Garage Sale Chic

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It’s hard out here for a skimp …

If you’re like me, when it comes to tracking down the perfect accents for your home, you love the thrill of the hunt. If, of course, by “love” you mean “are forced into” and “the hunt” you mean “loosening the door hinges on the back of a CB2 inventory truck and teaming up with your friends “gravity” and “inertia”, then yeah. You’re like me (poor).

Let’s face it: the cost of living is slowly climbing upwards like that tiny yodeler in the Price Is Right game Cliff Hanger. But, like that same tiny yodeler, our under zealous grasp of the unsavory cost of laundry detergent can send us spiraling down the wrong side of a proverbial cliff.

Enjoying where you live

Having the majority of your income already allocated to every day needs like food and clothes, it’s easy to let peripheral pleasures like home décor fall by the wayside. That being said, there are ways to prevent your financial foibles from holding you back from something as uplifting (and necessary) as enjoying where you live. Never forget that décor gold mines like garage sales, flea markets, swap meets, and parents’ storage rooms abound.

Here are a few examples in one room of how to repurpose a collection of fashionable-but-forgotten-about furnishings into a cohesive and eclectic space that’s easy on the eyes and your wallet.

Excellent finds, expert re-purposing

This cheery little living room above is a great example of both excellent finds, and expert repurposing. For example, although the couches and chairs depicted aren’t of the same exact set, they’re of the same ilk. Variation in color and pattern between the two couches fade away next to the striking honey colored wood that make up the legs and armrests.

What was arguably a dime a dozen domestic prop in the assembly line heyday of the 1960s, these now exclusive finds are rare enough to add a pop to your décor lay out, but common enough to stumble upon in every other one of your friend’s grandmother’s garages—so keep your eyes peeled next time you’re helping move boxes over at Nana’s. Another great perk of these chair’s spindly profiles is that they’re not afraid to show a little leg: this both draws the eye and creates an illusion of openness in close quarters.

Photos and personalized space

Another great tip to take away from this quaint corner is the arrangement of photos on the wall. Whether you’re a renter with strict landlords, or a student who’s strapped for cash, mounting an array of your favorite photos is a great way to add life to your walls without having to drag out drop cloths or spend time and money on paint and accompanying supplies.

An added benefit of the sprawling wall photo album is that it can be tweaked to accompany any desired design scheme. You can brighten up your space with an assortment of dollar store neon frames, or taper your tastes into a sleeker contemporary design with a monochromatic arrangement of various shapes and sizes of thrift store frames in greys, blacks, or steely blues.

Pallets for your (design) palette

Lastly, I can’t write a post about reclaimed furnishings and not mention the stylish, practical, and impossibly trendy pallet 2.0 tucked in the bottom left quadrant of the image above. Not only does it act as a functional piece of storage that fits with the décor, but the lidless top acts as a makeshift display for the crafty contact paper and semi-showcased art propped against the couch.

Oh, and did I mention that most pallets are ZERO DOLLARS? That’s right: with a little scrutiny, a strong friend, and an appropriate amount of hand sanitizer, you can usually take an unwanted pallet off the hands of restaurants and warehouses without even reaching for your wallet. Reinventing pallets empower you to reduce waste and spruce up your place.

Secondhand stylish score!

Acquiring budding antiques from your ancestors and scoring stylish second hand trinkets from thrifts stores are great ways to maintain your savings, but they’re also a great opportunities to find little to connections to the past and yourself.

By carefully selecting individual pieces and patiently accruing the perfect assortment of furnishings for your home, the end result becomes an extension of your personality and an ideal platform for self-expression.

Your discoveries?

What’s the best find you’ve stumbled upon in a flea market or garage sale?

Any tips on where and how to hunt?

Let us know in the comments section!

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Jill Canty

hiker; runner; breakfast food, mcdonalds, and beer lover; HBO and AMC marathoner; insatiable modern fiction devourer; hopeful globe-trotter; concert-goer; proportionate Beyoncé obsession-haver; and - of course - content writer.