A Mill-ion Times Better

Remember back when it was cool to furnish your home with heavy wooden couches upholstered in the finest ‘quaint-country-millhouse’ velour that money could buy?   No?  C’mon, how could you forget all those luscious shades of brown, yellowish brown, orangey brown, browny brown, and brownish brown?  The withered sunflowers?
Well, at one point, this set was the height of chic.  (Chic had lower standards back then.)  But check out what Better After reader Amber recently did with the set she bought off Kijiji.  It’s undeniably cool. Again!

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  1. That is absolutely amazing!

  2. OMG! That is just SO awesome…speechless!

  3. I love it! BTW, I had one of those sets. I sent it to the dump 20 years ago.

  4. WOW! That is about 19983 times better!

  5. What a great idea!!! I never thought about making outdoor furniture with something like that.

  6. woah!! that’s the best transformation i’ve seen on BA in a long time!!!

  7. Wow, this is amazing…I had the exact same sofa when I was a kid. I wish I could do that with fabric. My next thing I will master so I can make that happen too. Great Job.

  8. Wait a second. That can’t be the same furniture. Wow-o-wow!

  9. Wow what a huge difference… It looks Wonderful…. Great Job….
    Come and see me. Hugs, Cindy

  10. There is now hope for my back deck yet. Now I need to keep my eye peeled for something like this. I think it looks nicer than the new wicker style furniture even!

  11. WOW – that’s simply amazing and so much nicer than any patio furniture I’ve ever seen – incredible job!!!

  12. There needs to be some kind of award for that brilliance.

  13. WOW!

  14. I had that same exact set in the
    70’s, what a great idea, looks amazing

  15. I would never, ever have looked twice at buying that set! And now it looks very very cool! Great vision to see the potential in that!

  16. Wow, I didn’t think that there was any redeeming quality in that sofa. I can usually see the hidden potential in ugly firniture but I would have kicked those ugly things to the curb! What an amazing transformation!

  17. I remember that furniture! Would never have seen the potential though, love how this turned out!!

  18. Wow! Amber sure has vision, I would not have thought that set could turn out so awesome. Ps my family had a set similar to that in the 70s!

  19. stephbo93 says:

    I call that furniture style “furnished apartment” because that’s the exact sofa which came with the apartment I rented in grad school in 1995. I draped a tasteful plaid blanket over it to hide the hideousness. Seriously? Country millhouse AND velour?!? Blech! Amber’s solution is 89,654 times better then mine. But then again she purchased it. I just got the luck of the draw and had to deal with it.

  20. This is genius! Amazing vision.

  21. OMG!


  22. OMG The before just gave me a flashback…i remember being very small and having the exact same furniture. HAHA

  23. Ok my best friend in junior high, her parents basement….Jimi Hendrix and this furniture…I am still laughing…The vision she had to redo this is way cool

  24. amazing job! Never thought it would look that good!!!

  25. Normally I can just shrug off what I see in the “befores” on your blog. Even the lamps I could shrug off. But I reacted viscerally to this furniture. It was the lounge furniture at every 4-H summer camp I went to in the 90s. IT CAN LOOK LIKE THE AFTER PHOTO??? Wow!

  26. Wow!! The transformation is amazing! Hard to believe it’s just white paint and new upholstery.

  27. Wow wow wow! I even let out a few expletives when I saw the AFTER . Amazing transformation – I love the new outdoor furniture!

  28. Anonymous says:

    We had this couch when I was a kid. I always wondered what possessed my parents to choose it. Surely it was free.

  29. WOW absolutey the best transformation i have seen! I want it!

  30. wow, amber! you made the world a much better place! that BEFORE was super-ugly!

  31. My first college apartment had couches like that! They recovered them my 2nd year there with a blue fabric. I love this transformation- it is beautiful! I am amazed at how different the set looks! Job well done!

  32. I do remember this furniture when I was a kid and thinking it the worst of the worst in taste. But who would think it would make great patio furniture? I could actually probably find some of this around here. Was this stuff ever…really in style? I thought maybe it was just a western thing.

  33. Wow! What a difference! I’m absolutely impressed! Also, I totally remember the mills. 🙂

  34. Your post and the comments are crackin me up. My parents had some of that furniture at their summer cottage. Indestructible! I know one thing: it won’t blow away.

  35. Okay that’s just ridiculously gorgeous!!! I love it!

  36. Amazing!

  37. Anonymous says:

    That one made my jaw drop. Amazing change and now I totally want some furniture like that for my deck.

  38. About 20 years ago I went to my cousin’s bridal shower in someone’s house and sat on this very furniture. Even 20 years ago I thought it was the ugliest thing I’d ever laid my eyes on. I love how they erased all the ugliness that this set use to have.

  39. What a fantastic idea to make that fugly furniture set into an outdoor set. Genius really. I have to admit, I likely would have passed this by, even if it were free!!!

  40. That is so beautiful! We had a very similar couch — inherited from my grandmother 😉 — but the velour went all the way around the arms and down to the bottom as well. This style with the wooden arms/frame makes it so much nicer for recovering! Great job!! 🙂

  41. This is just awesome!
    Say what you will about the ugly factor. These chairs were comfortable! I am totally going to be on the lookout for a set! I just need to screen in my porch and then I’ll won’t have to go inside all summer!

  42. Anonymous says:


  43. That’s incredible. I was looking at the ‘before’ pics going, ‘What on earth can anybody do to coolify this?’ It looks AMAZING as a porch set. Love love love!

  44. I just recently acquired a chair to that matches this set & single ottoman. My plan is to add to the grandkids playroom as a reading chair when I am finished with it.
    But I do like this.

  45. I am shocked. I would NEVER try to do this, because I would NEVER think it would look this good. But it does. Shock & Awe.

  46. OMG, My Ex Boyfriend I dated when I was in highschool had those ugly couches in his basement. Too Funny!! Love the After!

  47. Memories of furniture that was given to us…. yikes it was ugly. I could never get over the ugly and gave it to someone else. How cute it is as patio furniture. Nearly indestructible as our chair fell out of a truck and survived with a little road rash (distressing)

  48. Anonymous says:

    Oh, how I wish I would have known these could become this when my grandparents owned this EXACT set. It looks AMAZING!!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Oh my word! My in-laws still own this set of furniture and it still looks like the original. And it’s their main living room furniture – not banished to the basement. I think I need to show them this…

  50. Holy crap! That is amazing! I never in a million years would have thought that set could look *that* good! I’ve seen gobs of sets like this in thrift stores and have always passed them over – never again!

  51. Karen Sunday says:

    Everybody has seen or sat on that same furniture me at my in laws it was hurtin then and that is totally a better after !!!!!! Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

  52. well…….shut my mouth.

  53. Gorgeous. Would have never thought they could be beautiful.

  54. That is awesome! I would never have thought to use a set like that outside!

  55. What a great piece of furniture! Looks lovely!

  56. Anonymous says:

    Wish there was a tutorial. 🙂

  57. OMG. My parents had this set as a kid and I could only imagine it as ugly. What a wonderful make over!

  58. I’ve seen a LOT of amazing transformations out there in blogland, but this is incredible. I could never have imagined it could look so great.

  59. Who’da thunk! That is truly spectacular! If it was mine it would have gone straight to the tip. Amazing job.

  60. I can’t believe that is the same furniture set! I would have written it off as having chunky and dated “bones”. I am absolutely amazed by the transformation!

  61. It’s a miracle!!!!! WOW!! I am very impressed!

  62. It’s a miracle!!!!! WOW!! I am very impressed!

  63. I bought the same chairs at a trading post (like a junk yard, if you arent familiar) a few months ago, and also painted them white and bought grass green cushions for them. I have them on my front porch, and love them! Got ’em for $7 for the set. Now I wish the rest of the set had been there!

  64. I’ve rehabbed all kinds of things, but never anything this ugly. Amazing transformation!

  65. I would give anything in the world to have that set….It is the EXACT one my Grandma had when I was a child!!! I have soooo any fond memories sitting on the cushions of the table cracking nuts at christmas time…<3 LOVE IT!!!

  66. oh my goodness, that is the best makeover ever!!! WOW!! There is hope in everything and anything.

  67. This is one of the best better after projects I’ve seen! Wow. Kudos to them for seeing the potential!

  68. This is one of the best better after projects I’ve seen! Wow. Kudos to them for seeing the potential!

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