We all like to save a dollar or two. For the moment, it makes us feel wise. And besides, when we come to our senses later we can always spend it on something else! For this column, I want to give you some simple ideas for enhancing your space by using your creativity – without breaking the bank. Do you like creative touches? Do you avoid the obvious? Or do you simply enjoy coming up with your own design solutions? If the answer is yes to any of these, this article is for you.
I love browsing through little antique and consignment stores because there is always something interesting to rescue and proudly display at home. Some pieces may need a little bit of TLC, but if you are trying to decorate on a budget, keeping an eye out for those great finds and “fixing them up” is a fun experience.
Here are some ideas for simple decorating projects that are fun and can instantly transform any space:
It’s all in the frame
A couple of years ago I visited an antique store in Morton-in-Marsh, a storybook English village in the Cotswolds. I became entranced with a piece of antique wallpaper, which I decided was perfect to cover the walls in my powder room. Alas, it turned out to be a remnant. I bought it anyway and brought it home looking for another use for it.
A few days later it was proudly residing over the fireplace in an antique wooden frame that I found in another antique store. It had become a unique piece of art. You can do the same with almost any piece of beautiful wallpaper or fabric. Another approach is to buy a book with pretty illustrations, take some out, and frame them. Botanical prints and historical scenes can look great with almost any décor.
You made this table?
If you are in search of an original coffee table, consider buying an old one with a metal base, or just a base itself, and installing new top. Some antique stores have a huge selection of metal table bases. You can also find them in “home and garden” stores.
Then, the choice is yours – wood, stone or glass can all look terrific.
If you choose wood, the options are countless, and the look of your new table depends only on your creativity and the style you are going for. Wood can be stained or painted literally any color you want, including faux finishes. Are you in the mood for red or turquoise? Go for it!
Why not? If you own a colorful scarf and love it like a piece of art, but know you won’t wear it anymore, turn it into a pillow cover that is sure to get attention.
Turning plain into posh
Last year, my husband and I were getting ready to move from Greenwich to Ridgefield. I believe in moving light, so by default I became the Possession Police and went through just about everything we owned. In the process I found many items that I wanted to part with, but I also noticed two turned wooden candlesticks that I was sure I’d never seen before.
An idea popped into my head. I had been looking for a Victorian accent for my new bathroom, and there it was. I added some paint, a couple of feathers and a handful of beads. Two very plain candlesticks had turned into “Victorian” gems!
We are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. We enjoy the beach in spring and summer, colorful leaves in the fall, and in the winter – well, maybe not so much. My point is that we have access to all of nature’s bounty, and we can use it to decorate our homes using seasonal displays.
Shells assembled in a beautiful glass or wooden bowl will ad that fresh summer look to any bedroom or bathroom. Red and gold leaves can be framed to ad natural character to your entry or kitchen. In the winter, pine cones, greenery and holly sprigs evoke holiday spirit. A great way to display nature’s gifts is by using shadowbox frames and collector’s boxes to hold objects that are not exactly flat. These are also excellent vehicles for showing off your kids’ crafts.
There is just one more thing I have to say before I close. As much fun as it is to find bargains, there are some things on which you should never scrimp. Here are three:
1. A sofa – a good couch can live for many years and travel with you from house to house. It is usually a great investment. And nothing irritates more than a substandard settee with shifting cushions and shaggy fabric.
2. Window treatments – they really dress up a window and the feel of a room, even if only a simple wooden blind. Quality is as important as the look.
3. Rugs and carpets – again, high quality will last for ages, and nothing grounds a room better than a beautiful rug.