Living Large on a Budget: DIY Mid-century Upgrade

Midcentury Update Johanna Nimmons

The month before we got married we signed the lease on a 600 sqft 1 bedroom apartment.

It is glorious in every way small apartments are; flooring choices that just don’t make sense (wood, tile, carpet, and linoleum… and did I mention it’s just one bedroom?) Ceilings that inexplicably leak and then stop right before maintenance decides to come.

Honestly, it’s a pretty great place and I love that it’s the first place we’ve called home together. But that month before we got married we had less than $500 to spend on furnishings for our place, but that was just a challenge to me.

First came the sofa which I found on Facebook Marketplace for $100. It was less than a year old, and she bought it for her four year old daughter’s playroom. However, her daughter said it didn’t match her style (I feel you, girlfriend) so off to Facebook it went, where I purchased for $80 when I told her I’d be there in 20 minutes to pick up. Done and done.

I found the chair on Offer Up, being sold by a guy who had stored it in his garage, along with tractor parts and grease covered cats, apparently. He was asking $25 and then sold it for $20 when Noble said we were getting married. One Home Depot steam cleaner rental for $60 later and we had ourselves a chair!

A full year later I decided it was time for an upgrade and since the newlywed budget hasn’t changed much, a DIYing I went. I considered buying a cover for the wingback chair, but the prices and the low reviews didn’t convince me. I settled on these legs and had Noble install them for me.

The installation on the sofa was incredibly simple. They screwed right into the holes for the original legs. But for the older chair we needed to use a drill to make the holes a bit larger and attach the metal plate that the company provided. All together it took roughly an hour and a half to finish the chair. Total time for both pieces was 2 hours.

Now, whenever I read articles online about easy DIY projects that seem way too good to be true, I’m really hesitant to try. It seems like an awful lot of labor and money to make one ugly chair, or desk, or dresser… still kinda ugly.

So. Was it worth it? Check out the chart at the end of the post to see!





A Visual Representation of the Cost Spent

Worth it?

Well there you go. The numbers don’t lie! The total cost for the chair and sofa ended up being $114.99 each, which I just think is a hilarious coincidence.

The sofa was definitely, 100% worth every penny, it was almost new when I bought it and the seller paid over $450 for it originally. That’s about $350 in savings, which I can spend on more ice cream for me and pillows for my fabulous new sofa.

However, I was disappointed to see the total cost on my chair. Is every $20 chair worth it? Maybe not. Thinking back, I didn’t need the steam cleaner (although it was super nice!) and cutting that would have saved me $60, leaving the total cost at just $54.99. Ouch. I still like my chair and I think the cost was justified, and I probably would have spent more if I tried to buy one brand new, and still the same size as this one.

If you have a chair that doesn’t need a steam cleaning, or better yet a free chair… this little upgrade might just be worth it for you.