Thursday, August 26, 2010

Super Frugal Decorating

Yes, this is a homesteading blog. But my homestead includes a house. Actually, a home. Does yours? I could spend so much time out in the yard that the house never gets a thought, until winter, when I have to be indoors most of the day. I guess I'm apologizing for writing a post on decorating, but homesteading isn't just about the animals and garden. I want my girls to know that keeping a lovely home is as important as keeping a lovely chicken coop! 

So when a friend and I went to a flea market and a few shops this past week, I got inspired. I'll tell you more about the flea market another time, but when we popped our heads in a Pottery Barn (love that place!), I saw this...

... and loved all the white, wire, and chickens, as well as the light and airy look. (I don't get out much!) Hmmm... my living room needed a redo. But in keeping with my budget, I walked out with zero items; only a couple of photos I took with permission.


The next day at home, I uploaded the picture and started looking at it again. Could I pull something like it off with what I had? What was it that REALLY appealed to me in the photo? Did they have an item that was essential to this look or was it just good planning?

I started tackling my living room.

Here is a corner of the room before. This piece of furniture sits just to the right of the wood stove area.

I had really liked this before it got too cluttered looking. Things just kept making their way to the area, like the red jar and another photo or two. It had become way too heavy to really appeal to me. 

To remedy the situation, I started by removing everything and giving the table a good polishing. Then I put back only the elements that I thought might give me the look I wanted. The inspiration photo had a large vase. I loved that white vase, but I had a perfectly lovely one already. It made no sense to buy another. And once again, I had to remind myself that the overall look is probably what was really appealing to me, not just a single item. I had some silk olive branches in the storage room upstairs - a quick switch and it looked like I had a whole new vase! I repurposed the apple branches outside by the front door in an old milk can. Perfect for our fall apple season.

Back inside, I left the large tin ceiling tile that I adore. The texture and color speak to me every time I see it. So that stayed as well as the candle sticks. Next I needed something of a different texture to replicate the look of the wire chicken tray. This was a tough one. I didn't have a wire chicken tray. However, I did have another kind of wire tray that I was wild about years ago when I bought it, but I had never found a use for it that I was happy with. Until now.

Finally, I needed something white and a chicken item. I had plates with chickens, but I wanted to use them elsewhere, which you'll see in a minute. So I added a ceramic chicken in white that had been on my mantle. it was part of a pair and I decided that I really didn't have to keep the two together. Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Chicken.

So, what do you think of the free makeover of my table?

While it certainly wasn't the same as the inspiration photo, I think I at least captured some of what appealed to me about the display at Pottery Barn.

Next I moved to the large hutch in the dining area (it's really all one large room). Here it is before...

I liked this, but perhaps several years of looking at it left me in need of a change. Very symmetrical, wouldn't you say? I changed it up a bit based on the top photo using items I had in cabinets; things I loved but didn't ever have out because I didn't have a place for them. I even pulled out some favorite napkin rings with numbers and some napkins for color. I love these items, but almost never get to enjoy them because I don't use them for  every day.

Perhaps it's not as exciting to everyone else, but for me it was fresh and new. Like getting a makeover for free! 

Anyone can do this...

Do It Yourself Frugal Makeover Tips

• Pull out some of your favorite items and keep moving them around until it makes you happy. 
• Take cues from photos in favorite magazines, catalogs, and internet sites. 
• Mix textures and patterns. For example, don't put only ceramic items together. 
• Break up sets. I didn't keep all the chickens, plates, or glasses together. Notice how things are scattered.
• Decide on a color scheme with at least three prominent colors (mine was white, yellow, and green), but add a dash of the unexpected (I added a touch of red, brown, and blue).
• Mix old and new.
• Vary the height of items.
• Use everyday items that are unexpected. (I added a pepper mill, napkins, napkin rings, etc.) 
• Stand items on their side or end and prop them up. It makes a tray or other item look totally different.
• Less is more! Don't over do it. It's okay to have some space!

Besides being free, the good thing about this is I can always put it back the way it was. And in a few months, I just might do that. But for now, it's nice to have a change.

Jayme at Tales From the Coop Keeper, just redid her office using the same concept of moving items around and using what you love. But she's much more entertaining than I am, so you should really read her post from yesterday. 

At the end of her post, she mentioned the old adage,"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without". I think we need to encourage each other in this, because if you're like me, I can get really tempted to buy "just one more thing". I'm afraid things are going to be tight for a long time, but that doesn't mean our houses have to feel like they went through a depression, too. When we take the time and make an effort to bring beauty and order into each room, the whole family benefits. It draws them in and gives them a haven of rest from the world. It's soothing to the soul. It's home.

Any tips you'd like to share? If so, leave a comment. 
Want to share a photo of your own makeover? Come on over to the Community Forum!


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