When I received word that my aunt (my mother-in-law’s sister) from Cali will be staying with us for a month, I was ecstatic that my kids will finally get a chance to spend time with their Lola – grandma, because they didn’t get a chance with their actual Lola before she passed, with us moving around so much on military orders. As as plus, Auntie loves to cook. And you know food and I have a really good relationship. Haha As I started prepping for her arrival, suddenly my furniture were no longer good enough and I went on a dash mode to declutter and redesign my home on a budget. After some minimal changes, I do feel that I did beautify my home quite nicely, further extending the savings by DIYing some projects (read and see more below).
A few months back I went on a Marie Kondo journey, and with effort, I was able to declutter my home by half! I was not 100% successful in carrying it all out within a 6 month time frame; but, the effort made a huge dent and I feel so much lighter having started the journey. As you can see, triggered by my Aunt’s arrival, the second half is now being tackled. I just needed an extra push.
Where will she be staying?
By no means do I have a large home but I do have a spare room that I use as a storage room. It is my special place where I dump every thing I don’t want to deal with, minus the kids, of course. Haha. After a while, I just keep discarding stuff for a quick declutter due to impromptu get togethers, avoiding the room so as not to see the mess piling up. Eventually, it got horridly packed. That is the room she is now staying in. See, progress! You can imagine the stress I was in to finally purge the things out of there. As a plus, now I have a guest room for future guest(s), like my sissie coming this Thanksgiving. My teens don’t have to give up their room anymore. My efforts are already paying off!
-was limited by the budget I set, since we’ve had quite a few unexpected bank breaking expensive home repair decisions this 2019: whole house roof and siding replacement due to hurricane damage, water heater replacement, and ac unit replacement. Yup! Big expenses for these 1st time homeowners. The not-so-joyful parts of owning a home, eh?!
I have been itching for a bit to do some renovations at home, just that other things just seems to come first, like repairing the busted water pipes. However, the one listed below are the ones I managed to see through on short notice to beautify my home on a budget.
-DIY kitchen and dining chair covers
I bought table covers from Marshall’s for $14 each, which I used to reupholster my kitchen and dining chairs. They are supposedly stain-free and water resistant. It’s quite easy to reupholster chair cushions. All that’s needed is either a Philip and/or a flat head screwdriver, needle nose plier, staple gun, staples, and scissors.
1. Removed the seat cushion from the chair frame using a screw driver. The screw is usually found under the seat.
2. Remove the staples on the underside of the cushion to release the old cover or don’t, just put the new one on top of the old cover.
3. Place the cushion on top of the chosen fabric and cut the desired fabric measurement. Leave enough fabric to secure it around and under the cushion seat.
4. Staple the new cover with a staple gun.
5. Screw the seats back on the chair frame. Voila!
Tip: if the seat cushions are too flat, buy upholstery foam pads to bulk it up again. I’ve seen them at Walmart fabric department or Joann’s Craft Store. I’m sure other places sells them too.
I bought an additional table cover at Marshall’s for my dining table to match the new chair covers.
With our GSD sleeping on our sofas, my sofas needed a cover change desperately. I bought 2 sofa and 2 love seat covers for about $30 each from Amazon. This is my largest expense but in comparison, it is still cheaper than buying new sofas and loveseats. I had to wean our GSD off it, so I bought him his own sofa-like dog bed from Marshall’s for $50 a couple of months back, which we also check into the kennel with him when needed. He’s doing pretty well with sleeping on his new bed, which means less dog hair to vacuum out of the seats, and less Febreeze-ing (good for the environment). Tip: buy a dog bed with washable covers.
One benefit of cleaning is that lost and/or forgotten things are found! For example, I found canvas fabric that I used to make new sofa pillow covers. If I remember correctly, I bought it from Walmart for roughly $20. I was able to make 8 pillow covers with it! At some point I did have the project already in mind but just forgot all about it. Wow, what other treasures will I find cleaning, right?!
I rarely use my sewing machine these days but I took it out to sew straight lines on the pillow covers. I can definitely sew the fabric together by hand but why?! Sewing machines are faster, especially since I already have it available. All that is needed is an ironing board, iron, pins, thread, scissors, and a sewing machine or “hand” needles.
1. Remove the old pillow covers. Mine are removable and washable so it was pretty easy to do.
2. If necessary, iron the new fabric flat.
3. I like my covers to be removable and washable. So, I added extra inches to one of the sides of the new fabric so I can create a flap to flip it later and close the pillows without the need for zipper or buttons. See picture below. It looks like the reverse side is sewn in incorrectly; but, once I flip it, it seals the pillow.
3. Lay the old cover flat and measure it with a measuring tape to get the correct measurement for the new pillow covers or just lay the the old cover flat onto the new fabric and cut around, leaving extra space to sew it together, about half an inch to an inch. Tip: I folded the fabric in half so I don’t need to cut two fabric to make the square. I just included the fold I made so I ended up with one long piece of fabric. Utilize the iron and ironing board to create the perfect half crease on the fabric.
4. On the reverse side of the fabric, pin the fabric together to properly align the sides prior to sewing. If doing a flap closing, pin the flap in place prior to sewing. The flap should be folded on the “right” side of the fabric, not the reverse side.
5. Sew each of the two sides close on the reverse side, leaving the third (adjacent to the crease fold and where the flap is located) open to insert the pillow.
6. Once pillow is inserted, either sew the third side close or just flip the flap to close the pillow shut.
For the Bathroom
I bought a bathroom rug set from Marshall’s for $20. I also bought new shower curtains to change the bathroom colors at Marshall’s for $20.
This one has been a long time coming. I don’t have curtains but I have window blinds. The problem for me is that there are gaps on the side which I hate because people from the outside can still peak through as we walk around the house. It’s the way my husband installed the blinds onto the window. So, I finally bought matching rods at Marshall’s for 4 windows for $70. As well as light blocking curtains at Ross for $50 to cover the windows.
Total cost of my home renovations escapade
Most of these tiny home renovation have been on my mind for a bit. I just can’t seem to find the push to finally get them done. My aunt visiting is the final push I needed. My current make-over expense tab is at $350.
In order for the DIY renovation to not break my budget, I have been setting aside money each month for a mini buying spree here and there for when I find good deals for the home. Just like the “love” pillow pictured above, which I bought for just a few dollars on a Valentine’s clearance sale at Target. So, the $350 I used for this mini make-over was saved over a few months previous, just for times like these. This way, I don’t feel the burn on the wallet.
Future projects I haven’t had the chance to finish:
- Curtain hooks: the ones in the bathrooms are rusting.
- Organizer shelf for my bathroom counter: because all that face/body/hair products on the counter is driving me nuts! We use so many different body and hair products.
- Gray wall paint: I’m totally loving on the gray, white, and black color palette right now.
- White paint: to revamp my no-longer-white base boards, moldings, and ceiling.
- Black paint: for the thrift store photo frames I bought, so I can showcase my kids’ art on the wall. Our walls are still pretty bare.
- Gray or black canvas fabric: I have more sofa pillows to cover.
- Shelf liners for the cupboards and drawers: water from dishes are starting to wreak havoc on the shelves.
- Live plants: because it makes me happy to see living things in my home, and it will help in purifying the indoor air.
I feel accomplished with my effort to beautify our home on a budget thus far. Home make-over does not have to break the budget, nor does it need to wait too long with effort and patience. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty now and again. It didn’t break me physically either to do any of things I mentioned above. As a matter of fact, I was watching Netflix while removing those chair covers off. Haha
While $350 may seem a lot for a shopping spree, it did cover quite a number of items that made my home more “homely” and that is priceless to me. Plus, it gives me bragging rights because I did them myself. I am proud of that fact. After years of moving due to military orders, we are now able to settle and make our home ours. That makes me happy. Be on a look out for more DIY changes on my future posts. Maybe my home make-over escapades will spark some joy in you too and wake the interior designer in you. Check out my insta feed when you can to keep up with me. I’d like to catch up with you there as well.
Until next time.