Category: design

12 thrift store DIYS you should try today

Looking for clever, cheap thrift store DIYs? Click through for DIY ideas for four things you can always find at thrift stores for cheap: hardcover books, vinyl records, silk scarves, and dishes!
I’ve been a voracious thrifter for ages.  I’ve been pawing through racks of second hand clothing since plaid and high-waisted jean shorts were cool – the first time around.
(You can read my thrifting tips here and here.)
These days I don’t thrift as much because, well, I don’t need anything.  I’ve got all the cute dresses and vintage t-shirts a girl could want! (Or at least, as many cute dresses as a girl who hates having excess stuff that she doesn’t use could want.)
Every time I pop into a thrift store I see shelf after shelf of the same items – there are always piles of vinyl records, dishes, silk scarves, and hardcover books.  These items might not be too exciting in their current state, but with some elbow grease and creativity, they could be amazing!

Click on the photos to see how to make these adorable things!

DIY project you can do with Records

Looking for clever, cheap thrift store DIYs? Click through for DIY ideas for four things you can always find at thrift stores for cheap: hardcover books, vinyl records, silk scarves, and dishes!
Vinyl record DIY
Vinyl record DIY

DIY projects you can do with Hardcover books

Hardcover book craft ideas
Hard cover book crafts
Crafts to make with hardcover books

DIY projects you can do with Silk scarves

silk scarf craft ideas
Shorts made from silk scarves
Silk scarf pillows

DIY projects you can do with Dishes

DIYs with dinner plates
Crafts with dinner plates
Crafts with tea cups
Do you have any favorite DIYs for things you find at the thrift store?  Leave links in the comments!

Yes Spaces: Katie of ‘Creole Wisdom’

This is one of many Yes Spaces home tours in which we get a peek at my friends’ spaces and how normal people with normal income decorate.


Internet homes: 
blog
Length of time in home:
1.5 years, and believe me it has flown by!

 

 

Who do you share your home with? 
I live alone and really love it. I’ve made friends with another fellow Katie who lives across the hall. She is awesome and we’re taking a quilt class together. We are kindred spirits and call each other “roommates.” Maybe I will get a pet fish, but it’s just a few plants for now.
What are the three things you love most about your space?

I love the layout (bedroom is close to bathroom), the open kitchen and how much of a blank slate it is.

 

 

What’s the least awesome, must-work-around aspect of your space? 
For an apartment in Minneapolis my place is pretty new-ish. I think it was built in the 60s or 70s. It doesn’t have that “old-Minneapolis apartment” feel that I love. I have lived in those places and they certainly have their drawbacks (scary bathtubs.) Most of the places in my price range that are older, just aren’t in the best shape—someday!
Tell us the story behind one of your favorite pieces in your space? 
I can’t pick one! When I moved in I had very few pieces of furniture, I was perusing Craigslist one day and noticed these beautiful, tufted chairs. I had to have them. My step dad and I went to pick them up and I made a bit of conversation with the man who was selling them. Turns out he was selling them for his girlfriend who is a photographer (I’m a photographer as well) before they both moved out of town for her new job out west. Very cool moment. It turns out the chairs were custom made at one of the old department stores in Minneapolis that no longer exists. I painted the legs gray.The other piece is this colorful trunk. I wanted to find a trunk, but usually they are pretty dark and my style is lighter with a lot of whites and pastels. I about screamed when I found this and for less than $30 on a rainy, but happy day in Stockholm, Wisconsin just a few miles from Red Wing (both places are a must if you enjoy antiquing and finding good deals.) I have no idea who the trunk belonged to, but I imagine it might be Scandinavian in origin because of the colors. It is an excellent piece for storage.

 

What are some of the DIYs you’ve tried here?
Basically everything is DIY, the only “new” piece of furniture I own is the couch and my bed frame. I’ve had some successes and failures; I think it’s learning what works for you and where your skills lie (spray painting, furniture building, sewing?).
I needed a dining table and don’t like much of the modern or IKEA options out there. One day while driving through the industrial part of Edina I noticed this table with a “free” sign on top. I loved the shape and when I turned it over noticed a “Gabberts” stamp. That is the story of how I ended up with a Gabberts table for free. To brighten it up a bit I painted the legs a jadeite green (I collect Fireking jadeite) and added mismatched chairs in the same hue. I recovered the chair seats in fabric from an old Target curtain panel.

 

What’s the strangest place you’ve found stuff for your home?
Maybe not strangest, but in my bottle collection I’ve got a pretty piece from Ireland. Most everything I have is from the side of the road, antique shops or someone’s hand-me-down. I guess I’m still trying to figure out why someone would put out a Gabbert’s table with a “free” sign on it 😉
What are your top five sources for design inspiration?
3. Old school, Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic books

Thanks so much for sharing, Katie!

 

Yes Spaces: Lauren of Rebuild Health + Home

This is a (semi) regular series in which we visit the homes of stylish friends and drool over their design. You can see previous tours here.  These photos originally appeared on Lauren and Kevin’s house tour on Apartment Therapy; photos by Carolyn Purnell
Internet homes: blog // twitter 
Length of time in home: 3.5 years
I share my home with: My future husband, Kevin
What are the three things you love most about your space? 

Ours is a corner apartment about two blocks off Lake Michigan, and we get amazing amounts of daylight. That’s probably what I noticed most when I first looked at the place! Another thing I love is that it’s definitely a vintage Chicago apartment, which are like the ones I grew up in (lots of crown molding, crystal doorknobs, hardwood floors, etc). I can’t stand newly-built boxes with no personality! The other thing I love is its size; It’s a one bedroom, so it’s not huge, but it’s large enough that Kevin was able to move in after I lived here for about a year. We both fit quite comfortably.

What’s the strangest place you’ve found stuff for your home?
Oh man, I’m a bit of a treasure hunter, so we have things from all over the place, from alleys to Anthropologie! Most of my favorite little trinkets and other pieces that add character are from thrift stores or antique shops, though. Here in Chicago, there’s a thrift chain called Village Discount, which, depending on the location, can be a total mess, but I’ve found some great scores!
What’s the least awesome, must-work-around aspect of your space?Our kitchen is furnished with really ugly wood laminate cabinets and floor tiles that have seen better days. If we owned the place, I’d love to tear out the cabinets (or at the very least repaint them) and re-tile the floors in there. Also, no dogs. THE WORST!Tell us the story behind one of your favorite pieces in your space!

The little black gazelle (?) who lives by our television in the living room is named Maurice, and I LOVE him. My parents got him at an antique store when I was young, so I remember always having him in the house and playing with him. When I moved into this place, I asked if I could have him (nope), and I think I ended up taking him home with me when no one was looking. He’s been with us ever since, and I’m pretty sure my mom has given up owner’s rights.

 

What are some of the DIYs you’ve tried here?

I did the Suzani print pelmet boxes above the windows in the living room using foam core, batting, fabric, staples and some L brackets for mounting, and Kevin and I both worked on painting and recovering the pair of Chippendale chairs in front of our coffee table. I recently repainted an old white dresser that I bought second hand years ago and moved it into the kitchen to repurpose it as a sideboard and give us some extra counterspace.The project I think I love the most is the Penguin Book art we have hanging above the loveseat in our bedroom. I took a hi-res digital picture, and then had Kinko’s blow it up for us. I was so happy when it worked!

 

What are your top five sources for design inspiration? 
The homes of people I find stylish (e.g. Kate & Andy Spade, Jenna Lyons), store merchandising (at places like Anthropolgie, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren…), museums, old books, and all the wonderful real spaces shown on the internet.
If you were to name your home ala ‘Tara’ in ‘Gone With The Wind,’ what would you name it?

Since starting my blog, we’ve nicknamed the place “The Rebuildery,” since we’re constantly trying to fix things up and use what we have to to rework our apartment until it’s our favorite place on earth!Thanks so much for sharing, Lauren!

 

Yes Spaces: Amy of ‘Starfruit Cafe’

This is one of several Yes Spaces interviews in which we snoop through the homes of my real life and internet friends who have used ingenuity and budgets to create sweet living spaces.

This tour comes from Amy of Starfruit Cafe fame.   She lives in San Francisco where she’s
a software engineer at Airbnb.com. Her favorite color is mint green,
and when she’s not riding her bike, she enjoys using it as decor.Internet homes: blog // twitter
Length of time in home: 2 years
Who do you share your home with?
I share my home with: out of town friends who come visit or local friends who want to have a girly sleepover!
What are the three things you love most about your space?
1. Light! so much natural light
2. French doors that close to separate bedroom from living room, or open to make the apartment feel more roomy
3. Big Kitchen

What’s the least awesome, must-work-around aspect of your space?

Whoever laid out the kitchen put the fridge in an odd place– the door rubs against the window frame any time you open it– and this has resulted in the handle falling off.



Tell us the story behind one of your favorite pieces in your space?
Once while living in Tokyo, I got food poisoning and feel and sprained my ankle and knee in one afternoon. My friend Erek came over with homemade apple sauce, a giant goomba (like a get well bear but you know, awesomer), and cables and an adaptor for my super nintendo so we could play mario kart. Once I got better, we had a goomba stomp fest near Nakano station. So that’s how I ended up with a giant goomba plush! (For the record, they are as stompable as they appear).

What are some of the DIYs you’ve tried here?
DIY teepee from A Beautiful Mess!

What’s the strangest place you’ve found stuff for your home?
Literally
ALL the furniture in my apartment comes from IKEA, but as for
decorations– I have a stuffed robot from the convenience store inside
of the HONDA research building in Wako-shi, Japan.

What are your top five sources for design inspiration?
1. The Selby
2. MUJI
3. Finnish interior design
4. Hello Sandwich 
5. Martha Stewart Living

Thanks so much for sharing, Amy!

Yes Spaces: My Apartment!

This is a semi-regular series in which we peak at my real-life friends’ spaces. But, this time I’m showing you guys around my very own apartment! All photos by Meredith Westin. 


Internet homes:
facebook // twitter // portfolio
Length of time in home: 1.5 years, minus about four months of travel
I share my home with: my cat Putin and his vestWhat are the three things you love most about your space?
1. The light!  I live on the third floor, in a the front corner of the building so I get light all day long.  My sweet little office has huge windows on two walls.
2. The neighborhood!  It’s like the America in movies.  Big, old Victorian houses and sprawling lawns.  Friendly neighbors walking cute dogs.  Pubs + boutiques + cafes.  And everything’s within walking distance!
3.  My three closets.  Honestly, I don’t really have tons of stuff, but
having a closet devoted solely to coats and umbrellas makes me feel like
such a grown up.

What’s the least awesome, must-work-around aspect of your space?
Ummm, does my arch-nemesis neighbor ‘Cocaine Face’ count?  He and his 3am viewings of ‘King of The Hill’ require a certain amount of work-around (re: ear plugs.)

I kid, I kid!  No, I don’t.  My kitchen is teeny tiny.  I try to make the most of the space by using Ikea’s Lamplig cutting board.  It fits perfectly on top of my tiny stove and almost doubles my counter space!

Tell us the story behind one of your favorite pieces in your space!
Nearly everything I own has a story!  I’m really attached to the ‘Takk For Maten’ plaque hanging in my pantry.  It was in my grandparents’ house for years.  It means “Thanks for dinner” in Norwegian – my Scandinavian heritage is really important to me.

 

What are some of the DIYs you’ve tried here?
These days I’m not particularly crafty!  I recovered the seats on my dining room chairs and re-papered the shelves in my closet.

What’s the strangest place you’ve found stuff for your home?

It might be more effective to ask “where is a normal place that you’ve found stuff.”  Items in my home have come from:
* A friend’s garage
* A million thrift stores
* My grandpa’s clothing store
* A weird second hand display store under the highway
* A mountain village in Vietnam, a floating market in Brazil, many many other corners of the globe
* The side of the road.  Obviously.

What are your top five sources for design inspiration?
1. The Anthropologie stores.  I don’t care how twee and predictable that sounds.  It’s true.
2. Any museum gift shop
3. Ummm, that’s about it?  Mostly I just decorate using things I love!

If you were to name your home ala ‘Tara’ in ‘Gone With The Wind,’ what would you name it?
Every space I ever live in will be called ‘The House of Yes.’

Thanks for visiting, friends!

Yes Spaces: Brandy and Ben

This is one of a semi-regular series in which we take photos of
the real life homes of my real life friends who purchase their home
decor at places like Target and Ikea.  You know, like normal people. All photos by Meredith Westin.
Brandy and Ben are fantastic.  I like to hang out with them and eat takeaway and watch documentaries and cuddle their oddly needy beagles.  Brandy is a family doctor and Ben is a PhD candidate, which means a) they are painfully smart b) between them, they can answer almost any question you can think of. They are also mind-blowingly kind, insanely good looking, and very, very good cooks.
They’re parents to Sophie and Ramona, two of the funniest beagles you’ll ever meet, and soon to be parents of a Serena, their daughter from China!
Internet homes: blog // twitter
Length of time in home: 2 years
I share my home with:  my husband, Ben, our two beagles, Sophie and Ramona, and soon to welcome our daughter.

What are the three things you love most about your space?
1. The rich, artfully and intricately crafted woodwork
2. The various
choices for lounging – front porch, shaker porch, back yard
3. Having not
one, but two, claw foot tubs

What’s the least awesome, must-work-around aspect of your space?
The living room arrangement is a challenge – there’s no obvious, easy way to make a space conducive to conversation.

Tell us the story behind one of your favorite pieces in your space!
The antique cabinet in the dining room was the first real antique that
bought together after getting married, on a shoestring budget, when we
lived in Winston-Salem.

What are some of the DIYs you’ve tried here?
I have very little talent for whipping out
DIY projects! I did find a beautiful, if slightly crumbling picture
frame and made a bulletin board to suit Ben’s office aesthetic.

What’s the strangest place you’ve found stuff for your home?
Ikea seems really strange sometimes!

What are your top five sources for design inspiration?
1. Travel!
2. Domino Magazine
3. My friends and favorite blogs
4. Period novels
5. Apartment Therapy

If you were to name your home ala ‘Tara’ in ‘Gone With The Wind,’ what would you name it?
We have been working on this since traveling through Scotland 3 years
ago, peering as we jogged along the coast, at little plaques on fishing
cottages, hoping for inspiration. Given our new Chinese – American
household, we would engrave “Da Huang Jia” which means “Big Yellow
House.”

Thanks so much for the tour, Brandy!