4.17.2012

Trending: Thrift

One of my favourite thrifted pieces!
Thrifted, DIY and redone furniture, lamps, and decor are big trends right now.  So big in fact that stores like Anthropologie and HomeSense are making big bucks out of items that look thrifted, but really aren't.  But if those price tags seem a bit high, you can get the look of thrift in a pretty easy way, by actually thrifting! If you are new to the thrifting game though, it can be a bit intimidating.  So here are some tips to help you get started.

1) Have a "Big Picture" of the Space You Want.
              Thrifting is hard if you don't know what styles, colours and patterns you are drawn to.  Places like Pinterest are great for browsing through and finding furniture, fabric and rooms that inspire you.  Create a pinboard for each space you want to work on, either virtual or real. It will help guide you in finding what you want for each room, and help give a cohesive look to the whole space.  You probably won't be able to find exactly what is on your pinboard, but often you can find similar pieces that can be adjusted for the total look.

2) Know What You Are Looking For.  
              Keeping a running tally of furniture and decor items that you need or want will help you find the items you want faster and more easily.  Often if you know what you are looking for, the piece that you buy will more easily fit into the design ideas that you have. It will also help prevent you from taking every item that seems like a good deal at the time and storing it until you know what to do with it.

3) Check Your Local Resources.
              Kijiji, Craigslist, local thrift and antique stores, estate and garage sales are great places to find fantastic deals on the furniture you want.  But the catch is that you have to check OFTEN.  I often check my local online resources 3 or 4 times a day when I am actively hunting for a new item.  It can be worth checking your local thrift stores, antique stores, estate sales and garage sales weekly or bi-weekly, depending on your neighbourhood.  Remember, the good stuff goes fast!

             Don't forget to check your own home or garage (or that of friends and family).  You might be surprised at what the old microwave stand that's collecting dust in the garage could become! The best thrift is often a free thrift!

4) Set a Budget.
            Doing lots of price browsing will help you decide what a good price is for a particular item, then you can set your budget according to what you see as well as what you have.  Remember to try and include any DIY modifications into the budget as well.

            It is totally ok to break the budget occasionally, if that bedframe is $50 out of your budget but you are  in love and can't get it out of your head, then GO FOR IT!  You probably won't regret it.

4) Look Beyond the Piece of Furniture in Front of You.
               Don't worry about colour, style, function, or aesthetic condition of the piece of furniture in front of you.  These can all be changed with some minor DIY and new materials.  Paint, fabric, stain and sandpaper are going to be your best friends.  Websites like Curbly and Knockoff Decor (and Not Exactly Martha!) are fantastic places to get tutorials and inspiration, you never know what a dresser might become!

5) Know Your Limits.
              How much time am I really willing to commit to a DIY project?  Can I do woodworking?  Am I willing to learn a new skill?  Do I have the resources I need?  If I can't do it, do I know someone who can? How much will this really cost me in the end?

These are all good questions to ask yourself before starting in on a DIY project.  Sometimes I fall in love with an item and forget to ask myself these simple questions, often resulting in a lot more work, time and money in order to bring a piece around to what I want it to be.

6) Know When To Let Go.
              Use it or lose it.  If you bought it and all it's doing is collecting dust, it may be time to find it a new home.  Generally, I try to buy only what I can effectively DIY in a month or two, otherwise my house would be full of unused furniture and decor taking up space.

             If you have a great chair that just needs to be reupholstered but has been sitting around for a year (or longer) and hasn't been touched, maybe its time to let it go.  If you really can't let the piece go, set a time line to complete the required DIY modifications in a month or less.

7) Have Fun!
            The best part of thrift and DIY is that you can make almost exactly what you want!  Who cares if you can't find drapes with anatomically correct hearts on them in a store?  Or whether or not "Style at Home" puts mauve and teal cushions on a yellow couch?

Make it!  Do it!  Thrift it! LOVE IT!

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