Home improvement in white and mint


I’m just going to put this out there; I think I might be addicted to gumtree. I have decided to give our living room a little makeover for 2014, but obviously saving for the wedding means that this needs to be done on a shoestring. Before I moved into Chris’s house the living room had been decreed the ‘orange’ room, based around a big squashy orange sofa donated by his parents and complemented by orange curtains and matching cushions. I want to turn it into the ‘neutral’ room, with colourful accents against a white and grey base. More seaside hipster cottage than Moroccan bazaar.

We used to have a tall set of wooden shelves in this corner that housed all our DVDs, and to get my minimalising project off the ground this colourful, clutterful arrangement had to go. I decided to create a low windowseat style piece of furniture with storage underneath. Which brings me back to gumtree. Not half an hour after the idea was hatched I had found the ideal piece of furniture, and by the end of the day and £20 later it was mine. One plain pine TV cabinet, just waiting for a new life. Plus we also sold the old DVD shelves on gumtree for £15. I told you I was addicted.




Anyway, I sanded the cabinet lightly all over in preparation for painting, and then got busy with a tin of Farrow and Ball leftover from some earlier decorating project. It took about four coats to get the all-over opaque white finish that I wanted. While the paint was drying I moved on to the fun bit*: making a seat cushion to go on top. I originally wanted pale blue fabric, but when my order arrived from eBay it was the most vivid turquoise you’ve ever seen. Sigh, lesson learned about buying fabric on eBay. Oh well, nothing that large quantities of bleach and hot washing couldn’t fix. It took four hot bleach washes to fade the colour to this acceptable shade of mint green. And to give the washing machine the clean of its life.

For seat foam a stripped out the innards of an old Ikea seat cushion from our living room, an option I would thoroughly recommend as I found it really hard to find cheap seat foam cut to the right dimensions on the internet.


*Actually making the seat cushion turned out to be anything but fun; everything from manhandling the fabric to hacking up the foam was exhausting, and it took several evenings of sewing to get the flipping thing right. Give me a pot of paint or a sanding block any day!


Anyway, lets get down to numbers. The overall cost was £45 (or £30 if you subtract the £15 that we made selling the old shelves).

  • TV cabinet: £20;
  • Upholstery foam: free, “liberated” from an IKEA armchair;
  • Fabric: £25 for 3m of ‘blue’ (actually turquoise) cotton canvas from eBay

My next home project will be slightly bigger: I want to make a slip cover for this beast… Wish me luck, and watch this space for progress!


What do you think?