a colorful place to land

The lake house after picture. Decorated with Ikea and Target

Lake House Before and After

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January 21, 2020

I love the challenge of decorating on a budget. We have a camp on a lake in Vermont that we share with family. We really only get to use the house for a few months a year so the idea of spending a fortune on decor doesn’t make any sense, but the family room really needed a facelift. I will show you our lake house before and after and how I did it on a budget using mostly Ikea and Target.


Our camp has been passed down from generation to generation, and in the summer months, it houses two full families, plus lots of stopper-by’s. Our family room really needed a lot of work, but for so long it was almost too intimidating. Finally, we couldn’t take it anymore and decided to just rip the band-aid off and get started. In the end, it was well worth it.

A before of our lake house decorated with Target and Ikea

A Clean Slate

We realized this was a big job, and that the easiest thing to do was just to basically start over. We decided to save the rugs though. They are amazing and had been woven by hand by a family friend decades before.

A before and after of our lake house decorated with Target and Ikea - the clean slate

Now the Fun Part

We were so excited to start over and put our stamp on the house, but we definitely didn’t want to break the bank in the process. This meant some trips to Ikea and Target were in order.

Here were the main items that I got for the room. (This was a few years ago so some of the items are no longer available so I have tried to find close substitutes)

*This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own and I only share about the products and services that I love and think that you will love too!

  • Ikea Ektorp Sofa – I love this Ikea staple and it is so easy to wash the covers, just don’t dry them.
  • Ikea Stocksund Sofa – This is my favorite spot in the room. The sofa is nice and deep.
  • Ikea Byholma Chairs– These chairs were perfect for the lake house.
  • Target Panels
  • Throw pillows – all of the pillows I got at Ikea and Target
  • Throw Blanket – Ikea
  • Ottoman – I was searching for the perfect ottoman without spending too much, after scanning Pinterest I finally found this one at Craker Barrel of all places.
  • Garden Stool – I found this metal garden stool on sale while cruising around World Market. This is a great resource for design on a budget.

A few of the other items we had laying around the house. And of course, we added some twinkle lights for a final touch.


A before and after of our lake house decorated with Target and Ikea

Stay tuned for how we framed pictures from summer’s past.

What is your favorite go-to store for a project on a budget?

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  1. Megan says:

    Congratulations πŸŽ‰πŸΎπŸŽˆ Whitney β€” it’s an amazing transformation! Love it! I’m going to borrow some of your ideas for the Lane house and I’m still thinking of your paint a rug on the floor creative suggestion.

    Love the look of your blog! Bravo πŸ‘ you! Hats off. Mx

  2. Libby Mullin says:


  3. Ramey says:

    My favorite budget go-to is Oka. Newly available in the states, however Oka has been in the UK for years. They have high quality, unique well designed products. Beautifully edited and photographed, their catalog is more like a magazine. Check it all out http://www.oka.com

  4. sara says:

    Beautiful and so welcoming! I also love the rugs πŸ™‚ And the drill on the mantel is an awesome pro touch πŸ˜‰

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