Mixing New and Thrifted Furniture | ORC Week 3

May 21, 2021

If this first time stopping by, welcome, and thanks for visiting! A few years ago I decided to quit my corporate job in Denver and my family moved back to our hometown in Ohio. I became a local real estate agent have been sharing home renovation and DIY tips on this blog ever since. Two years ago we purchased a fixer-upper in Toledo, Ohio and I renovated our dining room as a guest participant for the ORC. I also updated my little boys’ bedroom and our master bedroom in the last two challenges. That brings us to my fourth One Room Challenge where I am renovating our living room!

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8

I love mixing new and thrifted furniture when I am putting together a space. Our new house is big and it would take many years to buy brand new furniture for each room. I don’t have the patience to wait years for our house to feel like a home, so find second-hand & vintage furniture items to design each room.

To be fair, my love of thrifting did not begin with our current home. I grew up loving garage sales and giving makeovers to old furniture. Before I shipped off to college, my parents got me a queen bed frame at a garage sale and I applied the crackle paint technique for my shabby chic-themed college room. I have always been a lover of the cottage-core aesthetic! I have also been known to do a little dumpster diving if I see something good! It horrifies Chris, but I have found some good stuff!

Mixing old and new furniture for our living room makeover | Building Bluebird #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #mcm #oldbooks

Today I am sharing the old and new furniture I plan to incorporate into the living room design.


Living Room Furniture

(Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase)

There are so many reasons why I love buying second-hand furniture items, but I will just share a few. First, it helps with the budget! Second, the quality of the piece is often better than what you can buy at the same price brand new. When we were renovating our dining room, I wanted to get a nice buffet for our china. All of the new buffets were over $600 online and not made of solid wood. I was able to find a beautiful sold wood buffet for $300 and it is absolutely perfect in the space. The third reason I love buying used furniture is for the story. They can be great conversation starters and make your home individually unique.

MCM Cabinet

Last year I picked up the MCM cabinet from an estate sale for $50! This is the design inspiration for the living room makeover. I am incorporating warmer furniture pieces made of wood and leather. Many of the pieces will have the MCM style, but I don’t want it to add some traditional design elements as well to flow with the house.

Mixing old and new furniture for our living room makeover | Building Bluebird #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #mcm #barcabinet

Leather Couch

Our big purchase for this room was a leather couch. I wanted to find one that wasn’t too bulky and had a shorter depth than our previous couch (42″). Our old couch is now used in our basement. For this makeover, I created a layout where the couch faces the fireplace instead of perpendicular to the fireplace. Here is the old layout.

Mixing old and new furniture for our living room makeover | Building Bluebird #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #mcm

Our leather couch has been delivered but they forgot to send us the legs! We ordered the Biltmore 81″ (similar couch here) from Joss and Main. I am a little concerned because it looks like the couch is no longer available on the site. I really hope they have the legs for this couch to send us because we are still waiting on the delivery.

Estate Sale Piano

We have wanted a piano for years! I saw this beautiful piano at an estate sale for only $100, and I had to snag it! No one in my family plays and consequently, we had no idea what to look for before purchasing it. A piano tuner came out and told us that the entire piece was broken and could not be repaired. So, the piano is useless but still looks pretty! I will keep it as a placeholder until I find another one to take its place.

Mixing old and new furniture for our living room makeover | Building Bluebird #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #mcm #piano

Vintage Record Player

Chris collects records and he really wanted a nice record player to listen to music. We have gone through multiple cheap record players and they keep breaking! We found this cool one on Facebook Marketplace and incorporate it into the room. It has the MCM design, however, the record player piece does need to be repaired. I reached out to a few record player companies and it was a little defeating.

Mixing old and new furniture for our living room makeover | Building Bluebird #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #mcm #recordcabinet

One person I spoke to said it was very challenging to restore these old record player cabinets. One reason is that you need to find an expert who is willing to make a house call. Another common challenge is finding replacement pieces. Oftentimes, the only place to get a new piece is from another vintage record player. I am going to keep researching and hopefully, I can find a solution to make this unit work.

I’m starting to recognize a pattern here! A little more research needs to go into buying second-hand musical items to make sure they can work properly.

Record Cabinet

While perusing a neighborhood garage sale, I found this old cabinet. It was previously owned by a harpist and held all of her music sheets. It is in rough condition but for $10, I figured it was worth it. I need to carve out some time to sand and stain it before the end of the challenge.

Old cabinet to hold records in our living room | Building Bluebird #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc

Accent Chair

The living room furniture at this point has lots of brown and red undertones. Adding cooler colors, like blue, will help tone down the orange-y colors. I ordered this slate velvet chair from West Elm and I love the modern look to it. Unfortunately, it won’t arrive until August, so I need to find a stand-in item for the reveal photos.

Slate accent chair for our living room makeover | Building Bluebird #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc

Additional Furniture

The living room furniture currently has a lot of hard angles. I am working on pulling elements with curved and rounded edges to soften the design. Although I am not an expert in Feng Shui, I know it is important to not only have hard angles in a room. In a previous blog post about designing for Joy, I discuss the benefits of adding in circular elements. I am still on the hunt for an oval coffee table and another accent chair.


Thanks for checking in for week 3 of the One Room Challenge! Make sure to check out the featured and guest participants on the One Room Challenge blog.

One Room Challenge sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens

Featured Designers for Spring 2021:

Ariene C. Bethea | At Home With Ashley | Banyan Bridges | Bari J. Ackerman  | Brit Arnesen | Brownstone Boys | Cass Makes Home | Dominique Gebru  | Gray Space Interiors | Haneen’s Haven | Home Ec. | Nile Johnson Design | Pennies for a Fortune | Prepford Wife | Rachel Moriarty Interiors | Sachi Lord | Susan Hill Interior Design | This Is Simplicite | Tiffany DeLangie | Victoria Lee Jones 

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