View Full Version : Home Decorators?

Nov. 26, 2009, 09:23 PM
Anyone here do their own home decor?

I don't want my condo looking like every other condo around. I'm going to put a personal touch on everything. With that in mind I'm not going out and buying alot of things seen at Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel.

I would really like to make my own curtains in a unique print. I am looking for really great quality fabrics to line with room darkening fabric.

Currently, I am having a bed constructed for my bedroom. Everything I've been able to find has been $$$$. (I only buy things I *love* and rarely things I *like*. I buy things I am crazy about so I can keep it forever.) The bed is a platform with four built in drawers. The headboard is upholstered in a medium shade of chartreuse.

I've been searching high and low for the following items. I want great quality things that I can have finished to my taste.

-Pedestal Table

Any suggestions? I found an Amish website with gorgeous furniture. But, I don't know how well their creations hold up. Plus, shipping is sooo $$$.

If you know of any great home decorating sites please post!!! I need help!

ETA: I've raided my family's storage unit and found some amazing pieces I'm slowly refinishing and having reupholstered.

Nov. 26, 2009, 09:39 PM
I also only like to buy what I really love...but I don't want to break the bank either.

For window treatments, I looked in decorating mags for curtain ideas, and got the lovely ladies at JoAnne fabrics to help me find patterns that resembled the style.

As far as furniture, I go to lots of consignment shops, antique stores and estate sales. Then you can mix the unique pieces with the modern (say your awesome PB couch;)).

Nov. 26, 2009, 09:49 PM
Thanks Twigster :)

I found a fabric I love! I just have to start taking measurements.


Do any of you know how to safely remove finish on a piece of furniture in order to refinish it to your liking? I'd prefer to do most of it myself (to save $$$). I'm sure it isn't that difficult, or I hope not!

Any links would help! Thanks again COTH peeps :)

Nov. 26, 2009, 10:34 PM
hgtv.com look up rate my space it gives you multiple photos of real people's rooms. they'll frequently list where they bought things or how they made them. You can create a favorites list and go from there. I love it

Nov. 26, 2009, 11:15 PM
I do mine, but do a lot of looking around Marshalls/TJ Maxx Homestore/etc for housewares. I think my curtains were about $8 and I couldn't find yards of a fabric I like for that, so it worked out well.

A lot of my furniture was either relatively inexpensive, inherited, or foundling: purchased from a thrift store, off craigslist, or wherever, because I liked the shape, and then refinished to whatever I saw fit. My house was built in 1870 and it shows - the floors are old and worn, there's crown molding everywhere. The personal touches are found mostly in textiles and photographs.

My living room has a wall of historic photographs of my grandparents and great grandparents as young adults. I scanned them out of old albums, cleaned them up, matted them the same, and then framed them with expensive-looking wrought metal frames from TJ Maxx. Probably cost me about $10 each to do.

Any piece of art looks nicer with a fancy frame and a mat. A good crisp paint job changes a lot, also.

Nov. 26, 2009, 11:36 PM
I watch the home shows. I also get Architectural Digest which gives me a lot of ideas. I moved to a much bigger house about a year and a half ago. I hated my old furniture. I only brought a few key pieces, so my house was pretty bare. We have three floors of rooms. My realtor told me that she furnished her whole house off Craigslist, so that's what I did. I found so many unique, lovely pieces at, usually, very good prices. One guy was selling his whole household because his fiance hated all his stuff, which was really very nice and high quality things. Go figure. I bought as much as I could. I just wish I had more money!

Also my mother, who is always redecorating, frequents estate sales. There's a site where you can plug in your zip and they'll give you listings of all the sales that weekend. It's worthwhile if you want to find some nice pieces.

Nov. 26, 2009, 11:49 PM
To get nice room darkening curtains you layer them. They sell room darkening liners at Walmart in white, but I bought a simple black set that goes next to the window-I put it up with a spring rod that sits inside the bracket that holds the main decorative rod, then the outer inside the room ones are conventional curtains that go on the big decorative rod. If you live in a condo that requires white curtains showing outside, then use the white liners instead of the black curtains I used. The window side darkening ones are just bigger than the windo frame, and the inside the room decorative ones are floor length with a nice but inexpensive rod and this covers the room darkening ones nicely. I get cheap poster frames and picture frames from Walmart, get a nice hammer-in hanging bracket, and put cheap posters or photos in them for a nice wall decoration-I put a big one that leans on the mantle that is a nice landscape that is 24x36 and you can alternate pictures for a different look too. They have very cheap throws and sofa pillows at Walmart, and slightly more expensive ones at Target.

The 400 and 250 count sheets at Walmart are nice patterns and colors this year, and the prices aren't bad at all. The also have nice comforter sets, or quilts if you like lighter weight covers too.

If you have any nice art pieces or prints that you want professionally framed price several places, and ask the framer if they have a cheaper version of the ones you want-it can make a big difference. To save on lighting-Lowes and Home Depot sell out discontinued sets for a good price and matching fixtures make all the difference in the total picture for a home-matching fixtures look so nice compared to the mismatched odds and ends some people have. I also buy floor or table lamps at Walmart or Lowes on sale-they get rid of higher end display or discontinued models for a great price if you just take the time to look around.

Nov. 27, 2009, 12:31 AM
I don't want my condo looking like every other condo around. I'm going to put a personal touch on everything. ...I've been searching high and low for the following items. I want great quality things that I can have finished to my taste.

How to make a condo look unique? Easy. Use lots of color, wallpaper instead of paint in at least one room, and don't be afraid to have more than 1 large piece of furniture in any given room. It's the monochrome look of "We'll be moving to a house in 2 years so we have to think of keeping the off-white walls to appeal to future buyers " mixed with the idea that the highest ideal of decor is to look vaguely 'Zen' while hiding all your crap in storage that makes them so cookie-cutter.

The only cheap way to get furniture of any sort, let alone decent furniture (instead of pressed wood nightmares) is second-hand. You can try junk shops, but you typically get better results cutting out the middle man and going straight to yard sales, thrift shops and flea markets. I got my very nice wing chair (now the worse for wear thanks to 10 years of my dog dreamily chewing the arms in her sleep) for $10 at a church bazaar. There aren't many antiques left out there, but there is some nice, solid furniture going cheap.

You can also see Craigslist in your area for furniture, and under Free (try searching Curb to see what's available in the local trash, which is a humbling but effective way to get the very cheapest furniture). CL also lists yard sales.

Another suggestion for decorating - art stores have some neat basic supplies for decorating projects, and often they're cheaper than in a craft store.

Nov. 27, 2009, 11:14 AM
Thanks everyone!!!

I bought a BEAUTIFUL pedestal table for a whopping $20 off of Craigslist. It's solid wood and I'm going to refinish it. Once I do, I'll post some pics!

I decided I'm going to see if I can do it for $1k or under (not including my sofa). For that price: curtains w/darkening liners, frames for my prints, dresser, buffet, and rugs.

I'm pretty excited. On the next Off Topic Day I'll update with pictures :)

Nov. 27, 2009, 11:18 AM
I am currently in love with this blog: http://www.younghouselove.com/

Tons of neat ideas, links to more, lots of pictures. Enjoy!

Nov. 27, 2009, 12:15 PM
I am currently in love with this blog: http://www.younghouselove.com/

Tons of neat ideas, links to more, lots of pictures. Enjoy!

OMG! That blog is awesome! Thanks Tullio! :D

Nov. 27, 2009, 12:26 PM
another addict.... my work here is done :-)

Nov. 27, 2009, 01:39 PM
I will add that color is your friend, and paint is relatively cheap. (and easy to change!) You can often pick up "mistake" cans of paint that were mixed incorrectly for next to nothing at the hardware or paint store.

Craiglist is a GREAT resource. I buy and sell some vintage items and I've found the most amazing items! These are two of my favorites. Each cost me $30!

For picture frames, if you have an Aaron Brothers near you they are always having a sale of some type. Once picture frames and mirrors are on the wall it's virtually impossible to tell the difference between cheap and expensive.

RE: rugs, If you go to your local carpet store they will have scraps you can buy for really cheap and have the edges bound.

I also love these finishing products. I've often thought I would have to refinish a piece, but once I've cleaned it with dish soap and water and applied restora finish, I haven't had to:

Finally, look at design magazines and expensive stores for inspiration. You'll see that they layer different colors, textures and patterns versus the bland vignettes Pottery Barn puts together. I worked for several years at this store and still consult for them, and they do a great job of layering color and mixing different styles:

Nov. 27, 2009, 01:58 PM
Yard sales are your friend!!! It's amazing how many wonderful pieces I've found at yard sales for next to nothing. You just have to be patient - it's not like saying "I'm going to get a dresser today" and going in to a high-end furniture store and having a dozen to choose from.

My dining room is a prime example of yard-sale chic. I have a beautiful antique buffet that cost $75, a 10x12 silk Oriental rug in beautiful colors that cost $70, and a dining table with four chairs I picked up at an estate auction for $100. Retail on any one of these pieces would have cost waaay more.

I second the idea of "oops" paints. You also have to be patient with this, and visit the stores often, but I just got a huge 5 gallon container of exactly the color of Ralph Lauren paint I wanted for a large area for about 15% of the retail price.

Nov. 27, 2009, 02:20 PM
"The only cheap way to get furniture of any sort, let alone decent furniture (instead of pressed wood nightmares) is second-hand."

I second this - I have very good taste (Baker, Henredon, etc.) and Target budget since the majority of $ is spent on horses! Not only that, I am a cheapskate - I want top $ looks on a dime.

I haunt resale shops and picked up some incredible bargains - Henredon chest that looked brand new for $200, Drexel end table for $17, and my best find, a gorgeous Baker-style mahogany/inlay dining room table for $500 that extends to 110"! My best bet is a charity 'thrift' store located near our city's most expensive neighborhood! You have to go often as merchandise changes often and the best items go quickly. Luckily I can zip over there on my lunch hour!

I also have found rugs at Marshall's, found a super Karastan rug at a Macy's bargain center that just had fringe on one end partially ripped off - rug itself was fine. I bought it for $100 and took it to a rug repair place and spent $50 to get it re-sewn - so got a $1,000 rug for $150.

I also second using paint to create drama. I hate 'neutral' for the most part. she who had a red guest bedroom at one time. LOL! Paint is CHEAP! I think almost every room in my house is a different color - way different than the old "keep your entire house in the same color shade" dogma. After peeling whole rooms of wallpaper in the house we bought 7 years ago, I have vowed to NEVER wallpaper an entire room EVER! Border paper combined with paint can create the same effect and MUCH easier to change!

I would also suggest, instead of buying new sofas when needed, buy high quality, well-built used and have them recovered. My only huge splurge was to buy expensive, custom-covered sofas - and I was very disappointed in the workmanship/quality when they arrived. and this was from a high-end, national chain. I will never do that again - I will buy good OLD, used and recover.

There are some before and after pics here. I am not a pro decorator by any means - I just buy what I like and really don't give a durn if anyone else likes it. Fortunately my husband has no opinions when it comes to home decorating! LOL!