Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Secret!

O.k. I lied. It's not really a secret if you read blogs like this (decor and DIY), but I want to reinforce/restate it for emphasis:

Gorgeous, expensive looking rooms can be had for VERY little money!

Jennifer Lopez's Home via Veranda
See that painting? Gorgeous! Do you realize how easy you could make one similar for less than $50? Not to devalue or lessen this one in any way, but this is what you look for to create a look for less. Things you could duplicate or create near replicas of. Art is one of the easiest things to make yourself. Original work is so much more expensive looking than a print (more meaningful and beautiful as well) !
How many of you are intimidated at the thought of dealing with a designer, architect or contractor, or DIY? If I had to wager, I'd bet a bunch. Why? Because $ is what always comes to mind. And for a lot of people the lack of knowledge about those subjects and funds is scarey or overwhelming. Am I right?

via Andrew Raquet Interior Design
See that chandelier? Easy way to get the lux Italian look with an old cast off chandelier of basic shape! Simply wrap arms in cording or braid and hang tassels. Easy and gorgeous!

We live in a day and age where everyone is used to just going out and buying whatever they want - instant gratification. If you want it, it's out there....for a price. Our lovely little economic situation here in the U.S. is evidence of that. But, were there is a will,there is a way... to get the look without the price tag!

Suzie:  Tilton Fenwick  Fun red eclectic bedroom design with red medallion wall stencils, black ...
via Decor Pad
Spray paint some old ginger jar lamps for a pop of color. Use high gloss for lux.
Do you know how many of these old spool style beds I find in thrift stores?! I love them!

When I was growing up, there were times I thought I was getting the raw end of the deal because we had so little. I used to spend hours restitching clothes, coming up with endless outfit combos, and figuring out how to keep my wardrobe "cool". We NEVER went clothes shopping right before school unless we had outgrown EVERYTHING. Not because my parents were "mean" but because we just couldn't afford it. Four kids on one school teacher's salary (four kids & college! $$$$). Thus, the seed was planted. If you really want something, figure out how to get it for as little as possible. So it wasn't the raw end of the deal after was God's provision... teaching me how to think out of the box.

Suzie:  Paul Corrie  Chic dining room design with gray walls paint color, floor mirror, rustic ...
via Decor Pad
Make a huge stand against the wall mirror for pennies (screams $$$). Check out a salvage store or
Habitat Re-Store for a discarded sheet mirror removed from a bathroom for dirt cheap. Simply take old
boards and miter the corners at 45° then liquid nail on. Wha-la!

When I got older and wanted to decorate my own home(s), I quickly realized I could do it for a fraction of what others were paying. I just had to get out the ol' thinking cap and get creative. Do you know what you are actually paying for with most of the high dollar price tag? Status, marketing, materials and labor. So, take away three and you're left with only materials. Now, obviously someone has to contribute labor - you. This is where you have to decide two things:
  1. How bad do I really want this? If it's just to keep up with the Jones, you should forget it. I'm not an advocate of this way of thinking. The only thing that comes from that is debt and frustration later at money spent. It should be because it either meets a physical need in a pretty way, creates an environment you love being in, or satisfies a need for a challenge/creative outlet/money savings. NOT just because it's the "in" thing or because your confidence is linked to having it or not!
  2. Could I do/make this on my own? Of course you can, if you really want to. It may just take a little practice and learning, but it does for even the pros! Don't be scared to give it a try or be discouraged if the first time is a flop. I can't tell you how many times I've chunked an idea and gone back to the drawing board or redone something several times to get it right.
Translate all this to your home. With a little elbow grease, planning and patience you can get the look for thousands less (and no one will ever know unless you tell them!).  I'm continually shocked at two things: the stuff people toss out just because they are tired of it and what comes back into fashion over the years. Amazing! That means, hit up a good thrift store, auction or estate sale at the right time and you'll score big! The trick here is thinking out of the box, not being a snob (i.e. thinking your too good to go in a thrift store or buy second-hand) and patience. Patience, patience, patience! I'd say 7 out of 10 times I drop in a store and I walk out with nothing. But then I hit the right day and...Bingo!

Inspired? GOOD! Now, go tackle that project you have been too scared to take on. Get the materials cheap enough and what have you got to loose...especially if you were going to pay someone to do it anyway? At least try. See if you can not only save money, but feel good every time you look at that finished project because YOU did it!


  1. This is a wonderfully written post. You are exactly right with everything! I'm going to be sharing this on my blog because I think women need to be reminded and/or told about the things you've mentioned. Thanks :)

  2. Good ideas!
    I grew up the same way so I can relate!
    It's more gratifying to have created something and display it iin your home. It's what makes it your "home" don't you think?

  3. Such a great message! I've always been one to figure it out myself and find a way to do things for much cheaper. I'm always encouraging my friends and family to NOT buy certain things cause there are ways to get things for much less. I grew up going to garage sales with my mom, and it is STILL one of my favorite things to do with her. Thanks for the empowerment!

  4. Such a fabulous post! You hit the nail on everything. Isn't it more satisfying when you can figure out a way to do it yourself? Let's take your twig chandelier ... I KNOW you're proud of that. I know I would be!! Thanks for getting our minds thinking!

  5. Great post! You GOT IT! That is how I learned too...observation and study and doing it for myself! What an encouraging post to those that are on the fence and about to take the DIY plunge! xo Diana

  6. What an inspirational post. I love it that you're turned off by snobbery, and that you are uplifting people who don't have alot of money to work with... that's awesome.
    That's how i learned how to paint, i wanted a print i couldn't afford, so i decided to paint it myself! If i could have just bought everything i wanted, i may have never challenged myself to paint and become and artist...



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