Namely, how hard it was, and not just physically, but also emotionally. Because by nature I want to be able to host people, have guests over, invite friends and family to chill out at our house... but our last home was simply too cramped. And for the first few years there, we didn't even have a couch since we couldn't find any room for it. When we finally got a couch, it was a tiny little Ikea Solsta couch, which made me very happy at the time, and was the best we could do then, and it did allow us to have guests over a little bit more, since they had where to sit down that wasn't just around the table, but it wasn't really enough.
I wanted to be able to have an area of my home designated for lounging around. Even though I probably wouldn't ever have enough space for an entire room dedicated for that, I wanted to have room to comfortably have at least a small crowd hanging out together. On couches.
And I wanted prettiness. I have had such a hard time with feeling like I'm just living with somebody else's cast offs, never really being able to make my home mine since everything in it wasn't too my taste, but rather it was whatever we could get cheapest or free.
About a year ago, I decided to give our current home an interim makeover, to at least have the colors in my home, as much as possible, be ones that I liked, and I got rid of all the things whose colors bothered me, and replaced them with things more to my taste, just by making pillow covers and couch covers and replacing the tablecloths. You can read more about my super frugal home makeover here. It really made such a huge difference to my overall happiness, that my home at least somewhat felt more me, with colors I liked and in styles I liked.
But in our new house, I felt that wasn't enough. Now that we finally had the space, I wanted to have a real living room. Real couches in colors I liked. A rug. Pillows. And not with covers, but the actual thing. And we splurged. But not too much.
The only new things we purchased for the living room were these two couches, on sale at a Black Friday sale. A two seater and a three seater in the colors I liked.
Microfiber, so it is easier to clean. I don't remember exactly how much they cost, but I think less than $350 for both of them together.
And pillows from Ikea. A few dollars each. Machine washable and awesome.
And a rug. That rug actually is going to be for my bedroom, but temporarily it is in the living room. It cost 23 dollars at Ikea. I'm going to get something with a similar look for the living room, but a little sturdier. (This one isn't hardy enough for living room traffic.)
Other than that, it's what we had at home already. Throws that I bought last year relatively cheaply. A vase with fake gerbera daisies that I bought from Aliexpress and have had on my table for a while already, currently on the little pallet wood table my husband built me as a night stand. He'll build another, slightly bigger, for the living room, to hold that vase.
But already it is such a different look, and I'm loving it so much, and feel it makes my home that much more inviting.
I still want to add curtains, but have to decide what color and style, so that isn't in a rush.
I also want a standing lamp in the corner behind the end table and flowers.
As for the dining room table, currently it is constantly covered with my homemade tablecloth, and pushed against the opposite wall, in the corner. When just the kids eat, there is room for them around the table- we can eat in shifts, or we can squish to get the entire family around the table at once. For day to day we are leaving the table pushed against the wall so that we have access to the sliding glass doors outside. When we have company for meals, or simply more formal meals, we pull the table away from the wall and sit all the way around it.
The plan is to paint the chairs and reupholster them as soon as possible.
I thought at first we'd have it positioned so that the table and couch would be on switched around from how they are now, but it works better this way and then I don't have to worry about the oven dirtying the couch.
Speaking of oven, if you rotate left from there, you get to the rest of my kitchen, seen in this post.
What can I say? My home is making me so much happier already. It feels that much more inviting to guests. I want to hang out in my living room instead of wanting to leave my house all the time...
My house is still small, especially compared to many American homes. And in fact, its a few square feet smaller than my first home after we got married. But we lived so long in a tiny place that even this small home seems palatial.
And for comparison's sake: compare this living room to my last one, and you'll see why this makes me so happy.
When we first bought the couches, I was feeling so guilty for spending money on something that was clearly a want, not a need, since we managed so long without nice couches... but now, especially once I see how it makes me so much happier and content, I do not feel like it was a frivolous purchase at all.
As a frugal person, do you have a mismatched home because you got things free or cheap? Does it bother you, or do you like it, or does it not make a difference to you?
How do you manage to assert your own personal taste into your home, making it feel yours, without spending too much money on things, especially if much of what you have is purchased second hand or free?