House to home and love on the cheap

Accessorizing the living room

This is not going to be another lovey-dovey, sweets-for-your-sweetheart type of post. But one of the things I love to do is play house. By that, I mean I love to paint, preen and pretty up the place. I move the furniture around a lot. Sometimes the various cans of color in the basement call my name. The color of a room has been known to change while my husband is at work.

What I really love to do is decorate. Problem is things  are expensive and I’m el cheapo — er, I guess that should say la cheapa — er, how about: I’m a cheapskate! Lucky for me — and you if you’re a penny-pincher, people discard beautiful things all the time. Thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets … they’re a little bit of heaven on earth for the decorate-on-a-dime-store crowd. So dive in!

Decorating from thrift store finds

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m certainly not saying I’m a decorating diva worthy of imitation. What I like and what you like are probably completely different. Amen. But what you should know is that sniffing out other people’s cast-offs is the way to go. Not only are they dirt cheap, they’re usually perfectly  good!

I love books and you can find great used tomes and coffee table editions just about anywhere. Buy ’em up when you see some you like. Books are beautiful. Books are beneficial. Books make a house a home. And then there are the things that catch your eye. A used wooden chess set? Sure, it’s missing one piece but so what! They use a spare checker when they play and all is well. Artwork? I find great stuff at Goodwill sometimes, but framed family photographs are my favorites — especially vintage ones in sepia tones or black-and-white. They make lovely conversation pieces and you get to gaze at your favorite folks whenever you like.

Table and chevron curtains

Use what you have …

Scrounge around for the rest …

… invest in a few good pieces you love.

That’s my best {unprofessional} decorating advice, but I’ll add this: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Chairs and cow hide rug

I mean really … these are not my idea of the perfect easy chairs. The fabric is a little flowery.  BUT … and it’s a big butt but, these were $10 each. TEN BUCKS! I’m telling you … shop Goodwill. (And if these are your old chairs please know they found a good home and I yell at the dog every time she jumps up on them to look out the window!) What would make these chairs even better? Covers for those boring, bland pillows — in bright teal or dark turquoise. It’ll get done one of these days, promise.

Step back cupboard TV armoire

That’s what I’ve been saying for several months about this cupboard. I finally painted the inside a dark charcoal color to hide the “bright black” of the TV. The interior was a robin’s egg blue. It was pretty when it sat in the kitchen but the color was strange in the living room. The color switch made such a big difference (in my mind) that I excitedly invited the hubby and my son to sit beside me on the couch. “Now then … doesn’t that match the TV perfectly?” Farmboy stared at it a moment, turned his head sideways, wrinkled his nose and said — with an eye roll — “I just don’t see it.”

EXACTLY my boy, exactly!

chair in sunlight

I found this old chair at an antique mall. It was down in the basement and marked $15. Some day, when the kids are grown, I’m going to buy that comfy armchair with a white slipcover from a fancy store for hundreds of dollars. Maybe. For now though … bargain basement beauties fit my family just fine.

Antique door and tin ceiling

And so what if the walls are crooked and the ceiling’s a bit shy of level and the clock on the wall proves it isn’t  5 o’clock somewhere. I still love my house … mostly because of the people in it and the way they liven up the place. This joint is jumpin’ most of the time. And that’s ok … because if the kids-gone-wild destroy a room or break a spring in the chair or toss tchotchkes in the air, chances are I’m not out an arm and a leg. Not that I condone wrecking ball behavior, mind you, but they are kids and this is life and things happen.

Around here, we love our house on the cheap and our family for all we’re worth.

That’s the only  way to break the bank.


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  • Material Girl and the boys » Farmgirl Follies - Jennifer Kiko February 20, 2013 (8:01 pm)

    […] and my sister chose fabrics for her apron project. I found some lovely textural teal fabric for my Goodwill chairs. Both daughters chose a floral pattern for summer […]

  • comment-avatar
    Katie March 13, 2013 (8:21 am)

    Love this post! Thanks for the reminder about not taking oneself too seriously. It seriously does make a huge difference when perfection is not the goal. I also love your thrift store chairs… in all their vintage fabric glory. I always think that I need to wait until I get them recovered to actually put them in the living room, but who cares if the fabric doesn’t “go”? Why not enjoy them instead of relegating them to the basement? 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!

  • comment-avatar
    Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles March 13, 2013 (10:02 am)

    So jealous of all of your “found” antlers! And I love those rope(?) balls on top of your entertainment center. So smart to paint the inside to blend in with the tv! We’re kindred spirits…seeing the beauty in other people’s “junk”. I love thrifting! Visiting from Emily’s blog. 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Emily A. Clark March 13, 2013 (3:28 pm)

    Totally agree about not taking yourself too seriously. It’s just stuff, afterall 🙂 I love how you broke down where you found what. You’re my kind of shopper! Thanks for linking up today.