Do you get tired of rooms in your home, but don’t really have the money to do a complete makeover? Are the things you have still “good” but just need a little refreshing? How can you change things up a bit without spending much money?
That was the challenge that Walmart gave the Walmart Moms this month–do a quick and easy “Room Refresh” on one room in your home without spending a fortune. I decided to freshen up my living room, since that is indeed the room we do the most living in. It’s our reading, talking, TV watching, xBox playing, phone call making and everything else room. We use it a LOT.
Here is the before picture of my living room.
Actually, that isn’t a true before picture, that’s the “this is the before picture AFTER I cleaned and straightened up the living room so I wouldn’t be embarrassed”. This is more truly what the living room looks like most of the time:
Like I said, we do a lot of living in there.
The difficult thing about my living room is the sofa. Yes–I have a plaid sofa. Yes–I am tired of my plaid sofa. It is so hard to work around because you really can’t add much in the way of additional patterns or colors without it looking like a crazy mess. The thing is, it’s a really good sofa. It is older than Princess (so that makes it 14 years old) and it is built like a tank. Nothing is loose–the wood and frame is all solid. The foam in the seat cushions is FANTASTIC. If you sat on them you’d think it was new–no sagging or drooping. The amazing thing is the kids have jumped on this couch, built forts, flung themselves over the back, vaulted over the arms. After all that abuse it is SOLID. I probably couldn’t afford to buy a comparable couch without spending thousands of dollars. The only problem is I’ve been looking at plaid for 14 years. (that’s 4 houses now)
So I’m not going to be able to work some miraculous change here where it looks like a completely different room. It’s still going to be a plaid couch. But you know what? That’s ok. I believe whole heartedly in buying good things and keeping them for a long time. The point of the challenge is to breath a little new life into something, and that’s just what I’ll do!
And I do make changes occasionally. I jazzed the living room up a bit by building a DIY Wooden Crate Bookshelf this spring, and for Christmas I gave the family the fun and lush Faux Fur Throw by Better Homes and Gardens (so soft and fluffy!).
When I looked around the living room the thing that stood out to me was the lampshades. They were starting to look dated–the shape was out of style and they were starting to look a little worn. So I headed off to the home decor section of Walmart.
I couldn’t believe the selection of lamp bases available at Walmart! So many cool and trendy shapes and styles. It wasn’t just the icky old fake brass of the 1990’s–There were modern brushed metal in several funky styles, cool colored ceramic, and all kinds of sizes and silhouettes.
I really considered buying the survey tripod style lamp–so cool!–but decided at $40 it wasn’t in the budget. Honestly the base for my table lamp was fine. The floor lamp actually had started to break, but after looking at several styles I decided to go with a basic Mainstays rubbed bronze floor lamp ($14.95) that I could add my own shade on in order to coordinate the table and floor lamps together.
So I headed one aisle over to look at lampshades. Ohh la la–so many choices. I really loved some of the pattern ones, but I ran into the “plaid couch” issue again. I’m leery of adding too many competing patterns–I’ve already got stripes on the floor and curtains. I decided the drum shape was my favorite and found several styles that would work. I actually purchased two different styles to take home ($14.95 per shade) and try on the actual lamp–after all with Walmart’s 90 day return policy I knew I would have no problem bringing back the one that didn’t work.
One cool thing I noticed? The Better Homes and Gardens lampshades had a QR code you could scan and it would pull up suggestions of which lamp bases look best with that shade. How cool is that?
A couple of lampshades and a floor lamp didn’t feel like enough of a refresh, so I decided I needed to pick up a pillow to round things out. I looked in the regular decor pillow section, but they were all standard square pillows, and I wanted something a bit different. So I headed over to the bedroom section. Bingo! Lots of cute decorator pillows in a variety of shapes and sizes! I picked up a small rectangular one that matched the plaid sofa colors for $12.
Just for fun before I left the store I decided to wander through the furniture section. A new futon and chair weren’t in the cards for me, but the style of the zebra slipper chair and the faux leather futon ($169) were so trendy I just had to snap a picture to share! Who knew Walmart had such cute stuff eh?
So here are my refresh choices:
The first step was to try out the lampshades. I left the plastic on to make them easier to return. My current lamp shade uses a harp, and both of the new ones I purchased do not–but that’s an easy fix. You just remove the final, take off the shade and then look at the harp.
Usually there is a way to “squeeze” in the harp to remove it. Then you just place on the new shade and replace the bulb.
Here are the three lamp choices. As you can see the first one is the original shade. It has a sort of swoopy, hat shape. The second version was a light cream color and had flowers appliqued on the shade. The way they lit up with the light was sort of interesting, but I felt the scale of the shade was a tiny bit too small, and the flower patter was just not quite right in the room. The burlap style shade was slightly larger, so it seemed more in proportion to the base of the lamp, and the shade adds some interesting texture to the room both on and off. I liked the burlap best.
So I replaced the shade, replaced the entire floor lamp, switched around the throws, added in the new pillow, and added a pillow onto the leather chair from another room.
What do you think? It isn’t a huge difference, but it looks warmer and fresher to me. In the room itself, the new shades actually make the room seem brighter, the drum shape lets more light be cast up to the ceiling which reflects back into the room. I also think the straight floor lamp looks less “messy” then the swing arm style of the older lamp.