Giving Our Homemade Couch a Makeover To Suit My Tastes- For Free!

Ever have an idea that in theory was great but in practice didn't work out as planned?

That's what happened with our couch. Two years ago, sick of having no couch in our home, Mike turned a wooden shoe box he'd built into a couch, by first turning it into a bench, then I added cushioning and a cover to make it be a couch. 

The problem with it was that the shoe box was built as that, not planning to be a couch, and so, the seat wasn't wide enough. As a bench it was fine, but when we put the cushions on the bench and the back, it used up much of the available sitting space, leaving you without enough room to sit comfortably, making it feel like you were constantly falling off.

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It worked, in a pinch, but when we found enough money and the space to put in a small couch a year ago, the shoe box couch fell out of use, and other than being a place to store our shoes, it became the place of choice to pile on clutter and mess... since no one sat on it anyhow.

When we revamped our home and gave it a makeover and I finally decided what style I was looking for in terms of colors and design of furniture, I realized that I considered that an eyesore because it was precisely what I did not like in terms of aesthetics- not neat, crisp lines, but bulky and all over, and a color I strongly disliked.

So we did a temporary fix- I threw on a grey cover which at least made the color to my liking, and covered the pillows in covers whose colors I liked, and said we'll finish the project later, when we found time.

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Mike and I discussed turning it back into a shoe box bench, taking off the extraneous bulky cushioning, exposing the wood, and adding dividers into the box to help organize the shoes.  I went out yesterday for a few hours, and while I was gone, Mike got to work. 

He built wooden dividers (using dumpster dived wood ) inside and organized all the shoes.

And he took off all the cushioning, once again leaving the wood exposed.

Last night, therefore, I took the grey fabric I had been using as a throw for it, and sewed it to cover the foam we had for the couch (both what was previously on the back and the bottom). I wasn't able to get the sewing machine to work, so I did it by hand. To be able to remove the fabric to wash it, I sewed the sides together but just have overlapping fabric in the middle to be able to open up for cushion removal.

I was afraid that the fabric would open though when I didn't want it to, so I secured it together with these two large wooden buttons I inherited from my grandmother, and instead of making button holes, I made loops out of crocheted string (since I couldn't find any thick enough string), which I then sewed down. It holds it down nicely to close, and even though it isn't aesthetic, it doesn't matter because it does the job, and its on the underside of the cushion anyhow. I was worried that with a button of this size, you'd be able to feel it through the cushion, as in the Princess and the Pea, but you can't feel its presence.

Hubby wanted to leave it as is, but I said I wanted to paint it a light blue to match my color scheme. We didn't have any official furniture or wood paint, but I decided to try it by mixing some white wall paint (I think whitewash) with some blue gauche paint. I first sanded the wood, but knew that it still wouldn't look "perfect", but in fact, the distressed look is exactly the one I was going for.

I didn't bother painting the area under the cushion.

And here is the final product.                                      

I think it looks terrific! I appeals much more to my aesthetic tastes, and it is much more comfortable too! I already am seeing it getting much more use in the past day than it did in the months prior.

It's like we have a new piece of furniture- for no extra cost!

Can't decide yet if we're going to keep these cushions or ditch them, but for now, they stay.

Loving it! 

 Have you ever upcycled any furniture of yours? What was it? Do you like the end results?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Did your boys paint the pictures hanging up on the wall? They look great!

  2. I laughed this morning (a welcome start to my day)! My mother ALWAYS used to say "This family has six (or sometimes more) people living here, but somehow has 25 sets of feet -- why are there always so many shoes at the door?" That was my first thought when I saw the photo of the shoes..... a very comforting, familiar memory! On the other hand, KUDOS to you and Mike for an awesome makeover.... my mother would have LOVED that solution to the shoe storage dilemma!

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