I definitely live a frugal life, and, to be honest, it is less need and more want. My husband and I both have really great jobs and earn a decent wage, but we choose to put our money towards the big ticket items, that for us, are more important than the material things. For example, in the last 4 years, my husband and I have gotten engaged and married, bought a house and travelled to 5 different countries, which for us is what we want our life to be all about. The other reason I shop frugally is due to the overuse of our resources and our need to consume as encouraged by the throwaway culture of our society … that combined with the words of my parents etched into my brain “they don’t make things like they used to.”
I actually work as a Graphic Designer, and whether you are a fashion designer, interior designer or digital designer, designers take their influences and inspirations from things they have seen before and recreate these into a new work of art. There is a famous quote “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination”. My point is that every item you buy from the high-end stores has been done before, mid-century replica couch or coffee table has been done before, that gold leafed mirror has been done before, but to be honest they were probably made better and stronger and sturdier the first time around. In a throw-away society that encourages us to continuously consume, why not take a moment to really think about how you can be smarter about the way you consume.
Finding second-hand furnishings and mixing them with new purchases has been my approach to decorating our new (very old) home. Our home is a 1940s Post-War timber with many of its original features such as ornate ceilings, hardwood floors, leadlight windows and dark timber picture rails, and it was with these elements in mind that I have shaped our homes decor and furnishing. Furnishing your home for under $500 is easier than you think, and you don’t have to lose quality or buy less in order to achieve a beautiful home that is personal to you – and looks amazing, of course!
Lounge Suite – $270
Our gorgeous couch was purchased from the very eclectic, vintage warehouse Relove at Oxley, while searching through their many rooms of vintage gems we came across this gorgeous 3 piece lounge suite for a mere $270, and we knew we had to have it. It’s dark wood finish and floral upholstery. It fit the vibe of our home perfectly, and it was with this item that the rest came into place.
TV Cabinet – $80
Our TV cabinet was actually a Gumtree find, I had been looking for a dark wood finished cabinet for awhile and this corner cabinet was perfect for our living room area. I would have preferred a more vintage item but with some new brass handles from Bunnings and some vintage decorating it fits perfectly with our home decor. This item was listed for $120, and we were able to get it for $80 which for a solid wood item, in great condition, was a bargain price.
Coffee Table – $20
The hunt for a coffee table then began, and it was no easy feat. Many coffee tables on offer do not fit our home decor style, or because of their antique status were quite expensive. I was lucky to walk into a local Salvation Army Thrift store and found the perfect table for $20, with its turned legs and dark wood it fit perfectly with what I was after.
Ottoman – $12
Our brown vinyl ottoman was a great find, and I knew I had to have it the moment I saw it. Another thrift store find, at a local Lifeline store, this ottoman was only $12 and in excellent condition. It is the perfect height, and with no tears or fading it was in great pre-loved condition.
100 year old Piano – Free
The last item that, in my opinion, makes our living room complete was actually FREE. Did you know people give away pianos for free because they are so heavy it is actually considered a favour to move it? Well, that is how we ended up with our piano, and with a musical husband it was the final key item to finish off our room. Plus, it makes a great area to display my other eclectic home decorating items.
Many of the items decorating our home have been gifted or are items I salvaged from my grandparents or thrift stores. I love decorating with vintage and second-hand items as it really adds a unique touch to our home, I know that I won’t walk into a friends place and they have the same couch, vase or painting. Unique items in your house help to make your home special, and I feel your home should tell a story about you. It is your place or comfort and of security… You should feel like your home embraces you with its love – like the feeling of climbing between fresh sheets and a warm blanket on a winter’s night.
Furnishing your home on a budget is so achievable, you just have to have the imagination and insight to know what you are after and the patience to go looking for it. My home may not be like the others in magazines, but it is perfect for our house, and our personality. Our house feels like a home, and with the help of these pre-loved, second-hand items it is inviting and warm. I love incorporating new and old items together and allowing pieces of history to not end up in landfills but to give them a new lease on life.
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