The Flat Broke Decorator | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Flat Broke Decorator

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Decorating a home can be intimidating. Couple the intimidation factor with budgets so tight that Abraham Lincoln is squealing for mercy in our wallets, and the situation could turn into a crisis in which the would-be decorator is lying in the middle of the living-room floor, staring at the ceiling in defeat. The purpose of this article is to restore hope to the color- and
checkbook-challenged.

Decorating is a process. You don't have to do everything at once. Do what you can, when you can. Hammer out a realistic budget for yourself and be patient.

I'm not a professional decorator. I simply enjoy an appealing environment. I have a lot to do on limited funds, and I have learned through trial, error and the sheer joy of experimentation. Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to decorate while maintaining your sanity.

• Clean the clutter and get organized first. Organization is the necessary first step to creating a beckoning environment. Don't know how to organize? I recommend reading "Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life" (Sasquatch Books, 2006, $19.95) by Laura Leist.

• Identify your personal style. What colors make you feel good? What type of furniture do you gravitate to? Figure this out and go with it.

• Paint is the cheapest way to repurpose an outdated piece of furniture. Take it a step further and put new knobs and drawer pulls on your repainted masterpiece. Questions? Most paint stores have experts who can walk you through the process. I have loved the results of my furniture painting experiments. If in the end you hate the color, you can easily repaint.

• Love vintage items, but hate the price tag? Think consignment! Consignment stores often carry a little or a lot of everything and are a blast to browse. It's like having visitation privileges for every era of the 20th century. I have bought lamps, furniture and ceramics at these stores. I'll bet there's at least one in your neighborhood. Go online to find a store in your area.

• Repaint boring walls. If you are confused over color schemes, many paint stores offer color palettes that flow well together. Get a sample size of several paints and try out the colors in a particular area before making a commitment. The experts at the paint stores can point out different decorative painting techniques once you've gotten comfortable
with the basics.

• Keep an open mind on road trips. I've bought adorable kitchen kitsch at a New Orleans French Market booth for $12. Flea markets can be amazing idea banks, too. I've seen old doors repurposed into tables for sale at a local flea market. What a great way to recycle!

Decorating, like life, should be a journey. Make it fun. Make it about you. Godspeed, and happy (bargain) hunting!

Recommended Consignment Stores (by no means exhaustive):

Repeat Street – 626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland 601-605-9393
The Orange Peel – 422 Mitchell Ave., 601-364-9977
From Our House to Yours – 830 Wilson Drive, Suite E, Ridgeland, 601-956-1818
From Me to You – 6080 Old Brandon Road, Suite B, Brandon, 601-939-2326
Forget Me Nots – 204 E. Government St., Brandon, 601-824-9766
Old House Depot – 639 Monroe St., 601-592-6200

Also try thriftstores N.U.T.S (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-7458), Salvation Army (110 Presto Lane, 601-982-4881), as well as garage sales.

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