A Thrifty Living Room: It starts slowly


We have been setting up a proper living room over the last few months. It’s a process to find all of the right pieces for a personal but inexpensive space and we’re buidling it layer by layer.

He wanted the house to reflect his tastes, so I’ve been holding off on infusing the space with my more patterned, art heavy, and kitschy style to keep it pretty masculine. My girliness can really dominate if there’s not enough already there. Keeping the balance takes a lot of effort.

This is where we started:

The beginning

A $60 hide-a-bed sofa and the $25 retro chair were things we found on craigslist and quickly agreed on. The sideboard there was an old IKEA piece where the previous person had kept their TV. I hated it. Pushed it out of the house myself one weekend. The far window didn’t have a curtain, so we covered it with a sheet until we could find something better.

Getting there

Eventually we found a great brown leather chair on CL for $20 (+$4 to get a new small spring at Lowes). The folding table on the side was a piece E scored at a yard sale for $5. The painting resting on it is his Gauguin print that he framed himself. The mid century coffee table/media holder/bench and ottoman were also CL finds. They were the most expensive purchases at $90 for the two.


And here we are at this morning. The new-to-us mid-century swivel chair was found at a flea market for $30. The second curtain rod and panels were Goodwill finds for roughly $12 total.


Next to the couch is this mid-century sewing desk. We found it at Goodwill. The desk & the Thonet style chair together were $4. Yes, $4. There are some great deals through that organization if you take the time to visit often.


The trusty folding table is now part entry table and lives with the purple chair.


And there’s the dirty secret angle: we’re definitely no where near done. The open laundry closet isn’t such a big concern any more, but the bike storage is something we’re trying to tackle. We just bought a pair of Delta vertical bike racks ($14 each from Amazon) and need to see exactly were we can hang them. We also need a bit more storage for outdoor gear.

Here’s a rough breakdown of where we got each piece and it’s price.

Already Owned or Free

Art prints & frames

Table lamp

Corner table

Tall lamp

Original curtain rod and panels



Couch: $60

Coffee table and ottoman: $90

Purple chair: $25

Brown leather chair: $24


Desk and Thonet-style chair: $4

Lamp shades: $10

Other curtain rod and panels: $12

Yard Sales & Flea Markets

Folding table: $5

Swivel chair: $30

Antique Shops

Yellow vase: $8

Teal vase: $15


Bike racks (still to be put up): $28

Total for everything so far is right around $300. Hooray!


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