Saturday, January 26

Living room decorating or how cheap I really am

Or how frugal decorating is wonderfully kid friendly.
I couldn't decide on a title.

It is a domino effect.
Staying indoors so much because of the cold begets indoor demolition which begets a 'poof' of dust scattering across the dining room floor every time the door is opened and after endless sweeping and mopping, I find myself snuggled in the living room with little ones, reading Caddie Woodlawn and giving a critical eye to the dark colors of wintery decor. A coffee brown velvet throw covers the sofa, the rug is deep burgandy and green and the throw pillows echo the reds and greens. A pair of wooden skis still hang above the mantle.
I am longing for spring and not unaware that it is months away. My reasoning is that by the time spring rolls around, I'll be big enough to roll around and so I might as well spring clean and redecorate the living room now. Makes sense right? My husband shakes his head and laughs.
First thing this morning I rolled up the dark colored rug, gazed lovingly at the plank floor and had a three year old help me lay down a vintage wool rug.
Cost to me: Free. It was in the attic of our previous home.

It has faded paths in it and a very low pile. I just love it.
Next to be re-done was the sofa which I failed to take a before photo of. Our sofa was a 2 for $200 ebay purchase. One is upstairs in the library. I love that they are nine feet long and extremely comfortable. I do not love that everyone local wants to charge me a $1000 to recover just one of them. That price includes me already having the fabric... ouch. So we are content with slipcovers and throws. Makes for a very kid friendly sofa. We like that.

I found an old bedskirt in the garage of our previous home, washed it and have used it ever since. Here you see it on the sofa covered with a matelasse spread. White. Yes, I know I'll be laundering it every week. I'm a gluten for more laundry. In the mirror is me and the mantle behind me with the skis.
Cost of sofa recover: free. Items already owned, mostly thrifted or given to me.

In this sofa photo the reflection in the mirror is the ceiling beams. The mirror was a consignment shop find last year at $20. It is stinking heavy. 40 pounds or so heavy. I took it down and put it above the mantle and there it patiently waits for Sean to hang it for me.

Above the sofa I hung an antique window we bought at an antique mill for $10.

I've hemmed and hawed before over this massive wall of eighteen shelves on one living room wall. We have a library upstairs and so I am always at a loss as what to put on these shelves. I carried a few arm loads of old books down from the library and I think it looks a bit better.
In front of it is our children's table. It came with our previous home too. When we moved here, I asked Sean to cut down the legs to make it children height.
The cloth on the table was made by my Mom, who is extremely talented. It is home made chenille.
Cost of table: free
Children's chairs: free from

This cute little rocker upholstered in pink calico we bought last summer at a garage sale for $8.In this corner of the living room I've set up my sewing machine until warm weather comes. My sewing room upstairs is unheated at the time being. I recovered my ironing board with some free fabric. Should I mention that the ironing board was free also? The sewing machine was a gift. Oh, yes, and the pottery barn floor lamps were a free gift too. I'm feeling very cheap all of a sudden.
This wing back chair came with our sofas. I slipcovered it in inexpensive cotton. I think the cover cost about $25. Thrifted pillow. Garage sale quilt.The club chair seen a bit here was (gulp....) from an old neighbor's curb. I slipcovered it. I waited forever for an ottoman and finally found one that suited at a thrift store. The fabric was hideous and so it is slipcovered as well. Cost $10. The piano was free. The little rocker in the background was by grandmothers when she was a small girl. The art on the wall are drawings and were inherited from a wealthy great great aunt. The tiffany lamp was a gift. The mirror on the wall was thrifted - $5.
I replaced the dainty coffee table in the center of the room with a sturdy chest we bought years ago at an auction for about $15. Much more kid friendly and an added bonus is it makes great toy storage.
And now little details from the living room:
A white pitcher next to some of our German books.
Some of our vintage books and an inherited egg plate. I like organizing vintage books by their color.
An uncle of mine made this flag from old fence posts. He passed away when I was younger and the flag had begun falling apart. Sean mended it for me for a Christmas surprise. now I just need to match the paint for the bottom piece. It makes me smile every time I see it.
The white glass is inherited/thrifted/gifted. The knitting needles make me look like a talented knitter, which I am not. I've requested knitting lessons from my Mom for my birthday.

Our wood stash for the wood stove and a bit of the quilt hanging over the back of the wing chair.

The livingroom is a bit more springish and just right to perk me up and pull me through until warmer weather arrives. We had to buy the iron wood holder, if that makes anyone feel better. The wood stove too. And the fireplace screen..., that was free too.


Mrs. D said...

Hannah, thank you so much for sharing these pictures! Your home looks so cozy and inviting. Wish I could just hop over from Germany for a little chat :).
Maybe I'll share some pictures of our home later today ot tomorrow too.
Have a blessed Sunday!

Diane Shiffer said...

What a lovely home you have and what a lovely blog!

I will surely be back for another visit soon:-)
Diane (aka persuaded from sensibility)

Anonymous said...

I love your style and ingenuity! It doesn't look cheap at all either. I prefer your sofa with the pillows and throw then a "normal" sofa :) Thanks for the inpiration! said...

WHAT BEAUTIFUL PERSONALITY YOUR HOME HAS! I absolutely love it. Full of character, depth, and feeling... and oh, how I wish I could find such a beautiful *free* piano. Your style is similar to mine... There's an old saying that goes something like "You don't really know me until you've been in my home" and I feel like I was visiting your home today...

~ Shannon said...

I couldn't resist commenting on your vintage books -- I love "The Harvester" and "The Keeper of the Bees" by Gene Stratton Porter! Old book add such a lovely touch to any room.

Your decorating is so lovely! I love what you've done with you've done with the room and the creativity that you've used. It's encouraging to see that you can decorate so beautifully without a huge price tag!

Yours in Christ,
Shannon (Jo March from S&S)

Me said...

I have many, many, extra yards of that decorator fabric. If anyone wants it and is willing to pay for shipping, email me at cultivatinghome at yahoo dot com and its yours.
Thank you all for not thinking I look cheap! I hadn't realized how cheaply my living room is decorated until I went through everything!
Jeanine, I can't wait to see photos of your home. I love seeing how people decorate and getting inspiration!
On my Mind,
the free piano came from a church and a free one we had before that came from a nursing home. I see advertisements every so often for free upright pianos with the condition that " you move". We actually had an old upright and they make the most beautiful sound! I'd love one again someday! Unfortunately, I don't have nearly enough time to play or practice these days...
Persuaded, thanks so much for stopping by and the kind comments! I just found the S&S forum and love it!
Maiden of the Kind, we love Porter books!
Anonymous, thanks, our sofa and pillows work well for our family and its very comfy.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Everything is just lovely- so comfortable and homey. Thank you for the "walk" through. I must say that it looks more like a wonderful wintertime retreat to me- I love the white and the light colors to reflect the less abundant winter sunshine.

As an aside- in the picture of the old books grouped by color I noticed a volume by Gene Stratton Porter that I have never even heard of! So exciting as I adore her other books and thought I had arrived at the end of her bibliography. I will keep my eyes peeled for a copy of The Keeper of the Bees in my thrifty travels from now on.

New Mom said...

Wow, a whole living room for less than $200 including the couch! That's quite an accomplishment! BTW, love the shabby chic rug.

Diane said...

You've inspired me to go through some boxes from when we moved over a year ago to look for hidden treasures.

Lynn Hasty said...

Hannah, I love your style. Most of our furniture was attained in the same manner. ~:-D

I have an old chest just like yours, by the way. At least it appears to be the same from the picture -- at a glance. I'll have to look at it again today and compare.


Kelly @ The Barefoot Mama said...

Hi Hannah!

I absolutely love your home decorating! Your sofa is totally inspiring me! ;o) I have a set (sofa and loveseat) that we "inherited" from hubby's grandparents a loooong time ago and it's just not my style. I loved the welcoming, relaxed and chic look of all of the pillows on your sofa...and the bedskirt, awesome idea!!