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 comments on “Home Redecorating in Aruba”

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  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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  12. 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 :)

    • 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!

      • Hadn’t thought about the wet swimsuits … eewwwwww.

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

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

  14. 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!

    • 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!

  15. 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!!

  16. 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 :)

  17. 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.

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

    great makeover!

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

  20. 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??? :)

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

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

  23. 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)

    • 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! :)

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

  25. Love your site, especially the chocolate pictures, looks yummy

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