How to acheive high style on a budget

Thrifting,everyone is doing it!

Home Stagers are are masters of creating savvy design ideas for little investment.With the use of paint,colour and a few tricks up their sleeve they create show stopping interiors to wow buyers.Design on a dime requires some thinking outside the box,reusing and upcycling pieces already owned or purchased for a song in second hand stores and garage sales.

When shopping second hand don’t get caught up in buying something just because the price is right.Look for quality made furniture in solid wood if possible that won’t fall apart before you get the piece home.If you do find some items you love but the finishes are outdated or don’t match don’t worry.A coat of fresh paint will fix that problem to unify all your finds,a soft cream or dark brown will work depending on the furniture style.One thing to keep in mind is the scale of all the pieces,don’t crowd a room with too many pieces remember you are selling square footage not furnishings.Hardware is another way to instantly update.Nothing dates furniture more than garish brass so new nickel or chrome handles will give a fresh new look or spray paint if the budget is really tight. 

Refurbished shelf unit

A few of the pieces I have given a new lease of life to recently are a chrome wall unit purchased for $9.99.With a little elbow grease,some new glass shelves and paint I now have a stylish and funcional piece for my dining room.A bar cart which was a steal at $12.99 recieved a new coat of Benjamin Moore “Bittersweet Chocolate” 2114-10.The top needed a new surface so I decided on a faux leather look.I didn’t want this have too much of a shine but lucked out with this wallpaper purchased at Kent.Easy to apply with some spray glue and can be wiped clean.

Another piece I love is a night table,a Value Village find for $35.It had good bones but the oak finish was not to my liking.I splurged a little with this one and had it refinshed for $150.I had a feeling it was a good piece of furniture but my refinisher made my day when he said I had a good eye and it was by “Knechtel” a U.S. furniture company and solid wood.In this case the investment was worthwhile.

Bar Cart beforeNightstand refinished
Bar Cart after


Thrift store finds

Accessories are another way to add splash without cash.A few well placed can make a room but don’t go overboard.Less is more when it comes to accessorizing.A few larger pieces have more impact than too many collections of small nicnacs,this just adds clutter and in Real  Estate listing shots you need a focal point in a room.Too many small items are distracting to a buyer,there is nowhere for the eye to rest.Too much clutter in a room means a buyer will focus on all your “stuff” and not the features of your home.

Colour block for more impact
Recently I sat down with Christina Copp for her article in East Coast Living Magazine and shared a few of my ideas for “Decorating on a Dime”.The Summer issue has just been published and you can read some more of my design tricks.Summer is a great time for yardsales so get out there and bring home a few treasures of your own.It’s fun,good for the planet and makes your decorating budget go some much further.Enjoy!