Tag Archives: bargain decorating

New little touches in the living room

This summer I added two small decorative touches to the living room. I’ve blogged previously about adding ethnic touches  to a simple, high, narrow shelf I made. In the summer I picked up white “icicle” lights at a rummage sale and centered them on the front of the shelf and then linked them to a timer so they’re on from 6:30-10:30pm every night. (I figure if I see them off, I should already be in bed.) I love the effect – and even after a few months, I’m surprised when they pop on “by themselves” every night.

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For some years I’ve had a mix of what I think all initially started life as chandelier glass, that is they hung from a chandelier or fancy lampshade. I remember buying at least a few from a vintage thrift store long ago and taking others from a cast-off lamp by the road. I thought they were beautiful but could never quite settle on the best use for them. Using tacks and dental floss (it’s great for both its strength and relative invisibility) I strung them up at varied heights along the length of a “beam” at the center of the ceiling. I hung them so none will knock me or visitors in the head ahem.  It totally works.

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Making my bedroom a cheerful sanctuary

My bedroom has been evolving (no, not revolving) over a period of years. While I was good at decorating other parts of the home, I seemed blocked on my room (compounded by the fact I didn’t want to spend money). That all changed when I found this Target (I think it’s Target, because when I say “found” I mean literally) lamp several years ago.

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BAM! This lamp “spoke” to me

I remember how excited I was as I carried the lamp home. Suddenly I had vision for my room. Now I’m not religious, not whatsoever, but it did feel like the skies opened and dropped this wondrous lamp in my path. Am I waxing too poetic for you? I shall wax philosophical instead. For me, my home and immediate environment are reflections or manifestations of me; how I feel about myself, how I see myself, and importantly, what I think – in my realest self – I deserve. Well HOT DAMN, I deserved, warranted, and wanted this beautiful lamp. About f’ing time too.

The lamp gave me focus. Prior to this, I felt my room was kind of shabby and mishmash. The Shabby and Mishmash Collection will NOT be featured at Bed Bath & Beyond or Linens n Things or any other fussy home store any time soon. As I say it lacked focus and moreover, when I looked at it objectively I saw it befitted a teenager or maybe young adult, someone just starting out. I am not just starting out. Not even close. I saw that my room featured things the teenage me might have appreciated (and didn’t have then). What it has become I think is whimsical adult.

No sooner than I found this lamp, I went to a yard sale that had cans of paint, one of which exactly matched the lime green of the base. For a quarter. In addition to the lamp colors, I added little touches of orange aided by a can of orange paint also at the yard sale (although I eventually decided a little orange goes a long way and dialed it back). Shades of blues and greens are my favorite colors, so there were lots of possibilities, no need to be too matchy-matchy or even to get everything immediately. A few things took time. Getting focus was the important part.

For the BIG job I painted the walls two tones of green, honestly, because I used free paint and wasn’t sure I had enough of one color! I love the two-tone; it’s polished and grownup but still fun.

Vanbytheriver recently wrote about the complications of modern bedding. I too have been befuddled by bed accoutrements. I’ve only, here in middle age, learned what some of these items are and do, largely thanks to the education I get perusing Amazon.

Okay. Duvet cover. First I had to grasp that duvet is a fancy name for a comforter. Why would it need its own cover then? It’s easier to take off and wash – theoretically – than to wash a bulky, cumbersome comforter duvet. If you never wash your comforter/duvet, I guess this isn’t your problem. Also, a duvet cover let’s you switch up the look of your room, seasonally or whatever, if that’s your thing. My comforter did not go with the color theme(s) so I used an off-white blanket on top of it for a couple years. That was okay but lacked any pizzazz.

I was stymied because the duvet covers or comforters I liked cost way too much. Not gonna happen! My criteria while shopping Amazon were no flowers or floral design, colorful, goes with “my” colors, and inexpensive. (The covers I loved featured large, blue and green color blocks or big circles/dots. They were pricey.)

I finally found something last month, featuring blue, white, and lime green – for $10! Yay! Decent quality too, made for Macy’s. It was coming together. In the fall I treated myself to the lime blanket from Ross for about $11. I love it.

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I previously posted how I made my own headboard. I’ve followed that up with changing the accompanying artwork. Well, as seen above, I swapped pictures yet again because I thought the strong duvet cover needed strong art. One thing I find is that just changing or tweaking what you already have is often a solution to a decorating problem. In this case I swapped picture frames, not just pictures. The picture seen above is now in the black frame (whose 4 plastic side pieces I turned backward for a better effect), and the other picture is now in the light green wood frame.

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Then I decided to switch up my  corner again, adding the green frame picture.

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So the square picture came over to the other side. (Here you also see the scarf added to the headboard too; I thought it went well with the new duvet cover).

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Finally, to give you a more comprehensive look at the space, I give you the opposite wall (photographed in panorama) which I’m really proud of, and which delights me daily. The curtain (a $6 Kate Spade fabric shower curtain from Ross that I sewed a 1 foot addition to so it’d reach the floor) covers the puny closet. Two shelves over the two doorways hold storage. The green fabric bins came from Dollar Tree. The “blue dots” on the middle shelf also came from Dollar Tree.

Art is whatever you think it is. Here the round Native American drum came from a package of fish given to me as a gift (the fish is looong gone but it was tasty). The picture on the left was a greeting card “woman on the beach” that I bought in the nineties because I loved it. I FINALLY framed it (both small white frames were giveaways). The little vases are almost all yard sale & thrift store finds. For covering shallow storage shelves I made, I found the orange curtain – which I think may be a sarong – for $2 at a rummage sale in November. I figure if I ever want to wear it I’ll just borrow it from the wall!

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Seeing red (dots that is)

I’ve been on a decluttering/prettyifying kick (something I do regularly). I made this simple, shallow cabinet with scrap wood and someone’s discarded shutter last year. I custom-created it to fit in a small space between two doors. You know how “they” say you shouldn’t keep pills, vitamins, etcetera in the bathroom? Well, this to hold those kinds of items. I have really taken to shallow storage – no more wrestling around in the dark recesses of a cabinet trying to find one tiny item while knocking others out onto the floor. Or buying 3 of something because you didn’t know you still had extra supplies tucked out of sight.

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[A side note: this little unit is 3′ tall because that’s what boards I had on hand when the idea and mood struck to do this. Sure, I could have waited and acquired other boards another day but baby, when I am in the mood to do something, I want to do it NOW. One of the things I truly love about being an adult is nobody can stop me and lecture me on how that’s not the right way to do it, you have to plan and take careful, precise measurements and write things down and go to the store with an itinerary. I say fuck that. I gots to do it when the mood strikes!]

So the other day in a fit of getting rid of stuff I came across a stash of red stick-on dots. I never specifically needed red dots but they were included in a Dollar Tree pack of multiple colors  I got for a project. I was about to offer it on Freecycle when inspiration hit.

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They look kind of pink here but they’re really red in person

I had  A LOT of red dots so I put them on, and next to, this other 6′ tall, deeper cabinecornerde that’s tucked into a corner. Such a simple thing but it really makes a difference. They’re fun and cheerful. And when I get bored of them it’s easy goodbye.

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Makin’ great updates to my living room (cheaply)

Earlier this year I did a post on my decorating-on-the-cheap living room and another on wall art made from somebody’s castoff IKEA shelves. I’ve since made updates I’m pretty pleased with and want to share.

First, somebody local on Facebook was giving away an assortment of paints and I’m all about free paint so I pounced on the offer. I originally painted my IKEA wall art using whatever I had on hand and the color palette kind of had a retro look which I liked. However every time I looked at it, which is daily, the fire engine red looked wrong to me. I only used it because I didn’t have a darker red at the time. The freebie paints included just the right shade so I repainted only those slats. Much better!

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I then took down the small white shelf and replaced it with this dark stained one I made years ago. It just works a lot better as does this different lamp.

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The bigger, darker shelf isn’t so dwarfed by the IKEA shelf-art

The major change in the living room was a splurge, a great, half-wool 5 x 8 rug, which while a “splurge” was still under $40. I am/was SO tired of boring rugs and dreary, old-fashioned “grandma” style rugs. This one suits me so much better. I removed the love seat’s red slipcover for winter just to have a change (and because I am more confident it’ll stay cleaner in winter; no sweaty bodies, no dirty bare feet, etc.).

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Does this rug not rock with the $1 painting, the $1 throw pillows, the free love seat and the free coffee table?!

I have to tell you a little story about those throw pillows… I was delighted to get them very inexpensively at a big, multi-person indoor yard sale early in the year. The only thing was they’re feather pillows inside and have made poor support or bolster pillows – this love seat is very deep so additional pillows were needed or it’s awkward to sit – because feathers just smoosh. Luckily, I later found sturdier thrift store pillows (don’t worry – I wash everything in hot water and only buy linens or fabrics that look good) and swapped them into the zippered pillow cases. Aaaah! The couch is SO much comfier now!

So now I had these two feather-filled “inserts” (that’s what the plain white pillows that go inside zippered covers are called – who knew?). I didn’t want to waste them and I DID need a new bed pillow so I got a bright (ahem) idea to open them up, remove the feathers and stuff them into a standard size pillow cover and then sew it shut. I was a little uncertain about the wisdom of this endeavor so at least I had sense to take the whole shebang outside to do it. Oh. My. As soon as I got one feather pillow open and grabbed a big fistful of feathers, I knew it was a mistake but I pressed on. The ground around me soon looked like I’d been slaughtering birds. White birds. Feathers were literally flying. Those pillows were never meant to be opened again!  But by god I ended up with a big feather pillow.

This next one is a small addition but I found an IKEA table runner (I didn’t immediately know what it was but guessed) for a buck at a local church-run thrift store (an odd little place open only one day a week – for six hours). I thought the colors would go well with the others so I added it to this wall.

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I was able to cram the top of the fabric in between the fake “bricks”

Here it is in the larger context.

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The corner “hutch”? Roadside find many years back. It was an ugly dark brown; so much better with a new paint job. And that’s contact paper from Dollar Tree accenting the lower doors.

Oh, oh! I must show you my best recent curbside finds! These are so awesome – and different – and blend perfectly with the colors I’ve been using. I already have several spots I want to use this chair.

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I’ve wanted a “bar stool” type chair for a long time and this one is over-size (16″ square seat), heavy, and well-made. And you can put your feet on the rungs. LOVE it.

Here’s the other find. The shade is fabric-covered and even has tiny mirror tiles, so unique.

It doesn't throw a lot of light but I like it just as decoration when it's turned off.

It doesn’t throw a lot of light but I like it just as decoration when it’s turned off.

I have to tell you this is the most beautiful my home – anywhere I’ve lived that is – has ever been. It pleases me every day. Frugal creativity baby!

Finding a spot for the “bird cage thingie”

I think I’m (still) in a show-and-tell mood. Last year I posted about fixing up a bird cage thingie I got dirt cheap (it was a little mangled when I found it so I stood on it in the store aisle to even it out a bit – I don’t need no stinkin’ mangled bird cage thingie). I liked it but just couldn’t find the “right place” for display. Till now. The quirky cat was a present and he too has drifted a bit not having the “right place”. Now this, this works. Ha ha ha.P_20160114_085431

 

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The cat’s resigned expression and pose are now most appropos

 

P.S. After posting this I noticed that I hadn’t painted eyes on my little bird so I got out a magic marker and remedied that.

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Let’s fix up a little wood table!

At the same yard sale I found this dress/blouse, I also found this little 23″ table:

That's the price tag still on it: $1!

That’s the price tag still on it: $1!

My space is limited and I think in terms of scaled-down furniture. The table was wooden, solid, and showed promise. Now, roosters aren’t really my thing, and the top bird was peeling off besides. I tried to scrape off the rest of the rooster but it was a pain and not really worth it to me so I decided just to paint. A friend had recently given me aqua spray paint which I used first on this project. I thought the aqua could be a good fit here too. It was!

Buh-bye roosters!

Buh-bye roosters!

I try to only get things from yard sales that I need (either stuff I don’t have or which could stand improving/updating). Here the table holds a fan (which is getting a ton of use this Spring). The fan was also a yard sale find several years ago. It worked fine but the settings label came off and wouldn’t stay glued. Hence the handwritten numbers!
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