Unbelievable Living Room Transformation Using Only Thrift Store Finds

Is it possible to furnish and decorate an entire room without buying anything new, creating a beautiful and stylish space instead of a hot mess?

Today, I am giving it a try. My youngest son Spencer and his girlfriend Madison have rented a new house, and I am helping them decorate their large empty living room.

To keep it budget-friendly, I will only use thrift shop finds and DIY projects, as well as things I already own. Let’s get started!

Bare living room

The landlord was leaving behind a sofa, a chair, and an end table, and Madison had some mirrors, three tables, and an old dresser without drawers.

All Spencer had to contribute to the cause was his favorite Ikea chair and a TV. Like most young people, Madison is still figuring out her style but, after asking her multiple questions, I concluded that she was going for an updated grandma style and preferred a dark green and rusty orange color palette. To Spencer, it was important that the sofa be close to the TV stand for a comfy spot to watch TV.

I started by bringing in the suitable items from my basement, such as a thrifted round coffee table, houndstooth chairs and a live edge end table. I decided to use Madison’s black table as the entry table, since there is no foyer.

Living room

We tried a couple options for furniture arrangement, and ended up choosing the layout which was best for TV viewing, as per Spencer’s only request.

Once this was settled, we began removing the furniture that did not belong, such as the landlord’s end table which looked too country, or the round table that was occupying too much space.

The first one was replaced with a clean-lined thrifted table that I had painted dark gray, and the second opened up a spot for Madison’s DIY dresser.

We took the landlord’s kitchen cupboard, removed the top hutch, painted it dark green and stained the pine. I also inserted vintage handles to dress up the doors.


I had a stool in my basement which I had previously upholstered with black and white plaid.

This time, I decided to use a reversible quilted throw blanket that I bought at Goodwill, with the rusty orange pattern on the outside.

I think it turned out really cute and can be used as a side table or for extra seating.

Putting curtains up

Window coverings were a bit of an issue. I found some old curtain rods and painted them black, since their original silver color did not coordinate with the warmer color scheme of the room.

Professional interior designers always advise hanging your curtain rods close to the ceiling to create an appearance of height in the room, but that would require custom drapes or hemmed extra-long ready made drapes, which are both expensive options.

Therefore, I ordered reasonably priced 84-inch-long curtains from Amazon. This was the only new item purchased for this entire room makeover, since it is nearly impossible to thrift truly suitable drapes.


I found two solid oak cabinets on Facebook Marketplace and brought in several lamps from my storage room, along with a thrifted one. I had to paint some of them dark green to match the color palette.


Once we had the bookcases, I headed back to the basement and thrift stores for items to fill the shelves.

I thrifted a large faux fern, an orange wood pumpkin and a ceramic pitcher with orange flowers, and an aqua lantern that I spray painted orange, too.

Of course, I brought in some books, as well. Madison thrifted a pretty vintage picture and found a couple of black lanterns.

I also made use of Madison's Magnolia leaf wreath and a couple of her wicker baskets on the shelves and on top of the bookcases.

Arranging table

Like most young people, neither Spencer nor Madison owned much small tabletop decor.

To add interest inside the dresser, I used a wire basket and wood crate and added a few books and other thrift store decor items. I also placed one of Madison’s trays on top of the dresser and filled it with a plant and terracotta bird from Goodwill.

Since there was no need for a lamp on the dresser, I decided to use some thrifted candlesticks to add some height, removing the glass globes from them.

To create a floral arrangement for the coffee table, I got a Goodwill basket, thrifted a large bundle of faux flowers and plants for under $4, cut the stems down a bit, updated the faux berries that were showing Styrofoam with acrylic paint, and stuck them in the hole in the basket's lid.

I made use of another one of Madison's trays on the coffee table to hold the floral arrangement, some books, a unique set of thrift store wood candlesticks, and a vintage bowl filled with pine cones.

Mirror wall

Madison likes mirrors and had several to choose from. However, we ended up using a large rectangular mirror from my basement above her black entry table.

In addition, we decided on a gallery wall of mirrors above the sofa. We laid all the mirrors out on the floor to find the optimal arrangement and then put them up on the wall.

We also hung up a brown floral print and a beautiful oil painting that cost only $6, as well as two vintage prints with green mats.

To finish off that wall, I placed a hanging basket with stems on the left side with one of the remaining small mirrors.

Sofas with cushions

To add some soft texture, I used several of Madison's throw blankets, as well as some pillows from my stash and some thrifted ones.

I also made a couple pillows with a thrifted quilt. We put those over the back of the swivel chair for a grandma chic look.

For the finishing touches, I brought in a thrifted wicker vase and a wicker basket, and made a box for Kleenex from a decorative gift box.

Living room

I am very satisfied with how the room turned out, and Spencer and Madison are enjoying the final look, as well. I hope I have provided you with some inspiration for your future design work.

What do you think of the result? Let me know in the comments!

Next, check out these 12 Easy Kitchen Update Ideas You Can Do on a Budget.

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