It’s no secret that I like vintage. I’m drawn to previously loved items. They have a story to tell.
I’m also fairly frugal when it comes to furnishing my home. This frugality comes partly out of necessity but also out of a strong sense that I can get what I want for much, much less than I would at a big box store and that it will have much more style and personality to boot.
I thought, as Brenda and I explore living in a small space, I would occasionally highlight a room in my house and its mostly frugally obtained contents. Today, the living room.
Okay. Starting in the lower left and corner:
Red chair: Snagged in an antique mall in San Diego around 13 years ago. I was drawn to it because it reminded me of a chair my grandparents had in their den. Cost? $50.
Green table: You can see it peeking out between the chair and the loveseat. Chippy green paint and pretty lines – found it in an antique shop in a neighboring town about 8 years ago. Cost? $30. I probably overpaid for it.
Loveseat: My first piece of furniture for my Cambridge apartment oh-so-many-years-ago. I think I paid $400 for it. I’ve had it for at least 21 years. It’s lived all over the country. Underneath the slip cover are dark gray cushions that have seen a lot of wear. Slipcovers are a wonderful thing – this particular one changes the look of the loveseat from slightly boring to vintage. When you calculate how many years I’ve had it and the cost, it has paid for itself many times over.
Coffee table: Our friend cut this down and refinished it for a client who ended up deciding against it. We bought it from him for $75.
Rugs: Both rugs are from Lowe’s. Can’t remember the exact price, but they were around $80 each on sale.
Wicker rocker: Purchased at an antique mall – cost? $60.
Sideboard: Don and I bought this when we first moved in together. That means we’ve had it for 16 years. It’s heavy, made of tiger oak and gorgeous. I’m not sure on this one but I think it was around $150.
Large white cabinet: Huge, lots of storage inside, beautiful and snagged for $100 at auction.
Blue bench (next to cabinet): Found in a little antique store – lots of beautiful patina and chippy paint. Cost? $40.
Yellow chair: This is the only piece that we paid full price for. We bought it a few years back for $800. Yikes. We needed another chair and couldn’t find one that was comfy enough. It’s really well-made and will last a long, long time. A rare purchase for us.
White table: Free. It used to be a prop in the Boston University prop space. I grabbed it for my office at BU. Somehow it made its way to my apartment. I’ve had it for about 21 years. I painted it about 2 years ago.
Piano: Free. I inherited it from my grandmother.
Forgot the lab stool (by the chimney in this photo): Found it at a local antique store for $25. It functions as a table and as a way to reach the pot lights in the kitchen as well as the top of the cupboards.
Also forgot the lamps: The floor lamp by the loveseat was on sale at Pottery Barn. Can’t remember the price – bought it many years ago in San Diego. The parakeet lamp on the sideboard was a birthday present. The vintage floor lamp by the piano was about $50 – again, bought many years ago in San Diego.
I also hang on to my furniture for a long time. I don’t decorate according to ‘trends’ or ‘what’s hot’ at the moment. I choose things I love and that suit my style and that will stand the test of time. And even if I could afford one, I would never have a decorator. Too much money for someone else’s input and/or style. Not for me.
Isn’t finding a previously loved piece a wonderful thing? And getting a bargain to boot?