One of my favorite things to do when I was working and blowing cash like it was a competitive sport, was to stop at a bookstore and purchase stacks of home decorating magazines. I discovered a passion for interior design after it was too late to do anything about it, so I found my outlet in poring over beautiful spaces and looking at what made them work. I still love to do this but now I read them at the public library while my son plays at the puzzle table.
The one thing I have learned by studying these rooms is to recognize true style. When you understand style, you can recognize a good reproduction when you see it. This is how I shop for my house. I once read a quote in one of those fabulous magazines from a famous interior designer. She said a well done room takes time. I think in this era of done-in-a-day decorating shows we have somehow lost this truth about decorating. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say, and neither will be your house. Decorating it and filling it with beautiful things will take time. And, Cheap Mama, in this case time is on your side.
Because with time, you will be able to look for the inexpensive great finds that are part of your style. You will be able to find those items that when placed correctly in your home, will look like a million bucks and no one will know there's a discount store sticker on the back that you never could scrape off completely.
I use these images that are catalogued in my mind from those magazines when I'm shopping places like Big Lots, TJMaxx, Ross, Tuesday Morning, etc. It takes a shrewd eye to determine what is junk in these places and what will look great. With the "idea rooms" in my mind I am able to be a discerning shopper and know when I've found a great deal; the item that is an excellent cheap knock-off of the real deal.
Knowing that decorating a home or room takes time and finding good reproductions takes time, I've begun exercising a lot more patience when it comes to feathering my nest. I am sometimes tempted to give into the quick and easy purchase. But I know if I do that, I will end up spending more money than if I had exercised a little patience and...you know, waited until I found it on sale at TJMaxx.
Happy shopping, Cheap Mama.
Here are a few of my recent Cheap Mama finds.
Mirror from *gasp* Big Lots!
Slip-covered chair from a local consignment store
Rug from Big Lots.
Sofa table from Goodwill.