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post #23 - Creating a Dream Home on a Nightmare Budget (Guest Post)

23 July 2013

Creating a Dream Home on a Nightmare Budget

Today, I asked my friend Sable to give my readers some decorating tips. She never ceases to amaze me with some of the cutest apartment decor in town, and is definitely a lady-lawyer with some great taste!

I was so honored when Morgan asked me to do a guest post while she is studying away for the Bar Exam. I met Morgan when I was her mentor on her first day of law school orientation and cannot believe that she is already taking the bar - time really does fly!  I am moving to a new apartment in a very short time and have been slowly collecting décor to make my new place look like some of my favorite Pinterest photos, but sadly that can be very expensive.  Over the last couple of months I have learned some great tricks to create the home of your dreams on a budget. I thought I would share some of my favorites with you all!

1.  Used Coffee Table Books

I LOVE coffee table books. I actually think I’m a bit of a hoarder, but sadly those hardback jewels do not come cheap.  While perusing Amazon one day a few years ago I decided to click on the used link. I was shocked at how affordable the used books were and how many options there were, so I took a leap of faith and made a purchase of a book in “very good” condition.  When the book arrived it was in “very good” condition, if not like new, and I had saved at least 80% of the cover price. I have been buying used when I can ever since.  I like to use Amazon because it pulls from many different websites and gives you the condition. As a general rule I usually only purchase “very good” and “like new” - I’m not sure what they would look like beyond that.  So, next time you are looking for a coffee table book (or any book for that matter) click the Amazon used button and hope your luck is as good as mine has been!

These are just some of my used coffee table books on my TV Stand / Bookcase (Target clearance $99.00)!

2.  TJ Maxx is your BEST friend

My very favorite place to shop for home décor these days is TJ Maxx.  Unlike it’s stylish counterpart, Home Goods, most people do not go to TJ Maxx when they are decorating their homes. But, more often than not, TJ Maxx has the very same products as Home Goods, but at cheaper prices and much less picked over.  TJ Maxx home shopping does take some effort though - sometimes there will be nothing you like and sometimes there will be tons of things.

TJ Maxx restocks 3 to 5 times during the week and does clearance markdowns on Wednesdays.  While I have been shopping for my new apartment I have been going to TJ Maxx at least once a week to look through their home department and at the new clearance markdowns. Shopping that often is hard work, but someone has to do it!  

Another perk of TJ Maxx is that they do layaway on everything except large furniture.  I know layaway sounds old fashioned, but if there is something you love that costs a bit extra, but you want to pay for it in cash, they only require a 10% down payment and give you a month to pay for it and pick it up!

These are some of my favorite budget finds!  The tray, candle, coral and elephant all came from TJ Maxx!  In the previous pictures from my bookcase the owls and the coral were both TJ Maxx clearance!  

3.  One Man’s Trash Really is Another Man’s Treasure  

Second-time-around furniture stores are a gold mine for the home. I don’t mean antique stores, I mean actual consignment shops.  If you go to an “antique store” you are going to pay the price for an antique; but, the average person who decides to sell some of their furniture is more likely to take it to a consignment store, especially if they don’t know the value! Another perk of furniture consignment shops is that the longer the furniture stays, the lower the price goes. If you are willing to wait, the deal can keep getting better and better!

This bar cart is my all time favorite consignment store purchase.  I think it is very similar to the ones that are all over Pinterest and in magazines, but at just around $100.00, the price tag is much better!

4.  A Coat of Paint Can Fix Almost Anything

Even better than finding a great deal is repurposing something you already have with a can of spray paint!  If you don’t like black, white or whatever the color might be, a coat of primer and a coat of spray paint can fix it up in an instant!  

The best time to get spray paint is when it is 30% or 50% off at Hobby Lobby. When it goes to 50% off I stock up on my favorite metallic colors - but if you need to buy a can and it is not on sale, you can always pull up a 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon on the internet or even on your cell phone in the store and get your instant discount!

A word to the wise - humidity is NOT your friend when spray painting! Scrubbing gold paint off of your legs and arms before a dinner out is not easy!

This coffee table is now the focal point of my Living Room, but for about 10 years it sat outside on my parents’ deck!  A good washing and a few coats of metallic gold paint made it comparable to a similar one I wanted from a room featured in House Beautiful!

I hope my tips will help you in future decorating ventures and that you enjoyed my guest post. I know Morgan can’t wait to be done with the bar and back to blogging!

A HUGE thank you to Sable! This post makes me so excited to get back to decorating our house. I hope some of her skill will rub off on me!

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