black recliner before and after

Recycle and Reuse

“Recycle and Reuse”

Oh boy, aren’t we all just a bit sick of that tagline? But we do recycle and reuse anyway. It’s part of who we are, now.  We compost and trade clothes, and leave things for free on the curbside. But when it comes to furniture, we sometimes forget that we can save a huge amount of money by recycling furniture and renting an upholstery cleaner.

I have a young family member who needs help furnishing her home. She has nothing.  Her mom can help with the money, I can help with the sewing machine and some sleuthing.

So far we have: a 3-seater sofa bought for $30.00, fabric for slipcover: $100.00; a La-Z-boy recliner, bought for $20.00, slipcover fabric $60.00. A beautiful solid wood sideboard that will also work as a TV stand, $40.00. Table and six chairs bought for $100.00, new seat fabric: $20.00. Three-drawer solid wood chest of drawers for the boys bedroom bought for $20.00 — already sanded — which just needs a quart of yellow paint and a white 6-drawer chest of drawers.

She bought some hideous gold plastic mirrors at the dollar store and painted the frames black, rubbed some of the black off to show the gold, and has antiqued mirrors now that are really quite stunning and fit her eclectic design style perfectly.

I jokingly told her, at the start, that I believed we could get her set up (except the beds), for under $500.00. We’ve spent $430.00 so far and just need a few lamps. A far cry from the $1200.00 she was expecting to pay for a sofa alone.

Update, July 7: here is the sofa and chair done. We got: table and 6 chairs (seats recovered in black vinyl), 3 dressers, sofa — slipcovered, recliner — slipcovered, buffet for use as a TV stand, office chair (seat recovered), leather chair and footstool (donated), and my friend with her trailer and truck for delivery. Total spent: 490.00.

jet sofa and chair before and after

The living room done: The rug is a trade from her Mom, the coffee and end table were $100.00 —  a gift from Mom.

jet room done

Not everyone has the expertise to make custom slipcovers, I know, but anyone with a sewing machine, or an aunt who has a sewing machine, can have a decent cover that will work for a while.

Or you just have to do a bit more shopping and wait for the deal of the day sofa and chair that don’t need covers. Sanding and painting a chest of drawers just takes elbow grease.

Planning and learning how to do this stuff is free.

The internet is the place to go for info on how to update furniture, paint things and get some inspiration.

Pinterest now generates more traffic than Facebook,  and the ‘recycled furniture‘ board is a wonder. ( Here is one Pinterest board)  Even Martha Stewart, for heaven’s sake, has a repurposed furniture blog.


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