The Treasure In "Used"

Arleen M. Kaptur

You've spent the entire day shopping for new furniture or accents for your home and yet nothing seems quite right. You come home exhausted and in ill spirits. You grab the newspaper to check out the ads and possibly something there will light up that spark in your eyes and put that spring in your step. You sink back down into that old chair that your great Aunt Tessie gave your grandmother, who gave it to your mother, who passed it on to Sister Sue, until she got tired of it and you inherited it.


There you go - the words "inherited it". You are a lucky individual. Getting furniture handed down to you from countless sources, or cruising the tag sales and resale shops will never get you into the "Great Homes" Hall of Fame. Right? Oh, you couldn't be more wrong. Those store-bought items do not insure individuality, heritage, and one-of-a-kind prestige. Yet, taking your hand-me-downs or bargains and polishing them with ingenuity and imagination will get you first-place honors in any Home Show. No one gets too enthused at a piece of furniture that they have seen in a furniture showroom, also at their neighbor's house, or even at their boss's summer resort. Definitely beautifully crafted furniture will bring oohs and aahs and everyone will admire their grace and style. However, older furnishings have history, a story behind the previous owners, and a lot of sentiment. Now that's what a home really is - a place to share what you are today, where you came from, and where you are heading.

Using fabric can change an entire color scheme or enhance that chair or sofa. If you add some really bright and beckoning pillows, then you have brought comfort and style together. If there are arms or legs on your sofa, a bit of stain, wood finish, or paint will bring out the shine. As for tables, shelving, chairs, etc. a bit of varnish, finish, or paint will revitalize and renew any piece. Using your imagination, try different brush strokes, or techniques. You may be surprised what happens when you combine different stains with different solid colors. Maybe oak is too somber for you, then pine may be more to your liking. It is now your piece of clay to work with, so mold it to fit your surroundings and other decor.

Old clocks, pictures of previous generations, lamps that recall bygone eras all add that certain something to any room. Throw in a few good old novels, some bright fresh flowers, and beautiful scarves or throws and you have "heirloom" pride written all over your room. Modern is nice, and brand new will always be great, but throw in a piece or two of some really vintage furniture and you have not only memories but a room that will create its own. If you feel that placing these items in your main rooms is really too much for you, then have a very private area where you read, write in your diary, or just relax. Furnish this with those items that recall, relive, and reacquaint. Here, you can read under your father's desk lamp, or your brother's favorite horse painting. Grandma's crocheted throw will be a welcome accent, as well as that deer that grandpa whittled.

Using fabric, color, paint, stain, and a whole lot of ingenuity will give your home that very beautiful individuality that most designers seek, and most homeowners seem to miss. Your guests, whether neighbors, family, or those whose friendship is very important to you will feel relaxed, comfortable, and interested. They can touch the brass, or finger the brocade. There is style, detail, and intricate designs that add true character to a home. Don't ever feel bad when you get hand-me-downs. Make them the treasures they truly are. Place your imprint of creativity on them and you will have something that one day you will be proud to hand-down, if you can ever really can part with it. ENJOY!

About The Author: ©Arleen M. Kaptur 2002 June
Arleen Kaptur has written numerous articles, cookbooks, motivational booklets, and the novel: SEARCHING FOR AUSTIN JAMES


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