The Northcutt Family blog

This is a crazy, beautiful life we lead. "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" -John 10:10

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Decorating on a Budget for a Lifetime

Decorating does not come naturally for me.  As right-brained as I consider myself to be, I also have a lot of left-brain tendencies, and one of those comes out in the form of decorating.  I want directions, formulas, how-tos, etc. to help me when choosing items and in their placement.  My mom is completely opposite.  She has a natural eye and can visualize pieces that I might look over or think of as ugly and she turns them into gold.  (Her dining room was shown on the popular and wonderful Cote De Texas blog – hers is the one with the butlers tray that was reupholstered and then used as a coffee table).  I’m always asking her for tips, and she passed some on, so I’ll pass them on to you!  There’s a lot to take in, so I think I’ll do these in segments. 

I’ve become so tired of all the decorating stuff in my house – it’s furniture and accessories that I picked 7-8 years ago – but we’re not in the house that we’ll stay in, and just don’t have the money to go all out, so I’m having to turn to decorating on a budget, which brings me to my first topic for this series of decorating tips – shopping at CRAIGSLIST.  My mom is a craigslist master and she’s gotten me hooked!  Here are her navigating tips on how to shop craigslist:

1.  Where it starts – the search

Our favorite search topics are antiques, rustic, pine, primitive – so start there and take your time looking at what pops up.  Being on a budget, I look at the price as well as the description and normally don’t look at anything over $200.  I especially take a good look at anything under $100.  We’ve found some of our most favorite pieces on craigslist!

2.  Antiques

When looking for antiques, try to stay away from pieces that look like they were in your grandmother’s house (can’t you just picture what that looks like??)  Choose pieces that will stand the test of time.

3.  Use Craigslist to sell your stuff and make some money! 

Everybody I’ve met through craigslist – whether purchasing from them, or vice-versa, has been supremely nice and down to earth.  Still, can’t be too safe!  If I’m selling, I’ll either meet the buyer in a popular spot, or have them come by the house when Matt’s home.  If I’m doing the buying, I take along my mom or Matt to go pick it up.

4.  Look Daily

Just like when shopping at bargain stores, you have to constantly be on the lookout to catch the good deals.  It’s hit or miss, but when you get a hit, it can be a home-run.  (Haha, felt pretty proud of myself for that little pun!)

Here are some of the furniture pieces that we’ve found on Craigslist.

We found this old bench for $150 and took it to an antique repair shop to fix one of the legs and that cost about $80.  So, overall about $230, and the antique repair shop owner said it was a true antique and he would sell it for $800 and not take less than $700!  Score!  A bench can always find a home anywhere – right now this is in my entry way, but know this is something that I’ll always be able to find a place for.  (My mom got me the pillow with an “N” monogrammed, and est. 2003 from an etsy shop)


Shabby Chic Coffee Table – a little too white when we bought it, so my mom painted over it, distressed it, and added a “trim” color.  Perfect!



Here’s the coffee table in my family room – all budget items – turquoise lamp and pillows on love seat from TJ Maxx Homegoods, pillows on other couch, rug, and drapes from Ikea.  Wanted an easy, inexpensive updated look for this room.



Old Pine chest for $70 – chests can be used anywhere and offer an abundance of storage!



My mom recently got this pine hanging piece and she plans to put white ironstone on it – this kind of thing would be a great place to put a “collection”


Gate leg table – a great type of table to own (as good as my mom is at decorating, she still has trouble with taking pictures, so it’s hard to see this from the sunlight) Winking smile Bought for $50.


Oil Paintings – look for unique paintings that catch your eye, and that have the colors that you want to use



One of the best deal pieces – spool drawers that my mom bought for $5 (!!!!!!!!) and she uses it to hold her jewelry.  ***I love how she uses interesting pieces for everyday storage – not your typical jewelry box***


Small rolltop desk – $40 – has on top of a side table


Another repurposing – just an old piece for $40 that she uses to hold books in the gameroom



Old Chest – $70, and my mom painted, distressed, and lightly stenciled.


This is one of my favorites because I love the primitive and chippy stuff, and I’m trying to convince my mom that I just need this from her!  Winking smile  Not working.  But, just a primitive table she uses as a nightstand in a guest room – multi-purpose type though – could be used for a desk, side table, or cut down the legs for a coffee table ($60)


Old New Orleans shutters, $25 each (could hang as a headboard, or just on a wall) – there’s something special about New Orleans shutters (per what my mom said)



Old wicker rocker that my mom then had reupholstered.


Whew!!!!!  Did you make it to the end??  Hope you enjoyed!  Smile


Samantha said...

Great post- I love seeing what other people have in their homes. That bench is divine! I think one of the most frustrating things about decorating is how much time it takes. It is never truly 'finished'. Which can be a good or bad! :)

Kristen said...

Great tips and AMAZING finds!! Your mom is so talented, and I love all of the new (old) things you're finding. So fun!! I ♥ Craigslist too, but am definitely no expert, so now I know who to ask :) Love this post!!

Leslie said...

Meredith you are a great decorator!! Always have been. Love all those finds. Wish you lived closer so you could go shopping with me. So exciting on the new move!! Hope I get to see this house someday!!

Porter Carroll said...

You and your mom make a great team! I love how the bench turned out!!!!

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