More Money Saving Tips From My NECN Room Makeover

I had planned to follow up my NECN Room Makeover Post  part one a lot sooner but after the loss of our dog and then 7 days of travel I am just now getting back on track. I did want to share a few more tips on how we made over the room for under $500.

1. Think outside the box when it comes to window treatments. As we all know window treatments can eat up a BIG part of any budget. Even if you decide to make your own drapes, fabric plus lining plus labor can be pricey. In our room makeover we used inexpensive painter’s drop cloths. The cost was $9.99 a panel and the beauty was that they came hemmed on all 4 sides. We simply sewed a straight line pocket and they were done. The drop cloth is actually thick and looks a lot like much more expensive linen.

painters drop cloth curtains

painters drop cloth curtains

Here is a close up of the top.

drop cloth curtains

detail drop cloth curtains

2. Shop your house.By simply looking around we found lots of wonderful items stored away that we pulled out to accessorize both the bookcases and the tables. Go through those boxes in the attic or basement, you might be surprised at what you find. Our homeowner found those red stars, picture frames, and even a pumpkin candle that she had bought ages ago and never used.

3. Don’t be afraid to use things in different ways. Our homeowner had a large chest that was used to stored Christmas decorations. We needed a side table and did not have the funds in our $500 budget to buy one. The top of the chest was not in the best shape and there was no time to refinish it so we simply covered the chest with a quilt the home owner had and used it as our side table.

4. Bring your personality into the room. No matter what budget you are working with find ways to personalize your rooms. Decorate with items that speak to you; this costs nothing. Our makeover room was filled with items that had special meaning to the homeowner. Her children’s art work became an art wall, her wedding quilt became a focal point above the sofa and family photos were used to style the book cases. No matter what your budget make the room your own and surround yourself with things you love. It’s your home and your life so embrace what speaks to you.

A huge thank you to this wonderful family who allowed their lives to be disrupted (and stressed) and pitched in with hours and hours of  labor to transform their once dark and uninspiring living room into a bright and happy room for everyone to enjoy….all for under $500!

If you have a room you would like to transform..on any budget..give me a call!

If you would like to watch the NECN Room Makeover episode just click on this link.

As always, I would love to hear from you…What are your favorite money saving tips?


NECN Room Makeover: How We Transformed The Room (part 1)

My NECN room makeover segment aired this morning so now I can show you all the behind the scenes and the process as it unfolded. This is what the room looked like on my first visit. (click on any photo to enlarge it)

room before

room before

Besides the clutter, the major problem with the room was that it was really dark, the furniture placement wasn’t working and the room did not reflect the personality of the awesome young family that lives there which is made up of Mom and Dad, 3 young kids, 2 big dogs and 2 cats!

My design plan for the room was challenging given we only had a budget of  $500.00:  Rearrange the furniture to get a better floor plan (free), lighten up the room with paint, get some art work up on the bare walls and replace the Taupe and Brown colored window treatments that were not working with the decor. I also needed to find seating to replace the over sized checked chair and ottoman that were the only 2 things not staying in the room.

The homeowners biggest complaint was that the room was too dark. The two windows in the room face into dark green trees so almost no natural light enters the room. The dark and dated brick wall flanked by the dark stained bookcases made the room even darker. I suggested we paint the brick a soft white as well as the dark stained built in book cases to lighten up that end of the room.


By pure chance, the husband is a carpenter so he chose to box out the brick with wood but painting it White would have the same “lightening” effect. Look at the difference in the after photo of this same wall.

bookcase wall after

bookcase wall after

After the book cases were painted I “shopped” the homeowner’s house to find accessories, collectibles and photos that I then used to style the bookcases (no more over stuffed and sagging shelves). We added inexpensive baskets from Homegoods to store Legos and small toys out of view.

The walls were originally painted White but as I blogged about in an earlier post that you can read HERE, the color White only comes to life in a room with lot’s of natural light. Since this room receives almost no light, the White only made the walls look gray and dingy. Instead, I chose an on trend soft neutral that added some depth and color and really livened up the room.

Since the Red sofa was staying, as was the Red, Brown and Orange area rug.  I chose to use Red as our accent color throughout the room. I  painted an old dresser that was being used as a TV stand Red to match the sofa.

Here is a photo of the dresser before:

 TV stand before

TV stand before

and here it is after after a couple coats of Annie Sloan Chalk paint…much happier don’t you think?

TV stand after

TV stand after

The walls were completely bare of art work so to add more color and a little personality I enlisted the homeowners children to create colorful art for an art wall. Each child now proudly points out their contribution to the room. The frames (originally Brown)were found at a yard sale for $4.00 and I painted them the same color Red as the dresser.

Here is a photo of that side of the room before:



and here is the wall after:

art wall after

What turned out to be another focal point of the room was the homeowners wedding quilt.It had been rolled up in a bag for over 10 years and it was especially emotional for them to finally see it displayed. She made the quilt herself and all the guests signed it. Here is the wall we hung the quilt on before:



and here it is after. As you can see I put the sofa on this wall so that it is now directly across from the TV. The wedding quilt hangs prominently between the windows.


Lastly, since I posted all these “before” and “after” photos, I thought it only fitting to show a “during” image….just a small hint of how much work went into this $500.00 makeover.


In my next post I will share a few more low cost tricks we used in this makeover.

Would love to hear what you think? Do you like the transformation?

If you would like a makeover of your room give me a call!



Sneak Peak of My Room Makeover for NECN

Recently I was challenged by producer Leslie Gaydos of NECN (New England Cable News) to do a room makeover on a budget for her weekly segment called Money Saving Mondays. Well I love a challenge and I had all sorts of ideas for the room. The room was dark and cluttered and in desperate need of help for the wonderful young family who lives there. We taped the “before” segment a few weeks ago and the “after” segment is being filmed today. I will post a link to the segment on this blog once it airs.

I can’t give too much away until the show airs but I can give you a little sneak peak of one of the things I did.

bookcase before

bookcase before

Above is the dark, and over stocked bookcase before and below if the “after”.

The finished room looks amazing…now I just hope I am a little less nervous today filming the “after” than I was when filming the “before”.

Don’t you just love room makeovers?

If you would like help with your own room makeover give me a call.


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