In today’s society our home reflects our personal style almost as much as the clothing we wear.
As a designer I have worked on twenty million dollar homes and six hundred dollar a month rentals and they all have one thing in common – style!
Style doesn’t actually cost a thing!
Did you see the movie Pretty in Pink? Do you remember her fabulous room? Her unusual and comfortable stylish clothing? And the character was DIRT POOR.
That movie was a great inspiration to me as a young girl, because my parents were not wealthy by any means and yet I too wanted style.
And so, I learned the art of the “thrifting” and “junking” as my mother would call it.
One of the greatest gold mines in home décor is that which someone else has gotten bored with and either donated to a Goodwill or Salvation Army or has put out on a hot Saturday morning to pawn on their own.
I have gotten furniture, accessories, art work, lamps – you name it – at yard sales and thrift stores and all for a fraction of what they would cost in a store.
What’s the trick? How do you know when a piece is right or just cheap?
First, invest in some great magazines, Elle Décor, Veranda, etc., then get on mailing lists- I know, I know, who wants more junk mail? But sincerely, a great Pottery barn catalogue or a Napa Style could have spectacular inspiration and design ideas.
Once you’ve collected your magazines together, get a decent 3 ring binder and some plastic sleeves from an office supply store.
Now, the real fun begins! Start ripping the pages out of the various magazines/catalogues and use a Sharpie marker to write notes on the pages about what on the page you like.
Once you have a big pile of pictures put them into the plastic sleeves (if you want to get really anal like me you can group them into categories and P-touch tabs for each category) and stick them into your binder.
Now, whenever you go out for your thrifting excursions or junking take your big book with you and look for things that are similar to the items you’ve ripped out of the magazines and catalogues. You don’t have to have exact matches to things, what is important is that whatever you find is reminiscent of the style you’ve found in the magazines.
I like to keep a book that I call my “Dreality Home” which is a little play on the words “dream” and “reality” so that I can keep working at making my dream home a reality!
Some of my “rips” include architectural ideas, some are furnishings, others are just some color inspiration or something I liked the idea of for somewhere in my house.
Most recently I happened upon an “estate sale” and I found a spectacular fire place screen that is a 3 panel screen from the 1920’s – a solid wrought iron screen – it is probably worth about $600.00.
How much did I pay? $25.00! It was ridiculous!
Make Pretty Happen!
Melinda Brownstone 2010©