Inexpensive Timeless Decorating revisits a post about frugal finds around my house as well as ideas for getting creative about frugal decorating. You probably won’t score any earth shattering revelations…I mean if you haven’t yet discovered the treasure trove on FB Marketplace, run don’t walk to the local free section there. Rather, find simple reminders that low budget or no budget won’t preclude you from uncovering more beauty around your home.
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Inexpensive Timeless Decorating?
When I first posted this, I had just arrived home from an afternoon of local estate and yard sale shopping. What did I buy? A 1950s shabby chic pale pink painted chair (Rachel Ashwell may have body slammed me to get her paws on it), an old wooden country stool, a handmade-on-casters antique industrial curiosity, and a box of homegrown tomatoes. The grand total? 10 bucks.
And not one daygum thing came from the Dollar Store.
Not that I have a gripe with dollar stores. But there’s too much plastic in them. And it just seems the internet is thoroughly saturated with posts and tutorials for Dollar Store derived, disposable, trendy decor.
There’s something utterly gratifying about timeless decorating with a mix of old, new, and unexpected.
YOU: Wait. Are you actually linking to a bunch of decor and furniture similar to that in your own home in a post about inexpensive decorating?
ME: I’ll get emails with questions about them if I post pics but don’t link to ’em…so all the yeses. I’m saving myself a few hours of email responses. 🙂
Decorating Idea No. 1: START WITH ONE ROOM
When you’re ready to make a few changes, refresh, or even start at square one, it can feel like a daunting prospect to look at your home in its entirety. There’s too much work to be done! It can’t be done, and if it can, it will take forever! Who has the energy or time!?
Instead of giving in to overwhelm (and maybe numbing with Netflix or pouring another glass of happy juice), find your bearings again by focusing on one room or one part of a room.
Inexpensive & Timeless Decorating Tips
You could even start with the room for which you have been procrastinating since…what do you have to lose!?! If it can’t get worse, the odds are in your favor.
Decorating Idea No. 2: START WITH PAINT
It always helps me personally when I begin by first setting the mood with a color story. Do I even need to remind you how paint is a relatively inexpensive strategy to for a dramatic change?
Dig in my archives to discover paint color and mood ideas for your space, save money by painting yourself, and pat yourself on the back for getting off to a grand start!
Decorating Idea No. 3: CLEAN LIKE A FREAK
Does cleaning your space qualify as decorating? On planet Michele, we say OUI, OUI, it does. When you get seriously intimate with the room in need of love by vacuuming, scrubbing surfaces, clearing cobwebs, polishing finishes, and laundering linens, it will reward you by speaking to you.
Suddenly you will see things you didn’t notice…the furniture arrangement may need an adjustment, too much clutter on the dresser, ahhhhhhh that’s where those five pairs of reading glasses went, and so on.
There’s just no downside to getting some exercise and a cleaner space. Yet some folks forget housework can yield unexpected fruit when approached in a non-hurried way.
Decorating Idea No. 4: TAKE A PHOTO
This tip is straight up taken from life as an interiors blogger.
Viewing a room while standing in the doorway is a different sort of experience than viewing a photo on your phone or iPad.
So score a fresh perspective by studying the pics you snapped and noting what offends your eye and what pleases it.
Score a Different Perspective
For example, you may discover you hate the scale of a particular accessory or recognize you should swap the accent tables in the room.
You may notice “holes” in certain areas in need of layering or suddenly realize YES, that’s where you can hang the new piece of art gathering dust in a closet.
What seems imbalanced? What is too formal or fussy? Are the window coverings at the right level? Are the wrong things jumping out of the photo that you would prefer to de-emphasize?
Shop my home
Decorating Idea No. 5: SHOP AT HOME
Something currently driving me a little nuts is how decor is stashed in a variety of places all over our home and not just one location that makes sense.
So this decorating idea is for us all. Let’s take time time to round up the stuff so decorating can be a more efficient process.
It never fails. When it’s time time to move, and I’m packing, I discover all sorts of treasure I haven’t seen in years.
Shop Your House and SHOP MINE HERE!
I wonder what treasures are already yours, waiting in a box in the basement or garage?
The truth is, and this is awful: for many Americans in modern culture, it takes less time to drive to a local Homegoods to buy more of what we already own in multiples than to locate where it is stashed!
Excess. We cling to things because…well, that would take 30 blog posts to unpack. Anyway, the beauty of shopping your home (beyond the savings) is that if you liked it enough to bring it home, it’s probably a good contender to bring into service again. If it’s not, donate!
Decorating Idea No. 6: Shop at Thrift & Consignment Shops
When a guest to our home admires something and asks about its provenance, more often than not I admit “it found me.”
And there’s always a story.
When there’s a specific piece for which I’m hunting, I enter into the wild with an eerie confidence that just the right table, chair, or vintage bicycle or steel cart will appear.
And it does!
For example, when I penned this post, my mission was to find a stool to replace the broken one at my makeup vanity.
There it was at the very first stop. In a hoarder of lovely’s garage.
Covered in dust, I couldn’t bring it into the house before a power wash. But as soon as I saw it, a “thank you” bubbled up in my heart.
The Thrill of the Hunt
It never gets old…does it? Hunting for cast-offs and vintage wares which cost next-to-nothing is a sport some of us design freaks excel at if only because we have learned to be sensitive to the energies of objects.
And isn’t it curious how at a certain age we forget anniversaries or the entire 6th grade year but not those stories of how this jam pot or that Fireking mug came into our possession?
Decorating Idea No. 7: Customize Inexpensive or Free Pieces Not Quite Right
It always surprises me when I am out thrifting and hear folks say, “It’s the perfect scale, but the color is off,” or “That painting is fabulous but I that frame!”
In either case, a little paint may be all that is needed to tweak something mediocre and make it next level. (BTW, if it’s the art inside a beautiful frame that is hideous, have fun painting over it!…I have done this oodles of times!)
Take a Risk If It’s Inexpensive
Go ahead and take chances! There are always going to be flops. A couple of years back, I found a peach velvet vintage chair at a local shop and loved its curves but not the color. I decided to paint it white, and the result was less than ideal since the fabric became too stiff to enjoy.
I used it for a few styling shots before placing it curbside for another treasure hunter. Then, guess what? I saw it at the antique mall with a pricey tag!
YES. The answer is affirmative. Timeless decorating can indeed be less costly than you might imagine.
Peace to you right where you are.
Shop for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE, and also find home decor here to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!
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It never fails…… Seeing your house and reading your post describing it and it’s most lovely contents just come across as so soothing and motivating. I typically get my first cup of coffee around 6:00 am and begin reading my emails, I usually save yours for last so I can linger. However what usually happens is that I become so inspired that I get up and start cleaning, rearranging and most definitely decluttering ! I never tire of seeing the home you’ve created. You are so right about remembering where each piece in my home came from – from the first real antique we purchased at a roadside junk stop 30 years ago- a simple twin size iron bed (which I’ve used in many ways over the years ,but now finds its home in the attic waiting for its next assignment) to the super crazy bargain Pottery Barn Solana sofa we scored for less than $300 at the outlet. Home …… I just love home!
How awesome to hear! Ha – the stories of our lives – love hearing about those pieces that have meaning for you and the bargain scores! Thanks so much for playing along and offering your spirit of graciousness here. I have the best following of thoughtful souls. Peace to you and happy rearranging! 🙂
Loved this post because it’s as if I could have written it myself. I have been doing pretty much the same things as you for more years than I can count. (I was shopping thrift stores before it was “cool” or trendy and making over pieces when necessary…which was usually..hee hee.)
There’s so much to say about each numbered item in your post but I want to address the one on cleaning.
When I had my interior decorating business I cannot tell you the number of times I’d hear a client say as I entered the home—“Oh sorry the place is so messy and dirty but….” ! And though I really wasn’t always excited about cleaning a room before I started styling it, I knew a spic and span room would do more for the “new look” than any amount of changes I could make. People that live in messy and dirty houses often are the ones who have lost sight of the beauty in their houses (i.e. the architecture—even if it’s very simple, the furniture, the accessories) and all those things they love that make it “home” for them. So even when I made changes, being able to “see” their rooms from a clean and decluttered point of view, made more difference than all the high end things I could have purchased for them. 🙂
Lovely and thoughtfully written post Michele, as always ! 🙂
BTW….After months and months of the ‘thrill of the hunt’ for a really large art piece for the tall wall by my grand piano, I recently stumbled on a beautiful oil painting but the color of the frame and mat were all wrong. Paint to the rescue for both the frame & mat, and it looks SO much more updated for only $6 and a little of my time. Gotta love those thrift store finds that will be made into treasures. 🙂
You could do more than write this post – it would be a hundred times better, Connie! You have the best advice drawn from hard earned experience and wisdom. I totally agree that folks living in messy houses feel stuck in part because they lose sight of the beauty underneath–fresh eyes are everything. Your vision indeed has made a difference in countless homes I’m sure. Thank you for echoing and adding to the beauty about this discussion of ‘seeing.’ Seeing is everything! xox
I knew we were kindred spirits. I love to go to thrift stores and find treasures that need a new home. Many a time, spray paint is my friend. My hubby laughs when the spray cans come out. Did you know chalk paint comes in spray can form? I am discerning about what I bring home though. I don’t like clutter.
When doing new vignettes, I like to take everything out of the room, have a selection of possibilities at hand and do a good clean before getting down to the fun part. I usually start with the mantel, as it’s the focal point in the living room and the rest will follow.
I’ve been away for the pass two & half months. I hope all is well with you and your summer has been fun. I was just watching your dancing video, again. It’s a happy one!
Spray paint is a friend indeed! Ha! I didn’t know about the spray–thank you kindly, friend. Good for you being discerning–that is wise. I have missed you but not sad when blog friends are too busy living life away from their devices where all the fruit is!!! Bravo! Time to make new videos and maybe time to dance with a new pup. 🙂
Always love your posts…and just saw the video. Too cool!
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Michele…. I cannot say enough how your blog posts simply make my day! I generally read every single word but if time is short, the images alone are a wonderful ‘place to go to’ to see the quiet one can create in our homes.
Creating quiet is so close to my heart, Connie. For me it is the secret to hearing and noticing the subtle beauty we might otherwise miss. The way the sun streams in and lights the wood floor, the silhouette of a simple branch, the glow of a flickering candle in a humble lantern…their quietude slows down time for me. xox