A New Series on MP....The Frugalista Decorista!

Since I started this blog, I have started receiving a lot of decorating inquiries.
While these questions range from Home to Wedding Decor, I find that the most frequent questions I receive are about "Budget Decorating." 

More specifically, How to furnish your house with Neiman Marcus taste on a Target budget.

Well, Friends, Today is your LUCKY DAY.

Because I am going to teach you JUST THAT.

Welcome to my new blog series, entitled "The Frugalista Decorista."

I find that the best stories are often personal accounts, so what better to start with than my own house.
Apologies in advance for the iPhone quality photogs.

Before I moved in with my man-friend, the house was a man-dump.
I'm talking leather couches and deer heads. YUCK.

So I decided I'd GIRL-ify it a little, while still keeping it a place that he wanted to hang out.


After we moved all the man-dump furniture out, We coated every surface with fresh paint.

The color I chose for the living room was a mocha-grey.

Which brings me to Frugalista Lesson # 1:

Loew's and Home Depot's paint departments can color match ANYTHING.

Restoration Hardware? Yup.
Farrow & Ball? Yup.
You name it, they'll do it.
At a FRACTION of the cost.

The white sofa is from Ikea. It retails for $399.

Frugalista Lesson # 2

Ikea is amazing. The quality is super and the prices are even better.

Now, I have some friends that refuse to shop at Ikea. 
It makes me want to laugh in their dumb-A faces.
"But, it's not good quality" they protest.
"Really?!" I say. "Because I've had my white Ikea sofa for 6.5 years and it's still in perfect condition."
Oh, I take that back. I replaced the slipcover earlier this year. It cost me a whopping $49.

Now, let's do some product comparison, shall we?

Can anyone tell me what sofa looks EXACTLY like the Ikea Ektorp?

Ding Ding Ding, That's Right!

The PB Basic Sofa from Pottery Barn.

image via PotteryBarn.com

Except that this one starts at $1,200 and goes up to $2,099 depending on the fabric you pick.

Do you know what you could do with an extra $800-$1,700?
Pretty much decorate the rest of your home.

Let's think about that.

My coffee table is from an Estate Sale. It was $50.

Which brings me to Frugalista Lesson # 3

Estate Sales and Flea Markets are like the crack dens of Design. You NEED them.

The two black side cabinets were bought from a parking lot and I bought them, along with the grey side table between my chairs for $15 TOTAL. For everything. 
And the man-friend repainted them.

The side table lamps are from Marshalls

Frugalista Lesson # 4

Discount Stores: i.e. Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, etc. are great for things like lamps, home accessories, sheets, frames, dishes, & cookware.
Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, go to a department store for stuff like that.
Or do so, knowing that you're flushing money down the toilet.

The mirror above the sofa was given to me by my Aunt Dixie. 
It was collecting dust in her garage.
And it was a burnished gold color.
So I spray painted it a gloss white.

Frugalista Lesson # 5:

Relatives and Friend's garages are GOLD MINES and 
cans of spray paint make EVERYTHING better.

I bought all the sofa pillows on SALE!

Moving on to the "Bar Area"

The bar was a cabinet my mother had sitting up in our garage apartment. I painted it a blue-grey, added new hardware and made it a "bar".

The mirror is from a local antique shop. 
The man friend gave it to me for my birthday a couple years ago.

Here's the part of the seating area you can't see from the other angle.

The orange chair is from Salvation Army

A friend once described Salvation Army as a shop for "Poor People".
I fought the urge to tell her that it was actually a shop for "Smart People".
Here's the deal. It cost me $70. 
Will I recover it one day? Yes.
Do I LOVE the orange fabric for now? You betcha.

Frugalista Lesson # 6:

If the fabric is in great condition and you can make it work for the time being, live with it for a bit.

The white arm chair is from Ikea's Ektorp collection and it retails for $249.

The telephone table was part of the aforementioned $15 set. I painted it grey and added a carrera marble top that I payed $29 for at a Marble Shop. They cut it from a scrap.

The curtains are from World Market. I payed $25/panel for them.  They look just as good as some I've seen for four times that much.

Apologies for this hideously un-styled photog, but I wanted to show you our mid-century modern television console. Picked it up at a local antique shop for $175. They wanted $250.
We Bargained.

Lesson # 7:

Bargain your ass OFF at antique and flea market shops.

A close-up shop of my coffee table set up.
The white lacquer box was purchased at Home Goods for $15.
Home Goods is super magical.
The pineapple figurine was $8 at a gift shop.
The coral was sitting in my mother's beach house from the previous owners.

Lesson #8


I've collected the coffee table books over the years.

 A close-up of one side table.
Lot's of Mercury Glass.

The Bar Tray is from Italy.
Mercury Glass from Shops in Austin and Fredericksburg.
Frame is from TJ Maxx. It was $7.
I grabbed the liquor bottles from my parent's cabinet. It was stuff they don't really drink.
And I don't really drink much liquor, but it makes a pretty little display.

 View of the other side table.
The tray was on sale at World Market for $11.
It was an outdoor serving tray, but I knew it would add a punch 
to my living room and play off the orange wingback.

The white dogs are from my mother's beach house.
The orange frame was $4 at Marshall's.
The orange candle is Jon Hardy. Got it for Christmas.

Let's Recap.

Discount Shopping is Easy if you know where to look.
And try to have some imagination.
And ask yourself questions.

 Like this:

Would I like this if it were at an expensive boutique?
Could this be repainted or recovered?
Does it have good quality?
Will it work with my room?

Now Readers, Why don't you put the Jedi Decorating Tips I've given you to good use?

More to Come.

Wedding Wednesday's will be here tomorrow!