Stan Williams, style editor of Maxim Magazine and author of The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market, finds ordinary thrift store items used to display new merchandise by major companies. Which leads to the natural assumption, why not us regular folks? Digging into thrift stores for elegant finds or cheap furniture isn’t a new idea for most. College students and newlyweds have been doing this for years. So have interior designers, as a newbie with a design firm, I haunted estate auctions with instructions to bring back something interesting and cheap.
What is new is using items in other than its original intention. A good example of this is elegant wooden two drawer file cabinets used as bedside tables. The rolling cabinets bought at office supplies stores, discount stores, even thrift shops at one fourth of the price of a regular cost of a bedside table. The storage is an added delight.
When storage and space are at a premium, make everything a storage unit. Instead of furniture that just sits there, make it store stuff. Dorm furniture is great for multipurpose and can be bought new now at discount stores. Come May and June it will show up in college dumpsters, garage sales, and thrift stores.
Need a coffee table, use an old travel trunk. You can top it with a sheet of beveled glass or leave it plain. It will serve as an excellent storage unit for blankets or seasonal items you do not use too much. Underbed storage bins are another way to store items, but maybe your bed is too low. You can actually raise your bed with inexpensive risers from discount stores and closeout stores like Big Lots. If you go this route, you might want a bed skirt to hide this less than beautiful storage option.
Disguise ugly furniture with fitted covers and throws. You can find these online or at discount stores. It’s okay is you have different types of furniture. That is the fun of it. Patterns can different too, but try to stay with about three basic colors, and one needs to be a neutral so your eyes aren’t assaulted.
Don’t overlook stores like T.J. Maxx or its sister store Marshalls who have interesting items at deeply discounted prices. Two or three interesting items make a room unique, more than that and it looks like you’re running some type of curiosity shop.
Storage in the bedroom can be problematic because most bedrooms run small. Instead of huge dressers which gobble up floor space think bookcases or cubbyhole units. Purchase the cubbyhole unit at hardware stores or discount stores. If possible, place it in the closet, freeing up more space. Every inch of your closet should be storage all the way to the ceiling. Bookcases work well for storage too. Just make sure to get a tall, sturdy one for maximum space or stackable ones. The beauty of this is you can put items on the shelves or use canvas storage bins for smaller items. The dollar stores sell canvas boxes for as low as a dollar.
Remember whatever an item started out originally may not be its purpose in your home. A set of nesting suitcases can be a side table, a mirror can enlarge a room, and decorative carpet or blanket can serve as a wall hanging. When you see something that talks to you, decide how you want to use it. Maybe it’s never be done before that makes you a style setter, a frugal one that makes it even better.