I was talking to a dear friend from New York, I met during my days of working with the Nate Berkus Show. She mentioned to me the reason she and so many of her friends don't shop at thrift stores is because of what they actually see on blogs and Pinterest. Her honest opinion was that young people, without kids living in urban America don't care for mish-mashed, shabby chic or thrifty looking homes. They want something more contemporary and refined. While I do believe we all have particular style, I get her point. So I am going to share some honest tips on how to shop thrift stores for your home and not make your home look "thrifty".
These tips are really for the urbanite community. The young and single. Although everyone can benefit, some of these tips won't be child friendly (beware new mommies), because a lot of urbanites don't have kids. Thats not a fact, but it is certainly close to a realistic statement.
If you are ready, I am ready.
Tip #1: Find Inspiration Out of Your Price Range:
If you could afford an interior designer you would hire one, probably. Interior Design is a luxury and Interior Designers come with a hefty price tag, but that doesn't mean you can't look at their spaces for inspiration. The best way to choose a designer for inspiration is to choose someone that actually has high end clients. While I love bloggers (because I am one), avoid using them as your inspiration. Why? Most of them follow trends. Which is fine, but if you want a very high end, sophisticated look you need to go past them and go straight to the ones that design as their career. The ones that drive Mercedes Benz Jeeps and Range Rovers and fly out to Paris on a whim. These designers will give you a great depth of take aways for your own space.
Here are a couple of high end designers I look to when I am decorating my space.
This living room by Atmosphere Design is chocked full of take aways for a contemporary space.
The lamps featured in this room may or may not cost a lot of money. Regardless of the price they exude luxury. They aren't yellow, teal or red. They dont feature stripes, chevron or a burlap lamp shade. They are very simple and chic. These large lamps can often be found in thrift stores. They look horrible though, but if you can reimagine them in a solid color, such as black, white or gray you can get that quality look. As a matter of fact, I took this same thought process for the lamps in my bedroom. They are in two phases so when the room is finished I will share both of them with you.
This vignette has so much to offer in terms of grabbing ideas. Let's start with the huge horse in the middle. Ive seen these pieces at HomeGoods and they run about $20 or $30. I had one. Broke it. HERE is a space that features this same horse head. Whether it be a horse or something else use the same process with the lamps and find an oversized statue and paint it a solid color. These statues used to be easy to spot in thrift stores. I haven't seen many lately while thrifting, but if you do, you should buy it. Don't worry if it is too big. Chances are. It's not.
Here is the same designer using the same chairs with a different fabric. If the formula works, work the formula.
The chairs above are really common in thrift stores. What makes these chairs high end looking is the professional high gloss paint and the high end fabric. While getting pieces of furniture lacquered may be expensive, there are a number of painting techniques that can achieve this same look. Of course you won't get the EXACT look, but you can come very very close. At my last workshop I taught them how to upholster chairs like this.
This is a great statement on a coffee table. I am sure these lil bowls will set you back a few dollars. More than likely these bowls were borrowed from a high end boutique to be placed in the showhouse so that the space can photograph well and oh we thank them for that. I have seen similar bowls on clearance from large home design stores. Go there. Stalk the shelves. Wait for the sales and get what you can get.
If you can't find any bowls that way, simply grab a few bowls from a second hand store, paint the outside matte black and the inside metallic gold. Same look, different prices.
See? I told you, we are going to get your space looking sophisticated.
The books the bowls are resting on, are an easy find from thrift stores. Just take your time and look for covers that match your home or the current decor of your space. These books can run anywhere from 10 cents to $5.
All of the spaces above have one thing in common. They all are decorated with the iconic yellow National Geographic magazines. Look at how simple, yet effective it is. If things haven't changed any, the last time I checked NGM were only like 10 cents each. I mean with a nice crispy white wall or perhaps a spectacular blue wall you can start the process of a chic space, that doesn't look thrifty at all.
I want to bring in another designer, Tobi Fairley who has been on the cover of countless design magazines and she really typifies traditional with color.
Tobi Fairley is a high end designer and you can take cues from her spaces when thrifting or decorating your room on a budget. In both spaces she used a four poster bed. These are easily $150 on craigslist or in a thrift store. I have seen them as cheap as $50. I had a four poster bed almost 10 years ago in my very first apartment. Painting them also adds another dimension or layer to your space.
Adding a bench to the end of the bed, will also amp up your custom budget look. I have noticed some people adding sofas to the end of their bed and it is so off scale. Honestly, there really is not functionality for a sofa at the end of a bed. If you want to lay down, the bed is right there. The bench is practical because you can sit to put on your shoes, place a bag or briefcase there when getting ready for your day. If you are an animal lover like me, your pet will love this spot.
Alright. I think Tip # 1has taken long enough, but let me recap for you.
If you want to shop thrift, but dont want your space to look thrifty, take cues from PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER that fit your style. Understand you can't afford their services, so be inspired by them. I want to add that you should pick three fully designed spaces as inspiration for your own space. That tip will be coming up and I will delve more into that, by sharing my own personal picks.
Facebook is a really good place to start when searching for high end designers. First start by liking home design magazine pages. They share a lot of designers and link their websites with the photos they feature.
Okay. Im out for today.
Tomorrow or perhaps "The Day After Tomorrow" we will talk about art work.
Follow me on the GRAM for more behind the scenes into my own home!