Tuesday, January 28, 2014

House Tour & Status of our $5,000 Budget

Almost a year ago in March, I made a post about our self-imposed $5,000 budget for furnishing and decorating our home from scratch.  As this is our first place, we started with no sofa, no rugs, no wall art...nada.  Given that some time has elapsed without a full update on how that's been going, let's take a look, shall we?

The good news is that we're still on budget and even under-budget with many of the items we have bought so far.  As I'd predicted in the March 2013 post, we have already had some items that fell well under-budget, and so we moved those savings into another item's budget.  An example would be when we got a rug for our bedroom that was $100 under-budget, so I moved that $100 to the living room rug's budget.

There's also been a few things that I did not initially budget for and that I added to the list since, like a kitchen island cart, shelves for the dining room, and a floor lamp in the living room.  I re-allocated funds as I added these items, wringing out every dollar saved from some items to do so, but it's been working.

Now onto the house tour so you can see what the money has been buying and the figures.  It's not all "pretty" yet because we're still in the middle of everything, so these photos really are just "keeping it real" for now.  Someday when we complete a room I'll roll out the magazine-worthy photos (and I look forward to that!)

First up is the...

Living Room

This room has received the most attention.  In the past year after some disappointments, we found our first sofa and armchair from England Furniture, which we love and is still working out to be worth the money.

Since the addition of furniture, the room has evolved with a rug and settee, wall art, refinished bookcases, and other miscellaneous decorations.

Here's a pic from just this past March 2013:

(sofa & chair along with a rug we borrowed from my folks and a free coffee table)

What it presently looks like:

Another "before":


can't wait to put doors on those bookcases to help calm down the craziness of the whole fireplace wall - I don't like that it looks so cluttered and scattered

The room has definitely become a place we can now offer seating to friends and relax in.  It's neat to see how much the room has changed in less than a year!

Cost So Far: with the big-item furniture and rug for this room, the amount spent for this room is the largest at $2,600.  Still on-budget and I aim to have it stay that way by remaining careful with the items yet to come.

To Do:

- side tables
- coffee table refinish
- doors on bookcases
- tv stand
- ottoman
- wall art behind the sofa


The entryway now feels more like an area of its own as you walk in the door; the living room's settee divides the once-single room into two spaces of function.

Budget-wise, the entryway falls under the living room's budget.  The framed art, all which has been thrifted or were photos/art I already had for free, comes in at under $10.  The clock and table were already with us when we moved (and had been gifts).

Here's the "before":


To Do:
- complete the wall art collage in the entryway
- get a 3-4 ft length console table

Dining Room 

After sewing $6 curtains and getting 2 head chairs for the table, I kind of left this room alone for awhile as I turned my attention back to the living room.  But the dining room finally started to get some love again after we painted it this past Fall.  We went to Ikea not long after and got the Vittsjo shelves for extra storage space, and I made it a project and attempted to tweak it into looking like a piece from Restoration Hardware for $100.

This is an older pic of the dining room from this past fall, the reason being that nothing else has changed in this room since except for a bit more decor being added to the bookshelves.

Here's what the bookcase presently looks like:

Cost So Far: Decor & curtains is approx $80, the bookshelf was $100, and the 2 head chairs were $95.  Total of approx $300 to-date.  Still under-budget for the room.

To Do:

- wall art
- buffet table (there's a piano that came w/ the house sitting where we'd like to add a buffet at present)
- replace the dining table (it came with the house and isn't our style)
- reupholster the dining chairs?


It is done and was completed on-budget for decor and an island cart (we got the island from the discount room at Ikea) - all for just under $130 total.


Just squeezed by under the budget, but it's done as well.  I've made curtains ($3) since the pic shown below, but the light coming in from the window kept making them too dark, so you can look here for a sample of the fabric if you're curious.

Total cost: for the shower curtain, woven basket for holding extra towels, pitcher & flowers, curtain, floor mat and wall art, it all came just under $50.


We're about 80% done, and have approximately 16% left in the budget for it.  It's gonna be tight.

Here's what it looked like at the end of last summer:

Still would like: a 2-seater bench with cushion and pillows, which I've been thinking about solving by trying the bed-to-bench idea.

Laundry Room

On-budget - only $20 spent here so far.


Not much work has gone on in here yet except for the rug (free), curtains ($2 total) and the cork board area.  Rather than getting one big (and expensive) cork board, I found these boards for $1.69 each, and the 4 of them make a rather nice space.  I like that I can also separate each board into a certain category, such as one for film projects, one for writing, and so on.

I'd still like to make a standing desk and find a bigger filing cabinet, but they aren't priorities.  I'm pretty good for now w/ the function and look of the room.


Our bedroom is still by far our worst room.  You know how it is: people don't ordinarily see it, so it is the last room you're concerned with.  We have been making small improvements, such as a new duvet, organizing the closet, putting up a temporary cork board to hang my necklaces, sewing window curtains, and installing a closet rod into our otherwise useless wardrobe so that Karl and I both have more room for our clothes (HUGE difference in our daily lives, lemme tell ya!).  We also got the 7x10 Adum plush rug from Ikea to make our bed more defined in the large room, and more importantly, to keep our footsies from the cold bare floors in the winter months.

Cost So Far: the rug, new duvet & cover, and curtains all come in at a cost of $200, most of that coming from the rug & duvet+cover.  Still good on the budget.

To Do:
- headboard
- side tables
- replace/sell or refinish Karl's decrepit dresser
- wall art

Though we're presently on-target, there are some potential future pitfalls. 

We'll be continuing to test our budget these next few months as we try to cross a few more big items off our list. We've now spent more than half of our $5,000 budget and we would still like to get/make a dining table and buffet, living room console, tv stand, side tables....  I've been keeping a keen eye out for items I can refinish from craigslist, facebook groups, second-hand furniture stores and such, but it's slow-going in wintertime, and therefore I am hoping that springtime, and with it the usual spring cleaning people do, brings an influx of furniture to pick from.

Shared on diyshowoff, homestoriesatoz, keepingitsimplecrafts, elizabethandco, rainonatinroof, allthingswithpurpose, modvintagelife, remodelaholic


  1. You're making good progress and your home is coming together beautifully!

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog! I found it funny that someone else was having the same couch problems as my husband and I have encountered. I started looking about a year ago off and on but just couldn't find the look I wanted. We recently moved to WI and my old furniture just didn't work in the new space. Anyway, after months of looking I finally found a sectional I liked and scheduled a delivery. It was a nice sectional, not to big, nice lines, not overstuffed and "fluffy" and very comfortable. They finally delivered after three weeks, and when the delivery guys walked in and looked at my room, they started staring at their paperwork. I could tell something was wrong. Finally one of the gentlemen asked me "so, how do you envision this looking?" OH NO! Well, I said, the long piece over here, the loveseat portion - there. He responded with: they sent you the opposite-the entire sectional was the opposite of what I had ordered. I then found out that they didn't have the correct one as the line had been discontinued. Of course. SO, I began again, but now I feel as though I am having commitment problems. I walk in look at everything and can't find exactly what I want. Also, it seems as though where I am living now has a much smaller selection of furniture stores than my previous area. I have been to every store in a 150 mile radius! Anyway, finally found an England couch I love. Came home and started looking at reviews as I wasn't familiar with the brand. All the reviews were pretty bad. So, when I came across your blog looking for reviews I was very relieved that someone had a positive experience. I think I will go ahead with the purchase as it is the only couch I really love, despite the negative reviews and hope my experience is as good as yours! Thanks and sorry for the lengthy reply:)

    1. Hi Kathy! Thanks for taking the time to comment! Sofas are so hard to find when you have something particular in mind, huh? I feel your pain. ;) Oh my goodness though about your sectional! That's such a bummer. I hope that your experience with England goes much better! Still no complaints from us about our sofa! :)


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