Alison’s Thrifted Makeover:: All the Details

alisonphoto: Alison



I wanted to show a little more of Alison’s lovely house from our $250 thrift store makeover with Lysa. My job for this project wasn’t really to take photos, but to do the work of putting it all together so forgive me for the lack of lots of great finished shots, but I still think it’s worth looking at. And you can see so much more of the room in this video at Lysa’s blog.

Alison had a great starting point: freshly painted walls, a cute sofa, love seat and coffee table.

katie aiellophoto Katie

I don’t really care for having my hiney show up on this blog, but I can’t stress enough how much time it can take to get even a small gallery wall to look right. It looks like I just popped up five of Alison’s paintings. But that wasn’t really the case. Thinking through this wall (not just the sofa part but all three sections) and putting things up was the longest part of the makeover, I probably spent over two hours on the long wall and planning/hanging the art.

I couldn’t believe the artwork that Alison had when I first came to her house. That’s when I knew this project was going to be super fantastic.

ali, lysa, myqphoto: Alison

She has some art from the talented Lulie Wallace and Alison painted some canvases of her own in the same style (which is fine to do and use in your own house, I just wouldn’t go opening an esty shop where you copy an artist’s style and neither would Alison, but that’s an entirely different post).

In some ways this wall was easy for me since I don’t live here I didn’t have to deal with my own personal thoughts about each individual piece, I just looked at color, size and composition and could place everything accordingly, which made is so much easier. But I still wanted Alison to be happy so we chatted about it a lot as I was putting things up.

I settled on a random gallery wall over the sofa where I hung the largest piece first and, off-center, then worked out from there.


Here’s what we found while thrifting at four different places.

I knew going in that Alison needed a higher table to the right of her sofa and I was hoping to find a lamp that doubled as color and art. We went in with an open mind, not looking for a specific color or style, but in both cases, SIZE was what we needed.

The table ended up on the right side of the sofa with the lamp on top and the needlework hanging over, we spray painted the chair blue and sadly it’s kind of hidden but it’s on the left side of the sofa in front of the desk–you can see it more in the video. Random chairs like this are a great investment, she can always move it one day to the porch, guest room or as an extra chair at the table.

what we bought

The side table was $50ish, the chair $20ish, the lamp $6ish and the artwork $3ish. We also purchased pillows or pillow covers. The big orange pillow on the sofa is a body pillow ($10) & pillow cover ($10)  from Target! The yellow pillow on the chair is a pillow sham ($15 from the bedding section) from Target with a regular bed pillow in it. If money is tight go for big colorful pillows that you can easily use in a bedroom later. The black and white pillow is from Ikea –Alison already had it but it was still in the package!

We also purchased two pair of Ikea drapes, one sheer, one dark and used them both together on one window. ($30 + $15ish)

alison room

Stumps from my house. The white-topped one was just painted with extra paint from the fireplace and allowed to drip down the sides by loading up paint on the edges– I LOVE the stumps! You can see the thrifted lamp on the table, we didn’t like the scale of the shade and Alison had an extra one so we just switched it out.

Her husband had beautiful deer mounts sitting on the floor (they recently moved in) and they weren’t sure how or where or if to use them. So we made sure to find a place for one in the family room and I think he helps balance out all the girlie floral paintings.

fireplace before

Typical fireplace before. The metal screen popped out in about 45 seconds. I just stuck my head inside and at the top back of the metal doors there was one simple clip on each side that I unscrewed by hand. We couldn’t believe how easy it was. If you are looking at metal doors like that right now, you could probably get up and remove them and come back to this post before your screen saver even pops up. Here’s a video that happens to show how it’s done (fast forward to 1:27).

Here’s more info about why these metal doors are even there in the first place. I’ve removed them in past homes we’ve had and it’s always been worth having a pretty fireplace to me. If these were so essential, then every house would have glass doors. Clearly, many, many fireplaces work fine without them.


And after.

We raised the curtain rod, added dark drapes that say “hello, there’s a window here” with white on the inside. Simplified the bookshelves, brought in a ton of free greenery from the back yard.

And of course, we painted the fireplace.

Because Alison’s firebox was so deep and the brick won’t get burning hot, we just painted it with two coats of leftover paint from the trim in her house and it looks fantastic. Here’s a post about painting my own brick fireplace if you need more motivation.


A fun stump table made in the same way we made this one with paint and tacks. I found the stumps free on the side of the road years ago, we paid 79 cents for paint and $1.29 for upholstery tacks. DONE. A table for less than $2! WHAT?!

fireplace before

fireplace after

I grabbed some wood from our fireplace stack at my house and brought it over so Alison’s firebox wouldn’t look so empty. Notice the gold dots on one of the dark pieces? I just used my finger to make dots with some gold craft paint that was less than a dollar. It’s fun to do a few quirky little surprises in the fireplace, especially in the summer months.

We needed some color for above the fireplace so Alison quickly brushed some pink, red and orange paint onto a scrap of paper and we popped it in an extra Ikea frame she had. Everything else on the mantle was found shopping the house.

Here’s a little 15 second video from Lysa’s instagram that shows a few more shots of the room….

I hope this little makeover was encouraging to you. It actually was really encouraging to me. After living in a fixer-upper for 9 months and with everything moving so slow, it was fun to see a big change in a matter of hours all with easy updates. It reminded me that I can do quick, easy fast changes and feel totally different about a space.


  1. Baileywife @ Irishman Acres says

    LOVE the Nester-ized changes! I’m always afraid of color, but this room is beautiful, and it has a deerhead just like (almost) every room in my home! ~Kim

  2. It’s so beautiful!

  3. What is the paint color on the walls??? Love everything :)

    • ohhh Alison? I know you told me the color but I forgot? Let’s see if she checks in, if not I’ll try to remember to ask her!

      • Hey guys! The guy at the paint shop called “Alison gray” for lack of a better term :) It is actually lighter version of Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray. (Probably somewhere close to 75% of Stongington gray) I tested close to 10 different grays and this was by far my favorite!

  4. This has been such a fantastic series! I LOVE that painted thrift store canvas idea and… those stumps. I die. I may have to cut down a tree. ;) Pinned!

  5. Always so encouraged by your makeovers and this one is no different! Thank you for showing us how to let go of all that perfect and make our homes beautiful!!

  6. Anonymous says

    Love the fireplace! And the stump tables? Yes please!

  7. As soon as I get home from work I am going to take those awful brass metal doors off of my fireplace! I had no idea it was that easy!

  8. this looks so, so good. also- you have given me serious stump-envy lately and there’s this stack from a tree across the street that’s just been sitting outside for like a year. I had really covert plans to go snatch some up in the night but omg are they HEAVY. I’m going to need to convince my husband to help me get them and promise him it’s for a good reason, haha

  9. <3. I need a girl's weekend of thrift store shopping in the Charlotte area. We've lived here for 6 years and it still looks blah. I know it doesn't have to be perfect, but I can't seem to bring it all together. Granted it all has to withstand every day life with 4 kids under age 6.

  10. What a fun project! It’s so fun to find hidden treasures like that at thrift stores!

  11. What a fun makeover. I flipped for the artwork over the sofa. So pretty. Thanks for telling us about Lulie Wallace!

  12. What a great space she has…and the new look only elevates it’s loveliness. You all did a wonderful job. I really need to get some black and white pillows. Such a dramatic pop they make to any space with one item. I am really looking forward to also painting our fireplace white…once we repair it! Seeing her home makes me excited for it!!!

  13. This makeover was so fun to follow. And I am in a rental, but am totally going to check on the possibility of painting the fireplace. It looks so. Soooo. So. Much better!

  14. Everything is just amazing! I am in L O V E with the trees stumps you have created! Great idea to use a body pillow on the sofa, why that has never dawned on me, I couldnt tell ya ;) Great inspiration!! ~ashley

  15. I like the idea of “shopping the house.” When you pull things together you already have, it’s fun to see them in a different arrangement and enjoy them all over again!

  16. Love the tree stumps. Great idea.

  17. Nester, this is why we love you!! Thanks for letting us in your head!! :-)

  18. Okay, I’ve wondered this too many times and have to ask. When you say you got the greenery from the backyard, do you mean that you literally cut branches off trees, bushes, etc.? I am the opposite of a green thumb, so most of my indoor plants are fake (gasp), so the answer may be obvious to normal people. Do you just stick them in the vase dry or do you add water like with flowers? Then wait till they shrivel and throw them out? :)

  19. This looks fabulous. I love her makeover. You guys did an amazing job and so thrifty too.

  20. Wow!

  21. Everything looks so great! Congratulations Alison!
    I would love to know the name of the thrift store with the huge furniture section…would you share that? I have lived in Charlotte almost 2 years and haven’t found a thrift store with that large of a furniture section yet.

    • ohh? did I say there was one with a huge furniture section? I can’t even remember saying that!

      We went to the Salvation Army on hwy 74 it has a decent furniture section, then we hit a few other thrifts and also Consignment 1st.

      • well, the pictures make it look big, I guess. or bigger than any other thrift stores I’ve found so far. I will check those out. Thanks!!!

  22. I so enjoyed following this series and seeing the final product! Fantastic! But I’m curious — where did the chair end up that you bought and painted? I don’t see it anywhere in the room…

    • yeah, so sorry about the lack of after photos. you can see it way in the corner behind the loveseat and it makes a few appearances in the video (last image that is clickable).

  23. I love those built ins near the fireplace. That’s one of my wish list items – built in shelves and storage.

  24. Do you put anything on the bottom of the stumps to protect the floors? We have wood floors, too.

    • I don’t but my floors are 30 years old and scratched up. I think Alison put felt on the bottom of everything, so it’s up to you :)

  25. Obsessed. I watched all the videos in bed last night and Cory ran upstairs all, “WHO is laughing so hard?” (lysa).

    What I really want to know is, will you come and redo MY room???

    I am hilar. Riiiight?

  26. Can I ask a dumb question? I’m a European, currently living in the US. When we had just arrived, someone told me you can only hang things on the wall if you make sure the nail goes into a stud (we only knew concrete walls, drywall is new to us). So… is this true? Or can I make a fun gallery on drywall, regardless of where the studs are? Thanks!

    • it’s false!
      Unless you are hanging a really, really heavy shelf or mirror, otherwise wouldn’t everything on everyone’s walls be spaced apart in 16 inch increments where the studs are?

      Most of my things are lightweight so a nail or command strips work, if I have something heavier I’ll use screws, even special drywall screws and there are all sorts of hardware at the hardware store you can look into for hanging things depending on their weight.

      • Thank you so much! Hahaha, so I’m the only one who has art hanging in strange places because of the studs!! What a relief, watch out walls, here I come!

  27. Just a note of caution. Your fireplace reno may be against building code. From what I understand you would want only non-combustibles for the first 6 inches around the firebox. You can buy special paint designed for fireplaces if you want to change the colour of the brick. Also, the firescreen serves a purpose. Embers can fly. A screen reduces the risk of a house fire. I suppose you could buy a separate screen that could be placed in front if you decide you wish to actually use the fireplace (or keep the old screen so you can pop it back in when using the fireplace. )

  28. Looks just like your house!

  29. I really liked what I could see from the photos but really need more shots to get the full picture of the room.

  30. Michelle says

    Love this! Are you ever worried about bringing the wood stumps into your home? I’d love to do something similar but I’m always worried it may harbor termites.

  31. I just took the fireplace insert off my fireplace. Nine years of disliking the looks of it (it came with the house) and it NEVER occurred to me that I could take it off until I read this post. Thank you so much for the idea, I LOVE it! Easiest home renovation ever :)

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