Friday, July 27, 2012

How to Afford Great Home Furishings

Has this happened to you? While visiting someone, you take a glance around and realize their home looks great. Really great. The furniture is chic, the artwork is ever so perfect and everything just feels like style, class and money. And then you think to yourself, "Geez, I wish my home looked like that."

Guess what? It can. Here's how you can get the gorgeous look you want for very little money.

Keep in mind that just because something may be  used it will be new to you. I've said before I used to have an aversion to cast-offs, yard sales and second hand stores. It took a very patient husband who showed me through his own purchases what I was missing out on. Now that I've expanded my comfort zone, I have also expanded my opportunities to find great pieces for my home.  A great example of this is our recent living room furniture acquisiton. Family members purchased new items and offered their old furniture to us. I'll admit that it really wasn't my style. It was great furniture, mind you, it was just that I didn't love the style. But it was very doable so my husband and I compromised: he got the furniture he really wanted and I got to do what I wanted with it. Once I got the placement right, I removed a ton of the loose pillows, rearranged the rest and added a soft throw (in an unexpected color to pull out the more subtle shades of the design). 

A great way to redecorate is to repurpose items. How about a quilt for a tablecloth?  An old silver loving cup to hold your kitchen spoons? Awesome!  Go ahead and purchase that tacky painting with the fabulous frame.  Replace the print of Ichabod Crane with a mirror and now you've got a great statement piece that's so much better than the builder's grade guest bath mirror you already have.

When you're looking for home furnishings, try seeing things through new eyes. Let's say you see an outdated brass chandelier at a yard sale. Eww, I don't want that old thing in my house. But, I could see it repainted in brushed silver or oiled bronze with little shade covers. Or maybe it would look fabulous painted in some funky, trendy colors for a teenager's room.  I could purchase the fixture and everything needed for the upgrade for merely a fraction of the price of a new one.  It's so easy to give a new life to something old when you repurpose it. Open your eyes and see things with a new vision. You will save big bucks that way.

As you decorating your home, don't forget to embrace some of the things you may have inherited along the way. I found myself in the position of having my grandmother's hand carved jewelry chest. It isn't my taste. It's just a carved box with a wopsided lid---and I couldn't part with it. I struggled with what to do with it and after looking around I realized I had a few other boxes, some decorative and others more utilitarian. There you go! I've got a shelf with a box collection. Yes it sounds weird but it isn't and I get compliments on it all the time.

So here's a what my living room holds: Furniture from family members, an inherited chest repurposed into a coffee table, an inherited floor lamp and a yard sale print. I've also got a sculpture my husband made in college sitting next to a faded old Coca Cola crate with bottles. There's a simple wall shelf that was a birthday gift as well as an inherited milk glass loving cup.  The only things purchased new were the audio/video equipment, a lamp, an entertainment center and the dog bed. There's a few other new purchases but I don't think candles and coasters count.

You're getting the idea. It only takes a little imagination, a little money and some gracious 'thank yous' when you accept second hand things from friends and loved ones.

I promise the next time you visit your friend with the great living room, you'll be telling yourself. "My home looks as good as there's...only better."

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