Online Shopping: Misfortune & Luck

By Kate Riley November 10, 2014

We went back and forth on whether we’d furnish this living room space in the house in Las Vegas. For months I hesitated but then decided that since I had scored two awesome blue velvet chairs for cheap from a thrift store many moons ago to go ahead and purchase an affordable rug and sofa to create a sitting room. We’re celebrating Christmas and entertaining guests here for the holidays and I can use the pieces for styling other flips so it made sense.

I do so much shopping online these days, and there are discounts to be scored when you do, but there is always a risk when you can’t inspect the piece in person so I rely on online reviews for other people’s opinions. I’m sure you do the same! In this room, I had some misfortune with online purchases but some good luck too, here’s the story of how the space came together.

living room gray and navy


gray sofa navy chairs


I ordered a basic coffee table from Joss & Main with saved up credit several months ago, at first for the family room but then when it arrived I didn’t like it at all so I ended up substituting something else in there.

This table sat in the garage for months and I debated returning it because it was not what was pictured, specifically the wood stain and finish. I saw a walnutish color stained top in the picture so I envisioned a walnut top, but I should have ignored the picture and read the small print where it described the top color as "distressed maroon." I usually pay more attention. I didn’t, ugh!! Why Kate whyyyy?

joss main coffee table

So when it arrived it looked like this which is not really maroon more weird red but whatever. Not what I wanted. AT ALL.   

weird red table


I decided I could still use it if I could only get red of the weird red coating. Over the weekend I gave it go, I sanded it off, stained it and waxed it and I’m happy to say I rescued it from its strange reddish top so it would fit the space. Not walnut, much paler since I sanded it to its raw state, but I do love how it turned out. 

refinished coffee table

Excuse the bad in process pics because mine is an older iPhone 4 but here’s how Operation Red Removal went down.        

First, an orbital sander is your best friend for stripping a finish on wood like this. Sand with the grain. Coarse 60 to remove the stain and varnish followed up by fine 120 for making the wood smooth.

orbital sander


 sandpaper grit


I applied one coat of Rust-Oleum’s Weathered Gray stain to neutralize the yellow tones in the wood. I decided I liked it paler and a lighter shade of gray so I left it alone.

weathered gray stain


Getting the color you desire with stain can be tricky, and depends on various factors, including the wood you’re working with. See this table project on using/mixing darker stain and this planter project for how the same weathered gray stain looks on a different kind of wood (darker, more even). I gave it a coat of clear wax (Briwax) one the stain was dry, and I’ll apply one more before I leave town. 

living room navy and gray


The successful online purchases? This gray sofa and rug!

gray sofa navy accents


I’ve ordered a dozen rugs online over the years and this one ranks high as a new favorite. It’s very soft and I love the pattern, neutral yet graphic, a mid tone gray and pale cream in Ikat inspired geometric pattern and a great price!

nuLoom rug


gray cream ikat geometric rug


I also ordered this gray Winslow sofa from Overstock, I was drawn to it for the style (modern), the price (affordable), and the reviews (mostly great). The navy accent pillow and plaid throw are both from Target (in stores), the trio of watercolor blue palm prints are from Driftwood Interiors, a favorite Etsy shop.

modern sofa overstock


The sofa’s fabric is really nice, a true pale gray linen blend, it arrived in three boxes and it assembled in less than an hour. The sofa’s seat cushions are firm, not the best for spaces where you’re watching TV for hours, or may wish to take a long winter’s nap, but they’re comfortable enough for sitting for shorter periods of time.

The cushions are finished on both sides and they can be removed for spot or dry cleaning. For the money and the look, I give it a thumbs up, but having owned it for less than a week I’ll have to wait a few months until we know how it holds up over time.

removeable slipcover


You may have noticed the new plantation shutters. Never in my life have I ever had plantation shutters but I knew they’d be perfect in this space. I was approached by Smith & Noble to try out their shutters so I partnered with them on the order and install, I’ll share more about them tomorrow…

plantation shutters


Yesterday, I couldn’t resist a bit of holiday decorating, adding a reindeer from Target and some ornaments in a bowl, also swapped the agave for a living tree. With friends and family arriving to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s next month, they help to make the space more merry.

navy chairs gray sofa christmas tree


What about you? Share your online purchase successes and failures, I’d love to hear!


  1. It looks great, just beautiful! and I am so so sooo glad you sanded the finish off of the coffee table. It looks amazing…now that you tweaked it.

  2. I LOVE how the table turned out once you sanded/stained it! Gorgeous!

    We purchased a vintage overdyed oriental rug a few months ago and the product was a good 2 shades darker than the picture. We were upset at first but once our new furniture arrived, we saw it was a happy accident since the majority of the rug contrasted our furniture and the brown edging which looked gray in the picture ended up going with the flooring we put down. Again, happy accident but we were sweating it there for a week or so!

  3. I ordered a chair from Overstock last week. It arrived in 4 days, which I thought was great. The color was off, it says light gray but in my home it is closer to regular gray (?). No complaints though. It still looks great in the room. Just curious if you also write reviews? I think I should on the chair.

  4. That coffee table looks amazing! I love that pale finish. Everything else is wonderful too, and I love your idea of keeping the chairs in your staging inventory. Even if the sofa isn’t as comfortable as you’d like, I think it’s again a perfect piece to use for future staging! looks like your moving right along on this house, great job :-)

  5. Well….i had a recent success! I was crushing on a capiz shell chandy for some time. When I first fell in love, all I could find were upward of $1500 ones. Gave up the idea of ever owning one. Months later saw one for $800, (still roo much for my budget) then started spotting them all over…but really small 12″ ones. I wanted a 24″ for over my bed! Finally saw one for $500 from Pottery Barn!!! But low and behold, discontinued!! :(. Finally spotted the very one from PB on eBay! Scored for $200!!! Looks AWESOME over my bed and I am in love!!

  6. I really like how the table turned out. Very nice room. Exciting to be spending the holidays in Vegas at the new house.

  7. Love your room. I hate it when what you buy isn’t what you thought it would be. I really love how the table looks now though. The rug is amazing too.

  8. Kate, I’ve really been enjoying this makeover. Everything you do looks so polished. Love the plantation shutters. I would love to see what you decide to do on the slider doors. This is always an issue for me.

  9. I purchased 5 rugs in the past 3 months from Ebay. 3 were Chinese art deco rugs (90 years old) and two were brand new. All of them were much more beautiful than the pictures. The only problems I have had lately buying online is shoes. Everything else, great.

  10. Also, love those velvet chairs. I scored a velvet sofa on Craigslist last month. It is 20 years old and looks brand new. I very rarely shop retail. Your room looks beautiful.

  11. Hi Kate,

    The room looks great. Can you tell me where you purchased the rug?

    Thank you.

  12. I especially like the table and the velvet chairs! I have plantation shutters throughout my home (which we just moved into) and LOVE them!

  13. I have ordered a lot of affordable furniture and lighting from Overstock and have always been very happy with the quality and the prices are awesome! Reading previous purchase comments on items has been really valuable in helping me find good stuff.

    That rug is gorgeous…I might have to indulge.

  14. Oh, I love the whole room! That so rarely happens – I usually like one or two things in a room, but this is perfect. Love the little Christmas tree!

  15. I love how the table turned out. Once I ordered a mirror based on the picture and didn’t read the actual size details. The mirror ended up being gigantic and it was difficult to find a space for it to fit.

  16. I love the sofa and have a discount coupon from Overstock. How are you liking the sofa? any reviews would be very helpful

  17. We’ve only had it for a few weeks Valerie and haven’t really had the chance to see how it will hold up over time, I’ll report back in a few months :)

  18. Now that you have had it for a while, what’s the decision on the sofa?

  19. How is the rug holding up? I literally was looking at the same one and decided to search it on pinterest to see how people were styling it. I’ve never ordered from overstock before.

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