** Two of the chairs in this makeover were gifted via Gumtree
Deciding to renovate at your home is a big process. If you live in an older home like us, there are always cracks and bumps and wonky bits that give your home character, but also make renovating a challenge. Getting older ourselves means our own wonky bits make current renovations a bit of a challenge! However when we get started on a project, there is no stopping us! We started with our sitting room, with a focus on trying out grey painted floors and using secondhand furniture. This room is small and easy for us to get started with before moving into the rest of the house. Inside and out, our old 1948 home is in need of some fixing and dressing up. We are enlisting some help – with painters doing parts of the house and us doing the rest. This room also allowed us to experiment with grey painted floors, which is something we want to carry out into the rest of the house. It was a great opportunity for a long overdue declutter and deep clean, to create a more streamlined room, that still has my trademark eclectic “Helen” style.
Here is the room before:
Still left to do in this room:
- Deal with the electrical cords everywhere (they drive me nuts) – we will be hiding away in various ways and will share pics when done
- Adding shutters to the windows
- Taking the old wall air conditioner out and putting leadlight pane in there, adding a small split system on a less conspicuous area of wall
- Fixing up the TV cabinet glass and a bit of re-finish
Our recycled sitting room renovation included:
- Developing a renovation plan – researching paints and finishes, deciding on what colours to paint the walls and trims, deciding on what colour to paint the floor, deciding on what furniture to leave in the room, what to bring in from other rooms and what to purchase.
- Complete decluttering – moving everything out of the room, emptying drawers and cupboards and recycling or passing items onto the op shop. Storing items in better ways. You live in chaos for a while, until you are finished the renovation, but it is worth it.
- Deep cleaning – washing walls, floors, windows, air conditioner, light fittings, and any furniture heading back into the room. Dusting collected and displayed items.
- Upcycling/Painting – I painted the chest of drawers that had been in the room for ages, with a chalk paint powder from the Painted Peony mixed with sample pots of paints from Dulux (part of the paint selection process for paints I am using in the rest of the house), and added new knobs. I also painted a little side cupboard and the sliding door.
- Moving some furniture out to other rooms – one of the best ways to get a new look is to simply rearrange! Seeing what is already in your home, what can be shifted and brought in and out of the room, creates a new room and opens up the renovation options out in other areas of the house.
- Bringing some furniture in from other rooms – ditto the above. We moved cupboards out, cupboards in, rugs out, rugs in, curtains out, curtains in, art out, art in. This has created space to breathe in the adjoining office. I also decluttered the office as part of this process due to needing the large cabinet from my office to move into the sitting room. It means that my office is now more ready for when we renovate that room soon.
- Sourcing 2 secondhand chairs on Gumtree – our sitting chairs were not ideal and I was lucky to be able to work with Gumtree during my real room renovation. For this room I chose 2 beautiful second hand chairs. We already had a mid century style chair for Jphn, so I knew I wanted similar. I found this lovely restored Parker arm chair for $220 delivered to me, and a lovely old leather chair for $160, also delivered to me – we think they make the room! Gumtree is a brilliant place to both sell and buy new items for your renovations. I found both of the chairs easily and asked the sellers to deliver them to me, meaning my life was made a lot easier. I also used the paypal option for the Parker chair, which I could do on the spot, once the chair arrived. Finding second hand items for your renovation is better for the environment and usually results in better quality pieces, that will last and create a unique look that is all your own.
- Painting the floorboards in grey – We decided on painting the floors after getting quotes on refinishing and carpet in other areas of the house. The painted floors will fit with the feel I want in the house, and also cover up boards that are perfectly imperfect. Using the same colour will help our currently mismatched flooring across the house to flow better and will lighten the house too. These are Tasmanian Oak but have been there since the addition was put on in the 1970’s and some areas are in bad condition. It was an experiment for us and we LOVE it! So easy to use and the finish is beautiful. I chose Berger Jet Dry Aqua Tread in Silver Light – it is made for indoor boards and is hard wearing. We did 2 coats but in the hallways we intend on doing 3 coats. I will run a separate more detailed post on painting the floorboards when we get to that part of the renovation. Basically I hand sanded lightly, cleaned, painted one coat with a roller, waited 2 hours, lightly hand sanded again, painted a second coat.
- Painting – the painting process involved filling cracks and cornices/skirting boards, painting the ceiling and cornices in Dulux Enviro2 Ceiling Flat, painting the walls in Dulux Enviro2 Herbalist (after a process of checking options with sample pots, the Dulux colour app and my fan decks), painting the trims in Dulux Aquanamel Semi-Gloss in Lexicon Quarter.
- Furnishing and decorating – included decluttering and culling some collected items along the way to the op shop; working out the best floor plan layout; adding furniture back in and styling.
- Sitting back and enjoying the new room!
When it comes to choosing second hand items, I have always found Gumtree to be a goldmine. On average, more than 7 million Australians visit Gumtree each month and the app is brilliant for searching on the go.
There are some tips for Gumtree that help you find the perfect pieces like I did:
1. Do your research: Dedicate time to researching what’s out there, what kind of style you’re looking for as well as the full retail price of similar items (so you can see the savings you can make by buying on Gumtree). I did this with the Parker chair and was able to score mine for a really great price, delivered to my door!
2. Plan ahead: If you are renovating an enitre room or even your whole house, make a list of all the key items you need and decide which ones you could save money on. Consider investing more in lounges and dining tables and save on home décor items like plants, throws and cushions.
3. Set your budget: If you’re on a tight budget like in our real room renovation challenge, research the average price of similar items on Gumtree and set your budget accordingly
4. Filter by price: If you do need to stick to a budget, Gumtree’s search results allow you to filter by price – so you’re not tempted buy any items out of your price range.
5. Use your imagination: Sometimes it does take a little imagination to see an item’s full potential. There may be some signs of wear and tear on the outside, but with a touch up and a coat of paint, it could become a key piece in your home and you’ll forever be able to tell the tale of how you lovingly restored it
6. Ask questions: While most sellers will include key information, don’t be afraid to contact the seller to ask questions. It’s always worth asking about the condition of the item, why it’s for sale, the dimensions and if there are any receipts or warranties available. It’s easy to contact a seller via the Gumtree My Messages feature. I used this to chat back and forth with the sellers in both instances and it helped me feel comfortable with them coming to deliver the pieces as well.
7. Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate a price you think is fair but don’t go too low – nobody likes an unrealistic offer!
Overall we are very happy with the finished look. We still have things to do including a new window and shutters, removing the air conditioner ( SO ugly) and adding leadlight glass in the wall hole, changing to a small split system in a less conspicuous area of the room, finding a cabinet on Gumtree to use as a side table that will allow me to hide away the cords from the modem etc We also now have the confidence to continue the grey floors out into the rest of the house. Are you also renovating? If you have been renovating we would love to see what you are up to!