I want to set the record straight and address the idea that good design has to be expensive $$$$. It definitely can be, but it doesn’t HAVE to be. We got married at the ripe old ages of 19 and 20 (17 years of marriage around the corner, Dang I feel old all of a sudden) and we were broke as hell in college with less than no money. You guys, I can’t even explain how broke, like really really broke. Those years gave me the mindset that you don’t have to spend big $$$ to have a beautiful home. So here are some of my secrets and sacred sources!
Home Goods art, pillows, lamps, side tables, swing chair and butterfly chairs. Diy flower lampshade, that’s on a floor sample clearanced Pottery Barn rope lamp. RH Outlet both sofas and coffee table (extra 60% or more off retail), ebay sourced leather on Chesterfield, Rugsusa rug, Arhaus clearanced reclaimed doors and Anthropologie clearanced blue console table
Everything in our home, and I really do mean everything, was purchased at a discount. I have NEVER paid full retail price for anything (other than Ikea curtains). Shocking right?! Everything you see in my photos and on Instagram was bought on sale, clearance, at a flea market or at a discount retailer (such as Home Goods, Marshalls, etc)
RH Outlet Wall Unit with missing section underneath tv, you can see here how I made it work. My kids costumes are in those baskets and I saved over $4700! The Pottery Barn rug was another clearance score. The leather sofa, wingbacks and coffee table are also RH Outlet all over 60% off. The green chair is a flea find for $40 and the daybed is a DIY project costing $50 for materials. The clock is a Hobby Lobby find during a 50% off clock sale.
Fun fact, several of my Restoration Hardware Outlet purchases have been $200 for retail prices up to $5000 a piece! I have purchased several things like that over the years. Those items were anything from missing a section (our downstairs wall unit see pic above), slightly damaged (we’re talking a small scratch) to just plain old marked down 90% off during a big sale to get it out of the store. They ended up being cheaper than buying a similar item at a much cheaper chain retailer. I don’t know about you but I’m going to go for the good stuff for the same or a better price!
I visit the RH Outlet only when they are having a big sale such as an extra 40% off or more on outlet prices. (outlet prices are an automatic 20% off leather and 30% off everything else) It makes it worth the 1 1/2 hour trip, especially looking for clearance items.
This sofa and tables are from World Market and I scored them at 75% off since they were floor sample clearances. The rug is from rugsusa and the mirror is a flea market find. The large flowers are from Home Goods and were used elsewhere in the house and repurposed here. The pillows are from Home Goods and Marshalls.
**The biggest thing I can tell you is patience and persistence. I may go to the flea markets 10 times before finding some cool stuff or the perfect piece at the perfect price (check out my tips on negotiating and shopping the fleas here and here). I visit Home Goods once a week as their inventory turns over so quickly you never know what you might find and when. (This is my Mom’s time for the week, that and a visit to Starbucks….it’s the little things) Home Goods will also be willing to bring down the price if something has damage so don’t be afraid to ask!!
**Be flexible if you can. That scratch in the wood cabinet brought the price down 80% off but you don’t want to buy a scratched cabinet right?! Although……is it bad enough that a few swipes of stain crayons/markers (available almost anywhere) wouldn’t blend it right in to almost nonexistant? That $5 kit of stain crayons is worth saving hundreds for me. (Totally done this btw!!)
The dining table is a DIY project, $100 for materials. Ghost chairs, info below. Faux sheepskins are from Home Goods and the mural was a 20% off Home sale from Anthropologie. White cabinet in the corner is a flea market find at $100 from years ago. Chandelier (over an extra 50% off) and cabinet on the right are from RH Outlet (cabinet double extra % off since it’s got a partially cracked corner. I actually liked it better broken!) Curtains are Ikea and the rug is referenced below.
Rugs, all of them, have been purchased AFTER waiting for sales. My dining room rug is Pottery Barn and I bought it on clearance as it was discontinued. The current rug in the family room is from rugsusa and was marked down 70% off plus free shipping (they do big sales regularly).
**Research! Our dining room ghost chairs came from a large venue retailer (sell mostly in large quantites to venues). I wanted ghost chairs but couldn’t afford the price. Time to visit my best friend….google. I found them for a fraction of the price at chairs4less and now I have ghost chairs!
**Patience,patience I can’t reiterate this enough. If you see something you adore and nothing else will do WAIT FOR THE SALE. I know it’s tough and it takes an inordinate amount of willpower sometimes but you can do it and your wallet will thank you. Bookmark the item and check it once every few days to see if it’s marked down or sign up for the store emails (I know they can be annoying) to see in your inbox when they are doing a sale! This is the persistence part. Saving money takes some time but it’s SO worth it.
Blue chesterfield, info below and pillows are all Home Goods.
Our chesterfield sofa that we reupholstered in the light blue leather. We bought it (from the RH Outlet over 50% off retail), my dream sofa, in a linen thinking it should be great and durable. Only a few years later covered in holes and looking so shabby it was embarrassing and I was crushed. (I do NOT recommend linen for a busy family, click here for best upholstery for families) After doing some research and some math it turns out it was far cheaper to reupholster it (with leather I sourced off of EBAY!!) than to replace it. Now I have a custom sofa for far cheaper than paying a custom price tag (or the price of just buying a new sofa!).
**Ebay. It can seriously be your best friend for anything from furniture (watch for shipping prices though, can be pricey) to textiles like bedding, curtains, rugs, wallpaper and lighting. I sourced our small pottery barn chandy’s from ebay and saved a few hundred dollars (they were brand new!) Not to mention the leather I used on the chesterfield and did I mention it was Ralph Lauren leather? (I saved boat loads from regular leather retailers) Oh and our Perrin and Rowe faucet and sprayer set in the kitchen is from an ebay seller, brand new and I saved over 80% off of retail.
**Craigslist…People sell everything on craigslist and it can be a HUGE asset to those of us looking for a bargain. I buy and sell on CL so take advantage of the free site and see what’s available in your area! Seriously, any kind of furniture, lighting and home goods. Our bedroom chandelier is from the Stanley Hotel (aka the Shining Hotel) and I found it on Craigslist for $50. (The guy selling it was part of the family who owned and was renovating it at the time) How cool is that?
Chandy from CL formerly in the Stanley, bench from Home Goods, bed from local mom and pop (info below). Pink duvet from West Elm on sale and quilt from Anthropologie on bedding sale. Weaber lumber from Home Depot, diy install.
**Source expensive items elsewhere. I have adored the Anthropologie canopy bed for YEARS. We always used our homemade bed frames (2 of them to be exact). I finally got impatient and did a search for something very similar but cheaper. I ended up finding an almost local mom and pop shop that worked with blacksmiths for furniture pieces. They sold a frame that was identical and I waited until they had an extra 30% off their already cheaper price on it. I got the bed for over 60% off of Anthropologie’s price. (no disrespect to Anthropologie, OMG I adore EVERYTHING they sell, my wallet on the other hand does not. Howdy sales and clearance pages) I just had to have this bed frame but could not afford it. The shop I ordered it from was a bit of an extra pain in the arse with delays etc. (and I had to specially request it in white) that I probably wouldn’t have experienced with Anthro but I saved so much $$ I really can’t complain too much.
**Overstock is another great resource, I bought one of our chandy’s from there and am SO happy with it given I paid a fraction of what other sites sold similar chandy’s for! (see below pic, click here for more from this space) I particularly love their lighting but they have MUCH more!
Diy floor, Anthropologie clearanced rug, Home Goods coffee tables, sofa and pillows, Overstock chanderlier and flea market lamp. The art is by a friend (she also did the art for my office/classrom here).
I found an amazing wallpaper I loved from Anthropologie on ebay. I almost bought it but ended up calling Anthropologie and they had a few rolls left for a clearance price of over 75% off (it was discontinued and way cheaper than the ebay seller too). I lucked out and paid darn near nothing for it.
**Thrift Stores/Flea Markets. I have lots of things from these too. Priced cheaper than retail (if they aren’t walk away) you can find super cool items for very little money AND always see if they are negotiable on price!! I have saved money off of already discounted items just by asking and making an offer.
Pottery barn chandeliers an ebay find, leg supports are from a flea market and are old cast iron stair spindles, sink is soapstone (same as dark countertops) and was FREE! (see more about the kitchen savings here) The perrin and rowe faucet set scored off of ebay (see above for more) along with the RH Outlet stools for over 70% off retail.
Patience and persistence. When you know what you want, focus on it and be patient.
**You don’t need to buy everything for a space at once. Good design evolves over time with your personality and wallet. It’s taken me several years to compile the items you see and that I’ve talked about here. Everything in our home has some sort of story to it and I personally love that! As in “remember when we bought the couch and it started pouring rain and we had to stop under the overpass to fix the tarps and it still got wet?! I was having a heart attack!” Or how about “there’s no way that wall unit is going to fit in that truck…..I’ll be damned it fit!” Or how about “OMG, the green velvet sofa I’ve been lusting after for months is marked 75% off?! Change of plans we’re using a sofa.”
World Market ottoman clearance. Home Goods rug, mirror, side table and elephant. Flea market vintage amphitheater bench, ladder and basket. RH Outlet 60% off chandelier.
I consider myself a stealthy decor ninja, strike when the iron is hot. I lay in wait for the sale, clearance or discount before pouncing. Saving money is as important as good decor. I will never not have the consideration of financial investment. I also buy really low so if and when I don’t have a use for an item I know I can sell it and at least get my money back or make money out of it. I just sold an old workbench I’ve had for years, purchased from a local flea market, I got my money back out of it and made $75. Restoration Hardware has the name and reputation so I have been able to sell LOTS of those things over the years and always come out ahead. The key is to buy smart aka low low low! **I totally understand not everyone has the proximity to an RH outlet, I just want to share with you one of my sources.**
Of course I want great pieces, but I don’t need huge $$$ for that. And I want you to know it too. Check out the sources I’ve shared and remember patience and persistence. It’s a bit of a time investment but you will be SO glad you did.
Do you have any other tips for saving? I always love to hear from you! Any questions on where something is from or how I scored it ask below in comments or send me an email, I’m happy to answer!
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Here’s to making your house a home and on a reasonable budget.