My DIY Distressed Couch Project!

old couch

The wooden sleeper couch pictured above was given to my husband and I the first year we were married. It was in good used condition ten years ago and has had lots of use since then! It is solid wood and VERY heavy. Nevertheless, we have moved it with us everywhere we’ve been: four states in ten years! My husband has been after me to get rid of it, but I just haven’t been able to let it go. Yes, it’s worn, but it sure is handy when we have overnight guests, and…we own it! I didn’t want to have to replace it.


Our solution: the old couch had to be painted. My inspiration was a “media stand” (formerly a dresser) painted and distressed by a local gal. She painted the dresser pictured below in flat Country White (purchased at Walmart).


Media Stand


We moved the heavy couch outside and I began sanding it with an orbital sander. The sander made the job much quicker than I was expecting! Still, it took a solid hour to prep the wood for painting.



With the sanding done, we moved the couch back inside (for some reason I didn’t feel like painting in 98 degree weather!) It took me a few hours and two coats to get the job done. Not gonna lie- it’s a bit of work, but so worth it!




Here is the couch with two coats of paint. It looks fine, but it’s going to look much better with a bit of distressing…


painted couch


With the painting done, we worked together to do the “distressing.”  The orbital sander came in very handy again.  Total time spent on the distressing was about one hour.




The couch is done! I love it and can hardly believe it’s the same piece. The white obviously lightens the couch, and the distressing matches the media stand on the opposite wall.


distressed couch


distressed couch 2


No more dark, dated couch on my gallery wall! What a fun, fresh look! I love it, and the best part? It only cost me $10.94 – the cost of the paint!


new couch

See more of my fun, low-cost DIY projects in our “new” home here.


My Low-Cost Gallery Wall

Time for another house update!

I’ve been wanting a gallery wall for a long time. When my mom came to visit last fall, we decided to attempt it. Neither of us had ever designed a gallery before, but we got lots of inspiration from Pinterest.


I don’t have my receipt from Hobby Lobby, but I used a 40% coupon to purchase a small frame, and the clock and cross were both 50% off. I already owned everything else we used to create the gallery wall. We began trying out arrangements- lots of arranging and re-arranging, believe me! We placed larger pieces in the center and tried to keep the edges even in size and color. We painted a few of the wooden frames to fit the color scheme.


We spread art paper on the floor and placed all the frames exactly where we wanted them. Then, measuring the distance between frames, we marked the nail holes on the paper. Using a level, we then taped the paper to the wall and put nails in the wall exactly where the paper indicated.


Here it is…


gallery original



After living with the wall for a few months, I decided that it was just too dark for the room. It was also a little too large for the wall. I removed some of the smaller pieces from the outer edge and I used some white paint I had on hand to paint a few of the largest black pieces. It actually took two days because everything took a white to dry and needed two coats.


gallery wall 1




I am so pleased with the final product! It fits the space on the wall and the color scheme of the room so much better. I love the “family” theme and the use of both real pictures and art.



gallery wall 2


gallery wall 3


See more of my fun, low-cost DIY projects in our “new” home here.


How we “remodeled” our guest bathroom for less than $250

In October of 2013 we purchased a lovely home in the deep south that was built in 1960. The precious thing had barely been touched…since 1960. The bones were great, the yard was big, and the layout was just what we wanted. We squinted and imagined what could be, and we are currently in the process of painting, updating, refreshing, and re-doing. Lots of work, but so worth it!

I don’t intend to teach, because I’m no home remodeling (or decorating) pro, but I am excited to share the stories and pictures of transformation in each room and area of our home. I’ll update as often as I can!

This certainly wasn’t our first project, but I’m going to share our guest bathroom re-do. It’s not a true remodel, but I feel like it may as well have been! I LOVE the finished product!! The best part- the whole project cost us just under $250. total. amen.



Here are the only, “before” pictures I can find. Check out the wallpaper- gotta love it!

Very old bathroom 1

very old bathroom 2


very old bathroom 3



Okay, here are some pictures of the bathroom after we simply stripped the out-dated wallpaper from the the walls. We did that first thing when we moved in back in 2013, as well as covering the oil-based-painted cabinetry with a primer that was supposed to prepare it for latex paint. It didn’t work. The primer chipped right off. 🙁  We needed to scrape the primer and prep the surface to be painted with oil-based paint. We got discouraged. The bathroom just…….sat there……like this…..until last month:  {ugh}


old bathroom 1


old bathroom 2


Finally got up the gumption and we stripped the primer from the cabinets, prepped all the surfaces for painting, and got to work. I had been planning to paint the creamy yellow tile white, paint the cabinets dark brown and the walls a light rosy brown, but I was truly intimidated by the thought of painting all that tile. My mom suggested sticking with the yellow and painting the walls/cabinets gray- after all yellow and gray are very stylish these days!


We bought pebble gray paint at Walmart, a cute (clearanced) light fixture, as well as new, white switch plates at Lowes, yellow towels and a darling, fluffy rug and toilet seat cover at Target, white towels and a few things for the counter at Ross, frame and picture at Hobby Lobby, and updated hardware at Home Depot. The final price tag on the re-do? Under $250. And it seriously feels like a brand new bathroom! Check it out…


new bathroom 1


new bathroom 2


new bathroom 3


new bathroom 4


New bathroom 5


New bathroom 6

My $20 Mantle/Bookshelf Update

I love Christmas decorations, and I really dis-like taking them down in January. The house always looks a little sad and bare when the decs come down. I decided to use the occasion to spruce up my den a little! I have these wonderful built-in bookshelves on either side of our fireplace, and I have been using them to store…well, books. Very plain and boring, but functional! After a little over a year in our “new” home, I decided to tackle the bookshelves. My mantle needed help, too.


This is what the mantle and bookshelves looked like after the Christmas decs came down:

Bookshelves before


I headed to Pinterest and searched both, “mantle styling” and “bookshelf styling.” Lots of ideas there! I didn’t spend a penny, just took books down, moved things in from other rooms, arranged, and re-arranged. I put the DVDs and CDs on the bottom shelves in baskets that weren’t being used well in another room.

This was my first attempt, using only what I had in my house:


Bookshelves first try

I thought this was a HUGE improvement, but the look was much darker than I wanted. We have LOTS of books, and for the most part, their covers are very dark. I knew I wanted more white on the shelves, and Linda over at Mulberry House agreed that the shelves looked a bit cluttered.

While I was at Mulberry House, I picked up a set of rooster book ends ($12) and a white pitcher ($8). I especially l.o.v.e the roster book ends!!!  Here they are…




So, I took down more books, added my white Mulberry House finds, and moved in a few more white pieces from around the house. My goal is to eventually add white shutters to either side of the mirror on the mantle and re-arrange it a bit more. I also need to move the mirror up the wall a little. Here’s how the mantle looks for now…




And here are the bookshelves…


Final bookshelves


So, there you have my $20 mantle/bookshelf update! I’m loving it!!



Welcome Autumn: My DIY Burlap Wreath

Autumn Burlap Wreath

Happy First Day of Autumn!

I absolutely LOVE this time of year. Especially now that I’m living in Alabama where the temps have been in the 90’s (100’s with heat index) for the past month or two. The weather was in the 70’s all morning and I was extremely happy! The 10-day forecast is all mid-80’s. Never thought that would sound cool to me, but it does now!


To celebrate the first day of Autumn I pulled out some burlap I bought at Hobby Lobby with a coupon a few months ago. I also pulled out my wreath from two years ago– it was battered and in need of a total re-do. After looking at a few ideas on Pinterest, the wreath pictured above is what I came up- just using what I had on hand.




Burlap is my new favorite decorating accessory- it works especially nicely in the fall!


Welcome Autumn!

I’m so glad you’re here!!!


autumn wreath1


My Laundry Room Makeover

Laundry Room Before

Last October my husband and I bought a home built in 1960.

Not much had been done to it since then, but the bones were great! We just needed to see past LOTS of old wallpaper and paint and bathrooms and a kitchen in much need up updating.


A fresh coat of paint…

The very first thing we did ( with the help of friends!) was to paint the whole inside of the house, top to bottom. That made a HUGE difference! Our expenses were: 1) paint (of course), 2) painting materials, 3) a wallpaper steam-remover (best purchase ever!). For around $1,000 we have a freshly-painted home. Not bad when you get a whole new look with just a coat of paint!


Now, on to the updates…

The least expensive room to update was the laundry room, and I’m going to share that project with you today. We stripped the wallpaper and painted it a nice, neutral color. Eventually we would like to get a stainless steel washer and dryer, but for now we’re using what we have!



I had this wonderful shelf we were given for our wedding almost nine years ago sitting in a corner with no place to go. I decided to get paint matched to a  “Laundry” sign I had purchased on sale at Hobby Lobby. We brought the sign to Home Depot where we had the color matched. I used a $1 paint brush from the dollar store and the whole project took only about 1.5 hours – start to finish!



And here is the finished job!

I love my new laundry room!




 Stay tuned for more updates!

Next up – patio makeover…



3 Frugal Ways to Bring the Warm Look of Autumn into your Home

Three Frugal Ways to Bring the Warm Look of Autumn into your Home:

  • This is a fun project to do with your kids! Go into your yard and gather a handful of large, interesting branches. (The more gnarly ones also have a great Halloween effect!) Then place branches in a tall, cylindrical glass vase—or whatever vase fits your décor.  I like placing these in front of a window.  Branches are a hot decorating trend and are free! (Keep them into the Christmas season—then spray paint them silver or white for a wintry look!)
  • Gather colorful leaves from your yard, and hot glue them onto a plain grapevine wreath found in hobby or discount stores.  Add a plaid bow with fall colors, and voila! Instant autumn door wreath!
  • Don’t forget the importance of SCENT in the overall ambiance of your home! When having guests over, place a large dutch oven on your stovetop and fill with apple cider.  Toss in 10-12 cinnamon sticks, and simmer on very low heat.  This makes your house smell warm and inviting, like apple pies are baking in the oven—and you can serve your guests a cup when they arrive! 

Enjoy! And remember to be thankful for your many blessings during this Thanksgiving season…

Five Easy Ways to Update your Kitchen Without Breaking the Bank

I am so excited to introduce you to my dear friend, Sunny! When we lived in Atlanta for 2 years during my husband’s graduate school program, Sunny was our next door neighbor and became a sweet friend. Sunny is a skilled interior designer and has agreed to provide us with some money-saving tips for home design here at Simply Frugal Living!

Sunny and I share a great love for tea and enjoyed many afternoons chatting over a cup of tea in the kitchen or garden. I learned much from her love of design and the beautiful way in which she decorated her home.

Today’s topic is: Five easy ways to update your kitchen without breaking the bank.


  • Install new hardware on your cabinets.  Need to spend even less?  Try spray-painting them instead–matte black for an oil-rubbed bronze look, or matte silver for a brushed-nickel look.
  • Get new dishtowels and oven mitts.
  • New kitchens now include some wall-hung shelves, as well as cabinets.  To try this look, remove the cabinet doors over a sink or stove or any focal area. For a custom look, you could install wallpaper on the back wall inside the cabinet. You can even install under-cabinet puck lighting inside the now-open cabinet. Get creative! Use these areas to highlight pretty dishes, glassware, or anything else that will go with the look you want in your kitchen.
  • Find or make new window treatments that will let the sunlight in!
  • If red or green is your accent color, place a bowl of Red Delicious or Granny Smith apples in a glass bowl on the counter. Not only pretty to look at, but encourages healthy snacking!
  • Collect dishware, like tea pots or plates? Display on a shelf, on top of cabinets, etc. Group in units of three or five. Your home should reflect your personality, and you will love being able to look at them every day!  If your collection is larger, rotate every few months to update.

Love interior design? Be sure to check out One King’s Lane HERE for gorgeous finds at 70% off retail! Plus, you’ll find a totally FREE $15 credit waiting for you…


DIY: Frugal Autumn Wreath Project

So, I really wanted a nice autumn wreath for my front door, but I didn’t want to spend $15-$45 for it, which is what they are selling for in my area. So, I took a 40% off coupon to Joanne Fabrics, and bought the wreath ($4.99) and some 60% off sprigs and made my own! Like it? It cost me just under $9. 🙂

FREE 8 X 10 Picture Canvas (Just Pay S&H)

Canvas People

Here’s an awesome idea for a fun and frugal Christmas gift: turn your favorite photo into a free 8 x 10 canvas with Canvas People or get $50 toward any size canvas! You do have to pay shipping and handling, which is $14.95, but that’s still an awesome price for a cool gift.

Placing an order is super easy:

  • Select your photo
  • Choose your size (be sure to choose 8 x 10 to get your free canvas)
  • Choose your frame (only if you want…you don’t have to buy one)
  • Choose your effect and get artistic!
  • They’ll take it from there:

All of our prints are gallery wrapped. This means that the canvas wraps around the side of the image and is secured to the back of a frame. The image wraps around the sides to make a lovely presentation.

Your Canvas is sprayed for protection.
We coat all canvas prints with an environmentally-friendly protective coating. This coating will help protect your canvas from moisture, humidity, abrasions, fingerprints, and more. Plus, it gives a really nice finish. fun with it!

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