Yesterday was my "in town" day. Usually, once a week I leave the island for the entire day to run errands, do shopping, etc. All of our stores are in one place in Corpus Christi, so combining it all into one day makes more sense than constantly driving back and forth between the island and the city. Someplace I make a point to visit once a week is our local Salvation Army. Many times I leave with nothing, but often I can find some real gems.
See, I have two big philosophies when it comes to decorating...1. don't pay full price unless absolutely necessary. 2. A bit of age and patina on something gives it more authenticity. A house with a mix of old and new instantly feels lived in and collected over time. The patterned basket in the photo above was my thrift store treasure yesterday, and for only $8. When I first began thrifting it was out of necessity; we were so broke and yet I wanted a lovely home I could be proud of. We were able to live in a space well beyond our means because I spent so much time looking for cast offs. Now, although we don't need to buy our things secondhand, I just can't imagine filling a room with all new furnishings. It really is the mix of both that make an interesting space.
So I thought I would go through the main living room and share with you the source of it's furnishings.
Brass lamp w/ original shade $6 ; blue & white lamp w/ shade $8
Square mid-century side table $5 garage sale; oval table gift from mother-in-law
marble coffee table gift from mother-in-law
mauve armless chair $60 salvation army; pair of white swivel chairs $85 each
Yellow mid-century sofa $185 furniture consignment shop. To be reupholstered this coming year.
gold velvet ottoman $5 catholic charity shop
pillows a mix of thrift store, Marshall's, and handmade
brass box on coffee table $7 thrift shop; rectangular wicker tray $20 Target; wicker lanterns $14 each Marshalls
On side table- butterfly coasters $3 set @ thrift shop; Blue box $4 salvation army; Brass tissue holder $5 thrift shop.
Books a mix of thrifted, Amazon, and half price books.
artwork by me.
Mid-century sideboard $85 furniture consignment shop
Blue leather recliner- gift to David from his parents at the start of med-school.
The other white swivel chair. Pillow on it made by me.
White mid-century lamp w. shade $12 thrift shop
Date palm branch- found on the ground in Houston while on a walk
Basket $8 Salvation Army
Triangle pillow made by me.
linen blanket $5 thrifted
leopard blanket $24 Target
. . . . .
If you are trying to decorate a home and feel at a loss where to start, let me offer some thoughts.
1. Say yes to family heirlooms. Every room in our home has at least one thing in it that was given to us from either David's parents, my parents, or my grandmother. Older pieces are usually crafted much better than new, and it gives you a great base to start with. So even if you think it doesn't "go" with your style, use them. You can always find a fresh new way to incorporate them into your home. Plus, I like to walk into my dining room and see my grandmother's farmhouse table. And that coffee table from my in-laws is one of my favorite pieces in my home.
2. Keep a running tally of things to buy and be patient. Every time I have been in the market for something new like a side table I will eventually find exactly what I was hoping to get. It can just take a while. We needed two new chairs for the living room last year because one of ours had broken. Sure enough, I found the white swivel chairs while on a trip to visit my parents in Kansas City.
3. Keep an eye for quality. Sometimes I'll find something that is terrific, but I don't have a plan for where I would use it. Usually, I will go ahead and buy it. You will always find room for a quality piece. And really, the only things I regret are pieces of furniture I didn't buy because I couldn't think how to use them. About four years ago I passed up a gorgeous antique bridge table for $30 because at the time that was a big part of my weekly budget. I still think about how great that table was.
4. Fill in the gaps with new pieces to keep the space feeling fresh. If you only have old things the room can start to look like a garage sale. Stores like Target have great basics like trays, rugs, and pillows. Marshall's and TJ Maxx are where I find my slightly more interesting accessories as well as more designer brands to add a more luxe feel to my home. From time to time you can find some really amazing bargains in those places. The lilac pillows on the sofa above are Ralph Lauren Home. Our bedroom comforter is Calvin Klein. I've found Versace bottle stoppers, Vera Wang old fashioned glasses, Orla Kiely notebooks, Kate Spade vases...the list goes on and on.
5. Real paintings always look better than a poster. Hit the thrift stores for old oil paintings...usually anywhere from $5-$25 apeice. Shop online sources like Etsy.com for all kinds of original art at reasonable prices. If you are creative, paint some inexpensive canvases yourself like I did. Photographs are another great option. If you have a wonderful photo of your own, have it blown up really large and hang it for a modern look to your room.
6. Find a color scheme and style that suits you, then stick with it. For example, I like rusts, corals, delft blue, brass, lilac, yellow, and blue-green. Even though I love most all colors, I won't generally buy something outside of this color range. I won't buy a large red accessory because it just wouldn't work with my overall scheme. Additionally, I am not a fan of rustic, country-style furniture so I won't buy pieces like that. I'll be patient until the right style comes along.
7. Give it time. I'd say David and I really started working on our home six years ago, and some of the pieces we had even before that. You will not have instant perfection after six months. Be patient, and little-by-little you will see your house begin to take shape.