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You Don't Have to Break the Bank to Decorate

by and on March 23, 2014 1:45 PM

To stylishly decorate your home, you don't have to break the bank.

Your home can reflect your personality and tastes for a tiny amount if you shop smart and stick to a pre-determined budget.

Treasures, trinkets and gems can be found at thrift stores if you are willing to take the time and shop around. Use thrift store items as a way to add functionality and style to your home.

Big box stores often have great sales throughout the year on different home furnishings. Decorating your home and making it your own can take years, even a lifetime. Because of this, it isn't necessary to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars at one time to furnish your home to your liking. Be patient. Take your time and find pieces that fit your personality and style, even if that means buying pre-owned or re-purposing.

At thrift stores, look for pieces for your living room, dining room and bedrooms. At these stores, you can often find bookcases with a good solid frame. If it has nicks and wear, you can refinish it completely. Or you could sand and stain the wood, leaving many of the imperfections to add character to the bookcase. Add some cheap wicker or metal baskets and you have a personalized storage piece perfect for any living room, bathroom or bedroom.

Find outdated brass candlesticks and give them new life by cleaning, priming and spray-painting them bright colors. Use them for centerpieces or accent pieces in your living and dining room. To streamline the look, use matching colored candles.

Look for out-of-date coat racks that need a little sprucing up. A quick paint job and new hardware – new hooks and possibly a mirror for a last minute look before you dash out the door – bring the hanger into this century.

Side tables can be great thrift store scores. Overlook a few nicks and scratches for a well-built, sturdy table. Sand it down and add a fresh coat of paint or stain. Use Mod Podge and a top coat to seal on a brightly patterned piece of fabric for a one-of-a-kind piece.

Lamps are usually in surplus at thrift stores. Find one with a solid sculptural base, but don't worry about the finish or what the lampshade looks like. Take it home, paint it and purchase a new shade and you will have a brand new piece that screams luxury when it really cost you pennies.

Quickly turn a battered thrift store picture frame into a beautiful serving tray with paint, medium-thick cardboard, wrapping paper, handles and screen door pulls.

If you are updating your home office and are on a strict budget, head to Lion Surplus on the Penn State campus. There you can find anything you would expect to find in a classroom, dorm room or teacher's office. Stock changes constantly, so don't be afraid to stop back again and again for your redecorating needs.

Purchase a dated filing cabinet and update it with paint and shelf paper.

Look through old wooden desks and chairs for the perfect start to your home office revamp on a budget. A sand down, a coat of paint or stain and some polyurethane and you will have a desk that functions and adds character and appeal to your office. Do the same to an old wooden chair and add a cushion to give uniqueness and style to your work area.



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.


Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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