Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

Thrift Shop Makeover Challenge: The Final Reveal

{This is long and heavy on the pictures.}

Several weeks ago, I set out to re-do the living room and dining room. My goal was to find as much as I could at my favorite thrift stores and spend just $75. I didn't figure in the cost of paint because the $75 was supposed to cover the accents. Why $75? I don't know. I just wanted to see if I could be thrifty enough to pull that off, quite frankly.

The Process:

I am an avid thrift shop, garage sale, and estate sale shopper. The latter two is rather seasonal here in New York, but you can find me at either the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or VOA at least twice a week. At least. 

My goal was to see if it was at all possible to spend $75 at those shops on home accessories and linens. Some would remain as is, while others would be upcycled, painted, reclaimed, etc. The rooms would be redone to reflect my favorite things. I do not necessarily have one style. I love colors. I love retro, flea market chic, shabby chic. I like a bit of country. I like black and white. I love antiques, but not ALL antiques. I love pinks and blues and whites. I like a bit of kitsch. I love the vintage reds mixed with pinks in floral patterns that I see from the 40s and 50s, even if combining the two is outside of my comfort zone. Vintage finds/bargains excite me. Plus, you will notice that nearly all vintage things you find say MADE IN THE USA! I love that. In fact, with the exception of some English china and some linens from Germany and Switzerland, the home accessories I bought for this project are all American made.

Last year, I painted my kitchen cabinets robin's egg blue, brought in a consignment shop white wrought iron and glass table, and added touches to make the kitchen a feminine meets retro meets happy kitchen. I love being in there even more than I always did just because the room is "me". This is what I wanted for the dining room and living room.

I love many things, except modern decor. I wanted to have a shabby cottage theme...but not completely. I wanted a white living room....but a colorful one. I wanted to add in vintage linens....I wanted the rooms to combine all of my decorating loves. I didn't want things to be too traditional or matchy-matchy. I think I have done just that.

You know, when I started this project, I was leaning towards just a pale and muted truly Shabby Chic theme. Ultimately, I wanted some punches of bolder colors while remaining true to my vintage-loving roots. I don't follow the decorating rules. I follow my own whims when it comes to how I decorate the home.

When we moved in:

In between moving in and now, it has been a colonial blue, a green, and then  the shade below, which I never grew to love called Fawn by Martha Stewart:

Priming the walls:

The Wall Paint

I changed the walls to Behr Cottage White. They were previously Martha Stewart Fawn. I never loved the color. I only painted the walls 5 months ago and just never loved them. I couldn't resist changing them. Again.
I primed and painted the walls and painted the door. The door is Behr Mild Mint.

The Wall on the West Side of the House

I removed our taupe Sure Fit slipcover from the old couch--which we got when we were living in an apartment and had "upgraded" from our futon! The guy across the street was moving and asked if we wanted this couch. It is red and we never liked it, but it's a La-Z-Boy and was made well. It's had slipcovers on it for years, between the boys and the dog.

Cannon already has made himself at home on the white slipcovers.

I fashioned a no sew "slipcover" using white vintage chenille bedspreads. I can take them right off and toss them in the wash as needed. Total cost for 3? $22.99.

I turned a stained, well-worn  $1.99 vintage tablecloth into a pair of pillow covers as well. I then found an old vintage tablecloth in my hallway linen closet that I purchased a couple of years ago and intended to repurpose and made more pillow covers.

The pillows with the stunning sihouettes? My friend Beth made those!

There are two new "tables" next the sofa. Inspired by the Pickles & Cheese blog,  I took out some old painted wooden tables I had and decided to paint plain old tv trays and make them into end tables. I primed them, painted them black, and then stenciled them with chandeliers in robin's egg blue. They're darling. I did add some vintage linens from my favorite shop (he he!), Loubird's Nest, under the lamps. Vintage aprons also adorn these tables.

I also took our lamps out of the room when I re-vamped things. We had black lamps with black and white damask shades, but they no longer looked right in here. They are now upstairs and I have two lamps that my mom bought at the old Sibley's department store back in 1975.

They were each given a cost of Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze ($3.24). I want to get new lampshades or else do an art project on these, but I simply made covers with vintage pillowcases I already owned. When I didn't love the fabrics on the shades, I removed them and fashioned two covers with a red and pink shabby floral Ikea king pillow case that I ripped at the seams to make larger. This was $0.99 at the Salvation Army. Total cost for 2 "new" lamps? $4.23.

I went down to Tom's office and took the old coffee table out of there.  It is now in front of the white sofa. This used to be my Aunt Marg's decades ago and it is rough around the edges. Never fear--until I decide whether or not to paint this, it has a vintage thrift shop embroidered runner on it. The cost? $0.99. A milk glass vase with some colorful (faux) flowers sits in the middle.

Hanging on this wall? I have an antique mirror that was my parents and is stamped Sibley, Lindsey & Curr, Rochester, NY on the back. Originally true to its maple roots, I actually primed it and painted it a sunny shade called Vintage Yellow by Glidden. On the other side of the window hangs a vintage china plate, black bird hang hook from Vintage Bliss that I bought last year and two framed art cards that I bought from BlueMoose in 2009 when she had a shop on 1000 Markets.

The South-Facing Wall

I moved my beloved thrift shop sofa that my husband HATES. He hates the color and the shine to the fabric, but I fell in love with it at first sight at the Salvation Army last fall for $60.

I  am using two exisiting living room pillows that have elephants on them (why I bought those, I don't know!) I turned them over and stitched vintage crocheted lace doilies/runners on them. The cost of those was also  $0.69 each.

I also brought some spare standard size pillows from upstairs down to the green sofa and covered them with 2 Rachel Aswell shams I found for $0.69 each at--you guessed it--the Salvation Army.

I paid all of $14 for the room's window treatments. All, again, came from the Salvation Army. I sure found some I love. The front and back windows have Country Curtains brand pom-pom curtains and the picture window has 4 vintage Sears pleated panels with a tag dating back to the early 1960s on them. They are in perfect condition and look lovely on the window. 

I put my antique mahogany bedside table down in the living room next to the green sofa. I had a free lamp from my neighbors a couple years ago. I then painted it the same shade and covered the shade with a $0.69 vintage pillowcase using nothing more than scissors and my hot glue gun. I put a vintage glass beaded chain "necklace" on the lamp and stuck it in an enamelware bowl. This is the same bowl that I bought on eBay and led me to meet my local friend, Christine. This lamp cost a whopping $0.69 in supplies.

A vintage pillowcase, muslin ribbon and this cameo adorn the hand me down lamp.

On the wall to the right of the sofa and picture window is a painted star, altered art collage I made a few years ago in a black frame, black wrought iron candleholder with Eiffel Tower stamped candles from The French Market ($5), and a whimsical spring banner found on Etsy. Below the mini $5 banner is a $3.99 Regulator clock from the Salvation Army. I love, love Regulator clocks and was happy to see this one at such a bargain price!

There's also a bold, yet feminine lipstick red "table" for some books. The shade is Krylon Banner Red ($3.24). This used to my grandmother's brass/golden vanity chair. She used to sit on this and apply her Estee Lauder Rich & Rosy lipstick every morning before spritzing on some White Linen. I removed the vinyl cushion and spray painted it red. We'll put a few books here that we're reading. I even made a little banner out of some vintage letter cards for just this purpose.

My Work Space

My jewelry studio is what was once the breezeway, so I do most of my creating out there. My computer work, though, and all of my blogging is right here in the living room. We also have the desktop computer centrally located so it will always be easy to monitor what the children are doing on it.

I removed my small antique mahogany desk and put this in my jewelry studio. I took my round, mid-century table from the jewelry studio and moved it into the dining room. I put my oblong dining room table in the living room to use as my desk. I took the leaf out and made it a bit smaller and then covered it with one of our creamy white summer quilts and a $1.99 vintage tablecloth from a thrift shop. I just wanted the area where I spend so much time blogging, handling business inquiries, and writing in general to be pretty.

I then went into the garage and found my old antique mahogany headboard. This was my grandmother's and then on my bed growing up. I thought it'd make for an interesting touch behind the desk. As you can see, it is an area for me to hang pretty things, such as handmade Etsy scarves, vintage hankies and other pretty things.

My chair is an old orange chair which is super comfy.

A white lamp that I had in my jewelry studio was moved inside and now sits on my desk.
I love the colorful artwork on the wall by my desk. I painted some frames, hung two of my grandmother's old china plates, and some other off pieces from around the house.

I also bought two prints on Etsy. One is in the yellow frame and the other is in the apple green one. The total of both prints was $17.50. This was one of the "bigger" purchases for this project.

I also hung other little ACEO print I had previously purchased on Etsy back in 2009.

Just to my left hangs an old, heavy Fleur de Lis plaque. It was once red, cream, and navy. Then I painted it white. Now it is robin's egg blue. It cost me nothing other than sharing a bit of paint from the $2.94 8 ounce sample bottle I used to paint my shelves. Not bad!

The window next to me is adorned with a handmade banner that says LOUBIRD on it. This actually might be going in the jewelry studio, but it is actually for my table when I do art shows.


I painted the shelves by our front door Aegean Blue. On top, I attached shelf trim that you stick up with double sided tape. I learned about this while reading the Sunny Simple Life Blog. When I saw them, I headed right to the eBay store where they are sold--the Lake Forest Kitchen Lady-- and bought them in black and white polka dots. They add a fun touch to my shelves for $7.99.

My front door was painted with a $2.94 sample bottle (8 ounces) of Behr Mild Mint paint. I hung a wreath I made on the door. The wreath was made from a blank grapevine one I had in the garage, a cut up shirt, a little Frozen Charlotte doll, and paper birds.

Other Wall

This is the wall by the stairs and looking into the dining room. I have my favorite PARIS banner from Funkyshique, the framed French street cafe poster I have had since Tom and I shared our first apartment together, and a vintage table (again, vintage Sibley, Lindsey & Curr) with a painted bird and enamelware bowl of vintage goodies. There is a small school chair (the Time Out chair, actually) sitting next to the table. Above my framed poster is a cute little Easter banner from Etsy ($4).



Obviously, I went over my $75 goal. I wanted to see how far my dollar would stretch at the thrift shops. In all fairness, $48.61 of that was spent on eBay, Etsy, and on paint sample bottles for frames and shelves at Home Depot :)

The wall paint I did not figure in. I purchases 1 gallon of primer and 2 gallons of my favorite paint, Behr  Premium Plus.

Let's make our way to the dining room....

The Dining Room:

Here it was on move in day. The wallpaper lasted about a day :)

This room has been a golden shade, navy blue with crisp white trim, sage green, lavender, and will remain the shade I painted it in 2009, Behr Warm Caramel.

While I like the existing wall color, I wasn't in love with the prim touches I had chosen on a whim since they went with the Christmas tree I had up at painting time:

This room is where we eat every meal. The boys and I eat breakfast together and we all eat dinner as a family. The dining room is cozy, unpretentious, and just a warm place to be.

I didn't paint this room. I was already happy with the Behr Warm Caramel on the walls.

I removed my country/prim green ticking stripe window treatments and put up some shabby chic ones that were $3.98 for both at the Salvation Army.

 I bought this stunning vintage English bone china bowl ($1.49 half price at Goodwill) for my existing thrift shop table.

I moved in an old dresser from my jewelry studio (from my neighbors) and painted it with one bottle (sample) of Behr Opal Silk paint ($2.94)

I didn't buy anything new for this--just displayed some vintage china pieces. In fact, I have scattered some vintage china odds and ends throughout the room (and house).

On one wall, I hung three white plates ($0.49 each at Goodwill) and stenciled numbers on them with black paint. I hung an odd Wedgwood china saucer there as well ($0.69). I didn't buy anything else for the walls--just used some pieces from the basement or garage.

I did take an old frame and I painted it, applied chalkboard paint and hot glues buttons and beads to it. I wrote a favorite quote on it:

I remain uncertain about my table. It may be painted. It may be left as is. I am not yet sure and don't want to rush into anything. That's OK! It is covered anyway with a beautiful vintage quilt ($4.99) from a thrift store.

I didn't want chairs that matched anymore, so I am using assorted thrift shop chairs in varying colors and styles. I used an old quilt from my childhood bedroom to make some chair cushions as well:

Dining Room Makeover Total:  $15.66

GRAND TOTAL FOR TWO ROOMS = $118.49 ($180-ish with the wall paint added in)

Closing Thoughts: Obviously I went over my goal by $43.49. If I added up simply what I found in thrift shops, though, the total would be $66.64. I didn't think about Etsy and other purchases prior to starting this, but that is OK! To think that I was able to transform 2 rooms for a little over $100 is really a big deal to me.

They feel completely different and these two rooms really FINALLY feel like ME.

My next DIY home project will involve some outdoor things--revamping a white picket fence which enters the side yard, painting flower pots, etc...maybe some window boxes, who knows. I also plan to do something different in Nick and Ben's room....stay tuned!

Thanks for following me on this little jaunt!

Re-visit My Past Budget Decorating Makeovers: