Home Redecorating in Aruba

I bought my house in Aruba in 2003 and at it was built in 2000.  I bought the house furnished from the original owner.   In doing that math, this sofa was 11 years old and needed replacing.

It looked “fine” because I had a slipcover over it, but the slipcover was a constant wrinkly mess and a sand trap.

It was like sitting on a loofah sponge, i.e. tons of sand.  No matter how careful we were, sand was constantly getting into the wrinkly folds of the slipcover.

And underneath the slipcover was a sun-bleached and stained shade of red.  Pretty.

Plus it was of those sofas that once you sat down, you couldn’t get up easily.  Think pregnant lady, sitting down, and can’t get back up. Yep, that’s the sofa and it’s just wasn’t comfortable and so I decided to go furniture shopping.

For $355 US Dollars (that would be insanely cheap for a sofa), I am the proud new owner of this sofa + room makeover!  Purchased and delivered on the same day which is an amazing feat anywhere, especially in Aruba.

I put my bargaining skills to work and it was supposed to be about $500 but after asking for a better price, twice, got the saleslady down to $355 including delivery.  Score.

The back adjusts and can lay flat so it can be easily turned into a bed.   For those times when Scott’s snoring is unbearable, you know where he’ll be.

I was able to use my existing pillows, too.

I also purchased a new lamp.

The gold one is new, the silver I had.  There is never two of anything on the island but for now, we were in desperate need of more lighting and the lamp suffices.

I also de-cluttered and de-junked by donating random things like flower pots with fake plants that were collecting dust and I swapped out a bright orange extension cord in place of white and tidied up cords and swept up dust bunnies and sand piles.

And this is the box that is my connection to the world, with neater cord arrangement now.

I shifted furniture around to make the fairly modest living space appear much larger than it is.

There I am waving in the mirror.

And I did it all for $355 bucks.  And lots of manual, or that would be feminine labor.

It was a very hot, sweaty, grimy, dirty day.  With gross hair to prove it. But well worth it!  I love the look and vibe of my new room!

As a few asides, since I may be asked:

Buying the house in Aruba was an extreme stretch at the time, but no different I surmise than being an early 20something trying to buy my first house in the U.S.  It just happened to be I bought in Aruba because I loved it here.  I rent in San Diego, own in Aruba.  Go figure.

No, I don’t rent it out because the few times I have, it has been mistreated.  A property management company and a diligent, wonderful neighbor look after it for me when I’m not here.

I show my appreciation for my neighbor with Chocolate Covered Oreo Balls over the holidays.

One day I would love to spend about a third of the year here.

From my last post, Open For Bids, thanks to anyone who’s reading this who bid on my high Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls on Tina’s blog for her bake sale.  It was a very short bake sale and I’m sorry to anyone who read about it after the fact and wanted to bid.

The winner paid $125 for my dough balls!!

And as promised, I will include some other goodies besides the dough balls.  I still don’t know who the winner is yet, but thank you!

And it was fun to hear who’s a bidder, better, or gambler.  Most of us food, fitness, and health blog readers aren’t exactly the gambling types, it sounds like.  We’d rather spend our money on Vita-Mixes and new yoga pants than on the craps tables.  Not too surprising.

And tons of comments still coming in on my Eating When Traveling post and how far you deviate, or don’t, from your normal eating routine and how adventurous you are with trying local fare.  Thanks for all the great perspectives.

And, thanks to all new readers for finding me, reading, and commenting.  I appreciate it!  I’ve had lots of “new” people in the comments the past few days and that’s exciting!


1. What’s the last piece of furniture you bought?  Do you still love it?

The last thing I bought prior to the sofa and lamp was my $20 “photography” table that I purchased from Craigslist.

And yes, I still love it!  I take most of my food and recipe shots on the table.  Many times I add a dishtowel or cloth, but sometimes I just keep it bare.

That’s the table underneath my Chocolate Coconut Kale Chips

2. Do you like to makeover your spaces?

I do!  I especially love donating and decluttering.  I am constantly donating things I don’t want, don’t like anymore, or just don’t use anymore.  If it’s not doing me any good, and it’s taking up precious space, then give it away to someone who can benefit from it or who will use it is my approach.

It’s amazing how just shifting a few pieces of furniture around, removing furniture you don’t like anymore, placing household “accessories” and “knick-knacks” in new spots around the room can totally transform your space.

And trust me, I am no interior designer, but I have moved at least 25 times in my adult life (since college) and am the queen of trying to quickly, easily, and cheaply make over whatever place I am living in at the moment.

For now, I love the place I live in San Diego and I am satisfied with how things are looking in Aruba.

But it’s a woman’s prerogative to make over her spaces, right?

3. Do you have any design tips, tricks, money saving ideas, or places you find inspiration for your rooms/home decor?

Have a great day!  Next post, I hope, will be full of beachy pictures!


72 Responses to “Home Redecorating in Aruba”

  1. Katie — May 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm (#

    I am so super excited to decorate my new house! Not really looking forward to the money part, but it is going to be so much fun! I’m leaving a lot of my stuff behind, to save on moving costs, and because i bought most of it secondhand anyway. And moving it isn’t easy, so I’m going to avoid as much heavy lifting as possible. All the little boxes will add up to enough, I am sure. The vita and the excalibur alone are enough. ;)

    LOVE the new couch. And I almost spit out my water about Scott sleeping there when he’s snoring. ;)

  2. Babs — May 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm (#

    Love the inexpensive make-over. The new couch is adorable, and handy that it turns into a bed. I love when you can make a space look different with just a few swaps.

    Yes!! to the beach pics in the next post. It’s dreary where I am, so I’d love to enjoy the sun through some pics :) Plus I’ve never been to Aruba

  3. Tasha @ Voracious — May 16, 2011 at 11:48 pm (#

    Good deal on that couch, Averie! It is so important to have a comfy, pretty couch, I think, since it’s a main focal point of the living room. Well done!

    The last piece of furniture I bought was a new bed. I need spppaaaacccceeee when I sleep, so we bought a gigantic bed, with a pretty wrought iron frame. I love the bed, but I unfortunately let Cody go pick up the mattress, and he chose one that is slightly too hard for me. The pain of trying to return it and get a new one here in Saudi Arabia where even simple things are difficult, far outweighs the tiny annoyance of not having the fluffy soft bed of my dreams. To be honest, it is probably better for my back and neck that the bed isn’t as plush as I would like!

  4. Ragnhild — May 17, 2011 at 12:56 am (#

    I love your style Aviere! Your house looks so nice and simple!

  5. Kim — May 17, 2011 at 1:29 am (#

    STUNNING couch! I love it! The room looks wonderful and fresh and veeery inviting! :)

  6. VeggieGirl — May 17, 2011 at 3:20 am (#

    HGTV, here you come! :D Love the style, design, etc.

    My mom is an interior decorator, so all of your questions go to her, hahaha.

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 8:46 am

      your mom is an int decorator? omg the FUN i could have shopping with her and you…one day, one day! :)

  7. jennifer — May 17, 2011 at 3:21 am (#

    The new room looks great! I love that couch. I hate couches where you sit down and the couch practically swallows you in, something firm, but comfy is perfect and it looks great in the room. Congratulations on the great deal!

  8. cathy — May 17, 2011 at 3:32 am (#

    NICE WORK on scoring that couch deal, averie! and in aruba, no less!
    in my ideal world, i’d spend 3 months/year in aruba, too, 3 months in the U.S. and six months in canada…not the winter months, of course!
    i like to declutter and donate. that is redecorating to me. i’ve bought a few quality pieces in natural wood tones over the years – timeless items so that i can avoid redecorating. it’s not my thing!
    enjoy your day!!

  9. qq:) — May 17, 2011 at 4:00 am (#

    ha check out my fudge today, they are super nice!

  10. reid — May 17, 2011 at 4:03 am (#

    I love to redecorate my space! Even if it’s just moving the furniture around. Your new sofa looks really nice. I bought a new rug recently that made a big difference in my very empty(but peaceful) bedroom.
    Using corners is something I find very important… it helps me feel centered. :)

  11. Estela @ Weekly Bite — May 17, 2011 at 4:05 am (#

    What a great makeover!! Love the new sofa :)

  12. What an awesome space Averie! You did such a great job with a limited redecorating budget. Love the sofa… such a great idea for guests (or Scott haha – my dad snores too, so I can understand exactly what you mean ;) ).

    I think it’s SO amazing that you bought a house in Aruba, and I totally support that decision. You never know where life might take you for a permanent home, whether it’s Arizona, California, or Minnesota for that matter, but you always know that you’ll want to vacation in Aruba. And I’m certain you’ll love it for YEARS into the future as Skylar grows up!

  13. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) — May 17, 2011 at 4:39 am (#

    The rooms looks so good! I love making a room new again! I love our office even if most of the furniture is from the 1950s. We bought my desk off of Craigslist years ago…I think that was the last piece of furniture we’ve purchases…and I love it. Enjoy the sun today Averie!

  14. Erica — May 17, 2011 at 4:46 am (#

    I think its so awesome that you own a house in Aruba! Fun! And the new couch looks great in the space- kind of modern! Last piece of furniture I bought was for the babies room :) We haven’t (obviously) used it yet- but it looks great! Hope you’re having a sunny and beautiful day

  15. Heather (Where's the Beach) — May 17, 2011 at 5:44 am (#

    Oh I like that couch and those pillows. Nice job! I love to redecorate. Now if only I had the money to do what I REALLY wanted to do in a few rooms, I’d be golden. I do try to repurpose other items around the house. Sometimes they end up looking far better in another room. So I just go shopping around the house ;-)

  16. Holly @ The Runny Egg — May 17, 2011 at 5:48 am (#

    Love the new couch — but I really love your coffee table! It is huge and I like the style.

    And I’m not the winner of the doughballs :( But I’m not surprised that someone donated that much money to get them!

    The last piece of furniture that we bought was a desk for Jason — and he absolutely loves it. It is from Ikea and it was a pain in the ass to put together but I suppose it was worth it since it wasn’t too expensive!

    I’m actually in the process of vamping up our living room — I’d like to get some new chairs, new side tables and new lamps. Hopefully we’ll get to that this summer.

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 7:08 am

      Ok whoa, this morning, just looked, they are up to $125 as the final price. Sorry you didnt win but just come to San Diego and we’ll cook together!

  17. Leslie — May 17, 2011 at 5:51 am (#

    So you OWN your house in Aruba. WOW! That’s so awesome! My husband and I went to Panama on vacation 3 yrs ago and LOVED it and I would love to have a house there one day. It’s a shame I hate flying so much though. Your trip seemed incredibly long, but I guess was very worthwhile!

    We rent the house we’re living in too and own our home in the ozark mountains and go there on the weekends. It’s nice—and only two hours away, so not much planning necessary.

    Nice job on the redecorating on the cheap! Your new living room looks nice! I’m always trying to find ways to spruce up my place too. TJMAXX is my friend. :)~

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 7:11 am

      from the west coast it IS long b/c of the red eye. if you’re in the east coast US, it’s wayyy easier, or even central. just not west coast b/c they only service it via red eye to atlanta or miami usually, THEN the 4-5 hour flight down to aruba.

  18. Tim @ Persönlichkeitsentwicklung — May 17, 2011 at 5:54 am (#

    Chocolate covered oreo balls? Oh my god! That’s like wicked sin covered in kardinal sin! Veeeery tempting ;-)

  19. Donna @ Love, Run & Travel — May 17, 2011 at 5:56 am (#

    Love the new couch and your dough balls look AMAZING!
    I just posted a recap of my trip to Aruba in February, and when i was editing some photos last night BF and i were talking about how it was one of our most favourite trips and just how plain great Aruba is, soooo jealous you own a house there :)

  20. kristina@beancakes — May 17, 2011 at 6:13 am (#

    the last piece of furniture i bought was an old oak antique desk. it’s perfect for our office. i absolutely love interior decorating and would do it as a full-time job if i wasn’t in my current profession. i LOVE your room make-over!! Great job!! i didn’t know that you owned in aruba!

  21. Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty — May 17, 2011 at 6:41 am (#

    OOOOOOOOOH we just made over our living room. Went from Burgandy paint, to a blue/greenish color (pictures to come soon), it’s AMAZING how good it looks!!!

    Love your new couch too!

  22. Elizabeth@The Sweet Life — May 17, 2011 at 6:49 am (#

    I love, love, love the feeling of getting rid of old stuff!! Looks great.

  23. katie @ KatieDid — May 17, 2011 at 7:15 am (#

    your dough balls sold even higher than that, congrats thats really awesome! your living room looks so clean and chic, which is just how I hope my future home will look one day. i used to rearrange my bedroom at least once a month when I was a kid, it was so much fun and seemed like the biggest deal in the world back then haha! I don’t do that anymore though, I’m just content to flop onto any bed at the end of the day no matter if its on the left wall or the right wall hah.

  24. I love redecorating. When I first buy furniture I always look for classic simple big pieces that are kind of modern but timeless at the same time. I love neutral colors and then add pops of color. That way I can always change the color scheme if I choose by just adding different pillows or a new area rug or curtains which is certainly cheaper than having to buy new furniture everytime you get bored with the room.

  25. Hailey — May 17, 2011 at 7:27 am (#

    Avery I love what you’ve done with the space! I’ve recently come across budget DIY decorating blogs that may inspire you! check out my blog and see my blog friends for inspiration it will totally amaze you what you can do for little $ and lots of impact!! http://www.drabb2fab.blogspot.com

  26. 3Fortune Indonesia — May 17, 2011 at 7:36 am (#

    Love your site, especially the chocolate pictures, looks yummy

  27. Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers — May 17, 2011 at 7:43 am (#

    Aruba is so lovely. I could get used to beach living! I like what you’ve done with the place.

  28. Cindy — May 17, 2011 at 7:54 am (#

    Averie, I LOVE your new sofa, it’s beautiful. Nice job on the price too!

    I am so happy for you that you have a place in Aruba to go to!!!!

    We love to de-clutter and re-decorate. I don’t do it enough but I just did buy new houseplants because we found our cat a new home and with her we could never have fresh cut flowers or plants. SO that is my new upgrade lately. It made a HUGE difference.

    Enjoy your sunny day (it’s bleh and raining in SD….ick)

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 8:03 am

      aww thanks hon! and thanks for your comment the other day about traveling..realized i had forgotten to reply to you. But yes, we are back after 5 mos in San Diego and thrilled to be back here for a few weeks escaping. Hope you and the kiddos and hubs are doing great! :)

  29. Carol — May 17, 2011 at 8:26 am (#

    Love the new furniture! Your living room looks great!!!
    Congrats on your dough balls bringing in $125!!
    Hope you have a great one!

  30. Emily — May 17, 2011 at 8:27 am (#

    I’m so impressed with your bargaining and decorating skills! It looks awesome!

  31. Lauren@LittleYellowKitchen — May 17, 2011 at 8:35 am (#

    I would love to take you along on a sofa purchasing endeavor. Seriously. We need a new sofa/futon sooo badly and have limited funds. R u up for the challenge in the USA??? :)

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 8:48 am

      yes!!! by all means, we need to shop together! :) we live like 10 mins from each other…we HAVE to shop, or go out for drinks. or both :)

  32. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes — May 17, 2011 at 8:41 am (#

    I seriously have to try your dough balls. They look amazing!

  33. Holley @ Lunges and Lashes — May 17, 2011 at 9:00 am (#

    i LOVE that couch! totally my style. in fact i have drooled over some on the web before already. ;)

    great makeover!

  34. everyday oats — May 17, 2011 at 9:59 am (#

    I love your new couch and the fact that it folds out to be a bed!
    Every once in a while I get the cleaning bug and need to de-clutter/makeover spaces. It just keeps things fresh and new and its amazing how moving even just one or two things around and cleaning up can make a person feel so much calmer and more relaxed.

  35. Crystal — May 17, 2011 at 10:50 am (#

    Love the new look in the house! I’ve never been to Aruba myself but it looks amazing- I would love to live on the water :)

  36. Naomi — May 17, 2011 at 11:23 am (#

    oh i LOVE what you did with that couch!!! it looks so much more than what you paid for it! now thats talent and class :)

    never been to ajuba ;) haha my parents couldn;t stand to go on vacation and see people we knew staying at the same beaches and hotels LOL and plus we have fam in costa rica so it was a win win! but I do want to go sometime!!

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      ive been to C.R. too but not in 10 years. let’s go together!!!! seriously!!

  37. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit — May 17, 2011 at 11:45 am (#

    I love the coffee table! Also, if you ever need someone to house sit for you in San Diego, or Aruba, I’m your girl. I’m totally trustworthy, clean, and I’ll make your house(s) smell good with fresh baking.
    I’ve never been to Aruba, my bf and I are trying to decide where to plan our diving trip. Do you think Aruba is worth looking into? Would love your diving opinion!

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      the diving is decent here, not “amazing” like say Caymans, Fiji, Tahiti, south pacific, Hawaii but there’s Bonaire which is 10 miles away which is known for amazing diving. You could take a 30 min puddle jumper day trip flight over there or 72 hrs, etc. Nothing to do in Bonaire other than dive, but the A-B-C (aruba bonanire curacao) islands are all so close you can island hop.

      come down here over xmas next year! We can dive together! or now…hop a flight!

      • Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

        Thank you so much for narrowing the options for me! One of these days I would love to take you up on your diving offer!

  38. Jessica @ How Sweet — May 17, 2011 at 11:53 am (#

    I would give anything to see that sight out my window right now!!!

  39. Beth — May 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm (#

    Total score on the new couch, light and re-org. Looks great! So worth the manual labour – and a swim in the ocean is refreshing :)

    I can totally understand why you don’t rent it out. We rent apartment(s) when we go to Barbados. The property management does a great job, but I am always surprised at how other “guests” treat the unit they are staying in. They are worse than the stereotypical “college student”. We think of it as our home away from home, and always treat things like we would in our own house. Too bad not everyone does that.

    The last furniture we bought was a 2 piece sofa/couch set. It was the first time we bought new. They are 4 years old now and the one that we sit on all the time is a little worse for wear. The smaller one doesn’t get used as much and looks much better. Still happy with them :)

    Another wonderful shot to end your blog post. Ah, Aruba :)

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      thanks, Beth, for all your great comments the past few days and yes to this, 100% which is why we dont rent
      “I am always surprised at how other “guests” treat the unit they are staying in. They are worse than the stereotypical “college student”. We think of it as our home away from home, and always treat things like we would in our own house. Too bad not everyone does that.”

      It’s my HOME!! And my investment, and i dont want someone sleeping in my bed or dinging up my walls or sitting on my couch w/ wet swimsuits!

      • Beth replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

        Hadn’t thought about the wet swimsuits … eewwwwww.

        Forgot to say “have a drink for me” ;)

  40. Christine (The Raw Project) — May 17, 2011 at 1:58 pm (#

    Wow, so lucky to have a vacation home in Aruba! Love the new furniture and what a deal! I’m about to join the redecorating club as I reclaim our guest room for a nice office … who needs a guest room anyways? :-P

    1. New shelves for our current gym/office and yes, the color works.
    2. Yes and I’m totally looking forward to re-doing our guestroom into an office. First I’ve got a lot of furniture to sell on Craigslist.
    3. For the office, I’ve been browsing the featured work spaces on LifeHacker for color and organizing inspiration.

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 17th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      totally right with “who needs a guest room anyways? :-P” agreed! they can get a hotel or sleep on the couch. lol

      lifehacker? new to me. off to google it!

  41. Ela — May 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm (#

    Sounds like you’re having a ball fixing up your space! We’re redoing our cabin too–turning the little side room into a kitchen. I’ve never done anything like it before and it’s taking ages, between everything else, but such a good thing.

    Love that table with the kale chips on it!
    Great bargain score too.

  42. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — May 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm (#

    Great new couch!!! I love furniture shopping. It is my favourite part of getting a new house or re-doing a room.

  43. Amber K — May 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm (#

    You know, I have absolutely no idea what the last piece of furniture I bought was…. Probably my dining room table or my coffee table. Everything else has been passed down to me. Not necessarily comfy, and quite ugly stuff, but free!

  44. Amy — May 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm (#

    Beautiful new coach! Last big item we purchased was a new coach and chair last summer. Paid $600 for the pair. It is made in America and very comfy and looks good too. I decided I did not want to spend a fortune on them because I do not want to feel like I have to keep them forever. Have fun on your trip!

  45. Bria @ West of Persia — May 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm (#

    Way to go with the fresh new living room look! That’s cool that you worked your mad bargaining skills. What an accomplishment! The snoring remark made me LOL. :-D

    This isn’t a “new” purchase but I recently re-did a dresser recently by “antiquing” it. It was a crappy IKEA that reminded me of being a poor college student. Now it looks like a vintage piece, complete with custom drawer pulls I snagged on sale at Anthro. it makes me happy (and proud) now when I look at it. Score!

    Gonna blog about this all soon, complete with pics.

    My decorating tip is to play with color, even in pops. Mismatch things like plates, drawer pulls, and linens. On this next one, Feng Shui backs me up: If something doesn’t make you happy, re-vamp it or just get rid of it! Recycling is best, of course.

  46. Emily — May 18, 2011 at 12:03 am (#

    I LOVE that you bought a home in Aruba. That is awesome! I can’t think of a better thing to do. I want to go so badly some day. My friend just took her honeymoon there.

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  48. Coco — May 19, 2011 at 4:41 am (#

    The new coach looks s chic, I love it! I haven’t bought any furniture for years but we are expecting to buy a huse this year so i am very excited to decorate it!

    Averie, i enjoy so much reading your blog because it’s about life, with workouts, recipes here and there! :) that’s my approach to the blog now and it’s not easy to find good ones life yours.

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — May 19th, 2011 at 7:52 am

      thanks Coco…yes with 14 posts per week, not every single one is (or could be!!) a recipe post…Im just not that creative…who is :)

      So 3+ recipes a week that are new, original, plus everything else. Thanks for reading and the nice compliment!