My Story: Guestroom for Under $30

contributed by Debbie

I am on a strict budget, and I was able to redo my guestroom for under $30.

I had no bed in the room, so I asked a neighbor if she would be willing to sell me a futon that sat neglected on her porch. She said, "No, but I will give it to you." A savings of $150 right away! I was thrilled. I had a dresser that was part of the master bedroom set, but I wasn't using it. That went into the guestroom as well. There was still no cost involved.

I had bought some wallpaper border at our local dollar store. It cost $3 total for three rolls of pre-pasted wallpaper border. Paint came from our local home improvement "ooops" bin at a discounted price of $8.

I also had an old Formica top table that I needed to put to use somehow. I decided to cover it with a cloth table topper and skirt to make into a vanity. The three yards of muslin was 86 cents per yard. I stenciled the muslin with a stencil I already had and used paints that were left over from another project. I put a white molded plastic lawn chair with a dining room cushion, which I already had, in front of the vanity. The cost so far was $13.58.

I had a board and some coat hooks my father had given me. I assembled the coat rack and painted it (also with the leftover paints). My neighbor provided the screws and anchors.

I purchased an old mirror that evidently had been on an old bureau at a garage sale for the whooping cost of $1. The stand is a large picture frame easel that I found at the thrift store for also $1.

The lace curtains that my mother gave me were made into a long swag. I had a length of dowel rod from some long forgotten project that provided the curtain rod from which to hang the swag. Dad made the brackets to hold the rod. The finials were purchased at our local craft store for 79 cents each. The cost so far was $17.16.

The futon cover left something to be desired, so I made a cover for it out of the same muslin that I made the vanity skirt. Since the muslin was so inexpensive, I purchased 8 yards at 86 cents a yard or $6.88. With the leftover, I will be making valances for my kitchen and master bath. The total cost so far was $24.04.

I painted picture frames that my husband had from his many awards for superior automotive management, and decorated them with left over pearls that I had on the Christmas tree. I used pictures that I found on the Internet as the artwork.

When my daughter was in junior high school, she had to take wood shop. She made me a small mirrored shelf, which I put in the guestroom. I had an old lacquered box that I received after my aunt passed away, which I put on the vanity.

Another great find was the small lamp that I purchased at an after-Christmas sale at a well-known fabric shop for $1.25! This sits on the vanity as well. Also, in the room are assorted bone china pieces that my grandparents had given me as gifts before they passed away.

Since I don't have a sewing machine, all the sewing was done by hand. I was determined that I would have the guestroom I wanted.

The total cost for the project (drum roll please) was $25.29!

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by

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