A bit about myself:
I live in a three bedroom apartment in a town you’ve never heard of, next to a city you don’t really want to visit. I’ve lived here for 6 months, spending the majority of my time in my bedroom and sewing room/office…and very seldom in the living room. This “living room” has been a place for puppies to play, still-unpacked boxes to linger, and a smish-smash of various pieces of unloved furniture to reside with little purpose. Eventually a girl of 18th century persuasion tires of this, as you might imagine.
I’ve been yearning for furniture, sweet, candy-like rococo, shabby, french-country, victorianesque furniture. I read The Paris Apartment and Design Sponge, pining away for interesting old-world pieces and do-it-yourself projects. The problem is…I have not much money at all, at least not much to spend on not-totally-achingly-necessary items such as food, toilet paper, and dog toys. Another hindrance was my unpredictable future in terms of living situation – that is, who I could be living with in the future, and how much furniture (and of what style) that particular person may already have. And lastly…in my neck of the woods, that being the Westerly Coast of the still-young U.S. of A., this sort of furniture seems ridiculously hard to find and appallingly expensive when you do. Time to get creative…
Here’s What I’ve Got So Far
I purchased, completely on impulse, a wrought iron bench (outdoor furniture), from Costco, for $40, with the express intention of making some lovely jacquard cushions for it. It’s a small piece of furniture, but large enough for two people to sit on. It is not a cuddling couch by any means, but more of a use to perch on and sip your morning tea. I find it delightful and girl-sized.
Some rearranging of furniture last night dispatched those two unpacked boxes, hid away an ugly tv stand (not mine!), and created space for a seating area. I pulled out oodles of prints, cards, photos, and other bits of art, and arranged them on the walls in clusters, like little tableaux – things on the walls always gives a space an instant lived-in feel, more than if you left them blank.
I took a trip to a shockingly charming used furniture store, full of interesting pieces, old suitcases, steamer trunks, and various knicknacks I had to resist snatching up. I found there a small chest of drawers for a side/endtable ($40), and area rug ($40), and quite possibly the coolest little metal chair I’ve ever seen ($18). These things I scrubbed up, steamed (the rug is still a bit rumpley, but much better), and placed around, feeling quite proud of myself, and charmed with how things are coming together.
I’m still seeking some small shelves, and maybe some pretty fabric for a wall hanging. I live in an apartment, so painting, though possible, is somewhat of a hassle. I intend to paint the metal chair – white, or maybe a fun color like pink – and I will also be sanding down and painting my large armoire. I’m sick of it having a parrot on it!
The nice thing about buying outdoor furniture for use indoors is that if I find something better – like a “real” couch – I can still use the little bench outdoors. The metal chair can go outdoors as well. However, for a total of $138 so far, it’s a VAST improvement over the totally unlivable space prior.
It’s not much to look at now, but look for future updates on Cheap Frenchie Decorating!