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Tuesday, June 8

Living room makeover for $350!

Sometimes working on a shoestring budget can be a challenge.
Especially one of $350. Yes. That’s correct, there are no zeros missing at the end of this budget.

In this case it was more a just changing a few things and adding a few things into the space to really give it some fun punches.

This living room belongs to one of my best friends in San Francisco. We were chatting over a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning in her space, which she really wasn’t happy with. I might have had a few too many cups of coffee, as I said that I was up for a challenge and could come up with a few things that she could do that would be simple and not cost a lot.

So that’s how this project all began. I am thrilled that Better Homes & Gardens decided that it would be fun to write about in this brand new feature section that they are doing- July 2010.

Adding fun bright colors to really bring the room to life. I called my fabulous seamstress Madina Aryeh Custom Sewing to rework a table cloth and to sew up a few pillows. One way that we really saved money was just taking the current pillows from the sofa and adding a ribbon trim.

One idea we had was adding window treatments, but that was going to be costly. The space didn't have any privacy issues, so we passed on them all together. I guess that you could look at these photos and think that window treatments would have been nice, I do agree as well, but when you are playing around with $350, that is really hard to add in. One idea that we had was using bamboo shades, which would have been an affordable, but then we thought that maybe it would be too much wood with the prominent wood trim already around the windows.

Sometimes a room just needs a few things added and a few things taken away to really make it sing. This living room is in a rental, so they didn’t want to invest too much at all to the space. The best part of all is that now on Saturday mornings for our coffee dates, we can really enjoy her new space together!

Sometimes it just nice to help a friend do something fun to help spruce up their place in a weekend. Sure if money was no object, I am sure that I could have done something very different. But for what it is and for what we spent, I think that we did a good job! Helping a friend and seeing a big smile is priceless.

Here is the living room BEFORE

Here is the AFTER (but still before we painted the walls pale blue)

We used the current pillows that were on the sofa, but just added 2 layer of ribbon to really give the pillows some life.

I was really inspired by the photo of peonies framed on the side table. So I printed the same photo in a larger scale to make more of a statement and hung it on the wall. I loved the bright color and pop of pink- which led me to add in the pink pillow.

Just added a simple placemat from CB2 for a pop of color

I loved the white pottery that they already had- just adding a little arrangement of fresh flowers really can make a difference

Pulling colorful books off of your bookcase that you already have can add pops of color. We picked up the bright yellow tray at West Elm to organize the table top

I really liked the color of the blue gourd style lamp that they already had

**** WIN THIS PINK PILLOW in the photo! Just leave a comment to this post and I will select a winner randomly and send the pillow out to you- the week of June 14th.

UPDATE: Congrats to Cristin at Simplified Bee for winning this pink pillow!

(photos by James Carriere for Better Homes and Gardens)


Susie said...

You are so talented and creative!
Please rescue my living room...I'll even splurge $700!

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

This is a fun post and I look forward to reading the article. Love the ribbon trim on the pillows and the way you've framed the photo. Room looks great!

"Yeah, that works..!" said...

I love these kinds of design challenges and as always your approach was genius. In my opinion, the coffee table was the cog in the wheel of the project. It truly made all the difference from which the other elements subtly complimented. Can't wait to get my issue! said...

Nicely done Grant....and truly remarkable for $350!!!! Seriously impressive my dear. Thanks for sharing with us.


Linda Merrill said...

Grant - great job! Your friend had an excellent base to start with which highlights the importance of careful purchasing right from the get go, and then with a little money and loads of (your!) talent, she has a fresh new space. Window treatments can come later.

flip flop and fancy free said...

This is so amazing, just shows a small amount of money can still add such life and zing. Watching you work magic is fun! Thanks Grant!

Pigtown-Design said...

wow. that's an amazing transformation! i love creative and inexpensive solutions...


Di Brito said...

Grant, love the aqua walls and colorful accents. And that peony shot - I am going to photograph my peonies today. Thanks for sharing.

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Gorgeous! What creativity, and all of those pillows are fabulous! I love the idea of blowing up the peony photo to use as artwork -- great idea, I may do something similar! Looking forward to the mag article. (1st time visiting, but I'll be back!)

Cristin said...

you are amazing! i love the ribbon detail on the pillow. such a great touch.

missed you yesterday.

would love to win the pillow for a client's girl's bedroom.


camdesign said...

Design is not about money...good design is thinking outside the box...way to go Grant, love the after.

All The Trappings said...

Lively and fresh!! Great job! **still amazed, and a little stupefied that you pulled that off with $350......the details are so custom and look much more expensive!

Swede Collection said...

This is the true test of a good interior designer -- to be skillful and creative on any budget. Especially not to whine there isn't enough funds to work with. This is an excellent example of talent not pretense. Bravo!

kayce hughes said...

Beautiful! I love the pillow and I may need to drive 4 hours to get that table.

aed said...

Love the results! Congrats on the spread in BH&G. Beautiful!

Deborah said...

Yikes, you did fabulous! However, I'd really like to see what would've happened if you were drinking wine instead of coffee. :)

Anonymous said...

lovely. not a fan of skirted tables, but i'm SWOONING over that one.

agreed. bamboo blinds would have been too much.

but green silk drapes would be...oh well, next 300 bucks.

way to keep it real, gg

maison21 said...

great job, grant. i consider myself the king of "cheap n' chic", but couldn't have done as nice of a transformation as you for a mere $350.00.

i relinquish my crown. wear it with pride.


La Maison Fou said...

Great job Grant!
I love to follow your blog for great ways to get more for less!
Great job!

pretty pink tulips said...

Grant - pink is my color! This would look bea - u -ti-ul in my living room! I honestly think that it takes a lot more thought to do a room for $350. If money is no object, you aren't forced to think as creatively, sometimes. So nice to see what you can get for less than the cost of a Coach bag!

Vanessa@decor happy said...

What a lucky friend you have! Adding colour and pattern made such a difference. People, in general, tend to not complete their rooms by accessorizing with cushions, art etc. and that's what makes a room come together.

Congrats on the article. (I'm seeing you a lot in magazines of late!)

Jean Larette Lifestyle said...

Grant, I love the colors you chose and the double ribbon on the pillows is a great idea! Well done.

Aimee@ the Fuctional Space said...

Beautiful job finishing the room! Can't wait to read through the whole article. Congratulations on a job well done!

Anonymous said...

Very nice, Grant! As always, of course ;-> Some marvelous ideas.

emily said...

Inspired! :)

Teacats said...

This issue just arrived in the door -- and I wanted to thank you for such an inspiring, fresh and creative makeover! I am on a Very tight budget -- and any large changes are simply Not In the Picture at this time -- so your clever ideas are right on track! Very handsome photo too! Hoping you will consider showing us a similar makeover for a traditional-type (like mine!) room! Many thanks again!

Kindest regards,
Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Tiff said...

What a big difference such a small budget! I am so inspired Grant, thank you for sharing! You are truly talented and love that you did this for your best friend because that's just who you are- awesome :)

red ticking said...

congratulations... and great work (and patience!)

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Love it looks yummy. Like candy.

Love that pink pillow!!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Nice work Grant! love the pink pillow!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Grant,
Very nice job on the makeover, money well spent. I used to style homes when I owned a home and garden store. It was
great fun and was so rewarding, changing peoples opinion of their homes.
I wrote to you before leaving for London.....I see you had a wonderful time as did I. Paris was amazing too, beautiful weather
lots of tennis (watching not playing) and perusing some of the decor stores.
Hope I win the pink pillow and hope to meet you soon,


Anonymous said...

Great post...It's funny how we call them "pillows" and the British call them "cushions."

Anonymous said...

Wowie Honey -- You are something!!! I've been v.v. busy and haven't had time to write or post a comment on your blogs, but I love them and read each and every one. Congratulations on your wonderful success. You've got "it." And it's well deserved. xxxxooo

thatramongirl said...

Dear Grant K. Gibson:

I keep murmuring, "Be still, my heart," repeatedly, because:

a) you're a design whiz;

b) to do so on suuuch a tight budget speaks volumes;


c) you are a designer in the hilt of haute San Francisco, where I am a design student. And let me tell you, I've had to meet a few designers here and there, after which I left a touch disappointed due to their Grandness and Attitude. Yet, you just seem so down to earth and downright salllty to undertake a project for the masses - hurray and thank you, sir!

So here's to you, Grant K. Gibson!

Happy summer,

Christy Ramon.

P.S. You will be receiving my resume and an updated e-version of my projects within the month. I know they'll just be added to a growing heap of followers, but then, a girl can only hope. x

Therese Jacinto said...

So fresh! So lovely!! Amazing! Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

Things That Inspire said...

Love this post, Grant. And, love the glasses! Great things are happening for you, all so well deserved.

Anonymous said...

I'm not keen on pale blue walls, but it certainly works in this instance tying all the color together. Well done!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Somehow I missed this post and just received my mag in the mail on Friday...and there you were!

Wonderful job on enhancing this space and making it come alive!
Now it is so fresh and inviting.

And, this is just another beautiful remminder of how people with any size budget can improve their spaces with help from a pro!!!

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Absolutely freaking fantastic.

Kathy said...

Nice! Colors really enhance beauty! I was so amazed to know that you were bale to make it for just $ 350. My husband and I are also planning to renovate our house, but I think $350 isn't enough. We're planning on doing renovations on doors, paintings, and some flooring. Showrooms are now are common place to visit. But I m glad to visit your site, I've gained a lot of practical tips. I hope you can also help me with our house. I'll update you soon. Thanks!

Sara Sandifer said...

I'm sure you have no shortage of offers like this -- I'd absolutely spend $500-$1500 to have you rework a room. I'm even local! BHG is lucky to have you... I'll buy the issue just to read more about this.


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