Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to Decorate You Home for Less

This post is an extension of my Dress Rich for Less  post. Remember? Fur, leather and cashmere? Well, now, lets take the same idea into our homes. Check out the link to read up on my global warming yada-yada. The same global impact applies to our discount furniture. Here are ways to furnish and decorate your home for less.

#1 ~ Thrift stores
I have had good luck and bad luck at the thrift stores. The good ~ my mid century modern vanity dresser and two matching side tables. A green microfiber oversized chair with matching ottoman. A child's school style desk with lift up top. A sewing machine table. The bad ~ same green chair with matching ottoman. A 7 foot sofa.
I find that upholstered furniture is clean and pretty but it is already a bit worn out. Christopher loves the green chair with ottoman. I find that the cushion is already pretty crushed. Same thing happened with the sofa, the cushion seat didn't last as long as I would have liked. Just choose carefully.....I will say this: the wood used in older furniture is far superior to the crappola they use for discount furniture of today. And you can create your own custom look with re-finishing or painting.
Dishes, silverware, glassware, kitchen items, linens, need I say more? I once found a handmade quilt at the Salvation Army. I protect said quilt from the cats with a cotton Ralph Lauren sheet during the day.
I would also include Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in this category. I have found extra-large feather throw pillows there for $3 and also a brass chandelier that got a new coat of paint and some beads.


Upcycled chandelier

*I didn't dust before taking these photos. I , ahem, live in an agricultural area where there is a lot of dust in the air. That is my story and I'm sticking to it*

The lamp was a garage sale find. There are actually two. A dollar each plus new shades from K-mart. The boots are "hoarded". They were my 12th birthday present from my dad. The table is my sewing machine table. The saddle is a my hand-me-down. The cat is a "curb find". Actually, he is a parking lot find. He has two different colored eyes, apparently all the rage now. Check out this article for proof, lol!
#2 ~ Garage and Estate Sales
This is a great one for antiques and vintage. China, silverware, collectables and furniture. Garage sale sellers sometimes don't know what they have. Estate sale sellers, if they have hired someone to help, do know what they have. But you can still find good deals and very cool items! I have a fabulous lamp that I scored for $5. I looked and found this very same lamp online for about $50. 
My 70's amber globe lamp
#3 ~ Hand-me-downs
We have an oak dining table (with two leaves to extend the length) with three chairs. An antique saddle and bridle. A leather sofa. Large coffee table. Vintage wood waterbed frame. Antique 100+ year old armoire. Wood burning stove. Etc, etc. The stuff we have was given to us by different people, not necessarily family. Just gotta keep your eyes/ears open. Being open minded and prepared to spring on an opportunity helps here. And just discussing your interests with other people. I had gotten the saddle from my sister's father in law. He knew that I had a horse and offered me the saddle and bridle. It is too old and brittle for actual use but it is a beautiful display item!

My handed-down antique saddle. Pre 1920s.
#4 ~ Antique Stores
If you are looking for specific collectables such as depression glass and pyrex, antique stores are the way to go. These items can also be found at thrift stores ( thrift is where I found mine) but if you need it right now and can't wait, check antique stores. There is lots of pyrex and depression glass out there, I saw a lot of these items marked down recently.
#5 ~ Hoarding
 Not like the TV show where one lives with garbage and rats. More like, if you are tired of a quality item, don't be in a rush to get rid of it. I still have my nursery dresser. Mine, not my kids'. It is currently black with silver showing through the sanded parts. With new nickel pulls. Right now it serves as a catch-all in the entry. I also have a teak hutch that I had as a child. My mother forbid me from giving this away. I am so glad she did now. I also have a bit of furniture up in the rafters in the garage, just in case I need it.
Repainted dresser
My curb find cat and my hoarded boots.
#6 ~ Other's Trash
Dumpster diving, curbside finds, etc. I have a chair without legs that I found next to a dumpster. It is a leather-like vinyl, tufted armchair. Beautiful shape. I have legs that I got from the hardware store and it will have a slip cover. Remember when I mentioned my hand-me-down dining table with three chairs? Ya, this will be the fourth when its finished. If it fits...... I also have a metal and glass shelf unit that "survived" a house fire. Survived after a thorough cleaning and about two coats of paint. But it was free. I also have two armoire doors that get used for different things. They served as a headboard before we got the waterbed frame. Next they may be shutters for my bedroom window. If it looks good.....

#7 ~ Re-purposing Already Existing Items
Spray paint. It can give new life to anything. My ugly, 80's style, builder basic brass lamps used to be ugly. Now they pretend to be Italian iron chandeliers, thanks to flat black spray paint. 

Black spray painted chandelier
#8 ~ Grow a garden
Surprised? Gardening is a great way to have fresh cut flowers. And some plants are very easy to grow. Roses are easy. So are sunflowers. I once had a woman come to our door and ask to cut our fig branches for her bouquets. Which, by the way, were beautiful! If you don't have a garden but have a neighbor who does, ask them if you can cut a few of their flowers. Who knows, you might even make a new friend!
Here is a breakdown of some of what I mentioned:

  • Green chair with ottoman ~ $75 thrift
  • Sewing machine table ~ $10 thrift
  • Child's school desk ~ $10 thrift (sold on Craigslist for $35)
  •  1 large pyrex glass mixing bowl ~ $2 thrift
  • Chandelier before paint $25 from Re-store
  • Handmade quilt ~ $3.50 thrift. New quilts such as mine retail for about $1200. I'd say mine was a deal!
 I don't have a decorating background. But this doesn't mean it isn't impossible to have a stylish, beautiful home on the cheap. My favorite thing to do is set aside a few hours to hang out at the bookstore. I just grab a stack of decorating books and/or magazines and go grab a brew and a table in the coffeehouse section and just gather, gather, gather inspiration. Its a great way to relax. And there are soooo many ideas and beautiful photos to see. And of course, decorating blogs are a great source of inspiration too!!!

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