So, I have taken up a new hobby in my 30’s, HGTV. In one (bottle of wine) night, I became obsessed and binged for about 6 hours. Now, I literally do not watch anything else besides Chicago PD, that’s it (& the occasional NetFlix binge)! I have learned new languages like “turnkey” and “ship lap”; different lay outs and designs like “shotgun” and “colonial style (ew)” and learned that everyone on that show is apparently loaded because the lowest “budget” was like $700k or something on House Hunters; must.be.nice.
I have always loved styling but I did not become intrigued with home décor until a few years ago when I got my own place, even then I was not investing in good furniture, more like whatever junk at Ikea was decently priced but could maybe 20% pass like it came from Z Gallery. I still don’t have exactly what I want but I want to take you through a tour of my home and give a little “how to” on a budget.
Home Goods, Marshalls & TJ Maxx will be your second, third and fourth homes. I also did some antiquing in Clearwater beach because there are a ton of really cool places there, but if you don’t have that where you are located, those three are going to be your hot spots. When I moved out I decided on a theme I wanted to go with, shockingly, it was an Italian wine theme. My friend Lauren’s home is stunning; she has more of a rustic Italian look with lots of bronze and gold and I knew that was kind of what I wanted. It was cozy but super chic. I went to Ross & literally bought out everything I could possibly find that was wine or Italian themed. Ross in FLA is a lot different than Ross in NJ. If you go to Ross in NJ, it’s pretty white trash of you. Ross in Florida is amazing. I don’t know if it’s because their misfits are coming from Miami or what but it’s the opposite of white trash, almost chic (ALMOST). So, I probably walked out with my whole living room, kitchen and dining room done for $150. Here’s a note: don’t even just have pictures on your walls, add some dimension like fake plants or metal art & shelves. I bought ivy & plastic grapes to dress up the kitchen & at one point even used old wine bottles to decorate the tops of my cabinets. I still have ivy but I ditched the wine bottles. I did save the corks because everyone knows cork art is way cool now and I saved them all from the last two years to fill this amazing tumbler I have. I also went with a wine theme for my Christmas tree. I don’t like things not to match, it irks my nerve.
When I moved to the new place, I decided I loathed the curtains I bought last year because they look like female ovarian eggs being fertilized by giant sperm (not pictured because I will literally throw up in my mouth if I see them again). I did not notice this until there was a picture taken in front of them 10 months after they were hung. I immediately sold them and bought plain sheer valences to keep it neutral. That’s the beauty about the colors I used tan, brown, gold and reds mostly, but it’s easy to mix it up. I wanted more colors so I went on Kohls.com- OH KOHLS! Kohl’s is another store I swear by. I have their credit card & the discounts & coupons are amazing. And despite what anyone says, you can find cute clothes there too, which is a whole other blog J So I got these beautiful colored pillows (pictured), 3 fancy ones & 2 plain ones. The one says this cute little quote on it that I put on a chair to welcome everyone into the apartment. The pillows were like $30 with shipping total! So definitely, do not discount Kohl’s for cute home décor on a budget. And randomly one day when I was in Walmart I happen to run into an area rug that matched almost identically with the pillows, $80; so 5 pillows & a large rug for $110. Don’t always count out Walmart either. I mean please don’t go buying a cart-full of clothes to wear on Saturday date night but sometimes they have cute home furnishings so always check there as well.
**I AM AWARE THE TV WIRES NEED TO BE COVERED! HANDLING THIS WEEKEND**
In this last year I did end up investing in something I truly love. So, like, I don’t LOVE my dining room table, I don’t LOVE my living room furniture but it was the best I could get with just moving on my own. You have to choose what to invest in. I LOVE my bedroom furniture and I LOVE my bar! (Yes this was a “10 Things I Hate About You” ref .. “but I love my Sketchers…” “…that’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.”) Let’s be honest, those are the two most important things in the whole house. The “bar” was from Home Goods. My girlfriend Tracy & I went on lunch break one day & my heart melted for it. When we left I could not stop thinking about it. It was $300 and I’m like eh… I don’t know I shouldn’t spend that when I’m still paying off my other crappy furniture. By my momma always taught me, if you’re still thinking about it days later, it’s supposed to be yours… & it is! I went back & got it 3 days later. Now that it’s all set up, it was totally worth it, it is the most beautiful piece I have ever seen & the focus point in my home. Always invest in one good piece & then work your way around the house one room at a time. I would like to do the living room set next but I will get there. So, even though this gorgeous piece of craftsmanship was pricey the accessories were not. I went back to Home Goods and got some amazing wine glasses (FOR DECORATION ONLY– I break shit), a bottle holder and some other wine goodies. They look so fabulous & expensive but they were all on clearance for like $3 a glass. I went with gold as my main color for the dining room/bar area because it’s definitely my favorite color for a home, and jewls! Unlike the living room being fun & colorful the dining room is more toned down & chic- it’s a big girl room. I also added another classy & dainty piece into the dining room, a beautiful hand-made cherry wood vanity. I did have it in my bedroom but there’s not enough room now so I made it into a piece of art & just did not use the mirror part. You can be creative with pieces you have. Not everything needs to go where it was made for, remember that.
Lastly I want to highlight my bedroom. When I first started decorating I hopped on the black & white bandwagon for about 3 years I was black & white everything: décor, clothes, cookies you name it. As it goes, I got sick of it & really started feeling my head turning towards more shabby chic, lighter colored pieces. I did a ton of research to decide where to start (Pinterest is your other BFF). I knew I wanted a tan, cream & white room mostly & wanted to add in more pastel accent pieces. I went to Rooms to Go Outlet (if you have one check it out). I found my bed immediately. I love anything with studs on it. Then I saw the dresser. The dresser was originally $850 on sale for $300 because it was missing handles & knobs. I would change the handles and knobs myself regardless. There is a tiny little scratch on a corner but that’s it. So I locked that down & the final piece I snagged on my trip to R2G was a teal-ish, rustic, shabby night stand. I loved that it did not match everything perfectly because that was exactly how I wanted my room. The furniture was complete. I got my bed, dresser & nightstand for $800. I kept my old bedspread because it’s neutral (white) & ruffly so super shabby chic already. I have also had this adorable shelf for years that has been painted purple, then black & now gold. I of course added gold accents to my room as well because I told you above about my dead serious love affair with metallic gold I have. I wanted to do a Paris theme. I love Paris. I finally got to go last year for the 1st anniversary of my 29th birthday & I was head over heels. So that was the venture I was on. I added some floral as well with vintage bike pictures & original pictures from Paris. I found this amazing jewelry hanger in a vintage shop made from an old door. I love it, it has so much character & it really looks like a door you would see on a side street of Paris. I also found a vintage teal shelf to make my night stand pop. I love my room because it’s so light & airy but also has so many colors that nothing I buy can really go wrong. Your room is somewhere you need to feel at peace with so make it yours. Make it somewhere you want to be. After all, if you don’t want to be in there, certainly no one else will want to be either.
I hope you enjoyed hearing how I have created my (almost) dream home. Please feel free to ask questions. I have a great friend who was completely inspired. After living in her home for 3 years & seeing my home & explaining why it’s so important to invest in your space, she went out & decorated about 80% of her home. Now, she never wants to leave it. Don’t break the bank guys. Do your research. There are going to be some pieces of course you see & fall to your knees & dream about for months on end, those pieces, yes buy them. Otherwise, shop around, find what suits your taste & your wallet.
PS-sorry I did not write last week. It was a pretty crazy week for me. I don’t want to get into it, but let’s just say I am on a 21 day detox (again!)
XO Cheers (from my water bottle to yours)