Wednesday, October 17, 2012

From Bargain to Beauty

I've always appreciated a good bargain and I have prided myself in being able to find the best deals.  Apparently, not everyone feels this way.  One evening when out at a social event, a woman complimented my new blue blazer.  Without hesitation, I proudly shared with her that it was just $17 on sale at a local department store.  She said "That's OK!  It's still nice!"  So maybe shopping through sales racks and thrift store jungles is not for everyone, but I've grown to love it.  There is a guilt-free pleasure to buying a little something beautiful for my home for under $10.00.  It's also a fun way to experiment with new ideas at an affordable cost.

When I decided to become a stay-at-home mom, it became very important to watch our spending and to stretch a dollar wherever we could.  I was also trying to furnish and decorate a new home.  It was challenging to get the look I was going for on our budget, but I became very good at mimicking the "high end" look.  It meant taking notice of color combinations, materials, patterns, finishes and then carefully selecting items from places like TJ Maxx, Target and Stein Mart that gave the same "feel" to my space.  Thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales provided the opportunity to find real treasures among the junk.  High quality items made of fine materials, but discarded by their original owners in favor of new decor, made their way into my home.  Now don't get me wrong, this was no easy task!  These items are few and far between.  You have to go often, recognize a great deal in the moment and then, without hesitation, buy it and bring it home because it won't be there tomorrow.  I've been drawn to some pretty unusual items too.  This process has resulted in an original and "collected" look in my home that I really love.  No one else's place is quite like mine. 

It can be difficult sifting through all of that stuff, trying to find a treasure!  What you find most often is "junk" with worn finishes, broken parts, outdated styles.  Well now I've found a great way to turn these discarded pieces into treasures, too!  When you find a piece of furniture with scratches and dents, but great lines and details, you can recreate it as a perfect piece for your home.  I found this little beauty for $20 at a Habitat for Humanity Reuse Store while on vacation.  She came home with me and I knew that this would become my new bedside table.  

I really thought that the panels on the drawers would lend themselves well to a two-tone paint treatment, so that's what I decided to do, in shades of white and green.  The details of this table were lost in their original finish, but here I was able to highlight the details like the curved edge on the top, the lovely shape of the drawers, the trim detail on the sides, and the beautiful hardware.

A little dark wax brought some dimension to the carved wood detail at the bottom.

I love the "upcycling" process.  It is good for the earth because it keeps these items out of the landfill.  Buying from places like Habitat, Goodwill and other non-profit thrift stores also benefits the community.  The low cost has allowed me to create new pieces for my home, as well as for others.  In addition, these older pieces are generally made of quality wood, not particle board.  They will last for many years, especially if given a new updated finish. The end result is a beautiful "one of a kind" quality piece at a bargain price, well below current market prices!  It's a win, win, win proposition!  Who wouldn't love that! 

Linked up to:
Wow us Wednesdays