Painting My Sofa and Other Low-Cost Decorating Experiments

It’s May already???  Just as an expectant mother, who has an incredible urge to “nest” and furiously prepares for a baby’s arrival, I have been getting busy with the decorating stage of our home.  No baby coming, just a graduation party, which is arguably as monumental.  Ha!  Actually, my motivation can be attributed to several factors.  One being the fact that we moved in over a year ago, the dust from the remodeling stage has long since settled, and I feel shame every time someone new comes to the house.  Without fail, they ask how long we have been here (meaning: “Looks like it was since yesterday!”), noting the bare walls, random furniture placements, and the lack of personal objects (except for junk collected in the middle of the kitchen island).  Yes, I would have to agree, the interior of our home hasn’t changed a whole lot from our move-in date a year ago.

It would be a stretch to say we are intentional minimalists (though, there’s nothing wrong with that!), so the reason we have not done more in the furnishing/decorating department boils down to the one thing every member of this family has in common: a strong penchant for procrastination.  Now, being the parent, and the one in this house who usually calls the shots in terms of how a home is decorated, I take full responsibility!  Procrastination, I am sure, has may sources, but I am self-diagnosing my decor delay to fear of doing it wrong(and a wee bit of laziness).  I really don’t think I am a perfectionist.  In fact, I want nothing to do with something that is “perfect”, but after all of this remodeling work and money spent, I want it to be inspired and welcoming.  Pressure!!  So, with our daughter’s graduation party looming in the not-so-distant future (motivation factor #1), I decided a few weeks ago to get going.

Where to start?  How about our living room sofa?!  (Oh, and did I mention, in addition to being interesting, any decorating has to be done inexpensively, as well?  Yeah, I would have to get creative.)  You guys know how expensive new sofas are, right?  It really isn’t in the cards for us to splurge, plus we have a puppy, so it’s not a good time for a new one (duh).  But, I hated how dingy our sofa’s oatmeal-colored fabric had become, and even if it was cleaned, the color really looked blah against our white walls.  New upholstery?  Wrong answer!   I got a quote for $2200.  That obviously wasn’t happening either.  So, I did what any really desperate amateur decorator might try, and I painted it.  It took two days of experimentation/labor, and about $130 in supplies.  Et voila!  Our “new” sofa was born!  (I somehow lost the photos I took of the process…  Shoot!  But, this is really not a tutorial post anyway…).  Not sure if I would do it again, or recommend it to someone else, but the result is not bad!  It was worth the risk, in this case.  Ours was a tired sofa, but with good “bones”, so I figured it deserved a new life.  I think it looks much jazzier in its coat of metallic pewter!


My 15 year-old isn’t digging the new feel of painted upholstery, which is more like rough leather, and my husband says it makes him a bit sweaty, but all I can say is, “I just saved us thousands of dollars, You’re welcome!”  (Sweaty….Hmmm.  That would be ME, painting for countless hours…!) One thing is for sure: It looks a whole heck of a lot better.  (And since the initial critiques, I have taken care of the rough texture by sanding it with good old sandpaper.)  I admit, it’s not the most comfortable sofa to ever exist, but it does the job.  The best part is that it is DONE.  On to the rest of the room…

I assume you noticed my “art” above the New Sofa?   Urban Outfitters has great tapestries on the cheap.  You are looking at their flag tapestry that I cut down the middle and back-stapled onto two huge canvases (As opposed to just tacking it up, dorm room-style).  I added a bit of metallic gold paint for some interest, and suddenly my gigantic white wall feels complete.  Big impact for little investment!  I have had nightmares about decorating that wall….





There’s definitely some tweaking still needed for this part of the space…  Some colorful pillows, different side tables, an accessory or two the dog won’t eat…  But, I have a real start with the sofa and wall hanging, and that, my friends, feels darn good!

Across from the sofa, we have our television….



Again, we’re dealing with a two-story wall, so I have tried to bring the eye down with a gallery wall of sorts using my DIY paintings around the tube:



Moving on to the smaller sitting area of the living room:



That is Grandma’s buffet on the wall… apple branches I brought home from my mom’s… And the little coffee table in the foreground I found on CL. It’s such a great color!


Heading into the kitchen/dining space:


Can you believe how big Jarkko has gotten? Nothing is safe on the counter anymore…




Loving my apple-green counter stools! Makes the kitchen island so much friendlier!

At the dining end of the space, I made a gallery wall.  It turned out pretty easy to do, and for no additional cost, I was able to display 15 pieces that maybe are not strong enough if hung alone.  Basically got a bunch of things we already had and played around with it until it looked like a composition I found to be interesting.   It’s kind of random, but that’s probably why I like it!


My gallery wall installation.


And moving on to the other corner of the room:


Here is where some some of our personal photos and objects are displayed.  I envision a more interesting desk-chair combo in place of the one shown.  Looking for some cool baskets for the bottom shelves too…


And!  Looking back through the house:



It feels great to have finally put a few things up on our walls!  There’s still work to do, but the hardest part was getting a start.  Now I am on a roll!   All it took was a little motivation inspired by one too-fast-approaching party.   Our oldest is preparing to leave us, just when things are starting to look up around here…  The nerve!





  1. GORGEOUS! Your home looks like something out of a magazine! Seriously, you guys have worked so hard for so long and it’s really paid off. The house has such a light, airy, uncluttered look that is SOOOO appealing. I love it, Allison. Your DIY art on the wall is amazing. Makes me want to get creative.

    You have a wonderful design eye. LOVE this post so much. Everything looks incredible. Congrats!

    1. Hi Stacey!

      Your comment has made my day – thank you so much! Those who know your amazing blog and creative home will understand!

      I especially appreciate you checking out my latest post, as I just read about your recent surgery, and how things have been difficult. Your telling of the experience is heartfelt (with your usual hilarious tone), and I am touched by your thoughtfulness in cheering me on at a time you could use some cheering yourself… Wishing you better days ahead!

  2. Allison, you have done a truly amazing job on the interior! Stacey is right, you do have a great eye! And I hear you on the embarrassed part, we are going on 2 years and still have mountains to do with the interior! Only those who have or are going through it understand it is an evolving process. I really, really love your kitchen. I WISH our island was that big, but alas, we have a smaller space! Anyway, I know if I ever get discouraged that I am procrastinating, I pull out the original photo archive and realize how far we’ve come! Try it! It works!

    1. Hi Michelle!

      I really appreciate your sweet compliments and commiserating with me on the process of decorating our remodeled homes…There’s pressure we put on ourselves to just get it done (like those darn entertaining HGTV shows that fully redo a house in an evening?!), but I think it’s important to enjoy the experimentation phase, and let things evolve, like you said! (Some of us will never “complete” the interior decor of our homes, as we like to continually play with new looks/ideas…) And when my nit-picky self starts to come out, I will take your advice and see the positive things we have been able to achieve! Thanks again for the encouragement!

  3. Great job big sis; very unique and special; I too have [spray] painted furniture, but my futon in Italy was marginal dump decor.

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