Sep 10, 2012

Sitting Room on a Shoestring

My youngest daughter, who has been living at home to save money during college, will be graduating this December. During her last semester I wanted her to have more room to stretch out and work on her senior project, so we moved her into a guest room and remade her old bedroom into a private sitting room just for her. 

We love to work on projects like this together, and our challenge was to create a young fun comfortable space on a shoestring by repurposing a few things we already had, shopping at thrift stores and sales, and making what we could by ourselves. 

It was a blast! Here's what we came up with...

 The walls were already painted a gray color my daughter chose for her old room and still liked, so we left them as is. (The streaks on the wall are caused by light from the window.) We borrowed the $15 vintage yard sale sofa from her sister's storage unit. My daughters absolutely love that strange unusual color!

We wanted a pouf but even making one was too expensive, so I was pretty excited when I found these two footstools for $3 each at yard sales. One is for feet, and one is for piling school books on. We borrowed the snugly shag rug from another room. New carpet and new closet doors weren't within our budget, so please try to squint around them like we do!


This chair was free from my husband's family and was completely repainted, including the upholstery. You can see the before and after here.   

The bookshelf was $10 at a yard sale. Originally blue, it was repainted with homemade white chalk paint and then waxed with finishing wax.

We installed the high shelves when my daughter was a child to hold all her collections, and they still work great for that. We also added lots of hooks on the back of the door for the book bags and backpacks she uses when riding her bicycle to class.   

The desk chair was recovered in fabric from Jo-Ann's, and the edges of the desk drawers and the knobs were painted with bright yellow craft paint. 

My daughter sits at this $5 yard sale vanity each morning to do her hair and makeup. It was originally shiny brass like the closet doors. (Yikes!) We spray painted it in a color called Lagoon, then recovered the seat with more Jo-Ann's fabric. Zip ties attach hooks on the side to hold a hair dryer, curling iron, and straightener. 

Needless to say, my daughter loves to paint her nails every color of the rainbow, and her nail polish collection makes a colorful display hanging beside her vanity. Another $3 yard sale find, this once dark wood shelf was also painted with homemade white chalk paint.    

The $7 yellow lamp from a yard sale is paired with an $8 Target lamp shade.  The bright round folk art tray is a favorite of my daughter from her grandmother, and the cups in front of it were made in her ceramics class last semester. The $3 yard sale footstool was originally light rattan with a misshapen beige corduroy pillow.  I spray painted it orange, remade the pillow to fit correctly, and then recovered it with Jo-Ann fabric. It's my favorite thing in the room.

The pillows on the top left were found at Target on sale for $12 each, and the one on the right is homemade. All the fabrics were chosen by my daughter and purchased with 40% - 60% off coupons at Jo-Ann's. My daughter is fearless at mixing and matching colors and patterns.

The $19 Lucite lamp above was purchased from Target a couple of years ago. My daughter loves bulldogs, and she framed this photo from a magazine. I love how her contemporary iPod and iPod speakers on the side table contrast with her vintage typewriter on the shelf below.

I also love that my college student daughter still has her old Lego Castle, Hello Kitty, and Gumby on display. My vintage letter press tray hangs on the wall next to the window and holds other small collectibles from family vacations. 

Evidence that my little girl is not a child anymore, though, are her penguin cocktail shaker and polka dot martini glasses, gifts from her twenty-first birthday. The Danny Kaye quote is a framed card from her big sister. 

Colored bottles on the sill and crystals hanging from the latch add sparkle and shine at the window. 

We managed to bring this little sitting room together for just over $125, and I was reminded of my own happy college days of living on a shoestring. (Remember using wood boards across stacked up bricks for bookshelves? Yes, I'm that old!)  

It was so much fun to work on this with my daughter, and she assures me it's a very contemporary hipster college girl kind of look. Of course, I wanted to distress everything in sight and put a white slipcover on the sofa, but I restrained myself. We finished it just in time, the weekend before school started. I've also been working on some projects in her bedroom across the hall and will hopefully share them soon. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you come again soon! 

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  1. You two did an awesome job! I love the fabrics you chose to reupholster the seats and the chalk paint looks great too. Love the nail polish cupboard! You are a great mom -- what kid wouldn't love their own extra space!! It makes it extra special that you decorated it together - and the budget lessons are always good ones too. :)

  2. What a great space! You and your daughter did a fantastic job. My daughter is also living at home while attending community college to save money for a couple years, and we created a similar space for her. You might enjoy checking out Megan's Room Reveal on my blog. I'm following you now, it seems we have something in common!


  3. You guys did a great job! It's fun making something cool out of very little and inexpensive! My daughter moved out in May and we did the same thing, furnished her little house 96% with things from yard sales, flea markets etc and it turned out adorable, she said all her friends are jealous!
    Visiting from Brenda's blog.

  4. You and your daughter must have had so much fun putting this room together. Looks like a fun room for her to work in.
    Mary Alice

  5. Wow, what a gorgeous room! It's so stylish yet so fun. I love it!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  6. I love it! I am one of those that likes the funky colored vintage sofa too!
    I think your daughter has a very keen eye with the fabric details and colors...mixing and matching doesn't come so easy for some of us.
    way to go on the price of this make over~ cheap fun with your daughter...priceless!

  7. I love it! The vanity is a true "trash to treasure"!
    I so enjoy your blog! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Well, this room is just as cute as can be. Ya'll did a great job on it.
    xo bj

  9. Y'all did a great job on this room! What fun! Love the mix of pattern and color in this room! My daughter will graduate this December too and we enjoy thrifting together. Great times!

  10. Oh wow, that room is filled with so much charm and character! I do love the sofa. It is a cool color and the shape is awesome. Every element is happy, colorful and young, but with a bit of sophistication. And the little nods to childhood favorites adds sweetness. I bet your daughter just loves her new space and what a fun project - a true labor of love!

  11. Shows so much character! I would have opted for one large piece of artwork above the couch.

    Popped in from the Cowgirl Up blog hop.

  12. Well I think you nailed the hipster look! My two fave pieces in the room are the chair from your hubby's family and the adorable shelving that holds all the nail polish! Isn't it fun to have a daughter who enjoys decorating like you? :)

  13. It is very college hipster - I love the sofa (yes, even the color) and all the fun vintage touches! What a cool room to hang out in. My girls are a bit younger but also love polishing their nails. They'd love theirs all displayed out in the open like that! If it's good enough for Hello Kitty & Gumby, it's gotta be fabulous!

  14. Great job on a small budget! It looks like such a happy place to curl up to do homework.
    I have a vanity almost identical to your daughter's and have been planning on painting it...but wasn't sure if it would work out being brass and rusted, (it was my daughters and she didn't want it anymore) you've shown me it will. Love this post! Thanks!
    Debbie :)

  15. What a bright fun room! It was so much fun taking the tour. You both did an amazing job bringing it all together.

  16. What a fantastic space, your daughter must be very happy. Lots of bright colours I especially like the pops of yellow around the desk - yellow is good for mind stimulation so perfect choice for study areas. I can't believe the size of that nail polish collection, a different colour for every day of the year :)

  17. I love that nail polish shelf almost as much as the Gumby on display!! I really enjoyed this post, because I too like to decorate on a budget. I am stopping by from Savvy Southern Style...I added my $245 shabby chic guest room, which you'll appreciate since you thrift and garage sale. My motto is "if you're not garage saling, you're not living!"

    You can visit me at A Penny For A Thought, which is connected to the name of my children's book ( Thanks for sharing!

  18. VERY nice and I love the nail polish shelf!

  19. This is very cute. I love the wall color and the yellow lamp. I have some lamps I bought at goodwill and painted that same color and then went to Target for the shade. Just a fun room I am sure she enjoys it.

  20. Laurel, this is a beautiful space you have created for your daughter! I love the colors of her furniture and accent pieces. Very, very pretty! Actually, we did something similar for our daughter last year. We enclosed our upstairs game room with double doors and made a huge bedroom for her. These kids need the space but they are not quite ready to leave home yet! You guys did an amazing job! i know she is very happy.

  21. i love the eccelectic-ness (is that a word?) of this space! the colors you painted everything make them so interesting, and it all totally works. i do not have this talent, lol.

  22. What a cute room! I love how you have made that green couch look stylish. Most people would just throw that couch out, but I love how it looks in the room. I have that same Danny Kaye quote up in my kitchen - it's a good one to look at every day.

  23. I just love that vintage sofa! I would pick it up, too! What a cute little gig she's got going on!

  24. Good for you, Mama, for letting your daughter guide the choices! My daughter moved ALL the stuff home from the apartment she used for 3 years during grad school, this past May -- and now we're trying to make peace between her things and mine. It's a rocky transition!

    Anyway -- I ADORE decorating on a shoestring... and you did beautifully. Lucky daughter!
    Best wishes, Cass

  25. Laurel, I love this room! You guys did such an amazing job. I really like all the funky, bright, and bold patterns. It all looks very hip and young, all the nice vintage pieces thrown in are very cool. The rattan stool is my favorite part as well. You did a great job at restraining yourself from distressing and slip covering things! ;) Have a great day! P.S. We made an offer on a house tonight. Hopefully I'll be back to blogging soon. Wish us luck!! :) ~ Jamie

  26. What a fun and funky room! I love your choices - so vintage cool.

  27. I just love the fun and funky vibe! And all those bold colors! And so many amazing details, details, details!



  28. What an adorable sitting room Laurel! You two did well! Thanx for partying at my place!

  29. Laurel, Thank you so much for sharing this inviting room on Simple & Sweet Fridays. I love all your beautiful details and how everything came together perfectly. You're such a designer!


  30. What a fun and funky space, love the mix of textures and retro fabrics. Really cute, great job with the makeover!

  31. Such a beautiful space! I love those footstools..what steals they were! I've always wanted a pouf too..but why oh why are they so pricey. :) Enjoy it! Megan

  32. love this room! i love the couch, pouf, wall color and all the colors! it looks awesome! saw you over at elizabeth & co! :)

  33. saw this on Elizabeth and Co and had to check it out!! i am in love with that couch and the gallery wall. great job! i'm a new follower!

  34. What a fun space! That sofa just makes it! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  35. It's the perfect room Laurel. Thanks for sharing it on Shabbilicious Friday.


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