The first issue was the end table. It wasn't terrible...just not the style I like, plus it didn't work with the futon too well. So I painted it and changed out the hardware and voila! Totally new and updated end table for next to no $$ and roughly 4 hours of work. Here's the before (its sitting on top of a similar, smaller table so I can paint it):
And here's the after:
The light blue/green on the panels is leftover paint from the walls and I already had the red knobs (bought them for the TV stand but didn't end up using them), so all I had to buy was a quart of green paint. The whole project only cost about $12.
The next issue was lighting. The lamp I had on the end table was way too small...another leftover thing that I just stuck there because the table needed a bedside lamp for when people stay over. I searched online and at almost every thrift store in town and couldn't find anything that would work. Finally I stopped into the only thrift store left that I hadn't checked and found this "beauty" for $4.45!
The brass was terrible and the shade was stained, but the size was exactly what I was looking for. Plus...you can't beat that price! I still can't get over what a great deal I got, esp. since I didn't have to rewire it. So the first thing I did was spray paint it, first with a primer and then with a few different colors until I finally decided on Oil Rubbed Bronze by Krylon. It reads as black, but it has more depth than just plain old black. Here's the finished base:
Next I had to figure out what to do about the lamp shade. I bought several new lamp shades at Target and none of them worked...they all just looked too short on my 70's lamp. So I decided to cover the existing shade with fabric instead. I also decided to use the lamp shade as a way to solve another thing that's been bugging me about that room -- the big blank wall behind the futon.
I've been trying to figure out what to put on that wall for months and even considered vinyl decals and wallpaper. But finally I decided that its okay if that wall doesn't have anything on it. There's already so much stuff happening on the other 3 walls with the curtains, wall art/photos, and furniture, so it might be nice to have a wall without so much going on ("a place for the eye to rest" if you will, haha...that brings back so many memories from art critiques in school!). Anyway, since that wall was going to stay empty, I decided to use the lamp shade as a chance to bring some pattern to that wall and tie in the fabric of the curtains (particularly the tiny yellow dots on the curtains).
I found some fabric in town and followed the step-by-step tutorial on Young House Love to cover the shade with a glue gun. It ended up being a lot harder than I expected since the shade is so big and its not the same size around on the top as it is on the bottom. The finished product is not perfect by any means, but thankfully one side of it faces the wall so I just turned the bad part (where the 2 ends of the fabric meet) towards the wall :)
The pattern comes through nicely when the lamp is turned on, too...gives the room a warm glow.
Total cost of the lamp makeover: $4.45 for the lamp + approx. $5 for the spray primer and spray paint + $18 for the fabric = about $28! Not too shabby. Now I just need to tackle a few other issues from the other side of the room (notice that side is conveniently left out of all the pictures, haha)...and the den will be finished! But until then, I'm really happy about these small changes, and I've already caught myself spending more time in there than I used to.