Decorating on the Cheap

It’s no surprise that most row house owners don’t have the elaborate budgets they might have once had. These are tough times. However, we like to think that it’s a great time for reflection and creativity. Reflection because without a huge budget, you’re forced to really contemplate how much you love that whatever-it-is that you want to bring into your house. Creativity because instead of walking into a store and buying the entire look, you might have to go to several places, and even browse the local second hand, or trash pile.

Today I tripped over an article on the New York Times website. As a former New Yorker, I still think it’s the best newspaper out there (bias alert!). In “Bang for the Buck,” (Jan 11, 2012) Jesse McKinley chats about decorating and outfitting your home with finds from the dollar store.

In the article he chronicles his shopping experiences and includes some helpful tips at the end on how to shop savvily despite the lure of unbeatable bargains. We’ve found that it helps to have an idea of what kinds of things you are willing to compromise on before you shop at any store. For example, paper goods might be a good dollar-store option, feminine products, not-so much. Everyday glassware that always ends up breaking anyway, probably a great dollar-store purchase. With a tighter budget, chances are you’re buying less. So take the time to really compare what you’re getting. You might be surprised that a $1 roll of paper towels works as good as a $3 roll.

Inexpensive Stores We Love

We’re also really big fans of the second-hand store. It’s cheap. It’s recycling. And often, your local second-hand store benefits some cause. We have a few here in Philly that we love!

Philly Aids Thrift – Awesome doesn’t even begin to cover it. Often they get estate items in and reading the entertaining tags on things is worth stopping in alone. Look for the illuminated item of the day, because there is only one.

Uhuru Furniture – benefiting people in Africa, this second-hand furniture store always has a plethora of things, arranged in a life-size furniture tetris arrangement in their store on Spruce Street in Center City. They’ve even been known to carry pianos and often have bonafied antiques for ridiculously low prices.

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