This is Our Porch 


Wait. Let me explain.  

My dear husband and I bought this couch, table and two matching chairs from IKEA over eight years ago for a grand total of $500. This was our first home purchase together and served as our living room furniture in our first tiny mice-infested apartment, the subsequent rat and raccoon-infested rental house, and then our one-roomed loft space. When we finally moved into a real house - one with doors, walls and free of rodents - the IKEA furniture came with us. It lived in Man Town for one or two years before finally being ousted to the porch when it proved too dingy and tired for inside use.

The furniture was supposed to live on the porch just until we could replace it with nice outdoor furniture and was then headed for the dump. But, I just could never seem to get rid of it. Since it was supposed to be trash, living out it's final days, I let the kids go to town on it. Outside is where we paint, and everything on the porch but the walls has been fair game. I even started using the table to try out a new design ideas. I'd just slap on a few layers of white paint when I wanted to try something new.

After a few years of this free form creative expression, I decided that we were wasting a perfectly lovely porch (that and some dear friends asked if we would host a post-wedding brunch at our house and I was embarrassed for others to see it). We decided to screen it in and give it a true makeover so that it could actually be enjoyed. Imagine it - Dear husband comes home from work, grabs us a couple of beers. The kids are fed and bathed. We all cuddle up on the couch in the cool evening weather and tell happy stories about our day at the playground, client lunches or dinosaurs playing basketball....

So, the porch makeover project begins! Hmmm. But what's the plan?

Getting Started

I'm doing this on a budget - a serious budget. My goal is to turn our junk area into a livable space for less than $200. That means that I have to work with what I've got. No new furniture. Yikes.

Okay then. We will start with these. 


I painted the four chairs earlier this year in another rescue-from-the-trash project. The cafe table and chairs are a donation (offload) from my parents. My dad emailed me just last week to see if I'd like them as they had no use for the set. Due to my budget, I decided that they fit right in with my plan... or would kind of kickstart my plan. 

I needed a rug and some fun lighting, so I made the following two purchases:

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The rug is from Mad Mats and is made from 100% recycled plastic. I found the lights at a local hardware store, Zinger. Now I was ready to tackle the couch and coffee table to bring it all together.

The Extreme Furniture Overhaul

I want to remind you that this furniture it trash. Seriously. If it could talk it would weep and beg me to let it be turned into wood chips or live out its end days in the city dump. But whether is for sentimental reasons or simple frugality, I just can't quit it!

I started with the table. The poor table, covered in at least six layers of paint, had a date with an electric sander. The sander wasn't quite down with the plans. After about 30 minutes of sanding and a third of the way through the job I ran out of sand paper. Off to Home Depot (again...I had already been twice that weekend for other things). The next day I gave it another go, but the sander was now completely non-functional. I set out for Home Depot once more, this time with my feral children in tow, which of course meant an extra 30 minutes in the Christmas aisle poking at the creepy singing Santas. As soon as we got home the epic rains came. I'd left the table outside through the deluge, which at least washed off the top layer of washable kiddie paint.


After the final sanding I realized that the table wasn't in as good of shape as I'd hoped. I'd thought about staining it but now realized that paint was the only way to bring this guy back to life. I searched my paint inventory and found a half quart of Martha Stewart Living Polished Silver Metallic Paint. Yes, please! I also found a bright turquoise that was leftover from painting the Child Watch at the YMCA (Behr Sea of Tranquility, to be exact). Here's what I did in a few simple steps:

  1. I gave the table top about six layers of the silver paint (I skipped the primer since I didn't have any and couldn't handle another trip to Home Depot) and painted two layers of teal plus touchups onto the legs.
  2. I took two different widths of painters tape and taped some crooked stripes onto the table top.
  3. I painted over the tape with two layers of teal, and took the tape off before the paint could dry so that I wouldn't peal off any big strips of paint.

Here is the play by play in photo format:


And voila! An new table.  

And now, it's time to tackle that complete mess of a couch. Lets first take a look at what we are working with. This is the condition that the frame is in. Not looking too good. 


And the cushions. Oh, the cushions!  So much worse. Even after two trips through the wash with lots of bleach they were still a complete mess - paint stained and mildewy. The layer between the canvas and foam had actually deteriorated and fell apart as soon as I removed the covers.


My original plan was to sew new cushion covers, but then I remembered that I don't really know how to sew. My second idea was to dye the cushions, but since I had so many paint stains, that wouldn't do the job of covering the mess. Third and final idea? I'm just going to slap some more paint on this baby and call it a day. Check out the result. Not too bad!


So, are you ready for some pictures of the porch all put together? It's probably not complete yet. I'm sure I'll find lots of things to add and new projects to fill my time (I'm already envisioning some large art pieces to hang on the walls and a freshly painted activity table for the kids).  But for now I'm pretty pleased with the transformation. I got a completely new porch set up for just under $160 and a weekend's worth of sanding and painting. Check it out.


I hope you like it too. I'd love to hear what you think!