best of… lia fagan: curvy couch

Let’s take a look back on 2011 – the posts that inspired, challenged, and encouraged us. Today, enjoy Lia Fagan’s first “Thrifted Thoughts” post on Scoutie Girl, published in March.

Finding the old in the new can be challenging. Especially when the old looks a little something like this…

Grandma’s 70s sofa is screaming, “time-warp!”

That’s most likely why it ended up here, in the basement of a Salvation Army Thrift Store, hoping to one day be loved by someone again. While many probably pass her by daily and think “yikes!” I see promise in her curvy shape & wooden details.

Seeing past scary upholstery and scratched wood takes practice. If you’ve ever house-hunted, you’ll know that the process is similar. When house-hunting, you need to force yourself to see past the current state of the home.

See past the current owners’ decorating style, furnishings, and colours to get a glimpse of the “bones.” If you can do this, then you can start to reimagine the possibilities that lay within those “bones.” The same is true of vintage furnishings.

Now the real fun begins!

Take grandma’s sofa, for instance. Her cushions are in great shape (probably because the sofa sat, unused, in her parlour, wrapped in the original plastic for the last four decades). The springs feel firm and legs are sturdy. The wood could do with a little refreshing, but other than that, it’s in great shape. For a measly $49.00, what more could you ask for?

The obvious choice here is to reupholster. Purchasing a sofa that is in no need of structural repair means that upholstery costs will remain low. Snap a photo of your find and email it off to several local businesses that offer reupholstering services.

Hint – be sure to tell them that you’ll provide your own fabric (rather than choosing from their standard selection) so that the quote only reflects the reupholstering charges.

When you rescue vintage furniture, you give yourself the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind piece that is completely customized to you and your taste.

Take advantage of this opportunity by giving your fabric choice some serious thought. This is something that you will want to do once and do right.

Two distinct design concepts come to mind when I re-envision this sofa. The first is for the bold, fearless, risk-takers. I’m picturing plush velvet in a deep saturated hue, like red wine, amethyst, or peacock blue. That would completely transform this tired sofa into a stunning statement piece.

Prefer to surround yourself with soothing neutrals? I hear ya! A light stone or charcoal shade of grey would look amazing next to the dark wood detailing and afford you the opportunity to inject some punch with pillows. Grey is the best colour to offset any other colour, making it a solid, timeless choice.

I’m confident that you could transform this sofa, or one like it, into a show-stopper for around $1000, all in. You will not find anything even remotely similar in style, quality or price (not to mention fully customizable) in any big-box chain store.

Do yourself a favor and include some vintage hideaways on your shopping list for your next big furniture purchase!

Has the makeover bug bit you? Tell me about it in the comments!

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