Frugal furniture tips and ideas. Post your ideas!
I always hit the local thrift shops and focus more on the shape and style of a piece then the color or condition. I can paint and hammer a nail so I'm good. If I find something that fits my home I bring it back and paint and distress it, upholster it or whatever treatment I feel suits it as long as the lines are the same as the rest of the furniture in the room.
I have found really great furniture at the local Good Will Store. People donate when they are tired of a certain set of furniture. And I always spend within my budget.
The wood of this was very ornate which was what attracted me to the chair in the first place and looked weathered by the sun, so I didn't need to strip any finish off of it. I got some Old English from my mom and slathered it on and it looks beautiful!
To get the polish down in the cracks I dampened string with Old English and worked it down in the crevices where the rag failed to go.I think it's what some people call a Captains chair - the end chairs of the dining room set that have arms on it.
The 2nd chair was pretty much a BREEZE. The seat had scratched torn black leather and one part of the ladder back was broken, so I got it sawed off even with the other one and glued wooden drawer knobs on.
Those I later painted with a rose textured spray. The rest of the chair with the ornate spindles I painted a softer pink. I replaced the seat cover with a piece of upholstery swatch that was rosy and finished the edges with a 1/2" green velvet ribbon that I secured with upholstery tacks This chair had some bentwood which was screwed to the seat and the back. I hid the screws with white silk ribbon roses from the craft dept. that I easily glued in place.
I had no real reason to have these chairs at the time except for the actual project of doing them. I now use the cherry chair in my front room (which I would LOVE for you to see. I have it in an outdoor theme with a deep green paint on walls and a cabinet and black painted limbs from out at the nature reserve near here. 2 of them I painted black and cemented in green pots from the dollar store. I had one hanging from the ceiling that had a little birdhouse chimes hanging off of it.
The other chair is now at my sisters. When she saw it she LOVED it so because it was almost her birthday I gave it to her. She said at first how cute it would look at her vanity. I haven't been to her house to see it but I bet it does look good.
I have seen those giant fiber-optic cable reels used as tables and a sheet of plywood with two sawhorses used as a table or computer desk. You can also use two stacks of cinder blocks with boards between them as a bookshelf of sorts.
I have been known to use large sturdy boxes with a length of fabric (or sheet or whatever) thrown over them for a decorator table in a pinch. I covered the front by setting plants on the floor and just used it to display a bouquet or something until I got a real table.
Years ago I bought two antique trunks that had been painted black for $20. I have used them ever since as coffee tables/hidden storage. They work with everything and can be used as much more than just tables. I use folding tables from Wal-Mart for our extra T.V./VCR in a spare room and another one to hold my serger in my sewing room. They work well for lightweight stuff, I paid about $30 apiece for them. They last for years.
Another thing you might try is tell ALL your friends and coworkers you are looking for furniture cast-offs. I did that a few years back and found a coworker who was about to haul to the dump two antique chests of drawers and two antique nightstands! She was clearing out her mother-in-law's estate and didn't need them and just didn't know what else to do with them. And one other time about fifteen years ago, I saw an old wooden dinette set outside the back door of a neighbor's house. I watched for several days and it was never moved. Finally, my husband walked over and asked the man who lived there if we could have it. Turns out he was going to haul it off. We redid it and found out in the process it was an antique Duncan-Phyfe table with lion's claw feet and the chairs were Duncan-Phyfe Rose Back Chairs. :)
In my family, we just care for and look after what we have and buy only when it cannot be avoided. In other words, we make do. Most of the furniture in my home is now used by the fourth generation! We also appreciate what we have so there's no need to replace.
We keep our ears open for people moving (we were blessed to buy a solid wood entertainment center and 27" tv and dvd player for 300 after a fire!) We also do trading, either services or goods. A lot of the furniture we have is from clearance at furniture stores, or were dings or on display. But once we buy, we keep it for as long as we can. Even the Walmart stuff! I have sterlite containers I use for bedside tables, and an old trunk I use for an extra seat in the living room. I like to use milk crates as "decorator" tables, or under them, for the storage capabilities. If it can not serve that purpose, I don't want it in my house!
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