How I Spent $660 to Furnish and Decorate my Living Room

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Hey all!
I’m really excited to be writing this post today.  I have been waiting for the right moment to show you all my living room decor and I think this is it!

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I’ll start by saying,  I spent a grand total of  $660 furnishing and decorating this space.  While it is NOT complete by any means (I want to add a cosy rug to help dampen noise echo,  organize my TV stand better,  and get a piece of art for above the TV), I think it looks great and I’m so happy and proud of how its turned out.

So how did I spend so little?  Well let me tell you first what I actually bought in here! The coffee table ($315, made by a local craftsman),  lamps ($160, Costco),  small chairs (second hand, $60), patterned pillows (16.95 x’s 2, grey pillows ($12.97 x’s 2) and side tables ($65 total at Homesense) were purchased.  The couch,  large chair and entertainment center are all second hand from friends or family who no longer wanted them.  The art work above the couch was a gift, along with the pink bolster pillow, as was the X’s and O’s game (my dad hand made that!). My TV was a crazy generous housewarming gift from my sister!  And my dvd player was a Christmas gift as a teenager.

I think the key to furnishing and decorating on a budget is to not get too set on an aesthetic or style that you think you “need” to have. When I was looking at houses and thinking about what I wanted to do for decorating, homes like Rachel Parcell’s :

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and this Toronto townhouse I saw on Architectural Digest’s website: dam-images-decor-2013-12-2013-top-pins-top-pins-of-2013-39-powell-bonnet-toronto-living-room

Really resonated with the bright, airy and slightly glam but not overtly feminine aesthetic I wanted. BUT, what didn’t resonate with me was the BUDGET that would be required to make it happen, and I don’t have the space to fill that either of those homes have. That doesn’t mean that the inspiration wasn’t there though- the cool, muted pinks and blues from Rachel Parcell’s home are mirrored in mine. The graphic windows in the Toronto townhome were also inspiration for how I styled some of the mirrored pieces in my living room and kitchen. This is anchored by industrial touches and plenty of black to make it my own personal style, on a dime!

What I never envisioned was having so much black in my space! Originally, I was so in love with a gorgeous powder blue couch but I just couldn’t justify the $1500 (on SALE!) cost. Thank God I didn’t decide to buy it, because last month I was the lucky recipient of a second-hand couch from my parents! Yes, it is a very, very dark charcoal and couldn’t be further from what I thought I wanted, but it is also so comfortable and exactly what I needed! (I had a black loveseat that was two theater chairs screwed together before that- free and 100% awesome!) The blanket and pillows on this couch are from Walmart.

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The two small black chairs were a total impulse buy at Find, a social-works based thrift shop here in town. I sat in them, and I needed them- I didn’t care what color they were! This soft grey bolster pillow is also from Walmart.

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Also black (and free!) was my parent’s old entertainment unit. It has a pretty dominating presence in the room since it was designed to support a tube TV, but it’s the perfect spot for my TV, movies, magazines, cable box, DVD player and coffee table X’s and O’s! It also looks great with my matching lamp set that I got at Costco. This piece was also made by my dad, who can make furniture, vanities, x’s and o’s games, gorgeous vaulted gazebos, pizza ovens, ponds, 2 story garages, and tiered gardens. You name it, my dad can make it and potentially has before. This doesn’t even include all of the things he knows how to fix. I really respect his hard working and go-getter attitude, no obstacle is ever a match for his determination and I try to emulate him in a lot of ways in life.

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Also black and free is this great chair I got from a super generous coworker. This piece wasn’t working in his home and it needed a new home to live in. I love it because while my other black chairs are quite small, this chair is designed for a taller person! Or at least I’m guessing, it could just be that I’m short! But every male friend I’ve had in to watch a football or hockey game says how comfortable it is! I love to read in it, too.

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Thanks to not getting too anchored on one specific style, but picking individual pieces and accessorizing in ways that incorporated what I like aesthetically, I was able to put together a space that works and looks good! It definitely pays to keep an open mind when you’re trying to keep a budget in furnishing your home, every substantial piece in my living room was free or extremely affordable and in some cases was just re-styled from its previous life. While they can be a pain to get on and in the right size, also keep slip covers in mind if a friend or family member is looking to find their couch a new home but the color or pattern is completely not your style. Furniture can be incredibly expensive and a $50 slip cover sure beats having nowhere to sit! Never look a gift horse in the mouth, right? You could end up with an awesome piece thanks to someone’s generosity.

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I hope this post has given you some ideas of where to shop for affordable decor (Walmart, Homesense) and a different perspective on thrifted and second hand furniture. It’s 100% possible to have a great space on a dime! If you ever feel like you can’t do it, send me a tweet @thebrokebloggr because I have been there and my mum and sister were so instrumental in helping me come out on the other side with an awesome new house I didn’t have to bleed money all over to make look good!

Steak and Goat Cheese Salad

Hello!

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This post is an example of how to turn a few strips of leftover steak into an amazing meal that feels both light and satisfying. In the summer I just love salads, meal salads, and will take any excuse to make one! I’m currently trying to grow lettuce outside my front door, but I’m not having too much luck sadly. That said, you can grab 6 heads of lettuce right now for $4.98 and go wild! That’s what I had done when I made this salad.

Yes, this meal is just 47 cents off of what I try to eat for on a daily basis, but every now and again a (still affordable) treat should be had. And sometimes those steak leftovers languish and never really live again in an exciting way, so this is an awesome option to do justice by them.

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Steak and Goat Cheese Salad

Serves one for $3.53

1/2 a head of romaine – $0.42

6 asparagus spears, roasted or bbq’d – ~$1

1/5 log of herbed goat cheese – $0.99

Grilled leftover steak (~1/8th of a pound of striploin) – $1.12

Dressing:

Grainy dijon, balsamic, olive oil, pepper

Assembly:

Take your lettuce and wash and dry it. Set it down as the bed of your salad. Next, chop your asparagus into bite size pieces and add them to the bowl, followed by bite sized pieces of steak and crumbled goats cheese. Your dressing is a good squeeze of dijon, a quick dash of balsamic, a glug of olive oil (~teaspoon) and a lot of cracked black pepper. Mix your dressing in a separate dish and then pour over the top and enjoy!

 

What’s your favorite summer salad?

How to: Freezer Bacon and Cheese Egg Wraps

Hey all!
This post is about one of my favorite recipes for the freezer to date- bacon and cheese egg wraps!  Honestly, making up a bunch of these and freezing them for myself is one of the nicest things I’ve done for myself in a long, long time! It’s an awesome way to have a quick and easy breakfast that really satisfies you if you have a long morning of meetings or running errands. If you are a non-pork eater, you can easily substitute a turkey bacon alternative. I have even heard of vegan friends making tofu and veggie scramble and a non-lard tortilla (yes, a lot of traditional tortillas are made with lard but not so much for store bought).

The trick to executing this well and not having soggy tortillas is to cook everything and then cool it down to room temperature before assembling your wraps. This is also a LOT safer for food safety.

Bacon and Cheese Egg Wraps

$0.85 per wrap or $8.50 per ten

Tortillas – $0.29 per tortilla

Eggs- $0.23 per egg

Processed cheese slice – $0.15 per slice

1/2 a slice of bacon – $0.18

Pantry: hot sauce, pepper, salt

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Start off by cracking one egg per wrap you plan on making. If you’re hungry in the morning, you can do 1.5 eggs per wrap as well, just do what works right for you!

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Next, put in as much hot sauce as you like, half of your cheese slices and whisk!

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Heat your pan up on medium-high and pour your eggs into the pan and cook them like you normally would your scrambled eggs.

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Transfer your eggs to a plate to cool  so that they don’t overcook. While they cool down, create an assembly line- tortillas, have your fried slices of bacon cut in half, and your cheese slices in halves. Once your eggs are cooled, put 1/10th (or whatever fraction applies for how many you’re making) down on the tortilla, then put a half cheese slice, then your half bacon slice! Fold that baby up, put it in a baggie, and pop it in the freezer!

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When I’m ready to eat these, I pull one out right before I leave for work. I let it defrost for 1 hour to two hours, then pop it in the microwave for 60-85 seconds. I pick my wrap up and use paper toweling to check there’s no condensation underneath it from heating, then cut it in half on a bias to make it easy to eat! Voila… the perfect breakfast on the go!

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