There are two ways to decorate in style, and one is easiest: choose what you want, whenever you want. (Who cares about price, right?) But if your budget is tight, or you just don’t care to waste a boatload of money, choose the second way: copying upscale home furnishings. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…
Styling Your Home
First, know your quarry. Pick the furnishings catalog you like the most, and study it carefully. If you’re not sure, start with Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and Restoration Hardware. These companies are very popular right now, and contain a range of styles and designer pieces.
Think history. Today’s home fashions are often inspired by 50s and 60s styles, which means that Pottery Barn pieces are often variations – knockoffs, if you will. Why not collect originals instead, by haunting auctions and estate sales? Many of these pieces will increase in value, even after they’re technically out of style.
Consider the essentials. At the very least, you’ll need something to eat, sit and sleep on. Does that bed frame have classic lines and beautiful wood? Odds are good that it will be in style for decades, not just a few years. At the very least, you can pair it with mod accessories that can be easily exchanged when you (or Dame Fashion) tire of them. Make a list of what you really need – prioritize.
Now you’re ready to start. Grab your list, wallet and:
Get to know your local discount furniture store. If you’re lucky, an IKEA is nearby; it’s stocked with plenty of furniture and lighting options that are high style without the price. While you’re at it, check out thrift shops, garage and other local sales.
Meet up with Craigslist. This free advertising site is filled with everything from chaise lounges to sinks, nearly all for dimes on the dollar. You’ll have to be patient and keep looking, but sooner or later, the item you crave will show up. Or there will be something you can:
Improvise from what you can find. A whole range of makeover decorating blogs are out there, including The Nester (loves to rework the entire room, changing and updating as she goes) and Funky Junk Interiors (has a real thing for pallet projects, rusted iron and other country funk/steampunk looks).
The most consistently helpful, though, are a group of blogs led by Infarrantly Creative. This group of talented writers samples outstanding makeovers from other blogs, then regularly posts one or two different projects at a time. At a glance, you can tell whether the day’s project is for you. Click through if you’re interested…disregard if you’re not.
Knock-Off Decor (especially good for copying specific furniture pieces) is the best blog for your purposes, but don’t miss Road Kill Rescues, either – it only deals with items given away, found in the junk heap or by the side of the road. A good reminder that another man’s junk can definitely be your treasure!
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com