I’m sharing my 4 tips for furnishing your home with quality items for less. Quality furnishings don’t have to break the bank!
Have you ever felt like you’ve been running on a hamster wheel and can’t seem to find the way off. You’re tired, over-committed and just want to throw yourself into a quiet room with just yourself and a good book? In this case, my book of choice would be a good home decorating book like Nora Murphy’s Country House Style. I’m dying to get a hold of my copy by the way. Charlie started his first official week of home school last week and ever since I have felt thrown out of my element, too busy and longing to get back to the blog. This blog and our home is such a major source of joy for me. Homeschooling went really well but designing and creating within our home is my happy place. This week we’re more structured and I can already feel myself breathing again. It’s going to be a good week, friends! I wanted to take the time to write this post because it’s something that I think affects the way I decorate in such a big way and because I have only had this on my mind for months. So lets talk a little about the ways I’ve furnish our home with quality items for less.
Over the last twelve years that Josh and I had been married my style has come a long way. I’ve always loved design, even since a child but my style wasn’t always so groomed. It’s taken years and a couple different homes to really pin it down and know when I go shopping what it is that I’m looking for and what I’m not. With so many trends coming and going all the time it’s so important to figure out your true style and not feel pulled to what is popular at that given time. That’s another post for another day, I suppose. These 12 years of home making have taught me that some things are worth the extra money and that skipping on quality really shows in the details. I would never tell you to shop outside of your budget but just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have timeless, quality pieces! Here’s my four tips for shopping quality items on a budget –
Shop the Outlets
If I’m not looking for something super unique and I just need some classic staple items I’m hitting up the outlets. Some of my favorite outlet stores to shop are Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, Restoration Hardware and Williams Sonoma. If you;re lucky enough to have any of these within driving distance to you I highly recommend giving them a try. These stores are always getting new things in but in my experience things don’t stick around long. These are stores that you want to shop often. If they don’t have what you’re looking for one week it’s very possible they will the following week. Ballard Designs for example gets trucks in daily. If you don’t mind waiting for the perfect item this is a great way to get more expensive things for cheap!
Here’s just a few things I’ve purchased from the outlets.
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This solid wood TV hutch from Ballard Design’s retails for $2000. I paid a whooping $200. I just happened to go on a day where they had a dozen of these hutches arrive and they needed the space for other things, so they made them a door buster. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a TV cabinet at that time but I knew the deal wouldn’t last. I jumped on it. Now my TV is tucked away out of site, just the way I like it.
Charlie’s bed was purchased at the Pottery Barn outlet this past spring. It was a catalog order that someone changed their minds on. It retails for $800. We paid just $150. His dresser also came from the outlet as well a number of years ago for well under the regular price.
One of my favorite pieces I’ve found at the outlet is this black accent table. I purchased it for around a $100-$120 at the PB outlet. It was also a catalog return. It originally retailed for around $500 – $600. I love that is such a versatile and classic piece. It has rotated around our home but is severing as a bedside table currently.
A great place for great quality pillow covers is the Ballard Designs outlet. They are constantly marking the entire store 40% off on top of the outlet price. I have found several pillow covers there over the years for only $4-$10 a piece! These green and white check pillows were just $10 each. This fall I’m going to be incorporating some pillow covers that I found at the outlet for only $4 and their inserts for just $2!
Shop Antique Markets & Thrift Stores
One of my favorite places to shop things for our home and one that I find the most inspiring is antique stores and markets. Not all antique stores have deals but sometimes you do come across them. I love finding a good booth that has affordable items. You never know what your’re going to find and there’s always something unique. I have found some of the my favorite things I have found at antique stores or markets. If you’re okay purchasing second hand it’s a great option for finding well built, unique furniture pieces. Thrift stores are also a great place to look for quality times for less. I have found thrift stores to be very hit or miss but I have come across some great deals. Like the outlet, check thrift stores and antique stores frequently. They’re moving inventory constantly and there’s something different every time you go. I always keep a look at out for nice wooden furniture, vintage china, quality picture frames, brass, pewter and copper items and interior design books.
I found this antique wooden mirror a few months ago. I came across it packed in the back of a booth at my favorite local store for only $15. I couldn’t say no to that! I will say $15 for an older wooden mirror is pretty rare but miracles do happen.
(Both my nickel and brass table lamps were purchased at the PB outlet. We’ve had one set for over ten years. They’ve served us well. These particular lamp you can find often at the outlet.)
I came across this cute vintage kids table at a thrift store for under $10 along with four Pottery Barn Kids chairs for only $2 a piece. This table and chairs has gotten a lot of use at our home over the past few years.
This old accent table was also found at a thrift store for $9. I’m in the middle of refinishing it but you get the idea. That little lamp was a PB outlet find, one of my favorite lamps.
I’ve been collecting vintage copper for some time now. I remember seeing pictures of Martha’s kitchen at Turkey Hill back in the 90’s. I thought it was so charming and gorgeous. It’s always had a soft spot in my heart. I have much more copper cookware than pictured here but every piece has been purchased second hand. The most I ever spent on a piece is $15. Since copper has become so trendy it’s been harder to find but every now and then I still find something I can’t live without.
I also love collecting vintage baking pans. I’ve used them to hold cookies as a gift and this past Christmas I used them on the wall to reflect candle light in the foyer. They’re fun to have around. All three of these were purchased for just a 1 each at a thrift store.
One of my favorite things that I’ve gotten is this beautiful Victorian buffet/chest. It came from one of my favorite consignment shops that I also found my Windsor chairs at. Josh found this beautiful piece for under $200. It’s in amazing condition with the original hardware. It was a great find for sure!
Shop As-Is & Clearance
I know it sounds like a no-brainer but it’s really amazing what you can find in the clearance section! One of my favorite clearance/as-is section to shop is Ikea’s. Ikea is a store that I tend to be very choosy when shopping at. There’s a lot of poor quality items but there’s also some great ones too. One of our favorite finds from their clearance section were our solid wood butcher block counter tops. A couple months after we decided we wanted butcher block they just happened to be discontinuing this particular wood so we were lucky enough to pick up each slab for only $30. We completed our entire kitchen for $150.
Around the same time we lucked up and found our apron sink there as well for only $100. It was a return/open box sink. It had zero scratches or chips so we snatched it up!
A couple years ago I was at the Ballard Designs store in Atlanta and just before I left I decided to check out the clearance section. In the corner of the clearance aisle was a roughed up, opened box with green springs sticking out everywhere. I was thrilled. I knew right away it was a tree. I searched the box high and low with no price sticker to be found. After asking a sales associate they kindly replied, how about $10? $10… umm yes! It was a store display and was missing its base. That didn’t bother me a bit. Josh cut a simple little wooden stand for it and it’s worked perfectly.
Pottery Barn frequently puts pillow covers in their clearance section in store. Two of my favorite lumber pillow covers were found in the clearance section for only $10 each. I also recently found a couple washed velvet covers for $10. Check the clearance, friends!
Holiday decor always goes on clearance shortly after Christmas. I’ve purchased a number of ornaments, pillow covers and wrapping paper for a forth of the price on clearance.
Shop Craigslist & Facebook Yard Sales
Last but not least is to check Craigslist and the Facebook yard sale pages. I check the Facebook yard sale sites almost every day. I rarely buy things but every now and then I come across something really great. If you like a particular store search that store in the search box. This will pull up only those items from that brand. You can all do this if you’re not looking for antiques or vintage items.
Maybe it’s me, but Craigslist always creeps me out a bit but we have found a couple great things there. Just don’t go alone and always meet in a public place. One of the great finds from Craigslist was our pedestal sink that we installed in our laundry room last spring. You can see the before and after here.
Another great Craigslist find was the Jennylund armchair from Ikea that we put in Charlie’s room. I normally do like to purchase upholstered items second hand just because of dog and cat allergies in our home but this particular chair was super clean and we were able to purchase a new cover for it. We picked up this chair for $25. It retails for $250, so we got quite the deal. You can see Charlie’s room makeover here.
I could write for days on this subject and I’m sure I’ll think of some tips I wish I had thrown in later. IM thinking a second post might be in order but for now I hope this gives you a place to start. Creating a home you love doesn’t have to cost you a fortune but you do have to be diligent in your search. Im always on love lookout mode. I keep a running list of items that I’d love to have in my head. When I’m out and I stumble across one of those items at an amazing price I get it. This list is always changing but you get the idea.
If you have a favorite place to shop that you’ve found some good deals I’d love to hear about it! I’m always looking for we places to add to my list. Have a great week friends!
Lorraine Nolte says
I really enjoyed this post and taking a tour of your lovely home. Your kitchen cabinets are lovely. Did you paint them? The color is awesome and I am wondering if you shared the color in a previous post
Thank you so much, Lorraine! We did paint the cabinets. They’re painted in Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore. 🙂
Rebecca Dupuy says
We completely gutted our Kitchen in 2010. Everything still looks updated. I need to paint my cabinets and wall and change out window treatments. I tend to go with blues and greys. Any suggestions for walls and cabinets? Love your style. I love pottery Barn and tend to go their for many purchases.
Robbyn Mendleski says
Good post, I furnished my home and the homes of both my daughters with items from CL and FB Marketplace. I have used both for years without any issues. I go by myself most times (although I DO tell a family member where I am going and the address; then I call them when I’m home again) without ever having an issue; one couple who had just moved to the area wanted to go to lunch! That was a little weird, but they were very friendly and opened their soon to be garage sale (four days early) so I could see if there was anything else I “needed”. I LOVE the bargains you can find, my husband says we’ll never shop retail again. Thanks for renewing my joy of thrifting and the “hunt” for the perfect piece.
I’m so glad you’ve have a good experience with CL and FB. We have too and it’s been such a great resource. Everyone we’ve met so far has been totally normal and friendly. Great idea about letting family know ahead of time, better safe than sorry. I very rarely ever pay full price for anything. When I do I have to really love it and I normally wait weeks or even months before I pull the trigger. So happy to know a fellow bargain shopper!
Marty Oravetz says
Great post and suggestions. I love the thrill of the hunt and how you’ve created such a warm and inviting home on a budget.
Thank you so much, Marty! The thrill of the hunt is best. Its always such a great feeling to find something great at a great price. 🙂
Fantastic post! Would you share the source for the clip-on candle holders you used with the vintage baking pans on the wall? That is such a terrific idea!
Thank you so much, Janine! The candle clip-on’s were found on Etsy.com. They were from an older German woman who had found them decades ago while in Germany. She only had the few I purchased, however there were other people selling them. I also know that ShopTerrain.com sold them at one point as well.
I love the chairs at the end of your kitchen table. Where did you purchase them? They are fantastic!