How I Designed My Entire Living Room for Less Than $500

Previous to shifting into my little rental bungalow right here in Christchurch, New Zealand, it had been two years since I had a house of my very own. After touring full-time for a yr and sleeping on my greatest buddy’s sofa for longer than she bargained for, shifting right into a everlasting house once more felt harking back to shifting into my first actual school house. Solely this time I used to be practically 30, and there was positively no hope for a parent-sponsored IKEA journey. As a substitute, my boyfriend and I moved into our new house with simply the fundamentals: sheets, towels, and a mattress.

As a contract design and life-style author, my inbox and Instagram feed is inundated with its fair proportion of gorgeous areas. I nonetheless love poring over these photos for inspiration, however I’ll be sincere: a model new sofa from Pottery Barn is out of the query, not to mention an Hermes throw blanket. Whereas there are many inexpensive sources to furnish your private home (particularly locations like IKEA, Goal, and House Items) the standard can, at occasions, be questionable, sending you into an countless loop of changing poorly constructed items. As a substitute, I turned largely to thrift shops and the net second-hand market to furnish every room in our house for lower than $500 USD. 

On prime of with the ability to create a house with far more character than if I had solely bought from the large field shops I might afford, I used to be additionally capable of reduce my carbon footprint by repurposing older (however usually extra well-made!) items. At present, I’m divulging all of my greatest suggestions that will help you do the identical. Seize your notebooks, guys and gals! Thrifting 101 is formally in session.


Learn how to Supply Second-Hand Couches and Chairs

Upholstered furnishings is usually the largest budget-buster with regards to furnishing your residing house, however it’s additionally a very powerful. I’m all for investing in an ideal sofa if and when you’ve gotten the price range to take action, however that doesn’t essentially imply nixing the concept of going thrifted or classic. 


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Supply: @caitlinpaigebrown


Supply: @caitlinpaigebrown


Tip #1: Think about reupholstery

My front room sofa and chair are each second-hand finds that I scored for simply $1 every! The sofa was marketed on-line with ripped upholstery, however I preferred how clear and easy the traces had been, so I made a decision to attempt my hand at this DIY No Sew Dropcloth Slipcover tutorial (I really did sew the sofa arms however largely simply figured it out as I went) till I can in the future put money into having it professionally recovered.  It’s a short lived resolution, however it’s an effective way to purchase your self time with out having to sit down on the ground for months on finish whilst you save your pennies for a sofa. It’s price noting right here that reupholstery shouldn’t be all the time inexpensive than shopping for new. That may rely in your cloth and the sofa you select, however personally, I really like the pliability it offers my price range.

The accent chair was from a shifting sale and belonged to the vendor’s grandmother, who shortly wanted it eliminated so she might promote her house (therefore the low price ticket). Whereas the material works simply advantageous within the room as it’s, I’ll in the future have it recovered in one thing a bit extra my fashion. Ethical of the story: If you happen to’re on a price range, discover items which have nice traces, are made effectively, and that you may stay with “as is,” however may be remodeled into one thing you’ll love much more down the road. 


Supply: @caitlinpaigebrown


Tip #2: Make the most of Craigslist and Fb Market

Search the identify of your favourite furnishings shops like “Pottery Barn” or “Crate and Barrel” on Craigslist or different second-hand on-line marketplaces to simply populate and kind the outcomes which can be almost definitely to have the fashion you’re on the lookout for. Curating the choices with different key phrases like “linen” or “mid-century” or “coastal” can even assist reduce the overwhelm that many individuals really feel when attempting to sift via second-hand furnishings.


Tip #three: If buying on-line, verify if the furnishings has been uncovered to pets or smoke 

Take my phrase for it, this tip is extremely vital when sourcing upholstered furnishings. It’s a lot more durable to get the odor of smoke or pet urine out of a sofa than a picket facet desk (which may be sanded, refinished and painted). If attainable, ask to view the items in individual earlier than committing to buying.


Learn how to Get Previous the Overwhelm and Begin Discovering Treasures


Supply: Caitlin Brown


After I share with visitors that my house is made up of 90 p.c second-hand gadgets, they’re all the time shocked and demand they by no means have a lot luck when hitting the thrift shops. Don’t lose hope! There’s a technique to the insanity with regards to thrifting, and I’m right here to spill. 


Tip #1: Get inspiration from retailers exterior of your price range, after which head to your native charity store

Whereas your native charity store might not be as thoughtfully curated because the edgy classic store in your neighborhood, it’s additionally sure to be means inexpensive. I like to recommend first taking a stroll across the extra high-end second-hand shops to get a really feel for what you want while you’re in a much less overwhelming setting, and when the items are (usually) in higher situation. This may make it simpler to identify an ideal pair of mid-century nightstands that simply want a bit cleaning soap and water or wooden polish, or a classic espresso desk that might look nice when styled with the precise items.


Tip #2: Schedule in the future every week devoted to thrifting 

Most individuals who say that they “by no means discover something” after they go looking for thrift retailer finds really imply that they didn’t discover something the one time they tried. Thrifting takes a number of persistence and consistency. Personally, I head to my native thrift shops practically each Saturday to see if they’ve something new in inventory, and I verify the net market nearly each day. Thrift retailer furnishings strikes shortly and is continually being rotated, so timing is every part! Keep the course, and you’ll finally have success.


Supply: @caitlinpaigebrown


Tip #three: Context modifications every part

I all the time get the nicest compliments on my house when pals come over, however it’s uncommon that one specific piece is taken into account a “showstopper.” That’s as a result of 99 p.c of the time, context is what makes a budget-friendly room really feel particular. If you happen to don’t essentially have the funds to splurge on a press release espresso desk or your dream eating desk, it’s actually going to be the combination of how all the small print work collectively that makes the room sing. Focus much less on particular person items and extra on how they will juxtapose or add weight, depth, or perform to your house as an entire.


Tip #four: Put money into at the least one “new” piece.

Selecting one or two items to purchase new quite than second-hand can convey your total house updated, and infrequently makes the distinction between your private home feeling “collected” or feeling dated. Generally this stuff may be as main as a rug or mattress, and generally they are often as minor as a desk lamp. Mess around with what feels greatest, relying on the scale of your room.



My Favourite Decor and Equipment to Purchase Second-Hand


Supply: Caitlin Brown

Whereas furnishings thrifting may be hit-or-miss and requires a number of persistence, I’ve discovered that you may nearly all the time have success when on the lookout for these particular little trinkets that add character and curiosity to your private home. Plus, saving on smaller particulars like artwork, tabletop equipment, and styling items makes an enormous distinction in sustaining your general price range. 


Espresso Desk/Styling Equipment

I scored all of my espresso desk equipment from the Salvation Military for a couple of bucks, and I take advantage of them each day. The brass bowl holds matches for the hearth, whereas the taper candle holder is lit each single night over a glass of wine. I really like the tall silver vase so as to add texture and top, and I’ve additionally used it on my bookshelves or on the nightstand in my bed room.


Storage Baskets

I personal roughly 10 storage baskets, and I’ve gotten nearly all of them second-hand. If they’ve a lid, I take advantage of them as an additional facet desk with bonus storage, a vessel for blankets and throws, logs for firewood, a spot to cover pesky cords or web routers, and extra!


Supply: @caitlinpaigebrown



Artwork is a serious budget-buster, and whereas I really like supporting as many native artists as I can afford to, I additionally love rummaging the thrift retailer for classic finds that add character and soul to my house for only a few . I’ve created fairly a set of hand-drawn streetscapes from cities everywhere in the world, and so they convey me tons of pleasure and remind me of my months spent touring by myself.


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