house stuff!,  shopping,  Thriftstore Thursday

Living Room Quandary

mixing things UP with new pillow covers

I’ve always wanted to have that kind of home where friends felt completely comfortable to drop by without even calling first. I know it’s silly and I’ll probably regret those words someday but I always thought that would be really cool. When I worked in an office I had that kind of office. People would drop by so often I sometimes had trouble getting my work done. But I loved it. I guess I’m just a social creature by nature. It’s not such a bad thing.

I even love to daydream about having a bed and breakfast someday. I know it would be a lot of work to cook and clean for guests all the time but I’d love to have a long country table where people sat around for hours telling stories and sharing.

It would be so fun to set up a website to get guests to come and then when they did come, I’d send them off with muffins and and informational handouts on where all the local adventures could be had. I might not be up to running an Inn in the long run. I hear it’s terrible work but I do want to have that long country table where friends can just drop by for an hour or two to sit and chat. I think I might even paint a sign someday that says “Sit and Chat.” I like that better than Keep Calm and Carry On.

sitting room quandry

Well, I do have a cozy welcoming home now. I even have a small table that people can sit and drink coffee or wine at comfortably. I have had several friends drop by to chat but guess what? I have no seating!!! I have one old chair that the dog sits in constantly and it is covered in dog hair no matter how many times I wash the cover. I have a bunch of wooden chairs but they’re just not comfortable. I’m constantly apologizing for the lack of seating.

7days, Day 5: "jumping into the shot"

This is a 7days shot but it does sort of capture the musical chairs game we play to see who gets the one comfortable chair in the house. I need to get some new seating. Please, please, please don’t think this is me begging for the internet to give me money so I can go buy more furniture. No way. You guys have already embarrassed me with your generosity. I’m more just asking for ideas. What could I put in this corner to make it more sit-able?

a couch I considered

I visited the local thrift stores for ideas yesterday and spied this couch. It had good bones and I considered reuphostering it (in orange!) but it was 80 bucks and I just didn’t feel like spending that much money on something I wasn’t sure about. It did have a hideaway bed though which would be kind of nice.

UPside down

So what should I do with that space? I’ve got my heart set on two low-set avocado green chairs in pleather but they have not been popping up in thrift stores like I would like them too. There was one once and it was only $40 but I passed on it and now I’m rueing the day. Why oh why didn’t I buy that green chair?!! It was only $40!!! Chairs are never that cheap! And it was pleather which is perfect for dogs who like to sit on chairs!

Another time there was a garage sale just down the street from me and they had this giant round coffee table with a big “FREE” sign on it and I stupidly drove by that thing for three days. I kill myself sometimes with my shopping regrets. But I guess that’s part of being responsible. Some things you just have to pass on. I bet you guys have some good stories about things you’ve passed on and wished you’d bought later.


  • Madge

    I do!! Fish and I passed up on a PERFECT bedroom set for Pix. It was beautiful, simple and cheap and we still talk about that darn set.

    I’m still thinking of some sort of window seat or booth type sitting along that wall.

    I’m a bad friend, I haven’t stopped by for coffee or wine. What’s wrong with me????

  • margalit

    When so much of our stuff was stolen by the movers, I’ve had to replace a huge amount of stuff. First, check out the local freecycle, join, and comb thru the ads daily. People give away AMAZING stuff that you can snag in much better condition than that poor plaid sofa.

    Also, craigslist. Filter the furniture by owner and check off only the ads with photos. Search for specific things you want, like club chairs or recliners or sofas and then spend some quality time with Bug, teaching her some design principles as well.

    I just got a down-filled sofa that was originally $1600+ and I paid literally a song for it.

  • Elizabeth

    I don’t have an answer for your seating woes, though Craigslist is my go-to.

    I really wanted a long table for guests, too. I once got an old door from a friend (free) and then picked up a coffee table from the side of the road (missing the glass middle) and put the door atop the table frame and then just covered it with a tapestry and we’d grill and sit around it on the floor with friends. It seemed HUGE and I loved it. I got the idea from an artist’s loft I visited in L.A. and she had a really rustic door that was lovely…mine was not and had to be covered. Hope this helps.

  • nicole @ deliajude

    we had a great time and even sat on chairs when we dropped by to visit…in fact the visit was so fun that i haven’t even thought about the chairs since. come sit at my table sometime!

  • bethany actually

    When I was a sophomore in college I was looking for a couch for my dorm room, because I was an RA and needed a comfortable place for people to sit! I found a huge light purple velvet couch in a thrift store for $20. TWENTY BUCKS! It was perfect–just the right size, a pretty color, in great shape–but that thrift store only took cash and I didn’t have enough with me. And at the time I had only just started looking for couches and didn’t realize how rare it was to find something so perfect for such a good price, so I hemmed and hawed and decided to come back the next day with cash, reasoning that if I was meant to buy it, it would still be there.

    The next day it was GONE. Of course it was. I assume someone who really wanted or needed that couch got it, because I have been mourning it ever since.

  • gingermog

    Would floor cushions take up too much space? Or some old style stripey canvas and wood fold up deck chairs ( which you could store in a shed when not in use. Ebay is my friend, I got my fold out leather couch and several other essential pieces of furniture from sellers.At the moment I’m looking for a leather Moroccan pooffee .

  • carrien (she laughs at the days)

    I ALWAYS have shopper’s regret, also closet clean out regret. No sooner will I get rid of something then I will think, I wonder where that red sweater is? It would look so cute with this skirt I just bought.” then I remember that I gave it away and kick myself.

    Couches are really nice to have I think,you can nap on them, and more than one person has seating. I vote for a cute little couch/loveseat.

    For a while it seemed like everyone I knew was offering me chairs and couches. If it happens again I’ll send some your way if you want them. :)

  • Jenni H.

    I’m in for a bed and breakfast! You are an amazing host! Little couch or chair sounds great. I’m a garage sale freak! All of my furniture pieces are hand me downs:) I’ll keep my eyeball out for something.

  • TexasLea

    The problem with a couch that is anything but leather or pleather is that it will just become a bigger version of the chair with dog hair. I’m speaking from experience here. Try to hold out for “wipeable” furniture. In the mean time, I once saw a cute craft in a magazine where they made a bean bag type chair but filled it with stuffed animals. Of course all the kid had to do to get a toy out was unzip it. I thought that was brilliant and even daydreamed about all the great stuff you could store in a bean bag chair like extra bedding, out of season clothes, old towels…. You’re super crafty, I bet you could pull something like that off!

  • anna b bonkers

    I wish I could kidnap you to come clean my house. I want so bad to post a few good shots of what it is really like here…maybe I will anyway.

    I aim for the same feeling, yours is totally there!

    I would hit up freecycle too, though it is touch and go if you are on daily there are finds!
    I think you should totally hold out for a big round corner seaty thing, one that everyone can cuddle up on! OK, so that is what I want and would probably be ridiculous in you place. Whatever you choose I am sure will be perfect!

  • a chris

    OK, I go more for functionality than style (and, uh, about the functionality, if we all want to eat together here, we sit on the floor around the coffee table), so I won’t try to give advice (except I agree on wipe-able furniture).

    But like gingermog, I am impressed that you can stand on your head (presumably fast enough and for long enough for the camera timer to catch it). Any time I do that, I think I’m going to bust a blood vessel somewhere so I chicken out.

  • Marilyn

    put a photo of your dream pleather chairs up on your dreamboard. i’ll bet they’re out there, just waiting for you to find them. when we moved here, we had to start over (no furniture). i found a green pleather La-Z-Boy recliner for $40 at Goodwill. in perfect shape and so comfy. in fact, i took a nap in it yesterday. :) start visualizing, B…draw those chairs to you! :) xo

  • Anne

    I found a dollhouse for my daughter at a garage sale that was exactly the same as one I had as a kid. I passed it by and am still totally kicking myself. To the point where I may look for one on eBay.

  • Donna

    We always get those regrets at Costco! We’ll see something that’s a really good deal and we could use it….but decide to pass it up. Next time we’re at Costco…they don’t carry that item anymore!! :-\

  • BeachMama

    Stick with a love seat or something smallish, I find that when people come to visit, despite all the comfy couches surrounding the kitchen everyone ends up in the least comfy chairs sitting at the island or at the table :) And no one every complains… ok, I am the only one, but then again I tend to stand and talk to my guests like in the good old days when I was a bartender :)

  • KA

    Living in London, England, I have serious space envy… I’m looking forward to the day – which may never come – where we have space, let alone chairs, for plenty of people! So, I can’t feel your pain on this one. What about going for a Turkish theme and throwing down lots of bean bags and cushions?

  • Sara

    Although I like the idea of used furniture, when it comes to a larger upholstered items like couches, I would rather have a cheaper new thing. We have dust and animal hair allergies in our house, so it’s really the way to go. The space would look super cute with an IKEA chair/chaise situation. I think you know what I mean — you can put your feet up on one end and if more folks are over, you could even put a throw pillow up against the wall for another person to sit. I haven’t priced those, but think with some pennies saved, it would be cute and cozy!

  • Sara

    P.S. Just looked at the idea I mentioned above on the IKEA site — more spendy than I thought! Still, a good idea. Maybe there’s a vintage version that you could find.

  • amy

    Try craigslist for free stuff! Bet there are many couches out there free or next to it :) (I know because my husband was addicted to the free link for some time… Can you say PACK RAT?!)

  • eva

    7 years ago, when I was in the Army and had all more cash to spend than I’ve had since, I tried on a PERFECT dress. It was a blue and white graphic print Ralph Lauren. It was $300, and that was all I could spend for the month on frivolous things. I didn’t buy it, going on the “don’t spend all your money in one place” principle. Not a week has gone by that I didn’t think of how good I looked, and all the places I had to wear it.

    Since then, I have spent way more on things that I didn’t get half the imaginary utility out of. But I haven’t regretted it once. Not doing things is so much worse than doing them and wishing you hadn’t.

    My decorating advice is to imagine your dream drop-in get together, then think about the furniture that would be involved. Then get those pieces one at a time. A big stuffed ottoman that can seat two? Old fashioned wooden spindle backed kitchen chairs (painted a funky color) with tie on cushions? Upholstered captains chairs (on easy slide casters)?
    You can afford one. And after that, you can afford another one.

    Good luck. You look like you have a beautiful home, with lots of laughing and comfort. I just came home from a friend’s house with the same problem: more people who want to be at her home than she has chairs for. We didn’t mind at all:)

  • Peggi

    Oh Brenda, I’m so sorry to do this to you, but I really, really pray you stay far away from the FreeCycle and Craig’s List stuff – actually, ANY used furniture. There was a story in the local news about a woman who got a decent bedroom set from Craig’s List for $200 (headboard & footboard, vanity, and dresser). A couple weeks later she discovered they were infested with bedbugs. She paid $2000 trying to exterminate them and ended up taking the entire set to the dump.

    If you do a Google search, there are lots and lots of stories about this, and LOTS of advice not to buy used furniture for precisely this reason.

    I’m praying you have an IKEA close by…..

  • Ninabi

    Under the living room window, could a sort of window seat be built? Not a built-in, but a long box (storage underneath) with lots of cushions and pillows on top.

    I love the idea of second hand but I am hearing more and more about bedbugs. My daughter said there was a horrible problem up in her town in Colorado. No more getting second hand and free furniture.