Thrifted Thoughts – Curvy Couch

I could not be more excited to be part of the Scoutie Girl team! I can’t wait to share my ideas, tips & resources with you here in my column. Each week, I’ll be sharing photos of actual pieces that I stumble upon during my thrifting adventures, as well as my vision for how they could be revived. I hope that, from each post, you’ll take away a fresh perspective on time worn cast-offs and become inspired to do some reinventing of your own. Thank you so much for having me!

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!

14 thoughts on “Thrifted Thoughts – Curvy Couch

  1. PS I already had the bug but I just got rebit :-) The only new furniture I ever bought was a huge sofa when we moved into this house 10 years ago. It is a good sofa but really doesn’t reflect my taste and I have been thinking of replacing it. Guess what I now see a new life for it. Sometimes it is hardest to see the possibilities in what you look at every day. Thanks for opening my eyes!

  2. Your thoughts are very inspirational!!!!

    You raise many good points about how customizing vintage furniture can really make your home original and unique and can bring your own style to your home.

    I looked forward to your future columns and what tips you can provide to us!!!

  3. Thanks for the lovely comments everyone!

    Tonia – Yes. It’s totally doable for around $1000. That number is based on a quote from my reupholster guy. He said it would cost about $600-$800 to reupholster the sofa (based on viewing the photos). The price would go up if you were working with a fabric that had pattern directionality & matching issues.

    That leaves you $200-$400 for fabric. You would need somewhere in the range of 12-16 meters (again depending on pattern & directionality).

    Add in tax, etc. and you’re probably just over $1000. If you can find your fabric locally, you might score a better price and avoid shipping charges.

  4. I am so excited about your new column! Thrifting in order to decorate my house is one of my favorite hobbies. Can’t wait to see what else you find :).

  5. Ooh, fantastic guidance, it would have never occurred to me to take it to an upholstery place (I would entertain doing it myself for about 30 seconds,than give up and move on!), but that’s a great idea, and still cheaper than buying something new!

  6. First off, I want to say I have purchased used furniture with no problems. But right now, I’d be very careful of buying used upholstered furniture. There is a HUGE problem with bedbugs just about everywhere. If you get them in your house, it’s near disaster. On our local news (Portland Or) they highlighted a couple that had bought a used bed set- no mattress- just the wood frame, side tables and within a week were getting bites. Apparently the little critters can live for over a YEAR without feeding and hiding in between the wood frame of the bed and even the tables is where they found them. Totally creepy and you need big time chemicals to get rid of them.
    So, please check carefully for any signs before taking something into your home!

  7. I can totally see all the possibilities with that couch! I agree about doing it in Amethyst it would be amazing and a real centerpiece in a room.
    I also checked out your site and the lamps are amazing. Such creativity!
    Can’t wait for your next article.

  8. I love that this options allows you to customize a piece rather than purchase a “big box” sofa set. You can really show off your personality in a vintage refurbished piece. Great idea’s, I can’t wait to read more in upcoming weeks.

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