Friday, October 11, 2013

Along For The Ride: Living Room Makeover {Decorating With Thrifted Items}

Welcome to
Part 3
Our Prairie Home's
Makeover Series!

Yesterday's post was a lot to take in.

This post and hopefully the following posts,
will be short and sweet.


Maybe a little shorter and sweeter.

I'll try.

Who knows how long this series is going to take?

I REALLY want to show y'all what it has taken me YEARS to figure out!

Day by day, I'm going to show you exactly what I'm doing to transform our living room.

So, it's probably going to take a little longer for the makeover,
but you're going to learn how to pull a makeover off yourself by the time I'm done.

Or at least, that's my goal!


So today, let's talk about THRIFT STORES.

Honestly, for YEARS I was one of those people that turned their nose up at thrifting.

And I have friends that still do.

I mean, why would anyone want to own something that somebody else had?


What if they were dirty or something?

Well, that all changed with the US economy and my need to decorate 
our home as cheaply as possible.

Now, I realize what a fool I was!

You can get so much awesome stuff from other people's castaways!

And for a lot cheaper than buying new or on sale too!

Yes, some thrift stores are creepy.

I've learned to get over that.

But lots of them are nice places with cool stuff to choose from.

Personally, I stay away from Goodwill because even though
they're a "non-profit", I find it disgusting that our local one has
a $1.5 million building with 3 flat screen TVs.


I thought Goodwill was about helping the poor?

But, that's just my personal ideal there.

We have a wonderful thrift that I buy from (and take stuff to)
in the next town over from ours.

They employ and house adults with learning disabilities in our area.

And it's very, very clean.

So, that's who I give the bulk of my money.

On Tuesday, I had to run Ian's iPad to school because 
he had accidentally taken Greyson's, who was home sick with our fug.

So, with that $191.53 burning a whole in my wallet,
I stopped by to see if I'd have any luck.

And boy did I!

New, old stuff was being put out and
I wonder if someone had cleaned out a parent's home because there was
TONS of antique/vintage items.

I literally had to drag myself away from 5 ginormous row boat oars for $20.00 each,
with a strict reminder that I live in the midwest and not on the coast anymore!


So, let's start out with the first of today's tips...

TIP #1:  When shopping in a thrift, 
if you even THINK you like an item, grab it!
You can always put it back, if you change your mind.

I do this ALL the time.
Too many times I've been iffy about something, decided I wanted it,
and then went back it was G-O-N-E.  Boo!

The first things I grabbed were 3 short and stubby cylindrical silver vases.

At $1.00 each, I was thinking maybe I would add a little bling to our space.

In the cart they went.

The next thing I grabbed was a pillow insert.

Like I said, our thrift is very clean and they wash everything before it goes out on the floor.

{I didn't figure you'd want to see a white pillow insert, so I went without a pic here. LOL!}

$3.00...  Not bad, not bad at all.

TIP #2:  You can NEVER have enough pillows!

{But I'm also a pillow hoarder, so that's my personal preference.}

And inserts are easier to deal with than poly-fill when you're making pillows.

Then, because I've been wanting to do something like this:

The Perl Bee Swatch Portraits
I grabbed:

1 Large Oval
3 Medium Circular
2 Small Circular
2 Really Small Circular...

Embroidery Hoops.

Total for all:  $6.00

Also in the craft area were bags and balls of yarn:

1 Bag of White Yarn:  $2.00
1 Bag of Neutral/Orange Yarn:  $2.00
Aqua Yarn (still with original $5.95 tag):  $2.00
1 Large Ball of Beige Yarn:  $1.00

I didn't want the orange yarns that were in the bag, so I paid for the entire bag,
took what I wanted out of it, and donated the rest back.

That's the store's policy if you don't want the all the items bagged together.

Total for all:  $7.00

In a discounted craft bin, after digging,
I found 3 old wooden spools and some old solid wood buttons:

The spools were $1.00 each and the box of buttons were $1.00 too.


Total for all:  $4.00

 But, ALSO in bin were TONS of vintage scissors...

Like, the good kind.

Before they started making stuff super cheaply.

I liked the aged patina of them, so I grabbed 11 pairs at $0.50 each.

Total for all:  $5.50

TIP #3:  Think outside the box.  

If something unusual catches your eye...

Get it!

There's no hard and fast rule what you should decorate with.

Really odd items look good grouped together in a collection.

Besides, they're a great conversation starter.


Thrift stores also usually have a great collection of cast-off baskets.

Like the one that I grabbed for the thrift store on Monday...

and the other one I picked up on Tuesday.

Baskets are a great way to decorate.

And, if you have little ones at home like I do, they're a great spot to corral toys.

You can either leave them as is, or paint them to match your decor.

And, they're a great way to add texture.


We'll get more into that in a few days when we start to decorate, but keep that in mind
as you begin buying for your space.

Layering different textures brings a space together and helps it feel finished.


TIP #5:  Don't look at what something IS, look at what it CAN BE.

If you like the shape of something or if something catches your eye
and its color doesn't match your color scheme...


Paint can work wonders on ANYTHING!

Dented or scratched furniture...

Old Chairs...


Candlestick holders...

Ceramic figures...


Paint is the be all, cure all for the uglies!


In our local thrift, they have a section that they set aside for antique items.

I usually make a bee-line for those shelves, as soon as I walk into the store.

The prices are generally higher, but still a lot less than you would pay at an antique store.

Imagine how excited I was to find vintage wooden shoe forms there on Tuesday!

And for only $7.50 each!

I bought the two that they had.

In fact, there were tons of stuff and I really had to watch myself.




I had seen this heavy, chippy porcelain pail a few weeks before,
and lo and behold it was still there!

My patience paid off and I got it for $15.00.

$5.00 less than the $20.00 it had been marked earlier!

See...  Patience is sometimes rewarded!

My final purchase was an old, old, OLD washing board.

I mean, this sucker is HEAVY.

It takes two hands to lift it.

And it's worn and had started to rot in places...

Absolute vintage perfection!

Now, will I use it in the living room?


Maybe not.

But, I had to buy it.


And because I had picked up two items that were $15.00 and $20.00 respectively,
and the way I was beginning to see the room come together in my mind,
I put back the 3 silver vases.

I decided I wasn't going that way after all.


Sometimes (and this happens to me A LOT), you think a room is going
to go one direction and then you wind up on an entirely different path.

As you start buying your items, take a good look at them.

Usually, you'll see a pattern in what you're buying
and your vision for your space will begin to clarify in your mind.

I mean, you'll have an idea when you start, but be willing to be flexible
and build on your initial vision.


So, along with the oblong wood tray that I had bought on Monday...

I have a really good start on decor for the living room.

Since I doubt I'll go out and buy anymore decor items,
let's cross another line off of our list:

12 of the 18 items on the list are now marked off.


And, along with the furniture wrapped in plastic, it's ALL stashed in our parlor.


Good thing I haven't finished that room yet!


So, my total cost at the thrift on Tuesday was $76.50.

{They do not charge sales tax there either, which is awesome!}

Subtracting that from $191.53, it leaves me with $115.03 left in the budget.


Not bad, not bad at all!

After taking my normal weekend blogging break,  I'll be back MONDAY.

We're going to begin the first phase of MAKING items to decorate your home.

So, so, sooooo much cheaper than buying retail!

I hope you'll be back!


And start dreaming this weekend about your new space!

I know I already am!


  1. I'm following along and learning...I'll be back Monday to see more too!

  2. Have a super weekend! Loving all that you are showing us! Can't wait till Monday :)

    Sherri Smith

  3. OH you found some right good stuff girl! Love the scissors. I can't wait to see what you do with THOSE!!!! Hugs :) Shan


My followers are fantastic! I read each and every comment... They make my day! :)