Saturday, November 6, 2010

the frugal decorator

yup, that's right, i have actually been frugal in the past when it comes to decorating our loft. i have never been into the whole matchy-matchy look to begin with, so decorating with a more eclectic flair is more up my alley than copying a page out of a pottery barn catalog. 

i wanted to share pictures directly from my loft so you can get an idea of what i've been up to since we moved in four and a half years ago.

if space is an issue with you, like it is with us, using your imagination can really help when decorating your home. storage solutions are key. to start, check out these perfect containers with magnets for spices which go directly onto your refrigerator. they're perfect and now it frees up an entire drawer where i once kept all of my spices.

each container costs $1–$2

below is a solution for this crazy little nook by our front door—it has always driven me crazy because of the wasted space that was there. so what better space saver than old style gym/school lockers. each little cubby houses many items such as winter scarves, gloves, hats, etc. and others are just filled with random items like replacement paper for the printer, envelopes, books, etc. it's a perfect solution for a perfect little space. it took me a year to find the perfect lockers on craigslist, so when i finally found them, i knew i had to have them. besides, my daughter loves to use the dry erase markers and color on them to decorate them as her own.

cost on craigslist - $60

this next frugal item is the cheapest by far—it was free! i found it in a dumpster. in our previous loft, we lived right next to a hair salon. i was looking out my window and remember seeing one of the employees dragging it out to the dumpster. as soon as they left, i immediately dragged my husband out and we carried it upstairs (begrudgingly, i might add). the top round circle is where the logo of the hair product line, TIGI, was located, so i immediately painted over it with some funky design and colors, and voila! instant bookshelf. 

cost - FREE

now, since we live in a loft, i thought it would only be appropriate to maintain that urban/raw feel throughout. i really wanted the decor to reflect this look, so when it came to buying a container for the dog food, i immediately gravitated towards this 'trash can' as a solution. it wasn't as cheap as i would have liked, but it was still a reasonable price and a much more attractive interpretation than some of those hideous plastic dog food containers.

cost from the container store - $35

i loved this look of the 'trash can' so much, that i decided to actually use a trash can for our trash can and our recycle bin (located outside on our patio). you can't beat the cost, and they're available at home depot.

 aluminum trash can as our regular garbage bin purchased 
from home depot cost - $12

larger version of this aluminum trash can purchased from home depot - cost $14

this next frugal decorating idea is a little more 'clean' than the previous items. 

re-used wine bottles for olive oil, red wine vinegar and basil flavored olive oil. not only do they add a lot of color to our countertops, but they're quite practical at the same time. i love having these within reach while i'm cooking (which isn't very often, unfortunately) and because they're not labeled, per se, i always know that the green bottle is for the basil flavored olive oil (get it, green for basil..), the yellow and orange bottles are for the plain olive oil and of course, the red bottle is for the red wine vinegar.

once you're finished drinking your wine, just peel off the labels and voila! a colorful useful bottle. pop in pour spouts (you can find these at any liquor store or home decorating store and they only cost $1–$2 at the most) and it's ready to pour. 

it's a perfect solution at an inexpensive price.

cost - $10+ for a bottle of wine 
(don't remember the name of the wine, but you can't miss them)

i know most of you have already seen my coveted gumball/candy machine, but i wanted to share it again because i feel it's completely appropriate for this segment of my blog. as you can see, this space at the end of our bar was boring and bland. once i added the gumball machine, it gave it new life. now it holds delicious m&m peanut butter candy so in addition to looking bright and colorful while mouthwatering at the same time, it's like a piggy bank as well!

you can find these all over eBay at a very low cost.

cost on eBay - $20 + S&H

my recent frugal addition—vintage billiard balls. don't ask me why, but i love the look of them. i love their color combinations and love how they really add so much life to a once boring coffee table. 

since i don't play pool, nor do we own a pool table, i figured it would be easy to just look on eBay for vintage billiard balls. i personally love the yellowing patina that the vintage look gives while displayed in a triangle. and in my glass bowl, there are two sets of mixed and matched billiard balls—one set is very vintage (as you can see from the pictures) and the other set is just an older mixed set of balls that were selling on eBay. 

before i put the balls in the glass bowl, i never really had any idea what to fill it with until i purchased the vintage balls and left them in a triangle on the table itself, and realized how cool it would be to fill the bowl with a plentiful amount of balls as well—both old and new.

i love the end result.

cost on eBay - vintage set in triangle $20 + S&H, 1 set in bowl - $15 + S&H and 
2nd set in bowl $5.50 + S&H, triangle cost on eBay $7.99 with free S&H

i don't know about you, but i hate having DVDs and games lying around in a mess in my home. since we have a small space, i always feel like having too much junk lying around makes it look even more cluttered. so for another space saving solution, i use these old galvanized bins to store blankets and the controllers and games for our Wii. they easily fit underneath our large glass coffee table, so again, another perfect space saving solution for our household.

cost at pottery barn teen - $30

 this bin, although not cheap in comparison, is the perfect size for games and controllers for our Wii, and easily tucks underneath our coffee table. 

i never knew what to do with this ice tub that i purchased several years ago, so i took it out of storage and now i use it to store our blankets for when we're watching TV or just lounging on the sofa. i have never been a fan of blanket throws over our sofa, so for us, this is perfect! like the bin for our Wii games and controllers, it easily tucks underneath our coffee table.

having the Wii balance board and the two bins underneath our glass coffee table is another resolution. it works for us and it works for the larger table and keeps things within reach, without cluttering up your living area at the same time.

last, but definitely not least is this commercial shelving unit that we use for our daughter's bedroom. since her bedroom is small, we wanted to create another space saving solution where she can put her dollhouse (bottom), her hamster cage, TV, and games and other toys easily within reach. naturally, it had to look cool, too!

cost from sam's club - $79

i hope this post can give you some excellent space saving and cost saving ideas for your home, and realize that you don't need to spend a lot of money for your home decor. just use your imagination and some research—like craigslist in your area and eBay, or local estate and garage sales. 

but most importantly, have fun while decorating. i love being on the hunt for these great finds as you never know what you'll find.