House Refresh: DIY Budget Decorating that Looks like a Million Bucks


Greetings Friends, Romans, Countrymen!

I doubt if I have any Romans reading my blog, but I have met a lady from Ireland! Hi Louise! And of course I have lots of friends and countryman. Thank you all! I am knee deep and thick doing what I love most--redecorating!!  If you have read the history of Covenant Farms,, then you already know we built our house eight years ago.  At the time, we were still on the tail end of of the “gold and taupe” era and I knew when we built that it was only a matter of time before people started using all white interiors again, it was just a gut feeling, what can I say?  I, however, liked the golden tones and thought they brought warmth to a space. I also was determined to use most of what we had in the house prior to building because that’s how I roll. We paid for our house as we went, so once the house was built, we needed to recover and save some more before I could spend on decorating.

I read that a designer once said…

That people make a mistake of throwing everything out when they decorate and start over every time from scratch.  I wish I could remember who said that. If anyone knows, please comment. I want to say it was Billy Baldwin, but I can’t be sure and I don’t think that is right.  Anyway, I know there are people who like to do it that way. As a side note, I never know in writing this blog whether to put it all out there or hold back.  I would hate for someone to read what I write and be offended and say, “She is talking about me.” But at the same time, I have to be true to you, my dear reader.  I have to call spade a spade and if you empty your entire house and have a garage sale only to then take yourself and your Surburban down to the local Kirklands in the mall and proceed to fill her up with your finds, then you my friend are committing decorating suicide.  And I urge you to cease and desist at once!

Not that there is anything wrong with Kirkland’s

Don’t get your panties in a wad. I believe in interior design on a budget.  There are lots of cheap ways to decorate your home and to be fair, Kirklands has some good stuff.  If you need a pillow, a mirror, a lantern… you should probably check out Kirklands. But never, and I mean never, ever, ever, should you decorate your entire house from there at one time, or any other store for that matter.  If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times, say it with me now… your house should look like it evolved over time. I do not believe in evolution except in the case of houses. Your house should reflect you and the life you have lived.  It should tell your story. People should be able to come in your house and know at least something about you, because if it’s done well, it should reflect your soul. You should not have items in it that you do not love and it should not be done to impress anyone but yourself.  That said, I do fully embrace the idea that good design improves one’s quality of life!

Now on to what I have going on…

I really love how the English ascribe to the theory that houses are meant to be lived in and they just add to them.  They don’t really worry whether the upholstery is torn and tattered. Perhaps this is because those big estates like “Downton Abbey” through the years, were just struggling to keep the water out.  But I really do feel that Europeans have a different mentality. They are not so quick to throw away and start fresh. And while I still loved my house in its current state, I was ready for a new challenge.  This is probably fueled by the fact that I feel like I missed my calling. That’s not true, my calling was and is to be a helpmate to my wonderful husband and while I still fulfill that role in many ways, it is his wish for me to bow out of the business and have our son step in to that role.  This is not a slight to me, I prefer it. I was never born to be an accountant and I am glad to have help in these duties and will gladly hand them over completely one day. They can just write me a check. I’d much rather spend my time pursuing other interests. Someone once asked me what I liked about the business, and my answer was “the money.”  I am thankful for a job, it is a means to an end, but I do not love concrete work the way my husband does.

But I digress

I decided I would update the house last year.  It was time for my house to evolve and reflect me even more.  I would do this mainly through paint and shuffiling things around.  If money were no object, I love one print decorating--toile on the walls, toile canopy, toile drapes, toile furniture.  But since that would require hundreds of yards, that is not an option. I also love wallpaper by Graciestudio and Zuber!!! Oh to have a Zuber covered dining room.  I would die! I am convinced that my mansion in eternity will have a double staircase, marble floors, and Zuber wallpaper!

We started phase 1 in December of 2017.  We, meaning Mr. Benton painted the living room and the kitchen, the color of all the trim in our house, Sherwin Williams antique white.  However, in this phase we will be adding in some color. Mr. Benton is an excellent painter. He could literally paint in his tux and not get a drop on himself. A painter that looks like James Bond. I am in. And roller marks? Well he knows his picky wife will be shining a light on it and looking at it from all angles.  He doesn’t call me Picky Panther for nothing.

Once we got all of that done, I moved on to Phase 2.  Phase two, was new curtains for the Living Room and kitchen, as well as reupholstering three chairs and a sofa.  The sofa was a Lillian August that I picked up for $150 at a consignment shop. It had good bones and actually was in good shape if you happened to be a Texas Longhorn Alumni.  It was a burnt orange leather. I originally was going to paint it. Did you know you can paint leather? I kid you not. There are all kinds of youtube videos on it. Of course we all know when I say I, I mean Mr. Benton.  

First photo is original living room decor. This was during my Mario Buatta phase. I loved his use of color. The second photo is a vignette in the dining room and I am not sure this will change. The third is also the dining room and I am not sure if I am moving this screen or not. The red walls are changing as well as a few other things. The next images are of the living room after refresh. The last are the kitchen. The fabric picture is the fabric I used to tie both rooms together since they are basically one space.

I am not allowed to paint.  If you watch my instastories on instagram you know why.  But the reality is I think leather is cold to sit on. And I really had my heart set on velvet.  I will have to do a blog post on just the sofa some time. In addition, I did some new drapes and made some DIY lucite curtain rods, sometimes referred to as acrylic rods.  This will also be a future blog post. They sparkle like crystal and they bring a touch of transitional to my very traditional decor. They were expensive even doing them myself, but they were worth it in my opinion.  

So go on a journey with me

I will be blogging in the next few months about the process. I warn you, it may be a slow journey as I am dependent on Mr. B.   I will be telling you my tips and tricks for saving money. I will be talking about how I spend hours looking at pictures of decor by people I consider the masters:  Danielle Rollins, Mallory Mathison, Miles Redd, and Mark Sikes. These four designers are inspiring me this time around. I love the way they use color. I love the way they love bold pattern.  And of course Ralph Lauren is a constant influence. That’s one of my biggest tips for decorating. Don’t spend your time looking at pictures of houses that are mediocre, except for mine and you can look at those. In all seriousness, I hope you come here for the storytellin’ more than anything else because that’s really what I am, a storyteller. But looking at good design will make you better able to apply what you see in your own home. I get that most people don’t have millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on decorating.  Who are we kidding, most of us have hundreds at best. In fact, for this redo, i hope to keep the total, under $1500.

Decorating on a budget can be a challenge--we will see, but I think I can get close. I am painting the foyer, dining room, hallway, two bedrooms and the mudroom.  I am fluffing the dining room and spare bedroom and hope to show that small bedroom design does not have to be a snooze. Hahahaha! I didn’t even do that on purpose, I promise!! You know me, I love me some drama and believe small room interior design actually gives you the opportunity to create a jewel box within your home.   All other changes happening will be paint and through editing and moving stuff around. Stay tuned!

Have a blessed weekend!

Thank you for stopping by!

Until next time,

Lady Benton


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