unseen, can be a nerve-wracking and tricky experience. Obviously, it’s so important to make sure you’re reading reviews and researching the product. But even still, you don’t truly know what you’re spending your hard-earned money on and what you’re actually getting until it’s at your door. This is why I have an easier time purchasing such items from trusted sites like Amazon. Their return policy is typically excellent, their customer service has always been top-notch when we’ve needed it and I know I’ll get the item quickly (which will allow for a fast turn around and change of direction if I should decide it’s not what I wanted). I went out on a limb and ordered our accent chairs online and I honestly could not be more pleased.
The accent chairs were really the place I wanted to add those pops of color and “Go Big Or Go Home” so to speak. By selecting a pretty bright blue velvety chair and a swivel plush yellow chair, my “fun” factor in the family room most definitely went up quite a few notches!
Now, I must note, that these pieces did need assembled. But, I’m not afraid of power tools and the thought of putting the furniture together (it was actually quite easy) did not deter me in the slightest. Just keep it in mind when ordering from the internet.
Customize Your Furniture with Color!
There’s not really anything that I’m afraid to paint. Most especially if it’s a second-hand piece or trash-night find. I’ve been known to give paint a good ol’ college try on pretty much any surface. So, when the couches arrived, the very first thing I did was paint the boring, dark wood legs.
First, I sanded them a bit by hand to remove the shiny clear finish. Then I cleaned them up with a dry towel. Next I painted a few coats of white and once that was fully dry, I added a gold leaf layer to the front legs.
This was actually the first time I tried my hand at Gold Leaf. Here is the kit I used. It was as messy as I suspected it would be (which is why I was so thankful I covered my workspace with paper beforehand), but otherwise quite fun to do!
Here’s how I did it:
Once my counter was covered, I applied a thin, even layer of adhesive to the sanded legs. They had to sit for about 20 minutes. Next, I carefully placed a sheet of the gold leaf onto one side of the leg. Using a clean, dry paintbrush, I slowly brushed the leaf sheet into place, smoothing out edges and corners. I continued to piece together the leaf sheets around the leg until it was fully covered. I wanted a bit of a ragged edge, so I did not use painters tape at the top of the leg where I wanted to keep white. If you would prefer a crisp line between where you add your gold leaf and the surface, painters tape would definitely be needed here.
I was only concerned with adding the gold leaf to the 2 front legs of each couch. The back legs were simply painted white.
After all 4 legs were finished with the gold leaf, I added an even layer of sealer. It took about an hour to dry before I was able to reattach the legs to the couches.
*When applying the gold leaf, there may be spots on your painted surface that don’t seem to “take” the sheet. If this happens, just continue on with the sheet you are working with. You can always add a bit more adhesive (waiting the 20 minutes until it’s tacky) and piece together the gold leafing using the broken bits from the first application. As you can see in the second picture, the broken bits stick pretty well to a dry paintbrush due to static in the air.
To coordinate with the gold leaf couch legs, I spray painted the legs of both of the accent chairs shiny gold (the blue chair had a dark color stain and the yellow chair was more of a bare wood finish).
Once the legs were painted, dried and attached, I added a bit of whimsy to the bottom of the blue chair with inexpensive yellow 4″ fringe trim tassel. I stapled it along the bottom of the chair. You could also hot glue it on if you don’t have access to a staple gun. This is such a quick and simple step that really made the chair just that bit of “extra”.
Dress Up Your Curtains with Color!
I didn’t want to change out the sheer curtains I already had hanging in the windows. I really do love the breezy feel they bring to the room and the amount of sunlight they allow to filter through. But, I wanted to do something to spice them up. These multi-colored wood bead curtain tie backs were just the ticket! These are easily made with wood beads painted your desired colored and a length of white cotton rope.
There is no simpler and less expensive way to add colorful personalization to any space than adding children’s artwork. I mean, how many of us can actually claim to know the artists behind the pieces in our home? And if your little Picasso’s are anything like my little Picasso’s, the number of pieces and the creative possibilities are endless!
Plus, seriously guys. Put one of their handmade pictures in a fancy frame, hang it on the wall, and tell me the smile you receive from that little face doesn’t make you want to cover your walls from floor to ceiling with their pictures just to keep getting that adorable grin from that adorable kisser forever and ever!
If you’re looking for a more mature piece – be thrifty! Yard sales, thrift shops and second-hand boutiques are excellent places to find that perfect painting or illustration. Oh, and don’t let the frame deter you! Pay attention to the art itself. The frame is an easy fix by either replacing it completely or simply applying a few coats of magic spray paint.
Happy, Bright Lighting Matters!
You can’t forget your lighting! I’ve kinda got a thing for lamps. I love them and have a whole lot of them (to my husband’s dismay. “Another lamp?” are words he has muttered more than I’m sure he would have ever thought possible in our years together). In my defense, I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever purchased a lamp that wasn’t clearance-priced or second-hand. But still, I can totally admit that we have a lot of ’em. I prefer a lamp light to an overhead light in the evenings and I can’t have a side table that doesn’t have a lamp on it. It’s just not done (sorry. I’ve been watching Bridgerton on Netflix. I swear the British accent and tone I most certainly don’t have is strong in me lately).
Don’t Forget to Color the Floor!
Did I mention I have 8 kids? I’m sure I have.
Did I mention having 8 kids is as messy, chaotic and dirty as it sounds? Both figuratively and literally? I’m sure I have.
We purposefully have mostly hardwood floors in our home with the exception of the children’s bedrooms and the family room. I like having the carpet in the room we hang out the most in together. It makes for a soft spot to sit if all the couches and chairs are taken during movie night and, in my opinion, just gives a more cozy feel to the space. Similar to my views on the couch colors, I prefer a more neutral tone to my carpeting. But, an area rug allows me to go as crazy as I want with designs and colors! The fact that it’s easier to clean spilled milk from an upturned sippy cup off an area rug than out of the carpet just adds to the charm.
This particular rug in our family room was an online deal on Black Friday and was a total steal for the size. Of course, I had been eyeing it for months (and months) waiting for a sale price we could actually afford. The wait was totally worth it and it pulls together the new shades of the furniture and accessories like it was meant to be here all along!