Unless your house comes with a money tree (and if so, I want to know where you live), you’ve probably figured out that adding decor can get pretty pricey. But..it doesn’t have to kill the budget.
When we bought our house 4 years ago, it didn’t take me long to realize that in order to decorate it, I would have to get creative and be thrifty. There are many times I would love to run out and buy something new that we need/want, but then quickly come back to Earth when I see the price tags. So, here’s a round-up of my favorite ways to stay on planet Earth and not spend my kids’ college funds on decor. Because let’s face it, my hubs couldn’t care less about decorating. If it was up to him, we would have black pleather couches from 1987 and nothing on the walls except maybe a dart board. Well, maybe not that extreme, but close. In order to make it pretty, I gotta stay thrifty.
If you live in a moderately populated area, chances are there’s some thrift stores around. Hit them up several times a week if you can – often you can hit the jackpot on Mondays or Tuesdays (especially in the spring when everyone is spring cleaning). People tend to unload their junk on the weekends which means it’ll be waiting for you! Plus, people take all their leftover yard sale items on Mondays. One of my favorite thrift store finds is my tiered tray. I’ve been eyeing them for a while but just couldn’t part with the cash to get one. I stopped in a local thrift store one day and I see this guy for $8. Sold!
And the stuff on it – All either free or less than $5. Except that amazing bull. He is a gift from my BFF from France. One of my faves for sure. The antique creamer/sugar was a trade from a sweet friend for clothes. The hobnail vase is from a vintage store for $3, the tiny milk glass vase was 0.25 cents at a yard sale, and the others were randoms from over the years.
And here’s another thrift store score. This one is credited to my BFF. She spotted it when we had a booth in a local vintage store. It’s a Globe Wernicke antique filing cabinet. I’ve seen them on Ebay for around $200 and we paid a whopping $19.00 for it.
Estate sales can be hit or miss. It depends on the day and the neighborhood. I found my matching night stands for our bedroom at an estate sale for $25 each. They were hideous at first (“the ugliest things on the planet”) according to my husband. However, a little cleaning and a little paint and BAM – matching night stands for $50! You can read more about them here.
Estate sales are a great place to search for collections – dishes, wall art, silver, cameras – many times you can catch one where the owner is/was an avid collector and you can snag part of that collection for much cheaper than buying new.
If you’re looking for farmhouse touches, look for estate sales that advertise barn sales or farm items. Ladders, tools, vintage kitchen items.. you name it, you can find it.
Vintage stores seem to be popping up all over. And I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve found some amazing scores like these chairs:
The green one is a silk like material and in perfect shape. I came across that one at a vintage store for $90. Not exactly chump change, but way less than a new one. The orange one is a $10 score from a vintage store yard sale. $10 in perfect condition. I know not many people are fond of orange, but I love it and it works perfectly in this room.
One of my favorite pieces in my house, an antique metal dental cabinet, is from a local vintage store and it was priced much lower than most I’ve seen. I got my favorite buffet at the same store. The key with vintage stores is to go often. You never know when vendors will refresh their inventory.
Vintage stores are an excellent source not just for furniture, but for decor too! Enamel ware, old vases, trunks, trays… I recently scored a load of silver trays for $20 that I used in our bathroom.
90% of the decor in my house is from vintage stores.
Ah, Craig and his list. This one has been good to me over the years. When I was learning how to paint, I found tons of deals here. This was my source for decorating income. Find a few pieces, refinish them, sell them. Then I had money to buy stuff we needed/wanted. Here are some of my best Craigslist scores: *you can see this buffet makeover by clicking here
I even found my Ikea couch on Craigslist for $150! And it was practically brand new (read more about my Pottery Barn vs Ikea couch here). Of course, be careful when answering a Craigslist ad – don’t go alone and if possible, meet in a public place.
Facebook Online Yard Sales
Become a member of your local Facebook online yard sale pages. There are tons of these and I think more people are going this route instead of Craigslist lately. This is what I use now to sell furniture I’ve refinished and I’ve had very good luck. My breakfast area table and chairs are from an online yard sale. New paint job, stain the top, and done – hundreds of dollars less than if I bought it new.
Spring is a great time for yard sales and generally the prices are amazing. I scored a concrete planter and faux greenery for $2 recently and a large outdoor rug for $5! Yard sales are tough sometimes because you gotta get there early if you want the good stuff. However, if you have a free Saturday morning, start driving around and looking.
If you are into home decor, there’s a good chance you’re on Instagram. You can find lots of small business owners on Instagram that have amazing and unique products. Cool stuff and supporting small businesses – winner winner chicken dinner.
I feel like the most important thing is to not rush. Every single time I’ve tried to get in a hurry and try to do too many areas at one time, I end up disliking it. Scour Pinterest, save some ideas, and think of how you want your space to look. Then start shopping and find yourself some affordable decor!