I'm the first to admit that I make a lot of decorating mistakes, but one thing I am good at is stretching a dollar.
I will make that dollar do the SPLITS.
The last time I blogged about this room was in May of last year (in a very embarrassing post), and quite a few changes have taken place since then. But, just for fun, let's go back to the very beginning and remember what the living room looked like the day we first moved in.
It was basically a blank canvas. It's changed about a million times since then, and I'm sure it will change again soon.
Anyone else suffer from compulsive-pillow-swapping-syndrome?
Anyways, here's where we are today.
The couches, ottoman, and TV are pretty much the only store bought items in this entire room. The rest I've gathered from thrift stores through the past few years.
As I mentioned in my teaser last week, I made a few pillows out of some colorful fabric and spray painted a thrift store tray gold.
And then I just spent a lot of time making stuff and collecting things that I loved.
A bit of Jesse's music gear is in just about every room in this house (he's a man who can play a mean keyboard), but I've decided that his guitars make for great decorating accessories. He doesn't understand this at all, but enjoys the fact that I keep photographing his beloved guitar.
This one's for you, boo.
Some old thrift store end tables were painted a soft white (furniture paint tips found here) and I found a really great blue and white ginger jar at the thrift store for around $7.
I feel like normal people probably wouldn't get excited over that find, but TRUST, there was excitement in my little frugal heart. It didn't know what to do with itself.
And just to be authentic, no, there are not flowers in my house on a daily basis. Jesse always knows a blog post is about to happen when I bring $3 flowers home from the grocery store.
It just makes for a prettier picture. :)
Sidenote though: I got that little clear square vase at the Dollar Tree for a buck. I've seen them for $5-10 everywhere else.
And now for my favorite new addition.
I decided to create a gallery wall around the TV.
I think I spent a total of about $30 on the gallery wall, which feels like a major accomplishment since one new frame usually costs $20.
Also, yes, Kevin is back.
I don't wanna talk about it.
But, I will. Next week. For now, let's just give him a friendly wave and go about our business.
While mixing metallics used to drive me crazy, it's quickly become something I love. For the gallery wall, I used silver and gold frames. I found a few modern silver frames on clearance at Target, and sourced the rest of the frames from thrift stores.
Most of the art was handmade or something thrifty.
Here's the gallery wall breakdown.
I made a few abstract pieces of my own using several blue and green paints combined with the amazing gold leaf paint I used here.
I've found that even the most simplistic art looks great when matted and framed.
I also made a large abstract piece of art that was super easy to do, but totally ended up being a favorite.
I framed that piece in a large $2 thrift store frame and just spray painted the mat white. It was originally a muddy orange color, but it was an easy fix.
And see that little gold leaf anchor?
I made that using the same tips I shared in my gold leaf art tutorial.
I made a gold leaf ampersand, too.
It fits in well with a few thrift store finds...a botanical print (re-framed in a modern frame), a metallic seashell print (kept in the original frame) and an ornate mirror.
And to further my obsession for all things cat, I added a giant jaguar print.
I found it for $4 a couple weeks ago at the thrift store (which I sneak peeked on Instagram) and nearly fainted when I saw it.
And you think I kid. You can also see my little ginger jar and seashell prints that I scored nearby.
It's weird, but I make no apologies for my feline obsession.
To know Cheese and Tootie is to be obsessed with them.
Oh, and those horses?
Got 'em from a book. A 99 cent thrift store book.
It was titled 'Careers for Horse Lovers' and provided me with 7 great horse photos and 700 questions.
*One-manhand-per-post quota fulfilled.
As for the mirrors on the gallery wall, those all came from the thrift store, too. I actually found all of these at once, and couldn't pass them up. I gave them all a quick coat of this gold spray paint (affiliate link) before adding them to the gallery wall, as they were originally a little too antique looking.
And that, friends, is the living room.
So, now that you've seen the latest living room updates, completed for a total of about $100, let's talk about a few ways I stretch my dollars.
Here are my top 10 budget decorating ideas.
#1. Mix and Match.
The key is using a little old and a little new. Find a few great new pieces and fill in the gaps with things you collect over time. In my experience, most of those gaps can be filled with thrift store finds....if you're willing to take the effort to look.
#2. Know where to look.
Over the years, I've scoped out nearly every thrift store in town. Most of them are not great. Several of them are amazing. I check out the amazing ones frequently, as it's a first come first serve situation. My best thrift store tips can be found here. I also frequently search for items on Craigslist (tips here) and spend a few weekends during the summer going to local garage sales and estate sales.
#3. Don't be deterred by the current color of an item.
Once you can look past the current color of an item, your whole little decorating world will change. The possibilities are endless once you understand that it's the shape that matters. You can always Rub n Buff, paint, stain, or spray paint. (Here are some great spray paint tips to get you started.)
#4. Make your own pillows.
I used to waste a lot of money buying pillows. That ended the day I discovered this.
#5. Paint furniture.
This sums up my life. Basically, just go read this.
#6. Update hardware on furniture.
Even if you paint thrift store furniture, the hardware is usually really outdated. A really easy way to update it is to either replace the hardware all together, or to spray paint it a better color. Either way it makes a huge difference.
#7. Make your own art.
I don't care how unartistic you think you are. I promise that you can make abstract art. Plus, if you put it in a great frame, it will look like a million bucks. I know this because about 75% of my art is really terrible and if I put it in a matted frame, Jesse usually thinks I bought it. Fact. :)
#8. Pass on the junk, buy the classics.
I've fallen into hoarder-territory several times throughout the years while thrifting. Over time, I've learned that I don't need to purchase every little item I like just because it's a dollar. I've learned the importance of waiting for those really great finds.
My trick is to ask myself if I will like this 10 years from now. If I have to think about the answer, I need to set it down.
SET. IT. DOWN.
#9. Don't be afraid to fail.
The best part of budget decorating is that it allows you a lot of room for messing up. If you've only spent $50 on that dresser, it's not the end of the world if you ruin it because you got a wild hair to paint it pink.
#10. Be unique.
This is my favorite tip.
In my own little journey, I've found that through limitations comes creativity. When you can't just run to (insert whatever store floats your boat here) and plop down thousands of dollars for new stuff, you're forced to think outside of the box. The minute I stopped being embarrassed about that and actually embraced the fact that I do things differently, my world blossomed.
And I know yours will, too.
That's all for today sweet friends.
Thank you for sharing in my little journey. :)
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