Okay, so I have a major problem: my mind won’t stop designing! I have plans racing through my head for all the rooms I plan to redo next. Yes, there’s my dining room which I’m currently working on, but there’s also my mom’s guest room, our bonus room, my kids’ bathroom and my daughter’s bedroom all coming down the line. And my thoughts are exploding with all the possibilities for ALL of those rooms. Honestly, if my energy level could keep up with my brain it’d be all good!

All of that has made me realize it’s time for a trip to the local flea market in search of some affordable items I could use for these upcoming makeovers.

The local flea market here has over 600 vendors! That amount of merchandise can easily become overwhelming. But even a trip to a small thrift store or a quick search online for some used home decor can be challenging if you’re not fully prepared.

So with that in mind, here are some tips for getting the most out of buying used home furnishings, whether you’re shopping thrift stores, consignment sales, flea markets, antique stores, yard sales or online sites like Craigslist and Ebay.


Be prepared.

Don’t forget that most of these sellers/stores only accept cash so have more than enough on hand. And make sure you have a vehicle large enough to transport whatever you plan to purchase (I made this mistake during a recent trip to Asheville, NC).

If you’re looking for something specific or expensive then do your research before shopping. Figure out what the going rate is for the item and google ways to spot a fake.

Look for the unusual and unique.

The great thing about buying used home furnishings isn’t just that it can save you money, but often more importantly for me, it can help you score some very unique one-of-a-kind items. Whether I’m searching online or at a local flea market I’m always keeping an eye out for that unusual piece that I can’t pick up at the local mall.

Look for interesting shapes, colors, materials and textures. Look for items that have character and maybe even a story to go along with it. Simply anything that you haven’t seen before that you’re drawn to may be worth the money. After all, there’s no guarantee it’ll still be there the next time you go shopping.

Be open minded.

I always go shopping with a list of items I’m looking for for my current or upcoming projects, but I don’t limit myself to that shopping list. I keep an eye open for anything interesting because you never know what treasures you might stumble upon.

Look for items that may not be exactly what you want but could become what your looking for with a little work. Maybe a new coat of stain, some new furniture knobs or some mirrors installed in the doors will turn that dumpy piece of furniture into your dream item.

I am regularly looking at the inventory thinking how could this be transformed into something better?

For me, the best way to figure out if an item is worth a makeover is to focus on cosmetic changes. Cosmetic changes would include changing the color, the pattern or the fabric of the item, but would also include replacing smaller elements like furniture feet, decorative accents, lamp shades, picture frames and handles. These are all fairly easy to change. What’s harder to change is the overall shape and construction of the item. So I’m always looking for products that have a great form and only need some cosmetic changes.

If you need some inspiration in this area check out the bottom of this post.


I’ve had a couple of people ask me for advice on how to decorate a fireplace mantel so today I’m going to address this issue. I’ll keep it simple by touching on some basic concepts to remember when decorating a mantel, and then show some examples of these strategies in photos.

things to consider when decorating a mantel:


Obviously, the items displayed on your mantel should match the decor in your room, but don’t feel like they have to match perfectly. You can use objects in various shades of the colors in your room, and you can always add neutral colored items to give more depth.


While most people easily remember to consider color, many forget about texture. Look to add items of various textures to bring diversity and interest to your mantel. Find items like patterned vases and frames, fresh greenery, branches, pine cones, baskets, fabrics or candles to include in your arrangement.


Have you ever come across a photo in a magazine or on the internet of a room that you just fell in love with? If you’re anything like me you’ve found dozens of them. I’m guessing everyone reading this has found at least one. With sources like Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz it’s easy to spend hours drooling over gorgeous rooms that you wish you could replicate in your own home.

Well, this article is going to help you take the next step in making that dream room a reality in your home.

Trying to copy your ideal room can lead to frustration, confusion and disappointment. Some people try to replicate the photo exactly but still end up unhappy with the final results. Some people just barely begin to recreate their dream room before giving up because they realize they could never afford the same products in the photo. And some people simply don’t know where to start the process of turning a photo into reality.

The place where most people stumble is they never stop to ask themselves questions—and the right questions—about that photo. It’s important to figure out what exactly you love about that dream room and why. Then take the time to think through if you could actually replicate the same elements in your own home.

So with a magazine photo in your hand or a link on your computer, here are some questions to ask yourself about the room you’re drooling over…