Sprucing up Space and Thrift Store Finds

Although I am always good for the occasional splurge, I (contrary to what my mother might say) am more of a thrifty shopper than anything else.  Part of it is, of course, the prices but I also love getting something that is unique, has a little more personality and has some interesting, unknown story behind it (I do however always make sure it’s clean!!)  So I thought I’d do a post about my favorite thrift store pieces, how I use them, ways to get creative with these cheap finds and how to use it all to make a cozy and unique space.

My first all time favorite…The Green Chopping Block, something like $30.  I’ve mostly been using it as my night stand, but there was a time period where it was sort of a little work station: where I’d leave the mail, pens, pads and had my printer on the bottom.

I bought it from QCumberz (on 7th Ave and Indian School in the Melrose district) which is BY FAR the best place to get this kind of stuff:  they have really unique and TONS of things but it’s not as expensive as your usual antique store. Some of their stuff takes a little restoration but I think that’s the fun part.  They also have lot’s of good, cheap finds for crafting/around the house projects like old shutters, doors, window panes, signs etc.

My other (close second) favorite is my Yellow Armoire.  This piece was a little bit pricier, something around $200, but when you consider a) it’s good quality b) didn’t need any paint or anything, c) most armoires are way more than that and d) has played a crutial role in my clothing/junk/yarn etc. organization it’s a pretty good bargain.

I got this from an antique store on the west side of Phoenix called the Brass Armadillo (off the 17 and Cactus)

Another recent purchase (also from QCumberz) were my forest green Night Stands with french sayings written all over it (which I use as my living room table…I clearly have a habit for switching funiture uses around”).  They were each around $30 and they work perfectly with our livingroom layout since a square or even more rectangle table wouldn’t really work.

Two other  QCumberz purchase are my Key Shaped Key Ring Hanger, something like $25(which worked out great in my Kappa sorority house and still works great now) and my ChalkBoard Converted Cabinet, I think this was like $10.

While not necessarily thrift store finds next few were still deals I found and/or took a little creativity to put together

My Bed Frame which I got off of overstock.com like 5 years ago…it was exactly what I wanted, well built and cost just under $200.  Considering I use it pretty much everynight I’d say that’s a good deal (if what they say is true: that the true price of something equals how much you paid by how many times you used it then this actually cost me 11 cents).

Another great piece I was offered to me by my parents’ friends.  It was an old Desk Table that was sort of a medium colored, glossy wood.  To make it more my style I sanded it and painted it over with a cream colored house paint…gotta love (basically) free furniture.

I made this shelf (and actually I have the supplies for another one which honestly I just don’t have wall space for but I am not capapble of getting rid of awesome pieces that were such a great deal) with wall brackets that were ON SALE from Anthropologie for like $12 each(not usually cheap but they do have good deals every once in a while) and the shelf part is just a piece of wood I found at QCumberz.

And while we’re on the topic of budgets and thriftiness I thought it would be good to throw in a few of my favorite, cheap ways to spruce up your space.  I like to display everything, I’d take shelves over cabinets anyday…why have all these things if I can’t utilize them as decoration when they’re not being used for their real purposes (and they’re usually not being used for their real purposes)?

Rule number one (and probably the only rule…unless you really do have absolutely nothing) is best said in the words of Bethenny Frankel: “Use What You Have!”

Some of the things I tend to have around my house, in bulk quantities, that tend to liven up your space (and personalize it!) are:

Books-I have the majority of the books I’ve ever read,most of them are in storage in boxes heavier than my refrigerator, but I keep my favorites and the most current around my house all the time to fill in some of the empty, dull spaces.  Amazon is definitely the best place to find cheap books…sometimes for even just a few cents.

Candles and Lanterns: candles you can usually find on sale at Michaels, Target etc. for a pretty cheap price.  If you get one’s that look good and smell good than you’re killing 2 birds with one stone! (My favorite candles are Voluspa in Baltic Amber-not necessarily the cheapest but definitely the BEST).  Lanterns are also a favorite of mine.  Good ones can be kind of expensive but I found these (for like $15 each) at Marshall’s in CA.

Over the years I’ve accumulated lot’s of paintings which, I’ll admit, are a pain in the ass to carry around with me but they make such great decorations that I can’t leave them behind!

Sometimes I hang Scarves in spots that look like they could use a little color

I’ve also collected (not intentionally) lot’s of Boxes over the years…great for storage AND some personality.  Also, if you’re specifically looking for great boxes definitely hit up Bevmo…they’ll give you old really nice cigar boxes for like $2 dollars and wine box crate things for usually $4.

Then of course there are pictures! Out of all of these pictures and books are my favorite kind of decorations.  They’re relatively cheap to print and you can find cheap frames in lot’s of places (ie Michaels and Hobby Lobby).  I’ve also recently gotten into modge podging my pictures onto canvases.

All in all….If I had to suggest a few places to look for ways to decorate/furnish your house for a good price I’d say any unique fun place with good sales (ie Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters), QCumberz (or any other antique shop in the Melrose District), other places for deals like overstock.com, Marshalls, Etsy is another GREAT place to look for this kind of stuff…and of course YOUR OWN HOUSE!!!


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