Saturday, December 11, 2010

The $117 couch

This is a story about how this...

...turned into this...

...and the whole thing (couch included) only cost $117.

Several weeks ago, I bought a new couch on Craigslist. There was nothing really wrong with our old couch, but my cats had developed a deep love for scratching it and the upholstery was starting to look a little battered. Plus, it was chocolate brown, which showed every single strand of fur that migrated off of our fluffy kitties.

So, with the help of my strong-armed husband, I gave away our old couch and picked up this one. It was listed for $80, but because of some wear and tear on the wooden bits, I bargained the seller down to $60 ($60!!). I rented a steam-cleaner for $50 and spent an afternoon making sure it was squeaky clean.  (That brings the grand total up to $110, for anyone who's keeping track).

For several weeks, I hemmed and hawed about what to do with the wooden part of the couch. It was chipped and worn and definitely needed to be dealt with in some way, but I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg to have it refinished. Finally, during a free afternoon this week, I decided to seize the day.

I carefully taped off all the edges, then sanded, primed, and painted the wood using some white paint I already had on hand. I used that ridiculously tiny brush to do the whole thing, just so I could be as precise as possible. I had no idea if it would turn out or not, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised.

I honestly can't believe how well it turned out. I knew I was playing with fire (white paint + beige upholstery = lots of potential for disaster) but I made sure to be very careful with the paint and had some spot cleaner on hand in case I dripped. (Which, of course, I did, but I was able to remove it right away so it didn't leave any permanent spots).

Though most of it turned out really well, there were a couple of places where it looked pretty messy. So, I went out and bought $7 worth of beige cording from Fabricland. I ran a bead of hot glue between the upholstery and the wood, then pressed the cord into the glue to hide all of the not-so-perfect spots.

So, there you have it: a new couch for $117 and a couple hours' worth of elbow grease. I think the white paint makes this couch look so much more modern. I love this style, but it felt a little too grandma-y before the makeover.

Oh, and I also made some new pillows using some Amy Butler and Heather Bailey fabric (some of which I had on hand from other projects, and some of which I bought online). So, I guess this project technically cost me more than $117.

 But having a one-of-a-kind, modern grandma-style couch with fabulous colourful pillows? That's priceless.


  1. It looks great Mu! You have a"good eye"! See you Sunday

  2. Emma, you have magical powers. It looks like a different couch!

  3. Thanks you two. I'm actually a little shocked at how well this turned out. I'm quite pleased with it :)