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Vintage Des Moines home decor under $50

A Thrifty Home

While there are plenty of resources and rules on interior decorating, I think the most important rule to follow is to simply surround yourself with things you love. Your home should be a respite from the rest of the world; a place you can relax, recharge, and be yourself.

Thrifting is one of the most affordable ways to create a unique home space that truly reflects your personality.

When you’re first starting out -- whether you just graduated from college, bought your first starter home or are upgrading to make room for kids -- it can be daunting and expensive to try and fill a home with furniture and decor. Big box stores can be great for decorating on a budget; but thrifting provides a way to find pieces that no one else has.

Tip 1: First Impressions

Don’t judge a piece of furniture at first glance. Focus on the lines, the overall quality and how something makes you feel. If you’re drawn to a chair at a garage sale, but it looks like it just came off a 30-year bender, don’t write it off. Consider what it might look like after a hot shower and fresh coat of paint.

Bonus: Try to be aware of your abilities and availability. If you’re not much for DIY, you probably shouldn’t buy that adorable vintage couch that just needs to be completely reupholstered. It will just end up sitting in your garage for 2 years. However, a can of spray paint goes a long way, so don’t pass up on something that just needs a little TLC.

Tip 2: Second Chances

Your thrifting will be much more successful it you keep an open mind. If you’re looking for something too specific, you may never find it. Keep your eyes out for items that could be repurposed. If you are searching for a coffee table, look at all the tables. You might find the perfect size and shape and simply need to shorten the legs. If you need a magazine rack, consider an old wine crate or a galvanized bucket. I keep my kitchen utensils in a divided tray originally intended for plants! Think outside the box.

Bonus: Get even more bang for your buck by purchasing pieces that are versatile and could serve different purposes in your home. I love rearranging the rooms in my house and am constantly moving decor and furniture to other spaces. This also helps cure the craving to shop -- just rearrange a room and you’ll feel like it’s brand new!


Tip 3: Goodwill = Good Frames

Goodwill isn’t really known for its housewares, so if you are looking for something specific and don’t have a lot of time, I’d bypass it. However, they always have cheap picture frames. The frames are usually filled with terrible art so I think most people just look right past them.

Bonus: Take out the terrible art and replace it with good art! (Or more terrible art. If that’s your thing.) Buy a bunch of different frames, spray paint them all the same color and create a whole gallery wall for less than the cost of one brand new frame.

Vintage woven mat: Preservation, $28

I love this vintage mat, but it’s too pretty to be on the floor! It took me a few tries to find the right spot for it and finally decided to just hang it up so I can stare at it all the time.

Vintage vase: Preservation, $12

Nikole Lorenson of Preservation has curated a great selection of vintage clothes and housewares. This little vase looked so pretty next to the colors of the mat that I had to have them both. They were destined to be together!

Wooden bowl turned cactus planter: Goodwill, $3 

The southwestern vibe at Preservation had me all inspired, so when I saw this stocky, wooden bowl at Goodwill, I thought it’d be the perfect home for my cactus. He’s the first plant I have managed to keep alive for over a year, so he deserved an upgrade.

Binoculars: Goodwill, $8

Let’s be honest--some things are fun to have around, just for looks. I may never use these binoculars, but they work well with this outdoorsy, rustic thing I have going and they’re fun for my kids to play with. (Side note: having kids is a great reminder that stuff is just stuff and you shouldn’t cling too tightly to it. Furniture will be abused, books will be spilled upon, breakable things will be broken. If you’re entering that stage of life, you may want to re-evaluate some of your decor choices. And get some cheap binoculars.)

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321 E. Walnut St.
Des Moines

1600 Valley West Dr.
West Des Moines