Decorating With Common Cents...The Sequel!

It’s one thing to stumble upon a great sale item at your favourite retail store, but it’s a completely different story when you have a hit list of shopping hot spots in your back pocket where you are guaranteed to find one heck of a sweet bargooooon!

It’s one thing to stumble upon a great sale item at your favourite retail store, but it’s a completely different story when you have a hit list of shopping hot spots in your back pocket where you are guaranteed to find one heck of a sweet bargooooon!  

When I was asked to participate on the October 18th Décor Panel: “Getting The Most Bang For Your Buck”, I immediately went into Frugalista warrior mode!  I took the show on as a personal challenge to see just how fabulously thrifty I could be….

So, if you PROMISE not to tell anyone, I will share my list of fave “Frugalista” shopping destinations and break down where I found each item for my glamour dressing room set…all for under $1000 (and that includes labour and materials!)

First up….the lovely blush dresser!

This item nearly broke the bank 😉  It came from a store with no name or fixed address, also known as THE GARBAGE!  

Bless my dear Mom who spotted it on the side of the road and immediately called me with the exact coordinates so I could check it out.  She explained that it looked to be in great shape, but it could use a fresh coat of paint (my specialty).  I hopped in the car and pulled up a mere 10 minutes later to discover my Mom standing guard so that no one else could grab it before I got there.  I proceeded to load in into the back of my car (while trying to be as discreet as possible), but I hadn’t realized that I had been spotted!  The owner came dashing out of the house, and recognized me as “that girl with the paint chips on TV”…Tee Hee.  She was thrilled to hear that I was planning to give the dresser a face lift and explained that she herself had found it in the garbage and always thought it had great potential.  

I unloaded my new fabulous find into my garage and got to work!  A quick sand and a coat of Fresh Start primer…then I loaded her back into the car for a trip to my friends at Paint It Like New!  Sure, I could have painted the piece myself, but there is nothing like a gorgeous high gloss sprayed finish in my opinion, and for only a few hundred dollars, my once forgotten dresser now looked like a million bucks!

(Benjamin Moore Advance paint was used in High Gloss, “Glamour Pink” 2006-40)

With budget in mind, my next destination was one of my fave consignment stores…Zoey’s Consignment.  It was there that I found the uber fabulous mid-century modern telephone bench for only $50!  My favourite thing about this piece is that it came with a story!  

I was told by the shop owner that it was made by a retired doctor who dabbled in wood working for many decades in his spare time.  The seat cushions had been upholstered 4 times, and as I peeled back the layers of fabric, I could almost pin point each decade this bench had been “reinvented”.  When I found it, the top layer had a pale pink silk with palm patterning…very 80’s!  Under that I discovered an avocado brocade…hello 70’s!  And under that was a bright red velvet with a definite 60’s vide.  The final layer revealed a feminine petite floral that looked to be from the early 1950’s, and all of a sudden it dawned on me just how  much sentimental history this lovely little bench possessed!  But alas, it was time for a fifth reinvention!  With a few yards of inexpensive graphic fabric from IKEA, and a fresh coat of paint in “Precious Pink” 2084-40, my telephone bench had transformed into the perfect place to perch in my glamour dressing room.

Now when you’re talking glamour, you need a dash of sass!  And I knew the perfect go-to artist for a piece of affordable artwork that would make my space.  During a recent online shopping expedition, I discovered an incredible artist featured on; Leigh Viner.  Her work has a certain “femme fatale” quality for me, and one piece in particular…”Cricket…had become my latest art obsession.  The $100 print was finished off with a $30 frame from, and immediately became the inspiration for everything else in my set.  When selecting accessories for the set, I began to ask myself “what would Cricket choose?”  All of a sudden, my fabulously frugal art had become my muse!

I determined that “Cricket” needed a glamorous dressing screen, and I originally planned to make one out of salvaged interior doors from the Habitat For Humanity ReStore, but during my visit, I found perfectly good sheets of pine for only $8 each that I had cut to size and hinged together with inexpensive hardware from Rona.  I then decided to clad the front of the screen with rolls of cork purchased from Michael’s Craft Store for $19.99 so that the screen could double as a display stand for dazzling costume jewellery and fashion inspiration tear sheets.

Next up…the beautiful vintage lace wall stencil!

I knew that I wanted to include a feminine pattern on the wall, and when I stumbled across this stunning over-sized lace motif from Royal Design Studio (again, during an online shopping search), I knew it would be PURRRRRRRRRRFECT (that’s how I imagine “Cricket” saying it).  At $150, it was one of the splurges in my set, but if you tally up the cost of wallpaper, then the cost and/or hassle of installation (not to mention the disaster of removing wallpaper), this was a huge budget WIN in my opinion!  With a base coat of Aura matte paint in “Dior Gray” 2133-40, and an overlay in “Chantilly Lace” OC-65, the backdrop for all of my frugally fantastic wears was complete.

Now, all I needed were those few crowning jewels…the accessories to finish everything off!  I called my dear friend Christine Dovey ( — who by the way is’s Blogger Of The Month for October — and asked if I could “shop her house” for a few pieces as she is truly a GLAMOR FRUGALISTA.  I snagged a table lamp that she found at a thrift store for $40, the amazing chair that she scored at a flea market for $100, and her playful pink leopard pillow that was yet another steel!  Finally, I found the faux zebra rug at one of my fave budget retailers (Jysk) for only $50, and an assortment of brass trays, blush depression glass bowls, and petite china trinket boxes were all collected at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store for a whopping $22.  Oh, and how could I forget my ultimate budget chandelier…a $7.99 IKEA lamp shade with a Dollar Store decal and rhinestones…you can’t get much more frugal than that!

Ta Da!  So for under $1000, I created what I think is a true Frugalista haven.
What do you think???

For complete show credits, please visit–october-18-2011

Happy Painting & Decorating!

Join the conversation

What do you think?


Please read our commenting policies

Hide the conversation