By recovering the existing furniture and rearranging it, this living room received a brand-new look without breaking the bank.

living room makeover - before image - SA Garden and Home


When decorator Dina Venter’s parents bought a fully furnished holiday home in Dullstroom, they gave her carte blanche to give it a fresh new look. There were a few conditions: it had to be pet- and child-friendly to cope with grandchildren and dogs, and while there was a budget for reupholstery, it didn’t include transport to and from Johannesburg.


The original wooden coffee table was replaced with a glass one which doesn’t clutter the room.

First, the cement floors were covered with practical laminate to give the room a cosier look, and all the walls were repainted. “Fortunately, all the furniture was in good condition,” says Dina. “The wingbacks, which fitted in the back of my bakkie, were recovered in a hardwearing green chenille. As the sofa was too large and heavy to move, I took the back and seat cushions off and had these recovered. I rearranged the furniture to improve the traffic flow, placing the wingbacks on the opposite side so it’s easier to access the staircase.” Dina also moved the wooden coffee table to the veranda and replaced it with a glass version which looks more modern and takes up very little space visually.

Dina had her grandmother’s riempie chair and footstool restored and updated them with a striking black and white fabric.

“To complete the sitting area, I had my grandmother’s riempie chair and footstool covered in a tribal print and had a round ottoman custom made. The top lifts up so throws and blankets can be stored inside,” she explains.

The custom-made ottoman acts as extra seating and stores throws and blankets inside.

Pulling it all together is a geometric outdoor rug which can be hosed down should it get too muddy and a contemporary floor lamp which provides reading light and creates a cosy atmosphere.

living room makeover on a budget - Dina Venter - SA Garden and Home

Indoor plants placed in baskets add a casual yet contemporary note.

“I really believe in recycling rather than throwing things away,” says Dina. “To those people who think that upholstery is as expensive as buying new, I say good luck finding new wingbacks for the price of reviving these ones.”