Well, hi there! I'm Joy from Girl v. The World and I'm so glad I could stop by and chat with you for a while. When Kate asked me to write a guest post while she was on vacation I was flattered and so excited to be given the opportunity!
For those of you not familiar with my blog, I try to highlight the ways that I attempt to make a beautiful home without spending a lot of money. Sure, I want a high-end look but I'm not willing to pay the price! Instead, I use a few guiding principles and creative ideas to achieve the look I'm going for. I thought maybe I could share a few of my go-to tips with you!
Thrift Stores Are Your Friend
This is also true for Craigslist, garage and estate sales, flea markets or anywhere else you might find a treasure for a bargain. I can't even begin to tell you how many amazing finds I've scored over the past year on Craigslist and at thrift stores. Anything from furniture to a Louis Vuitton bag to brand new down pillow inserts...you name it, I found it!
When it comes to purchasing furniture, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to do the "sit and smell test." I love to buy chairs. It's my thing. But before I buy, I will sit and wiggle around a bit to test for sturdiness and comfort and then I will smell the chair. Yup, I will stick my schnoz right up in the chair's business to make sure it does not reek of smoke, cat pee, whatever. Because if it smells in the store, it will continue to smell after you buy it. Don't buy smelly chairs!
Also, if you are at all crafty and think you might want to give re-doing a chair a try, don't let ugly bother you. Look instead at the "bones" of the chair and ignore the old, ugly fabric or finish of the wood. For example, earlier this year, I purchased two pretty ugly french chairs for my living room. This is what they looked like before:
Nice bones, bad fabric. Now they look like this:
Muuuuch better. I got one of the chairs on Craigslist and the other at the thrift store. So don't be afraid to go hunting in strange places for great deals. You never know what treasure you might find!
When I started decorating for Christmas this year, I wanted to change my decor colors from gold and red to blue and silver. This meant I needed, among other things, new stockings and throw pillows for my couches. Instead of running to Target and spending a ton of money that I didn't have, I did a little research on the internet and came up with a few creative and very inexpensive ideas.
Have you seen Pottery Barn's gorgeous sweater pillow covers? Love them? Me too. But I didn't want to pay $60 for one. So, once again, I hit up the thrift store and bought a few old sweaters, washed and sewed them and whatdoyaknow? I have my very own sweater pillows!
I did the same thing with a few men's plaid shirts and I also went ahead and made some plaid ornaments with the scraps. Then I took a few more thrifted sweaters and turned them into stockings:
Just by repurposing some old shirts and sweaters I was able to create a whole new Christmas look for my home for under $20. You can't beat that!
Do It Yourself
I like to do a lot of things myself because it saves a LOT of money. I know that many folks will not agree with me on this point because it can cause frustration and it's just too involved for some, and that's okay. In order to do things yourself, you've got to be a little crafty (or at least willing to give it a shot) and have some patience. And you have to be willing to laugh it off if you screw up!
Besides reupholstering two chairs (see above), one of my toughest projects this year was making a faux roman shade for my kitchen window. I really didn't want to pay a lot of money for an okay curtain to be hung in a prominent spot in my house. Not to mention that the window was an odd size, which would have been more expensive for a custom shade. I wanted to use my own fabric and I wanted the look of a roman shade, not necessarily the function. So I decided to try my hand at making my own and this is how it turned out:
Not too bad, in my opinion. Sure, I took over the living room floor and cursed like a sailor for several hours while my poor husband hid in the man room, but I saved a ton of money and have a custom shade! Am I rushing to make another one? Not anytime soon, but I know that I CAN and for a fraction of the cost and that's what matters!
So there you have it! Some of my tried and true methods to creating a lovely space for a fraction of the price tag. Now, run on out to the thrift store and find your own treasure!