Before & After: Den Makeover On an Extreme Budget

published Feb 28, 2011
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When I posted How To Make a Block Print Rug Using a Welcome Mat, I promised a full reveal of my den’s before and after, and while ideally there are a few tweaks I’d still like to make, here it is. Since our budget was virtually non-existent — as in free— everything in it was borrowed from another room, salvaged, handmade, or secondhand.

1 / 5
BEFORE (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Ideally, we’d like to redo the addition where this room is housed. It is totally inefficient — some parts are not even insulated! — and the layout is pretty awkward, but until we figure out a master plan it will have to do.

Since moving in, this room has served a variety of purposes, from master bedroom to craftroom/office/playroom/guestroom, but most of the time it starred as the disorganized junk room, housing everything from snowboards and power tools to baby dolls and bins of giveaway clothes. To make matters worse, although it’s the biggest room in the house, it’s an awkward shape — long and narrow 9½ feet wide by 19 feet long with closet and entry doors opening into the narrow space. In short, it was the depressing room that no one wanted to be in.

Not too long ago we received a very nice gift from my in-laws, a large flat screen, and we knew that we would have to clear out the room of doom in order to have a decent place to house it. Shortly after, we scored a couch off craigslist, and got to work clearing out the junk.

Since the rest of our house is not very big, we knew the room would have to serve as some sort of storage space in addition to being a relaxing place to hang out and watch movies. We cleared out all the giveaways, stowed the power tools elsewhere, and incorporated the bikes, skateboards, and music gear into the decor.

We used leftover white and navy blue paint to spruce up the walls, leftover chalkboard paint for the door, and I painted a wall mural with one of our family’s favorite poems to the back wall (which still needs a little tweaking). I made the black and white pillows from Primative Stripe Linen from Calico Corners, which was leftover from another project and bought during one of their regular sales. One yard made two standard size (bed) pillows. The blue and white pillows are indoor/outdoor pillows, scored for $10 in the clearance rack of the Restoration Hardware outlet in Leesburg. Although I’d love to see the stained wall to wall carpet magically transformed into hardwoods, it has hardly crossed my mind since adding the block print rug.

The total cost for the room was $50. Well actually, $49.44!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Side note: In case anybody was wondering, the brick wall was painted over by the previous owners, much to my purist husband’s annoyance. It was purple when we moved in. And the other walls and ceiling were blush pink— think Easter egg!

Images: Leah Moss