Candice Knows Frugal, Beautiful DIY. And You Can, Too!

I'm a DIY freak, and love it when I find other's who fly their freak flag as high as me.

Like Candice.

Homegirl has some serious talent when it comes to decorating her home on a dime, and I love it that she gets her hands dirty and 'does it herself'. Today she's going to share some of her favorite DIY projects with us, and break down the costs of each.


“If you wait until you have enough money to decorate and make your home your own, it will never happen. If you wait until you can afford to buy everything new, you are missing the point. It is the old, the new, the hand-me-down, the collected, the worn but loved things in your home that make it your own.” Stacy Risenmay on her Not Just a Housewife blog. 

Hello! My name is Candice and I am self-proclaimed “DIYer”. When I found out that I was going to guest post on “The Sustainable Couple” blog I got so excited! It’s such an honor to be able to share what I have learned about decorating on a budget on such a well known and respected blog!

So now to tell you a little bit about me. I am a 26 year old mother to three boys (5, 4, and 18 months) and a wife to one incredible man. Here is my sweet little family:

 I spend my days working part-time for a local credit union, while my husband works as a diesel technician. I enjoy reading, cooking, and of course “DIYing”. After my 9-5, I go home to my full-time job of being a mom and running a household. I don’t know about anyone else but I treat my 9-5 as a daily vacation, not that I don’t love my little monsters…ahem…boys, but this momma needs social interaction with persons older than five years old.

As I stated above, I work only part-time and have three children so money is always something we have to be conscious about; which makes decorating my house on a budget a fun challenge. We purchased our first home in October of 2010, just a little over 3 years ago. Since then we have made many changes, some small and some fairly large but all of them have been DIY and very cost effective. The projects I am going to share with you today are about taking what I had and reinventing it to make it work for my home. I will also share the cost break down so you can see how affordable these projects really are!

Project #1

When we moved into our house, the previous owners had left a carpet remnant in the center of the dining room in order to cover the unfinished wood flooring underneath. The carpet, after years of wear, was a bit nasty so we decided to get rid of it. My husband and I decided to price a couple of new rugs and were shocked when a local furniture store wanted $300-$700 for an area rug – scrap that idea. We got to thinking that carpet under the dining table + kids = bad idea. Then I started brainstorming for ways to make it look pretty, durable, all the while maintaining our miniscule budget. What is the cheapest way to make the biggest visual impact you might ask yourself? PAINT, yes PAINT! Enter my “paint a rug” idea. I had a few people who doubted my idea but I knew it would be better than nothing, little did I know how fantastic it would turn out! I wanted to do a diagonal diamond pattern on a large scale but had no idea how to figure the measurements, so I left that part up to my father. You see, math was never a strength of mine, which is ironic that I work for a financial. After painting, measuring, marking, taping, and painting some more it finally came together.

To make it last I decided to give it a couple of coats of polyurethane to protect it from the scraping of the chairs. One thing I did forget to mention, I am REALLY impatient. So when I said I gave it a “couple of coats” I really meant one!! This is why you can see it’s a bit chipped off in a few places but I love it more now with a bit of wear than the day I painted it. However, do as I say not as I do and paint at least 3 coats of polyurethane to seal it from spills and scrapes. Cost break down: 1 gallon white paint - $26, 1 quart grey paint - $14, 1 gallon polyurethane - $36 (already had painters tape, and paint brush/rollers) TOTAL = $76.00! I’ll take that total over the $700 any day!

Project #2

I will admit I am a huge Pinterest junkie – its ok I have accepted and embraced it. One trend that seems to be making more of a presence on my boards is black and white striped décor, whether it is rugs, blankets, or trays I love it. I think it looks chic and classic. A few weeks ago I happened to come across a black and white striped tray online that I haven’t been able to get off of my mind but it came with a price tag of $49.95. Ouch! I couldn’t justify spending that much on a coffee table tray when I could fill my SUV with that amount of money. If you want to see the inspiration for my piece you can find it here.

Since this tray was haunting my every waking thought I had to find a way to DIY it. I got lucky on a recent shopping excursion to my local Stuff Inc. store when I found this little beauty with a price tag of $4.99. 

Now that’s more like it! I knew I already had black and white spray paint leftover from another project (bonus!) but I didn’t have any painters tape in the thickness I wanted so I purchased a roll at my local hardware store. I spray painted the whole thing white on Saturday and then left it alone for a good 12 hours to allow the paint to dry fully. Sunday morning I started taping off my stripes…

... and then I did a couple of coats of black spray paint. Again I left the tray alone for a good 6 hours and then took off the tape. Here is the finished product! 

Love it! This fun little tray will be gracing the top of my soon to be constructed coffee table…. that is if my 18 month old will leave it alone.

Project #3

This final project I am going to share with you is by far my favorite. While visiting with my grandma at her apartment, she happened to show me two mid-century cane chairs that she picked up at garage sale for $1.00 apiece and she told me I could have them. To be honest most people would have looked at these chairs, laughed and then walked away; but I could see the potential so I took them (thanks Grandma!) 

I immediately set work on trying to find the perfect fabric to reupholster them; and when I found it, I didn’t blink an eye at the price since I got the chairs for free. I also ordered a plain white cotton canvas fabric for the tufted backs because I didn’t want the pattern to take away from the tufting.

Once I had the fabric ordered I decided to start taking apart the chairs. I removed the cushions and the tufted back taking pictures as I went so I could reassemble them easier. I painted the frames with high gloss white paint that I had leftover from another one of my projects. The caning was a bit time consuming and almost had me pulling out my hair but it worked out. The tufting buttons and the white piping were not something I had the tools for; I had to hire a local upholsterer to make those parts for me. When I received the fabric I went about recovering the cushions and the backs and put them back together. This project probably took me close to two months to complete as it was very labor and time intensive. Here are my completed chairs! 

They are currently hanging out in my master bedroom but I may have to relocate them to my living room because I just love them that much. Don’t you? Just to shock you a bit I found a pair of cane chairs very similar to mine here on Etsy. The asking price for the pair is $494.10! Cost breakdown for mine: 2 yards Vintage Blossom fabric - $40.61, 1.5 yards White Cotton Canvas - $15.00, 26 Pronged Tufting Buttons plus 10 yards of piping (hired it done) - $5.00 TOTAL = $60.61 for my pair! I’d say this project was a huge success!

Well, that’s all for me! I hope you learned a little something and were inspired to start your own DIY project! It does not take a ton of money to make your house look beautiful and functional; with a little ingenuity and elbow grease you can have the beautiful house without high cost.

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