Repurposing in the living room: Art or smart?

Men like Davide Nanni are called artists when they repurpose trash into treasures.

Nanni was featured in the Chicago Tribune yesterday for his restaurant design which uses old gymnasium floors, broken pinball machines, thrift store leather jackets and church pews in startling ways (read more about Nanni here).

When the rest of us do such things, it’s called recycling. But in any case, we repurposed an element of our old living room and gave it new life in our redesign. Call it art or call it smart, we saved ourselves some money and got a good-looking final product.

The living room: Before


While shopping for finials (a distinctive ornament at the end of one’s curtain rods), we discovered they are very expensive. Or, at least, we have very expensive taste. We needed to get creative. Our couch — I’d call it our former couch, but we’d be getting ahead of ourselves since the new couch won’t be delivered for a month — had screw-on legs, and my Beloved hit on a brilliant idea: Let’s turn the couch legs into our curtain finials.

It’s brilliant because it not only saved us money but they would reflect the shape of the legs on the purple chairs, which we were keeping.

So we removed the couch and ottoman legs (we needed six finials), added some inexpensive ends to finish them, spray-painted the whole thing with crackle brown paint and stuck them on the end of our curtain rods. Tyler spray-painted the wooden wall sconces, too, which reflect the shape of the same wall sconces in the dining room, and voila! We’ve got drama instead of teeny, tiny boring spheres.












We hung 95-inch curtains in the living room, too, and added a bit of wrought iron to draw the eye up. Lined royal purple draperies replaced the tired burlap-like greens ones which, like, the former curtains in the dining room, were hung too close to the window frame. The Whispering Pine wall paint, a minty green replacing pukey pea soup we had, brightens up everything and contrasts with the new Oreo cookie ice cream carpeting.

The living room: After

Plant stand: Before

Paint freshened up another element of the redecorated living room, too.

A couple of beat-up cream-colored ceramic columns sat at each side of the fireplace, holding a couple of potted plants. I used a sample of Thunder Bay, which we rejected as too blue for the dining room, to paint the columns, and here we have a brighter looking pair of fireplace sentinels:




Fireplace: After

Of course, this repurposing poses a little problem, at least in the short-term. Our new couch isn’t here yet, but our old couch has no legs. We tried using it without legs for a while, but between its own lack of cushioning and lack of legs, it was too jalopyesque for two middle-aged people to use (we could sit down, but getting back up was another story).

So, we repurposed a few 2-by-4s.

The couch: After

Tomorrow: A new color in the kitchen.

4 responses to “Repurposing in the living room: Art or smart?

  1. I love how the drapes look in the living room and I like your fireplace sentinels (?) too. I didn’t know fireplaces needed watchers but it makes a sort of sense when I think about it.

  2. Looks fabulous! Love the decorative things about the windows – great idea!

  3. Pingback: Let there be light: Nightstand transformation | Minnesota Transplant

  4. Pingback: Good things come to those who wait – Church Sweet Home

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