Cottage Family Room Decorating on a Budget
Honestly, we are successful, well-paid people… but with five daughters between us, three of whom are currently in college, we just don’t have the money to blow in a high-end furniture store. In any retail furniture store for that matter. $5000+ for a couch? That’s crazy! I did recently pay full price for my beautiful couch at our ‘floating cottage’ and it nearly broke my heart… and it was really a great price! It’s made by the same company that manufactures furniture for Restoration Hardware, and we purchased it at our local furniture store DT McCall’s. It is beautiful, but it still cost $2000. That’s not something I normally do. I am a bargain shopper! Luckily, I really enjoy the hunt, that’s my favorite part of the design experience. The better the deal, the bigger rush I get!
This is my main living room at our ‘Cottage in the Woods’. The cost of every single thing you see in here including accessories and furniture add up to less than $2000… Yes friends you heard me correct… Less than $2000. Most sofas cost more than my total budget! I have designed this entire room for less than the a normal cost of a couch. How do you ask?
Everything in this room comes from the loves of my life, Craigslist, consignment stores, flea markets, eBay, estate sales, and my favorite of favorites Homegoods. Actually just last night, my sweet husband Mark and I were having a family meeting and he said, “Baby you have a Homegoods and TJ Maxx problem”. I was honest and said “Yes sweetie I do, but at least it’s not a Nordstrom’s problem”. His reply – “True”. But, back when I designed this room, I was a single mom with three kids completely starting over. Although I had a great job, I had to be extremely thrifty. The only furniture I took from my previous home when I first got divorced and purchased my current cottage was my Persian rug and my cow skin rug. You can see the red Persian rug in the picture of the living room. It’s a little worn and thin from years of being loved, but I snagged this rug from eBay for only $100. This was the start of a completely empty room… one sad lonely Persian rug.
My first purchase needed to be a couch. I only had $7000 in cash left to furnish an entire home after sinking the rest of my savings on the down payment on my ‘cottage in the woods’. This meant traditional furniture stores were out. I knew I wanted a Charles of London sofa. I am quite the shape snob when it comes to furniture. Clean classic lines are a must! I started my hunt! Luckily, I travel for work, so I was searching Craigslist every day in the cities I visit, as well as shopping the top high-end consignment furniture stores. I struck gold in Knoxville, Tennessee when a beautiful white Charles of London couch was advertised for sale on Craigslist. Not only was it a Charles of London, it was an EJ Victor! This is a well-made high end furniture manufacture. The sofa probably retailed for between $5000 and $10,000. I drove to Knoxville as fast as I could! It was in perfect condition in a formal living room, barely used, and she only wanted $400!! SOLD!!!!! Craigslist doesn’t always turn out this way. I once drove to Atlanta for a couch that looked great in pictures, but was stinky and covered in cat hair when I arrived.
TFC Hint: Use visual clues in the pictures on Craigslist. See how the room they take the picture in looks, if it’s clean and well designed you probably have a winner in a cared for piece of furniture. They may just be downsizing, moving, or redecorating.
The next thing on my list was a pair of chairs. I really wanted a pair of leather club chairs (and still do!), but most of the ones I found were already sold by the time I called or were out of my price range. Unfortunately I’m a sucker for chairs that swivel and/or rock… It’s a complete downfall of mine. That’s how I ended up with the two cream colored chairs. I walked into Classy Cat Consignment Furniture in Nashville, sat down on one of these chairs and was hooked. They were not the fabric choice I was hoping for, but they sure were fun to sit in. I thought oh well, I will just get them reupholstered… five years later it’s still on my design bucket list. But oh how I enjoy drinking my coffee in my rocking swivel chair every morning! My plan is to recover them, maybe in a buffalo check, hopefully soon, so I can share the project with you our readers! The bamboo table in between is a consignment store find for $30.
Then I found my coffee table, another Craigslist score! You need to know I have a love of all things with oriental flair. Our ‘Cottage in the Woods’ is obviously just that a cottage… therefore I designed it to be cottagey… It does have some Chinoiserie and Oriental style furniture thrown in here and there, but I’m already salivating over my next house. It will be a home where my designs can be more eclectic and will have bamboo and Asian furniture to my hearts content. Anyway, back on subject, this pretty square coffee table was painted bright red, which just would not work with my red Persian rug. I slapped a coat of black paint on top of it with a little bit of distressing so the red would show through and wallah… My $40 Craigslist find works perfect now. The tea tray on top is an antique store fine for about $15, the deer antlers we found in the woods and I spray-painted the Tips gold. I believe the glass vase and candle was Hobby lobby and around $10. TFC Hint #2: Always remember to use your 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon!
Now here is the before and after of the bookshelves. The original owners of the house had them painted green, and the second owners moved them out to the garage. The third owner, (me!), freshened them up with distressed black paint, contrasting cream colored back panels, and added new knobs and some feet, because everything looks better with feet! This was my hubby’s and I’s first big project together when we first started dating. Luckily we survived it! It was pretty tedious with all the shelves and taking off all the doors. I think we worked pretty well together and they turned out stunning. A painter quoted me $1200 to paint them. Considering my entire budget for the room was around $2000 that just wasn’t going to work. Cost instead… a week worth of painting dates with my new beau $priceless.
The green Queen Anne chair is another reupholster project I haven’t gotten around too and probably never will now. It’s been a great chair for Christmas, for Lakeland’s photo shoots, and once it was even used in our school play. I replaced it for a while with a leather club chair ($90 yard sale find) but that has been moved to “our floating cottage” until I find Mark a good looking recliner for relaxing there. Until then, the green velvet chair is back, it cost me a whopping $25 at the 127 yard sale and we have gotten our moneys worth out of it. Eventually it will probably be moved to the basement and only used at Christmas and for Photo shoots. For now it’s a fixture right beside my blue and white Asian garden stool picked up at an estate sale for $15 and my reading lamp from Homegoods for around $70.
As for the fireplace, I added an antique mantle I found in Nashville at one of my favorite consignment stores, English and Co. It was $250. My favorite piece in the room is the mirror above the mantle, another Homegoods find for $79.99. Other items in the room, include the faux silk drapes from Hobby Lobby in 96″ length. I believe these were $29.99 a pair and as always take multi family members in order to use multiple 40% off coupons! The frames above the sofa are from Big Lots, about $5- 10 each. The driftwood deer head is from Homegoods, coming in at $59.99. The baskets on the bookshelves are from Target, $24.99 a piece.
Above is a complete listing of the furniture in the room and my spendings. Have you ever found a piece of furniture with potential or a super good bargain? If so share them with me in the comments!