Sunday, August 12, 2007

Furnishing Without Spending

Someone gave me this 100-plus old wicker couch. They said they were "sure glad to get that thing out of our house" because it took up so much room. I have owned it for about 15 years now and have changed the fabrics and cushions several times. The lamp on the right came from a yard sale, as did the table it rests upon. The pictures on the wall are greeting cards put into old frames or dollar-store frames.

Here is my favorite rug, made of strips of old sheets, old dresses and fabric that I didn't need, crocheted with a giant crochet hook, by my daughter. She sat down one day and did it in a few hours.

You can use baby things in your house even if you do not have children. I kept this old high chair that someone gave me, and used it in the dining room. It is a good place to park things I have kept for years.

It is too bad there is not a "before" picture of this shelf. It was a beaten up old thing someone had thrown in the trash. The pieces had come apart and it was unpainted and simply awful looking. When I brought it home, my family groaned! However a bit of wood glue and some cabinet paint fixed it up just fine. The floral design is painted with flower shaped sponges. I use cabinet paint or bathroom paint for my projects because it does not chip as easily.

In this shelf are cottage tea pots and old doilies left by a great-grandmother. I learned to decorate up high when my children were little. That way I could function with children in the house and not always worry about things setting out.
I am not saying that it is practical for everyone to live like this, but that it is important to know how to furnish without spending, when necessary. These things, if taken care of can be sold for 100% profit. Taking care of them increased their value. One thing many new homemakers have to learn is that it that one of their duties is to find ways not to spend money. It seems in better times, many of us have felt it our duty to spend. However, when the family budget is tight, the homemaker can not only make do with free things or cheaper things, she can actually make them better and make money from them if she has to.


Anonymous said...

How lovely and creative. Is cabinet paint a spray paint for metal objects?

Thank you for sharing these pictures of your home things.

Lydia said...

It is a normal white paint that you can also put color in, for wood cabinets or hallways or bathrooms. It is usually sold where you buy gloss paint or semi gloss.

MAB said...

A few weeks ago I decided to look around our house at our furniture. In 12 years of marriage we have bought 8 pieces of furniture new. The rest was used or hand-me-down.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
This looks so lovely, I am thankful for all of the pictures you are showing us of your home as it helps to see things. I also love the fact that you are able to do all of this on a budget. I have not changed anything in my home for a long time now, but am thinking differently with a new mindset that I can make some subtle changes, without spending money really at all, as there is no money for decorating! I really love that shelf too, and can hardly believe it was broken and in such a state as you say as one would never know.

I, too, didn't know of cabinet paint and will look for it. I have some bathroom cabinet doors that need painting, would this do?

Thank you, Lyn

Lydia said...

It is normal, non-toxic paint that is for kitchens and bathrooms because it is more water proof and least likely to chip. It is a grade better than semi-gloss or even gloss. It isn't for metal. It is not a spray paint. I gave up on spray paint because it is not a good deal. Spray paint wastes so much. It is good for intricate areas like spindles or wrought iron, and some wicker.

Lydia said...

There have been times I have brought home a piece of junk that everyone turned up their nose at, and after painting it they compete with each other as to who is going to get to have it!

Anonymous said...


I love the couch! I love the shelf! I love the rug! I love your house! It looks so sweet and... what is the word, it looks like tender loving care and thought went into you making your house a home. I love the high chair!

Before I was married I had mix matched furniture and I loved it! People use to say "Your house is so pretty and homey". Now I have a complete living room set with everything that matches, I thank God for my living room set, it is the first one I have ever owned and my dear husband brought it for me.

I just need a little mixie matchie in my living room it is a little too bland.

Thank you Lydia for the lovely pictures of your sweet and beautiful home!

Anonymous said...

That rug certainly looks as though it were made in a few hours - either that, or you have a dog that likes to chew on it. It's absolutely hideous!

Lydia said...

I see the pirhana fish is back. This is only a small corner of my house. I keep some things my children made me even if they are not perfect, including this rug. Isn't it the thought that counts, when furnishing a home? I believe furnishings should include a bit of the homemade, and some old as well as new, and this rug has the colors I like for that particular room. The article was suggestions on how to furnish without spending. I realize the couch needs a new paint job and new cushions, but for the illustration about not spending, I used this picture.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Thank you for sharing your thrifty and creative decoration ideas! It's unbelievable the shelf used to be like you described... it looks wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing ideas for ways to make our homes more beautiful without a lot of money. The shelf is so lovely---as is the rug. I have seen similar "handmade" rugs in craft shops with expensive price tags. I just wish that I could master the art of crochet.

Simply inspiring...

Anonymous said...

Oooh, oooh, oooh the rug! I really like this rug made out of scraps. Just seeing it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling like reading about the throw rugs the women in Laura Ingalls' family made.

Thank you for sharing so many lovely ideas of how we can decorate our homes without spending lots of money. Money does not equal beauty.



Anneatheart said...

Dear Lady Lydia-

your recent post about feminine dress inspired me to do a week of feminine dress on my blog. If you would like to see how me and my little girls dress go to

Today was the first day, so I have a whole week yet to do.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

I love your home. It takes time, talent, and love to put together a charming home without spending a ton of money. And the sweet little rug just proves to me that you must have always been a wonderful mother whose daughter loves you enough to spend her time creating something pretty for you. What a blessing!!! =)

Anonymous said...

I really like the couch, even – and perhaps, especially – in its current state. I know a couple of people who keep plastic on all their furniture. Everything is clean, certainly, but the occupants of those places are strangers in their own homes.

My dear Tupelo, sometimes the worth of a thing has more to do with its origin and utility than it does with appearance.

Lydia said...

These are just "before" pictures...there is going to be a couch makeover sometime. The rug is a rag rug, so it is supposed to look like it was made from rags. I like the colors. If she made them and sold them she would be very rich. These things are expensive! I got it for free and that was the point of the article: furnishing without spending.

~~Deby said...

LOVELY room.....I am in the process os turning a room into a MORE lovely room...cheaply,,love thrift shops, yard sales...Craig's list etc....I think this is my first time at your blog.....WONDERFUL