A Tour Of The Non-Consumer Living Room

by Katy on August 20, 2008 · 11 comments




Think that being a Non-Consumer means living in a yurt with curbside furniture finds?

Think again.

Everything in my living room was bought second hand for much, much less than if I’d gone to any furniture store. And frankly, it’s superior quality, and because it’s antique it will never go out of style.

The couch was bought for $125 from a vintage furniture shop. It had great fabric in excellent condition, which I’m guessing has survived 70 years (or so) and should last a great deal longer.

The desk was bought for $15 at my local Goodwill thrift shop. I call it my Jane Austen desk. (It’s where I pen my angry letters to Mr. Darcy.)

The rug is a place holder, it will do until I come across what I actually want. It was free from my mother. It’s acrylic, which I don’t like. (Make it do!)

The green velvet arm chair was sitting all raggedy on my mother’s porch. It had been offered to me, and I kept declining. That is, until I saw a similar (but not as ornate) chair for $1800 in a local store. I had it recovered.

The coffee table was bought for $125 on craigslist.org. Because the front of the couch has a convex curve, I craved a round coffee table. I knew that I wanted an antique cut down pedestal table. I just didn’t want to cut one down myself. (I’ve got enough projects on hand already, thank you!) I kept an eye out for awhile before finding this one, but when I did see it, it was exactly what I was looking for.

The alabaster lamp was $15 at an estate sale. The lampshade was a couple bucks at Goodwill.

The red velvet Morris chair was a splurge at $250 on craigslist. I will have it forever.

All the doo-dads were a couple bucks here, a couple bucks there.

You get the gist.

It may sound like a lot of work, but it really wasn’t. All I do is keep my eyes open.

And I don’t have to worry about how to decorate the round walls of a yurt.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

LeAnna August 20, 2008 at 7:40 am


I just bought my first house, and of course, everything is going to be second-hand. But I thought I’d have to really resign myself to not being able to have my own style, going that route. Hopefully, I can find the stuff I want when I actually have the cash to spend on it! Thank goodness for Craigslist….


Mrs Green August 21, 2008 at 12:18 am

Wow, you have done yourself proud – your room looks beautiful. Very homely; you’ve certainly shown us how to go frugal in style! Thank you for such an inspirational post. (and I do love a good nose around other people’s homes LOL!)


ADA reformer August 21, 2008 at 8:57 am

What a beautiful room. You are an inspiration.


lacey August 21, 2008 at 9:51 am

Very cozy living room! I want to curl up into the red armchair and read a book (a Jane Austen perhaps, lol). Everything in our home is second hand, with the exception of our couch, which we splurged on when we first bought the house. All the other furniture though, I kid you not, was given to us by family members, friends, or purchased at garage sales sales and second-hand stores. We found a brand new, mint-condition Broyhill desk at an estate sale down the street. $50. I was so proud 🙂


CanadianKate August 21, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I love that room, it makes me want to snuggle in and read. And I love the carpet (it reminds me of my mother’s.)


dovelove August 21, 2008 at 5:39 pm

I admire your blog, and efforts to inform others in this regard. But I find it unfortunate that this still reeks of the traditional. That is, it still maintains a sort of Norman-Rockwell-ish facade. I mean, why do we need a frickin’ couch — and especially one that’s all big and poofy like that? Because that’s what everyone else has in their “living” rooms?? Have you ever asked yourself why it has to look like a room in a magazine…and sooo similar to so many other living rooms?

Maybe I’m radical in my thinking, heh, but I personally don’t like to own anything that I can’t move by myself — and in a hurry. The world is changing, we might wanna consider that our Norman-Rockwell days are over. Thankfully.

You might say, but I like it THIS way. Then ask yourself why you like it that traditional way? Because you’ve seen it like that so much in the commercials? In others people’s homes (who’ve seen all the commercials)? Why not open your highly creative mind a bit, and truly create your OWN design of a “green” room(s)? 🙂 It can still be artful and beautiful, comfortable and functional… And not nauseatingly “traditional” spurred from capitalistic brainwashing/controlling.



BohoBelle August 21, 2008 at 11:56 pm

HA! I thought it was a picture of an interior decorated room – I couldn’t believe it was yours. Wow, you have great style. And isn’t it wonderful to have the emphasis on the fireplace and not a TV.

Thanks for the inspiration, like LeAnn I’m just setting up house too. Sometime it’s hard to wait for the kind of piece you want, but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end.

Have a great weekend.


thenonconsumeradvocate August 22, 2008 at 12:07 am

For a reply to “Dove’s” comment, look on my blog for August 22nd.

-Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Mariko August 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Super cute living room!


blackgirlinmaine September 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Amazing room. Goodness I feel hopeful for my old house filled with 2nd hand wares.


Katie August 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Sigh… such a gorgeous room. I love the Arts & Craftsiness of it. The warm wood! The leaded glass! The jewel-toned upholstery!

Hey, don’t you have a kitty or two? How does that work with that gorgeous velvet furniture?


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