Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Decorating Without Busting the Budget

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I love Craig's List. It has to be one of the best websites. Ever. Well over half of our house has been furnished from the site and even though it usually involves a lot more time and effort than opening up the Pottery Barn catalogue and pointing to a page, you can get some amazing deals on quality furniture for a fraction of the price of purchasing it new. You'll still have to spend more for higher quality, but still end up saving a large chunk of change. I look at it this way, you can get Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel quality at Walmart Prices.
For the last several weeks I have been working to complete a room makeover on our loft area. (Technically I'm not sure that you could really call it a makeover since it was previously an empty, unused space, but nonetheless I have been working on finishing it for a while now and am really happy with the progress.) It isn't finished, I still plan on some wall art and a few more accessories, but I felt it was finally finished enough to publish and give you a few tips on how to make the most of your money in home decorating.

(I guess I probably should have taken a before picture, huh? You'll have to use your imagination here, think bare wood floors, bare walls, and no furniture. Like I said, empty. Echoes. Crickets chirping. You get the idea.)

The Pieces, and How We Were Able to Save:

I suppose I should start by telling you that the mini sofa I liked for the loft was priced at $1000. Ha. Right. I'll keep dreaming.

The rug came directly from Pottery Barn. We had several gift certificates and store credits, a 20% off purchase coupon, and some Christmas money. It was also on clearance. The rug pad came from Home Depot and was purchased with another gift certificate that we also received for Christmas.
The Leather Chair. Originally from Crate and Barrel, we received it as a gift about 8 years ago. It is comfy, cozy, and was WAY too big for dear husband's office in this house, so we relocated it to the loft. Cost? Nada.
The Sideboard. I got this off of Craig's List right after we moved here for $200. Solid wood, hand distressed, and HEAVY. Seriously, you should have seen me getting that thing up the steps with Ian. It's a miracle nothing was broken. Original retail price for this piece was a little over $1200.
Lamp from Lowes. Right after we moved here we got suckered into an in home sales pitch for a water softener. (I'm still a little salty about those two hours I'll never get back. And no, we did not get the water softener.) On the plus side we did get a gift certificate to Lowes for listening to said pitch, so we got a free lamp! We later purchased a second matching one with another gift certificate.
The Loveseat. I spent a lot of time looking for a loveseat, I wasn't all that jazzed about buying a used one but the cheapest new one I could find (that was decent quality) was around $600 plus $100 delivery. Not really in the budget right now. I did find this one on Craig's List, $150, good shape, clean, and neutral. It works! Even if I had gone with a cheap one from Target or Walmart, I would have spent over $300 and it didn't look as good as this one.
The End Table. My brother built it when my husband and I were first married, it was stashed in the corner of my sewing room and not being used to it's full potential. I bought a new drawer pull for $2 on clearance at Lowes to coordinate with the sideboard, changed it out, and had a quick, updated look for our table!
Now onto the throw pillows. I found this fabric when we moved here and LOVED it. My mom got me 3/4 of a yard as a gift, and I tucked it away knowing that I wanted to make throw pillows for someplace in our house. I also dug through my stash and found some cream colored silk dupioni that was supposed to be a Christmas tree skirt when I bought it nine or so years ago. It was a good match, and so it became piping and the back. I also had zippers in my stash, so the pillows didn't cost a dime out of pocket.
These throw pillows came with the loveseat that we bought, and although I didn't mind the cover I didn't love them with the rest of the stuff in the loft. So I used the forms inside (which were down filled and very nice!) and recovered them with the fabric shown above.
And here's the finished pillow! I love the way they turned out, I made two for the loveseat and they lighten up the space. In the future I have at least one more pillow planned, but this was enough for today!
The Result... (the loveseat is not stained, the camera flash did weird things to it!)
One end of the loft...
...and the other! (Like I said though, still need some artwork.)
Overall I am thrilled with how it turned out, this is a great place to sit and read to the kids at night and even though it took seven months of getting a little at a time we were still able to finish it for a third of the cost of the sofa I liked originally. So if you have a room that needs an update or is out of your reach, think outside the box to redecorate instead of reaching for your credit card. Pull from other places in your house or attic, check Craig's List, garage sales, or secondhand stores, grab some fabric from your stash or the bargain bins, find a fun craft online, and check the clearance aisle at your favorite store. Or, if you're really desperate, agree to listen to a pitch for water softeners to get a new lamp from Lowes.


  1. I love it! Can't wait to see it in person :)

  2. Beautiful loft! And inspiring post. Love it Ashli!

    And I'm chuckling to myself as we had to endure a similiar water softener pitch years ago. I'm still salty about it, too ;)