Cheap Home Makeovers Plus My Political Angst About Anthropologie

If you have an uglyass sofa, I can help you fix that but only by spending money and kicking your liberal political leanings to the curb.
Publish date:
September 9, 2011
style, DIY, anthropologie, Design, Michele Bachmann's Hair, ugly sofas

In my brain, Rachel McPadden and I have a show on HGTV where we go to people's houses, people like YOU, you know, fun cool people who want help making their places look nicer and I throw paint around and Rachel sews you new drapery and pillows and we drive to your place in a van that sorta looks like the Mystery Machine, but with a Pucci paint job, and HGTV pays us in like 400 pounds of candy a week. I have not informed Rachel of this plan yet, but she sews so I'm forcing her into my movie. THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN HGTV.

But that hasn't happened (yet) so I can help you using the power of the Internets and XOjane!

I wrote about my Restoration Hardware issues a few days ago and then I received emails from some very lovely readers, both suffering from ugly sofa angst. First up we have Nichole, a PR and even consultant who also runs The Hill is Home . Nichole lives alone with her cute little dogs Ramona and Elroy. This is Nichole's sofa.

Next up we have Kelsey, who is 21, lives with a roommate and "loves to party." By that I think she means she likes to have people over and make them dinner, because she told me she was making the Smitten Kitchen tomato sauce. Yay Kelsey! This is Kelsey's sofa.

Now, both these girls are sort of suffering from the same general issues, run down sofas that have seen better days. They both don't have a ton of money to spend and want to update their seating.

Nichole doesn't like the fabric of the sofa and I think we can all understand why. Now, don't get me wrong, I love plaid. I have been drooling over this sofa from Anthropologie for ages.

This is the part of the home makeover show when I collapse in a fit of tears because I LOVE Anthropologie. I love the lifestyle they are selling me. I own a lot of Anthropologie stuff and if I have ever returned anything, they have brilliant customer service and it's MY jam.

But, and this is where I get all weird about Anthropologie, because the founder, Richard Hayne, is this extreme right-wing supporter who gives a gazillion dollars to Rick Santorum, a presidential hopeful and utter whackjob who equates homosexuality to beastiality. If you are unfamiliar with Rick Santorum, do not google him by last name. Until you see the brilliance that is this.

Did you all watch the GOP debates last night? I need to interview Michele Bachmann. I loathe that woman in 900+ some ways but I can't get into that now because I'm supposed to be talking about throw pillows.

For both my readers I would suggest sofa covers in a neutral fabric. Every place carries them, and the nice thing is, they are washable. Nichole's couch has scatter back pillows so she will have to cover her couch first and then decide what to do with the pillows. She can measure them and sew new covers for them, purchase new covers for them, or my favorite option, just buy new pillows.

Our friend Kelsey doesn't get new pillows because she sewed the pillow on her sofa, and it is adorable! Kelsey, get to work and make some more. And because you say seating is an issue, make some large floor-sized ones for your guests to lounge on. Kelsey, you are super sweet and cool but you have a bigger issue. Actually, you and Nichole BOTH do. You guys need storage. Kelsey, the front of your sofa is not a shoe storage area. On September 13th at Target, MISSONI will be having their items available for sale!

I am a binaholic. I have bins all over my house. Here is my John Derian for Target bin in my bookcase. I use it to stash all sorts of things. My copy of "The Surrendered Wife" my husband bought me as a joke. Greeting cards I can't throw away. My drug paraphernalia. Just kidding. But not about that last part.

Keep some pretty bins around your house and throw your shoes, powers cords (am looking at you Nichole) and dog toys in there.

Now, Nichole has a really cool brick fireplace, but I want to have a mantle above it, not only for visual interest, but for storage.

I would add a shelf and move your nice mirror a few inches above that. Here is my fireplace, and yeah, I need to take my advice and get rid of my faux taxidermy because that is so 2009, but I will show you for an example.

The other issue, and poor Nichole, I am starting to feel like a jerk here, but your baby fetus painting looks very lonely on your wall. It is the wrong size to be alone there. So you either need bigger art, or to get him some friends. One of my favorite websites to find cool art for cheap is 20x200. And don't forget about scouring thrift stores, too.

And finally, the most offensive thing about Nichole's place to me is not even her sofa.

Can anyone spot the thing I hate the most?

That standard issue cheap-as-hell apartment light fixture. Nichole, take that THING down. Stick it in a box. Hide it. When you move, you can put it back up and leave a Post-it on it telling your landlord I say he is an idiot. Next week I will be showing you how you guys can make an amazing light fixture with next to no money and zero skillz.

Now, I would love to come visit you both and help you move furniture around, but because HGTV hasn't given me my own show yet, I do think couch covers will help you. They can be found for less than $100 and even though they tend to look sloppy, they have some very nice fitted ones that don't need to be tucked constantly. The most important thing is to measure. Reupholstering is another option, and there are many videos on the internet that teach you how.

My sofa WAS very nice. A tan mohair that came from a foofoo design store that my cats ate within a year. It has amazing bones, down cushions and is long enough to nap on. Instead of buying a new sofa after it was trashed, I had it recovered.

Recovering cost about $2,000. Keep in mind, a decent sofa costs more than that. And I had it recovered in the BEST THING EVER, which is called Crypton. It is this insane super fabric that cannot be destroyed. Children have gotten marker on my sofa. Numerous glasses of wine have been spilled. Cats have vomited on it. Dogs have drooled on it. I usually wipe it up with a baby wipe.

Every six months or so, I get ambitious and unzip the covers and toss it in the washer, and my sofa looks new. It is over six years old. And from the looks of both Nichole's and Kelsey's sofas, they both could be made to look new with a recovering job, because they both look sturdy and comfortable.

Thank both of you girls for writing in and I enjoyed speaking with you. I hope these suggestions help, and if not, I hope our lovely readers chime in with their advice.

Got a design dilemma? Hate Michele Bachmann? Wanna offer me an interior design job in exchange for candy? or @evevawter.

Oh and Nichole? That paint job may be making your room look small...