what you get for the money…

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Felicella for The New York Times

I admit it. I am cheap. Really, really cheap. I can’t even use the polite frugal to describe my shoping habits, especially when it comes to home goods. Cheap fits the bill a lot better.

While slurping down my coffee this morning, I used my handy iPhone app (iPhone=gift from husband. Not to be used to discount my cheapness, okay?) to see what the NYT was up to Home-and-Garden-wise. Turns out they were touting an “On the Cheap” $2,000 room makeover– with the help of a designer for free– so an author could carve out her own office space in their two bedroom apartment. Her husband is also a writer and had claimed the workspace in the second bedroom. Understandably, she wanted an area of her own to work in. (Bonus: the male half of this duo is none-other than Victor Lavalle, author of Slapboxing with Jesus, a book I greatly enjoyed. I didn’t catch that part in my early morning perusal and I’m writing this as I re-read, ha!)

Anyways, the $2,000 price tag got me thinking. How cheap am I? Let’s take a look.

Alrighty, we’re at $292. Let’s add in what you can’t see from this photo. Two union hall type chairs, free from Papa. My vintage suitcases, $24 for both. My entryway table, free from alley. Let’s use the price I gave my “landing strip” back in the super-early days of this blog for a figure on that: $39. I’ll toss in $15 for the two coat hangers on the wall and door.

That brings us to $370. Not bad, right? I think if I really tried to add up everything we own, minus fancy electronics (obviously not cheap when it comes to my phone, I can’t help it!) and our mattress, it would be under $2,000 for the whole house. That makes me feel phenomenal. See? Cheap.

I think I make serious exceptions when it comes to original art, but it seems that all of the work on their walls — which I love– was their own before the re-do. Large pieces that will last a lifetime, or at least five-ten years, I get shelling out the extra dough. But the sofa was pre-makeover, too.

I love what the designer did for this room. It screams personality, thoughtfulness, comfort. But $2,000 is a lot of money. Especially in 2010! There are other ways. Repurposing, upcycling, thrifting, making, re-making, craigslist, alley shopping, etc. etc.


Am I the only one that see $2,000 for one room as a huge price tag? Am I really as cheap as I think I am?

View the slideshow and before and afters here.


12 responses to “what you get for the money…

  1. You go girl.

  2. I don’t think that $2000 is a lot of money… but I think I expected more from it in this case? I still didn’t really understand what they got out of it… the desk and a few odds and ends? It is a very nice desk but they just stuck it in the living room… not impressed.

    • Yeah, I like the room– but I’m not sure it was worth paying a designer for? Something about it fits me. I’m just at a loss as to where the money went.

  3. Susan McMenamin

    They are crazy to think that they got their money’s worth in that room. Give me the $2000 and I could out- frugal the best, and it would be a lot hipper and more interesting to look at. Kind of a boring space, even with the attempt at hanging the pictures at the ceiling. You have personality in your space, for less $$$.

    • Thanks for the compliment! I think it’s more fun to DIY and see what you come up with. I’m not the kind of person that could hire a designer… And you’re right, that 2k would go a looooong way in my house!

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  5. I am also cheap beyond belief. I used to make fun of my father for being a coupon-clipper and general tightwad, but I may be worse. Instead of furnishing with a plan, I’ll go without a couch for months until the perfect free one drops into my life. Like when my dining table and chair set appeared on the sidewalk across the street!

    I really like the hangy thingies and baskets on your wall.

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  7. Gal, you are just the right amount of cheap! I`m with you. I expect a lot of stuff for $15 and a $50 price tag better offer me 2 nice wingback chairs and a lamp if I were to breathe easily after taking them out of my wallet.
    I love, love you apartment! Congrats!

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