Bring life into your space

I love our living room. It’s the space where our family collapses at the end of a long day. We snuggle under blankets and read. Sometimes we watch movies or play games. It’s small — our entire home is less than 1,400 square feet — but it’s just what we need.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve noticed our furniture beginning to sag. Twelve years of raising a young family on the same couches begins to show wear and tear. And so, together with my husband Brian, I’ve begun the process of gradually breathing new life into this vital space in the heart of our home.

But redecorating an entire room is costly for any budget. Replacing furniture, light fixtures, wall art, and storage units requires careful planning and bargain shopping. However, I don’t want to just cobble together the cheapest items I can find. I long for a room that allows us to relax. And I know I’ll never be able to relax in a space where I overspent. Slowly, but surely, we’re breathing new life into our living room, and we’ve managed to stay on budget at the same time.

Begin with vision

Before we purchased a single piece of furniture, Brian and I discussed both our needs and our vision for our living room. We live in a 1950s brick and stone ranch. I knew I wanted to bring period pieces — whether replica or original — back into our home. However, I wasn’t even sure what to be on the lookout for. So, I hit the local library’s website.

I checked out a wide range of books on mid-century modern design. I thumbed through page upon page of furniture, wall hangings and more. I paid careful attention to paint colors and wood trim.

Brian and I both wanted a piece of furniture for under our window where we could charge all of our electronic devices. We keep all phones, tablets and gaming systems in the living room. However, we didn’t want to see a gaggle of tangled cords on a regular basis, so doors were a design must.

With a clear vision of form and fashion, we set out looking for a couple of new pieces of furniture.

Waiting game

Building a beautiful room on a budget necessitates patience.

Unfortunately, we’re not in the financial position to be able to roll into a high-end furniture store and pick and choose every item on our list. We can’t really even afford to peruse the Target website and pick out discount pieces en masse either. Quite honestly, even if we had a bigger budget, I’m not sure we’d go down those paths anyway.

Instead, since we knew what our space required and the style we were interested in, we began browsing online and in stores looking for our furniture white whales.

Salvage route

For three or four months, I’d been following a discount retailer on Facebook named Salvage & Co. Located in Carmel. The store is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

The day before each opening, they post a wide variety of furnishings from tables and chairs to sofas and shelving. The inventory typically consists of one-of-a-kind items, no special orders or more than what appears on the floor. They also feature “Warehouse Steals,” low-priced indoor and outdoor furnishings, lighting fixtures and more.

I visited the store in December and found the experience to be the perfect mix of shopping and sport. Price tags lay on items up for sale. If you’re interested in purchasing a particular piece, you pick up the tag and hold on to it. If you change your mind, you replace the tag. There’s typically a line before opening and a little hustle and bustle, but my trip yielded an adorable loveseat for $187.

I also found a pair of mid-century modern-styled chairs for $29 and an additional upholstered chair that coordinated for $19. I’m not quite sure I’ll ever be able to purchase a chair for more than $20 again.


The more time I spent browsing the Salvage & Co. Facebook page, the more Facebook began to suggest other similar stores to me.

In January, I found the perfect storage unit piece for our electronic storage and charging needs. This time, I bought a $275 piece for $120 a Beech Grove retailer named Indy Surplus Liquidators. Functioning on a similar model, this little shop specializes in open box or overstocked items from Target.

Plus, they take the time to assemble the furniture. Then, they price items at 60 percent off retail price.

Then I found Bulldog Liquidators on Meridian and Barton’s Discounts Retail Store. I love being able to look over inventory on all of these online platforms before making the trek to see if we might want to purchase an item.

Still searching

We still need a new sofa and a couple of lamps. Let me know if you know about a deal. Plus, we want to paint the walls in the spring. The awkward in between stage can be distracting, but it’s always preferable to sinking your household finances.

We haven’t even come close to a four figure budget yet and we’re three quarters finished with our redo.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. She is the author of “Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.” Send questions, column ideas and comments to