Furnishing an apartment or home can be tricky. You want great pieces but may not have a lot of money to invest. As a result many (myself included) end up buying cheaper quality furniture that may not quite be what we want- but it gets the job. Just as in fashion, I believe in mixing high end/low end in interior design, however there is another great way to get some one of a kind quality pieces at a fraction of the cost- you just need a little elbow grease!
With a little time and effort you can end up with something great. The pieces below cost me nothing. They were leftovers from an estate sale and bound for the dumpster. My boyfriend and I like to drive around the day after a yard sale. Many times people toss what they don't sell and you can find some great stuff for free. Other times you have to invest a little, regardless you want quality wood. I recently got these two pieces. Here's what they looked like before:
Not great looking! But thats at first glance. They were very well built, had all of their hardware and were real wood (thats the important part). They had a great story to tell. They had been part of one families journey and I knew they could be part of another.
After a good cleaning with soap and water and a little light sanding it was time to paint. Valspar makes a line of chalk paint called Chalkey Finish. It is pricey at $30 a can but sooo worth it. It gives a thick coat and is very forgiving. Best of all it does not leave brush strokes. I used the shade "Kid Glove" on both of these pieces. They are vintage so there's going to be some quirks, accept that they are part of the beauty.
I knew for the interiors I wanted a pop of color so I went to the "oops table" at Lowes. Your local home store or wherever you buy paint will have one. Its essentially paint that a customer did not want or mistints. Since they can't sell it to someone else they discount it heavily. I got the green and pink paint for $1 per quart each. I used a tiny smidge of each- now I have plenty leftover for future projects.
Finally I got silver spray paint and did the hardware with it. I did replace the knobs as they needed a more updated look.. I thought it was worth it. I haven't moved them from the garage yet, but I styled them up a bit to give you an idea:
I also spray painted the stereo fabric on the bottom piece. I kind of like that you can tell what the piece used to be!
The final step is to seal or wax the pieces depending on your preference.
All in all these quality pieces took a but of effort but I live the results. I can't wait until another family gets to use them! So the next time you are looking for furniture, try driving around town or hit up some yard sales. You never know what you will find.
Here are some more pics:
What is your best furniture flip?
Apartment decorating can be tough. You're often bound by your rental agreement to the color of the paint already on the wall, and the carpet on the floor. I've had many apartments, and many different wall colors and rug colors. I think though, neutrals tend to be most common. I've read a lot of advice about decorating a rental space, and brining in color though furniture. While I do agree that can make for a beautiful space, sometimes I think working with neutrals can yield a calming and peaceful result. My previous apartments lacked windows, so I really wanted to play up the awesome light in this space. Additionally I wanted to try and use things I already own, and make sure that any new purchases could move to a new place easily if they needed to. Finally, I didn't want this space to look like an "apartment." I wanted it to feel like a home. I had a $500 budget and am very pleased with the result:
I have an open concept apartment, so I needed this space to flow into the living room and kitchen, which it does nicely. Additionally the door to the right opens up to the balcony. Essentially it all needed to coordinate, yet be an individual space. Each element of the room was inspired by a higher cost item, but found at stores such as The Christmas Tree Shop, Target, Kmart, and Tuesday Morning. I'll break down the elements below:
The table actually took some creativity to find within my budget. I knew I wanted a glass top to keep the space light and airy. When space is at a premium (you know what I'm talking about apartment dwellers) glass and mirrors go a long way to keeping things looking big and open. I looked at a few different sizes and found that a 48" Round would be the best size. Not too overwhelming, but able to comfortably fit people for a dinner party. The problem? All the tables that size were priced around $600.00, since the budget for the whole room was $500.00- that was a no go.
I did some Craigslist searching and came across a listing for a 48" round top and a base for $80.00, it just needed some TLC. I took it home, cleaned up the glass and set it up, but the base wasn't quite right for the space. It all seemed very hopeless until my mother came across this table set at KMart. The original top for this set was 36" which would have been way too small. I swapped it out with the 48" top that I had purchased and sold the base from Craigslist with the new unopened 36" top from Kmart. It all worked out! On top of that, Kmart was running a special and I ended up getting 20% off! After factoring the cost of the Craigslist glass top, less the sale of the other top and base, my total cost for this whole dining set was $152.00! I'm so happy to have found the exact type of table I wanted, within my budget. The color is a nice neutral metal with splattered brown which gives it some interest. I love the chair backs as well, I think the pattern works nicely against the curtains.
Kmart 36" Table and Chairs- $215.00 (20% off) = $172.00
Craigslist 48" Top and Base = $80.00
This brings the total to $252.00, but since I was able to re-sell the Craigslist base and the 36" glass top for $100.00 my total cost = $152.00
I knew I wanted some kind of bar in the dining room. I love wine and needed some place to store it all! Beyond that, the dining room opens into the living room, and I wanted guests to be able to grab a drink easily.
I initially wanted a bar cart (Okay, I still do). When I was doing this space, bar carts had just started to become popular. They were at the point where they were covering Pinterest, but hadn't quite found their way to Homegoods or The Christmas Tree Shopps. Now of course they are everywhere! At any rate, I looked and looked, and was about to use an old bakers rack when I stumbled across this in The Christmas Tree Shopps. It cost $80.00 and was already put together (which if you shop there you realize is a big deal)! The colors perfectly complimented the chairs, having the same paint spattering style. I love that it is neutral, but also that it is paintable. If I move (okay, okay, when I move) I can repaint it to match whatever scheme my next dining room is. I think as an apartment decorator, you need to always be thinking of future uses for your pieces, and this one definitely will travel well! It holds 10 wine bottles which is great and has a huge drawer for corkscrews, jiggers and bar utensils. I usually have some flowers in a wine bottle vase on top of it, but New England has been really yucky lately, and I haven't found any blooms I like.
So, these curtains were quite the "mission." I'm not sure how you are when decorating or shopping, but I get an idea in my head even before I know that it exists. That's what happened with these curtains. I wanted some kind of sheer trellis pattern. I wanted them a certain length, and I wanted them for $20 a panel. Which was honestly an impossibly tall order for something that I might have just made up. I shopped around a lot, I found a few things close, but they were either too expensive, too short or just not quite right. I almost settled for a solid beige panel, which would have killed the whole "light and airy" thing I was trying to achieve. My mom kept telling me to go and check out a store called, Tuesday Morning. I ignored her for a while because, well that's what daughters sometimes do, and finally out of desperation I went in. Well, wouldn't you know, they had exactly what I was looking for? Furthermore, they only had three sets, and I have three windows (one more in the living room)! So basically it was meant to be. The best part? They were $20 a set, or $10 a panel, so half of what I had budgeted for them. Um, score? I love them, they billow, they let light in, and they add interest to the room. They are actually the first thing I see when I walk in my front door. If you live in an apartment and cannot paint your walls, I cannot stress how important your curtains are. They can do so much to make you feel like you are in a house, not sharing a wall with three other people! Also, listen to your mother, she probably has some good suggestions!
This lamp was $5.00. I got it at Target in the clearance section. Its from their R.E. (Room Essentials) collection. I realize that its plastic, and meant for college students. However, it has been through three apartments with me, and added a nice "pop" of color to the room. Its very bright, easy to move, and again- $5.00. They have them in all different colors ranging from $8.00-$15.00. Its definitely worth checking out, I have another that I spray painted with gold shellac- more on that later! My tip- at the end of the summer check out the clearance section from all the "back to college" stuff. Sometimes you can score great deals, simply because they need the space. I swear, no one will think you're still in college!
Behind the lamp you can see my fork wall art. There is a matching spoon on the other side of the window. I hemmed and hawed for a long time about what to hang on the walls. I wanted something with wine, or coffee, and color. Then I saw the fork and spoon. They were fun, a little whimsical, and $14.00 each. Sold. I love them now, and I'm happy they are neutral, they are fun without being over the top. They keep the space fresh, but don't take away from the sophistication. I got them at The Christmas Tree Shopps, its something they regularly stock.
This little baker's rack has been with me for a long, long, time. I honestly don't know how much I paid for it since i got it in high school. It was part of a terribly misguided attempt to turn my bedroom into an Italian Oasis (whatever that is, I was such a weird kid). Its been a towel rack, a CD holder, an actual baker's rack, and now a lovely place for my wine glasses. I believe in using actual useful items to decorate whenever possible. This is especially important in an apartment where you don't have space to store a lot of dishes and glasses. These glasses are $2 each at The Christmas Tree Shopps. They come in all different colors and I rotate them depending on my mood or season. What's nice too is that if they break, you can easily replace them. I also like that they are accessible for guests at a party so they don't have to ask where the cabinet is. Right now I have a candle on the bottom of the rack, but I'm in search of a great ice bucket. A room is never really "done", right? The clock above it was an old clock from my office that I paid $14.00 for at Target a few years ago.
So here is the final cost breakdown:
Table and Chairs = $152.00
Bar = $80.00
Curtains (2 @ $20 each) = $40
Curtain Rods (2 @ $7.00 each) = $14
Lamp = $5
Wall Art (2 @ $14) = $28
Bakers Rack = Free! (Already owned it)
Glasses (8 @ $2) = $16 (I had the Martini Shaker)
Flower Center Piece (already owned) = $25
Clock (already owned) = $14
Grant Total = $374, well under budget!
How do you decorate when you can't paint the walls? Where are your best budget finds?
After the most brutal winter on record (I wish I was exaggerating) Summer has finally come to Boston! While that means yard work for my home owning friends, I do not have that luxury. What it does mean for me is breaking out my patio furniture! I love being outside. Dining, reading, sipping some wine- you name it I want to be outside doing it. I was so fortunate during my last move to finally get my own patio space (if you've ever been an apartment dweller you know just how coveted outdoor space is)! I knew I wanted it to be functional, cute, and somewhere that I could host a friend or two- my own little oasis. What I did not want to do was spend a lot of money. So my challenge was to find furniture to fill my space while keeping my budget to under $250.00 . I knew the place to head was The Christmas Tree Shoppes (a New England staple, but I believe they've expanded elsewhere). I also scored some great finds at Target and Kmart. Even though I had a few things already, I still included their cost in my total budget, which I will break down below. So here it is, under $250.00 and ready in 10 minutes! See below for a breakdown of prices!
So here's the breakdown, I already had the Bistro Set from college (its made many moves since) but I've included it in the overall budget:
Bistro Set- KMart (This was several years ago, it may no longer be available) $50
Outdoor Rug- The Christmas Tree Shoppes $20
Zero Gravity Chairs- The Christmas Tree Shop $40 each
Wooden Table- The Christmas Tree Shop $12
Ice Bucket-Target (purchased a few years ago) $20
Tray- The Christmas Tree Shop $4
Hurricane Vase- Marshalls $6 (I found it in the clearance aisle)
Plastic Wine Glasses- Target $4 each
Red Lantern- The Christmas Tree Shop $6
Flower Boxes- The Christmas Tree Shop $3 each
Place Mat- The Christmas Tree Shop $2
Candles- The Christmas Tree Shop $6 all together
String Lights- The Christmas Tree Shop $14
Grand Total = $234.00 which leaves $16 for a bottle wine! ;)
Overall I love this space, its not too crowded but I think it is efficient. I originally had the chairs against the apartment facing out, and the Bistro set in the corner where the lantern is. I never used table there because you had to pull it out to sit at it, so this new arrangement seems to work better. I do a lot of work out here, as well as hanging out with friends. The only thing left to do is plant my flowers!
Here are some still shots so you can see each item bette
Feel free to contact me with questions about where I got any of the things you see above! How do you make the most of your outdoor space?