The Spring Cure: Retail Therapy
• Cure Clock: 4.5 weeks remaining
• Assignment: Read Chapter 4, pp. 129-153
• Makeover living room, with decluttering of books and media
• Shopping research and Protein furniture lesson
• Curees: 843 and counting…..
You’ve reached the halfway point! As with any big project your enthusiasm may have started to wain, but take heart, this is an exciting week where your home is beginning to take shape. Week Four is about making your living room truly a place where you live, laugh, and relax — not just accumulate clutter — and about deciding how to furnish your home with comfortable, quality pieces. This is when decluttering and shopping go hand in hand…
•Elements of Protein Furnishings:
• Good bones: The basic standards of quality bones for a sofa are four fold. The first is a hardwood frame. Many inexpensive sofas have a frame of particle board, soft woods, or wood composites that wear quickly with frequent use. Generally mid-range stores like Crate&Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and Mitchell & Gold meet this basic quality standard. The second is that the hardwood is kiln-dried which ensures moisture isn’t trapped in the wood which leads to warping. The third is sturdy joints. Generally, quality sofas and chairs have a mortise and tenon joinery with combinations of dowels, glue, and screws. The fourth is the spring. The best quality pieces have eight-way hand-tied springs. However many good mid-priced models have coil spring units which hold up well too. Avoid zig-zag wires which are usually found in the less expensive models.
• Durable Upholstery. Good choices for high traffic living rooms include leather, indoor outdoor fabrics, high performance, stain-resistant twills or canvases, and microfibers. If you have pets or children, having one of these will take a great deal of stress out of your life. The Livable Home is an excellent resource for quality furniture made to handle the physical demands of children and pets.
•Where to Buy Protein Furnishings: Most of our readers are huge fans of craigslist for good reason. Used furniture doesn’t lie. Poor quality shows on even the most slightly used pieces. Even if you’re not planning on buying a used piece of furniture, scanning craigslist for your dream item will give you a better idea of how it holds up than seeing it in a showroom. Look on craigslist for pictures of your sofa love and look for signs of sagging cushions, tattered upholstery, etc.
If you are looking for solid, classic pieces on a budget your best resources are obviously craigslist, flea markets, and thrift shops. Spring is also a great time for estate sales. Scan your local paper or craigslist listing for local tag sales or devote a saturday morning to driving around a neighborhood known for great yard sales. Check out Sarah’s wonderful article for tracking down quality pieces on a budget for more ideas.
The key to furnishing your home is patience. We might be tempted to load an entire Ikea showroom into a u-hual and call it home, but personality comes with time and discernment. I have a friend who cut out pictures of the living room furniture she liked and taped it to the walls where she wanted the pieces to go. The reminder helped her to remember to set a side a little bit of money each month to save for her dream pieces, and within a year and a half her dream living room was a reality!
Whitney (inkstainedwriter) made impressive progress during the first stretch of her home cure! The dining room needed some help. We had two brown hutches (one an antique secretary that we loved and one china hutch that we didn’t). When the spring cure rolled around, I decided that it was time to tackle it. Our budget was small, so the changes had to be inexpensive. Replacing heavy, bulky pieces with low lying, streamlined versions virtually expanded the room even though the biggest piece of furniture, the table, remained the same. Way to go!
Leighbuzzcard has been tackling her living room.
We have lived in our 70’s Cape Cod for almost 4 years and I have been wanting to change the fireplace wall for that long. I am thinking of painting it. We entertain and read in this room and we like the flow and view. This weekend, I edited the room and cleaned everything. It already feels lighter. I am considering painting the left third of the wall in either a blue C2 Churchill and the rest of the wall and the hearth C2 Trenchcoat. The rest of the walls in the room would be C2 Tusk…Option 2 is more zen and I like it. The left third would be C2 Trenchcoat, the rest of the wall and hearth would be C2 Cumin and the rest of the walls in the room would be Tusk. The big difference is the Pale Avacado from BM on the ceiling. I think painting the brick the top right option will expand and freshen the room greatly. It will also allow your brightly colored accessories to grab the eye. What about you, dear readers?
Paring down personal objects and planning out what new pieces you’d like can be overwhelming. I often fluctuate between wanting everything I see and not wanting to buy anything because I’m so overwhlemed with the choices. So, I’d like to leave you with awesome quote that I picked up from AT’s Real Homes Book as you go about your decluttering and shopping research. It’s helped me keep possession paring down and accumulation in perspective:
“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
(Images: 1 & 3: Real Simple, 2: AT Boston, 4: Ana Kern via Decor8 )