Category Archives: living rooms

sofas, chaises, couches, oh my!

23rd September 2013

Do you guys remember the Reverie couch I won from EQ3 last year? Well, I thought I would give you a bit of a status update after living with it for over a year. The short story: We love it. The colour hasn’t faded, it’s become a little bit softer (which we like), the cushions have remained really plump so they aren’t doing that sagging thing that happens over time, and the “body” of the couch is still in great shape. Basically, it still seems like we just got it yesterday. And we use it – a lot. We are dinner-on-our-laps kind of people, and so I sit and eat on this couch every night of the week. It’s definitely a resilient beauty.

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The one problem we have had pretty recently is that one of the buttons came off. I had noticed in general that the buttons (which create that tufted look) were always a bit on the loose side, so I sort of expected this to happen. I called up EQ3 and was sort of ready for a long wait on hold, multiple calls, and lots of back-and-forth before I could get anything fixed. Well let me tell you – their customer service was fabulous. They didn’t ask anything about when I got the couch or require a receipt or anything, just setup an appointment right away for one of their contracted furniture fixers to come over to our house. A few weeks later, a very experienced furniture guy came out and not only fixed the one button, but reinforced every single one (all in about 45 minutes). Such great service!

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Do you guys love your sofa? Are you currently looking for a new one? Ever received a great hand-me-down? Before winning our Reverie, we had always had a cheap futon and our IKEA Karlstad. We still have our Karlstad and love it for its clean lines, comfy factor, and reasonable price point, but I have definitely come to appreciate a really well-made sofa.

Habitat, a UK based company, reached out about their latest lines of sofas and chaise longues. I used to pop into Habitat really often when I was living in London to check out their latest stuff (their stores are always beautifully laid out!), so I was happy to take a look at their new lines.

They have a huge selection of sofas and armchairs, and also a ton of chaise longue style sofas.


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I definitely veer towards a couch that has clean modern lines, fewer seat and back cushions, and slim legs. I find that a couch that sits entirely on the ground can look heavy in a room. And although I think a neutral sofa is a smart investment, I do love the idea of a brightly coloured couch. Bright turquoise, mustard yellow, or a poppy red? I’m digging it.

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I also have always defaulted to fabric sofas and chairs, but leather is inching its way up on my love list. A well-worn warm brown leather sofa, especially in a room with white walls, kilim rugs and throw pillows, mixed metals, and other global flare, is my idea of a good time.

Hubs and I have dreamt of having a nice big sectional at some point to really stretch out on. Our current small living room would get swallowed up by a sectional – but maybe with our second-storey addition down the road we will be able to put a sectional into our expanded living room. A gal can dream!

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What about you guys? What’s your sofa-style? Are you a fabric or leather lover? Like tufting? Into boxy lines, or more traditional rounded sofas? Light? Dark? Slipcovers? Have a sofa that has really standed the test of time? Ever re-upholstered? I want to hear about it!

**Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Habitat. All opinions and text are my own.**

a new look

24th July 2013

Notice anything different around here? Yep, not only do I love to tweak my own pad, I like to switch up the look here on the blog every so often! I’m still working out some kinks, so bear with me over the next few days. I’m going for a super clean and fresh look, with better galleries for DIY projects, better general readability, and ability to navigate.

Back to the regular programming. With the changes and small upgrades we made to the living room recently, here are the latest photos of the room.

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With the sunny yellow and cornflower blue accents, it’s a bright and cheery room. Feels nice during the summertime for sure. And with all of the main pieces being neutral, it means that it’ll be really easy to switch out the accents to create a different vibe come fall. You know I have a slight pillow obsession, so digging into my personal home decor store (ie. linen closet) provides an easy way to change things up!

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The two poufs were ones that we brought back from our trip to Morocco a few years ago. They provide some extra seating, and will be great for when we’re hanging out on the floor with the kiddo. They are definitely one of my favourite things that we have brought back from our travels. Totally reminds me of walking around the medina (market) in Fez with the hubby – I can almost taste the mint tea and smell all of those crazy scents.

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There is definitely a little part of me that would love to do something entirely different in here (part of my constant house-tweaking nature!), but with our plans for an addition/reno next year, I don’t want to put in much effort or moula at this point.

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Ready for a little trip down memory lane? Here was the room one week after we moved in. It didn’t stay like this for long, but it’s pretty funny to look back at where we started from. So bad, right? Ha!

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 Are you guys constant house tweakers like I am? Making any changes in your living room? Spill the beans!

ch-ch-ch-changes in the living room

22nd July 2013

As we finish up the nursery around here (two more weeks until my due date!), I also wanted to make a few switcharoo’s to our living room.

Remember how I mentioned in my “before baby” post that I wanted to get the two small dressers on either side of the TV painted? They were two slightly different off-whites, and one was pretty badly banged up.

This one was very much a cream colour…

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And this one had loads of chips and had been painted with a really bad paint that wasn’t durable at all..DSC_0351

My super lovely mum wanted to give me a hand with getting things done around the house, so while I was working one day she came over and painted them! Seriously, how lucky am I? I’m also lucky that she is a re-finishing furniture pro and total perfectionist. She sanded down both of these pieces with my palm sander and gave them two coats of my fave Rustoleum medium gloss white paint (it’s available off the shelves at Home Depot).

Once they were all dry, I brought them back in to the space and threw the knobs back on.

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I’m always so pleased how a fresh coat of paint – even in a similar colour – can make a piece of furniture feel brand new. DSC_0391

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The one to the right of the TV needed a knob upgrade, so I grabbed these gorgeous glass minty ones. So pretty, right? They came from a small store where my parents live, but you can find similar ones from Anthropologie.

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We also said goodbye to hubby’s beloved Poang chair in the living room. Though it was super handy to have the chair, it was never my favourite and we knew we were going to need the floor space to let our little lady have tummy time and crawl around. Now we have this nice patch of free floor where we can play!

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The last change was to switch out the rug. We planned on using the green trellis rug in the nursery (more on that later this week), and wanted something neutral, non-shedding, and super budget friendly in the living room. With the possibility of our house addition next year, we knew we didn’t want to splurge now on a rug. So when I saw this bound taupe-y/grey area rug at Home Depot for $35, it quickly came home with us. With the $40 we got for our Poang chair off Kijiji, it was a break even move. My favourite!

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Yes it’s a little small for the space (it should really fit under the front legs of the couch), but the colour and how easy it is to keep clean made it a total winner.DSC_0424

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I didn’t have time to edit all of the photos this weekend, so I’ll post some before and afters of the living room later this week.

Hope you guys had a good weekend. Anything fun going on? Have you been switching things up in any parts of your house lately? Oh, and did you hear that Kate Middleton is in labour? I can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or girl, and what they name him/her. Do you guys have any guesses?

new treasures

13th September 2012

Remember when I went and checked out IKEA’s new collection a few weeks ago (see that here)? Well, as you can tell from the photos of our updated living room yesterday, I came home with a few new goodies.

When you look back at our living room from a few months ago there are a few major things to notice. One is that white standing lamp beside the couch. It was something that I had carried from place to place since my University days and it finally bit the dust. The poor guy broke and we lived with it in a seriously crooked state for a couple months. The other big change was the pine hutch. We adore that pine hutch (it’s a family piece), but it was always too big for the living room. There isn’t an ideal spot for it in our wee house, but we have moved it over to the dining room which works a whole lot better.

First up from IKEA was their great new shelving unit – the Vittsjo. It was only $50 and really pretty easy to put together.

I love the glass shelves as they don’t take up too much visual space in the room. I would have probably preferred to just have a small sleek side table in that space, but we were in such desperate need for book storage, so I think this is the perfect solution. I’m totally loving this unit – it would even look super fab jazzed up with a coat of spray paint. Gold or a deep Navy? Yes, please.

I’m sure I’ll keep playing around with the accessorizing, but having somewhere to put a few dozen books is totally amazing.

Next up was a replacement for our crooked lamp. I wanted something slim and as non-overpowering as possible. We liked the Hektar floor lamp, but ultimately the Tertial won out for a ultra reasonable price point – $18.99.

It’s simple and sleek, with a nice brushed silver finish. The only thing I don’t love is the hanging cord, but it’s not a huge deal.

And then the Lappljung Fagel was a no-brainer. A pillow (one of my favourite things) in two of my favourite colours (turquoise and lime) for just $12.99? It was game over.

And the fact that this cute little bird is on the reverse side was just like icing on the pillow cake.

So those were my latest IKEA finds! I’m still drooling over some of their other new pieces (like that black and white rug I mentioned in my shopping post)… I feel like I need a second home to decorate. Or at least a few more rooms. A gal can dream.

What about you guys? Found any goodies lately at IKEA, or anywhere else? Got any sweet reversible pillows or sexy standing lamps? 

the living room, version 4

12th September 2012

I’ve been hinting that there have been some major changes to our living and dining rooms lately (like here, and here), and I finally got a chance to snap some photos. Carving out some time to take pics while it is still light out gets tricky when you’ve got a day job and are away on weekends. Sorry for the delay, guys!

But before we get to the latest pics, let’s take a look back at the evolution of the living room.

Here we are on moving day. Mis-matched, bare walls, and just plain bad.

This next one is how it looked for about the first 9 months. No rug, a very worn futon, and cheap-o coffee table.

And then after some upgrades (like a re-finished coffee table, a rug, and karlstad sofa). This is how it was looking until just a short while ago.

So, back to the upgrades. It all started with the couches. Remember how we got this fab slipcover from Comfort Works for our Karlstad, and then won the EQ3 couch? Well it was kind of like a chain reaction.

Once we knew the EQ3 couch was on its way, we threw up our Klippan two-seater (that white couch in the photo above) on Kijiji. We sold it, and its extra cover, right away for $200. Since I won the couch, hubby had no problem with me spending that $200 on whatever tickled my fancy.  And what had I been hankering after for soooooo long? A rug. A more colourful, geometric rug. There was nothing wrong with the gray $30 rug we had in the space, but it was never meant to be a permanent solution. So I started browsing. I fell hard for the dhurries at West Elm, but they ended up costing too much with shipping, and found a few on online flash sale sites like Joss & Main and One King’s Lane, but they too tipped over the price limit. Then I came across this guy on Overstock and it was game over.

Geometric, Moroccan-inspired, 5×8, 100% wool… and available in a fun olive green? My heart went pitter patter. I quickly popped it into my online shopping cart and checked out. I had a coupon for Overstock and so got $35 off my order, but with shipping/handling and an international fee, I squeaked over my $200 slightly (up to $225). Whoopsies. Don’t tell the hubby!

I was giddy when we got home to this huge package on the front door and quickly set her up in the living room. The whole room was transformed. It feels so cheerful and fun. The graphic pattern is bold but not totally overpowering. The green is a little more green than I was expecting (not as olive as I thought), but I still love it.

And it’s so cushy under our toes.

So that’s how the room is looking now. So much more colourful and sweet. The lighter couches really make the room feel brighter and bigger, too.

You’ll notice a few of my other new goodies (like that shelving unit and standing lamp), but I’ll give you more deets on those tomorrow. That poang chair is still not my favourite, but the hubby loves it and we don’t have any “new chair” money in the budget, so it stays for now. I would love to eventually get the matching EQ3 Reverie Chair, or something similar.

See those fun colourful pillows? The yellow chain-link ones and the turquoise chevron pair came from Festive Home Decor on etsy. Super well made, a great price point, and TONS of selection.

It’s fun to have such upbeat pillows on there for now while it’s still summery out (let me hold on to the hot weather for a few more weeks, k?), but changing them out for something moodier and warm will be an easy switch come fall/winter if I want to get a cozier vibe in here.

Here is the room for the other angle. You’ll notice that the dining room has been tweaked, so I’ll be back with the run down on it later this week, too.

Now that there is so much colour and pattern going on in the room, the thought of re-painting the gray/blue walls has crossed my mind. I love the colour, but I’m not sure if something a bit neutral and moodier wouldn’t be better. I’m going to leave it for a while and let the idea simmer.

So there it is – the updated living room. There are still things that a constant tweaker like me would like to tackle (like re-hanging the curtains higher and wider, adding a tray and accessories to our coffee table, possibly switching out the art above the sofa), but she’s getting there.

What about you guys? Tweaking things in your pad? Are you a constant updater like me, taking a loonggg time to get a room to exactly where you want it?  Any new rugs or pillows in your life lately? Do tell.

blogger love and a new couch

7th September 2012

So yesterday this happened, and totally made my day.

Yep, John and Sherry from the seriously popular blog, Young House Love, featured our bathroom reno in their reader redesign series. OUR bathroom! I think it took a good 10 minutes of just looking at the post before I even believed it was real. Not only have I been following YHL since 2008, but it was the very first blog I ever stumbled upon. The first blog that inspired me to think about starting one of my own. A huge thank you to J&S for posting about our bathroom, and a big hello to any new readers who have popped over!

To continue on with the “super lucky” theme, remember that EQ3 design contest that I won a few months ago at BlogPodium (see my moodboard entry here)? And the gorgeous 3-seater sofa that was the prize? Well, she’s here and she’s a beaut.

Readers, please meet Revy (the “Reverie” from EQ3). Ain’t she pretty?

We originally thought we’d go with a charcoal gray colour for the upholstery, like the one I used in the moodboard, but once we got into the store we fell in love with the lighter gray. The charcoal was super dark and had a lot of blue undertones, and so I worried that it would read as navy blue. This lighter gray is perfect for us and will carry through with just about any design and room for a long, long time (good for a house tweaker like me!).

I love the clean square lines and these nice cone-shaped wooden legs.

Oh and that classic tufting? To. Die. For. I’m so in love.

We’re feeling super lucky. We definitely wouldn’t have been able to afford a new couch anytime soon, so getting this swanky one from EQ3 was such a treat. A big thank you to EQ3 for sponsoring the contest, and to BlogPodium for hosting it!

So basically I want to marry this couch. Yep, sorry Danny, but it’s the truth. Oh, and did you see some of our snazzy new colourful pillows? Well, our new couch couldn’t just be naked now, could it?

As I hinted at last week, we bought a few other new goodies from IKEA and elsewhere recently, so I’ll be back next week with some shots of the rest of the living and dining rooms to see how they’re looking these days. Stay tuned!

Any new sofas in your life, lately? Love light gray and tufting as much as I do? Or maybe you’ve hit a lucky streak too and won a contest? I had never really won anything before this, so I was seriously pumped. Have a great weekend, guys! 

review: Comfort Works karlstad slipcover

21st June 2012

I love lots of things about IKEA. The affordable furniture. The sleek designs. And with their upholstered pieces, the ability to remove the covers to wash them or change them up. Last fall we got a new-to-us Karlstad sofa (you can check that out here). It was in great shape, but I never really loved the dark gray cover. Usually I’m a big gray fan, but this one was just a bit too navy blue/denim for me. So when Comfort Works approached me to see if I would want to try out one of their Karlstad slipcovers, I quickly jumped at the change.

Here is the Karlstad before (on the right):

Comfort Works is an Australian based company who make slipcovers for pretty much all of the IKEA upholstery pieces, curtains, sheers, coverlets, cushion covers and all sorts of things. So if you have an IKEA sofa or chair hanging around that you’re wanting to update, this is the spot.

I hummed and hawed over which fabric to go with – seriously they have some fun stripes and bold colours to choose from.

I ultimately went with the Lino Brushed – a timeless light gray linen. The super nice folks from Comfort Works sent me a few samples in the mail beforehand, just so that I could be sure.

And the other day the new cover arrived!! I was one giddy gal.

First up was to get rid of the old. You’ll notice that we moved the Karlstad to under the window – this was because we’re expecting our new EQ3 sofa pretty soon (!!), so we’ve done a bit of a switcheroo in the room. Updated photos to come soon!

I had always wanted to spray the legs of the couch darker (like John & Sherry did over on Young House Love with theirs). So I figured this would be the right time, since I had to unscrew the legs to put on the new cover anyway.

A few light mists of oil-rubbed bronze and these guys were looking a whole lot swankier.

And here she is all put back together. Isn’t it gorgeous?

The actual putting on of the slipcover was super easy. You just slide the pieces on and they have velcro to stay in place. I was a little worried that the slipcover would be a bit loose (sometimes that’s the look you want with slipcovers, but I didn’t want that for this particular couch), but I was pleasantly surprised – it totally fit like a glove.

The colour is totally perfect – a really nice taupe/gray – and the linen is super soft. It’s definitely a way cozier spot to snuggle up.

Oh, and the seams? They are made ultra well with strong stitching.

And the legs look so much better. Definitely classes up the whole act, you know?

If you’re looking for a slipcover or any other fabric goods, definitely check out Comfort Works. The service and quality are amazing. Plus, it’s really fun going through all the fabric options on their website.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a sweet giveaway from these fine folks! Make sure to drop in!

 

 

*Comfort Works slipcover was received free of charge. All opinions and reviews are my own!

collin’s condo redesign: living room reveal

28th February 2012

So after talking about all the shopping and planning we did for the condo redesign project (see that here), let’s get to some after pics. Those are always the best part, right? Remember the living room before (see the rest of the before pics here)?

Well here it is looking much brighter, more contemporary, and well, finished. What do you think?

The colour scheme is pretty neutral, but mixed with pops of colour and pattern throughout. We started off with a blank slate and I just kept layering piece after piece until it felt right.

The glass coffee table is perfect for showing off the Afghanistan rug. It also doesn’t break up the space, like a chunky or dark coffee table would have.

And that buffet I scored off Kijiji for $20? Well with a coat of green/brown paint (and white on the trim details) it looks fab. It’s probably one of my favourite pieces in the whole place.

Since we were trying to keep costs down for artwork, I blew up some of the owner’s travel photos and framed them with the IKEA Ribba frames (and new bright white matte board that I grabbed from my local arts shop – Wallack’s). The big mirror over the buffet (which was a steal at around $40 from HomeSense) bounces light and makes the space feel way bigger.

The dining room table which I grabbed for $200 at an antiques shop looked great after a coat of matte black paint on the legs. It adds a nice rustic element to the space. Pushing it up against the wall means that it fits the space and two can easily sit down for a meal. When more guests come over, it’s easy to pull it out from the wall and grab the other two dining room chairs.

Oh and the piece of art above it – another steal from HomeSense at about $75.

I wanted to add in a pop of orangey/red somewhere to pull out some colour from the rug, so these built-in shelves were the perfect place to do it. They had sort of been lost to begin with, but now are definitely a feature.

So that’s it for the living room! I’ll be back later this week with the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. Fun, fun!

**You can check out part 2 of this before + after reveal here**

What do you guys think of the space? Did it meet the casual-contemporary-loft look we were going for?  Do you think the mixture of high and low pieces work? 

re-finishing a coffee table… and a room

13th October 2011

After getting a new or “new to us” sofa, TV, artwork and table lamp, the last thing on our little living room makeover project was the coffee table. Until now we have had an IKEA one that we bought used for about $10 for our first apartment. We had never loved it, but it was the right size, right price, and did the trick. It’s okay, but pretty b-o-r-i-n-g and a bit on the small side in our current living room:

Luckily we didn’t have to go on a big shopping trip. Instead, we set our sights onto an old coffee table that we fished out of Dan’s parents farm (perfect for our zero-dollar budget!). It was made by Dan’s uncle back in the day as a wedding gift for Dan’s parents. The top part was a boat hatch that he added metal legs to. Unfortunately it had been collecting dust out in the barn for a number of years (Dan’s parents had moved it out there when it no longer fit in their living room), but all it needed was a bit of elbow grease. Dan and Gemma to the rescue.

Here is what we were starting with (it’s a bit wet in these pics cause I had just sprayed it down to get all the dust and gunk off)…

You can’t really tell in these pictures, but the wood had developed a thick layer of dust/goop/general wear and all the metal was super rusty.

After the power wash with the hose, the first step was to de-rust. We used these special rust pads you can get from any home improvement store (they are sort of like strong steel wool) on our drill, and then later on our angle grinder (we realized that using the angle grinder provided more surface area and things would go much faster). You just basically rub the metal over and over with these pads going on high-speed and the rust just comes right off. It’s like sanding down a piece of wood.

Speaking of sanding, that was next up on the list. Here I am with our handy dandy power sander havin’ a go. We went through about 4 or 5 sanding pads to get the years of built-up gunk off, but it was pretty quick and painless. PS. Don’t make fun of my shoes.. they may not be beautiful, but they are perfect for working outside around the house.

You can see here the sanded planks on the left and un-sanded on the right. Serious difference, huh?!

And here she was all sanded and smooth (well as smooth as super worn wooden planks were going to get). There were still lots of dark patches, which was fine since we were planning on going with my favourite dark wood stain: Minwax dark walnut (the same one I used on our wedding signs here).

As with any staining project, I applied the stain with a brush and then wiped it down after about 15 minutes. Since the wood was so dry, it just soaked this stuff right up.

And here she is lookin’ all dark and lovely…

Then we put on a couple coats of the rust paint onto the metal legs in matte black.

And last but not least, the varathane. This is important, especially for something like a coffee table which gets a lot of use. Basically it acts as a top coat layer of protection for your piece of furniture. I applied 3 coats of varathane on the wooden surface. It goes on with a bit of a milky bluey/white colour, but it dries clear. Let it dry for about 4 hours between coats (you want it to be dry and not still tacky).

And here she is in her new home. We are totally smitten. The table grounds the whole space and adds a lot of depth and character to the room. I’m a big believer in having a mixture of old and new items — you want your place to have heart and soul, not just all shiny new things that make it look too much like a showroom.

We feel pretty happy with the way the room is coming together. Let’s take a little trip back down memory lane and see how this room has evolved, shall we!?

Here we are on moving day. Oh boy… crazytown. This lasted for about 48 hours.

With some paint on the walls, a new slipcover, and some furniture re-arranging, we were starting to see the direction we wanted to go.

Now with cabinets, shelves, artwork, and other goodies, the room was feeling very homey. This was how we left things last year when we moved to England. 

Post-England and post-wedding, we tackled our latest round of additions. Ultimately I would still like to get a bigger area rug (and move our $30 IKEA stand-in to somewhere else in the house), a few new throw pillows that are more coordinated (the ones there are a mish mash that I’ve collected over the years), and nicer curtains… but for now this room is done-zo. This room has seen many-a-happy evening lately.

What about you guys? Have you tackled a room makeover recently? Do you tend to do things in stages or all in one go? 

 

kosy karlstad

3rd October 2011

A little while back, I posted about our new living room goodies (see that post here). To add to our little living room transformation, we were desperate to get rid of our futon and replace it with a more substantial couch. I have had this beige futon since I was 15 — yep, it was in my teen basement hangout pad, and has followed me in my various apartments since. Well futon, thanks for more than a decade of service, but it’s time to take a step up in the couch world.

We looked around at some of the higher end furniture stores and definitely fell in love with a few couches, but not their price tags. We couldn’t spend much dough, so we did a little trip to budget-friendly IKEA (where we had some wedding gift cards) and decided that their Karlstad model was a winner: it has classic clean lines, is comfy, and we like that you can easily clean and switch up the covers. Since we needed a truck to transport the couch, we had to wait a couple of days before we could make the big purchase. I decided in the meantime that I would check out the used furniture sites (kijiji, craigslist, and usedottawa). I’ve always had a bit of trepidation in buying sofas used since you never know about things like bed bugs, stains, etc. (sort of like buying a used mattress), but a few days later I stumbled across a sale ad for the karlstad sofa that had been barely used. The previous owner had moved to Ottawa, bought the couch, and 6 months later was moving back to Toronto and didn’t want to bring it with her. We went and checked it out, realized that it really was in near-new condition (no bed bugs to report!), and brought it home. The best part? The $150 price tag. That’s a whole $350 cheaper than it would’ve been at IKEA, not even taking the taxes into account. And the kicker? We threw our futon up on Kijiji and sold it for $100 to some students. So for $50 our living room got a much-needed spruce up.

We have had one other project up our living room makeover sleeve, which I’ll post about later this week. Stay tuned for photos of the new and improved space!