Nancy Benard

(708) 927-1014

850 Brookforest Avenue, Shorewood, IL 60404

Episode #76: How To Decorate Affordably (And Not Just From Amazon!)

This week, we’re revisiting one of our favorite subjects—decorating for cheap!

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

A huge thanks to this week’s sponsors! Be sure to check out the offers from Agility Bed, Modern Fertility, Bev and Sweaty Betty. And if you’re looking for a sponsor from a previous episode you can find all our codes on this page!

Show Notes:

-This is a follow up to Episode 10, which was one of our top episodes last year, so we’re back with more!!!!!

-“Thinking outside the big box”! Here are some places we LOVE to shop: estate sales (better than Anthropologie!), flea markets, garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist *free*.

-Keep a flea market list on your phone!

-Here’s a handy idea: a keychain tape measure (so you can measure thrift store furniture).

-Here’s a link to Elsie’s wine cellar.

-If you’re in Nashville, my favorite fleas are Gaslamp and Gaslamp Too.

Etsy and eBay. There are DEAL$ on these sites!

-Elsie’s mentions Stray Dog Designs as one of her eBay shopping inspos!

-I promised a list of spots where you can find cheap stuff that’s specific to your home—DEALZ! Walmart (Drew Barrymore’s collection is cute), Wayfair, AllModern, Target (especially the Opalhouse line), World Market, H&M Home, and Overstock.

-Trading! Don’t forget to trade!

-Repurposing things you already have! Swap rooms, paint something, or find a creative way to reuse things you already own and give them a new life!

-Swap your lighting. We love Wayfair’s lighting selection!

-DIYs that are easier than they look!!!!! Painting a mural, cabinet painting, swapping hardware, displaying collections together, and curtains (we’ll do a curtain blog post soon).

-Here’s a link to Young House Love’s no-sew curtain tutorial. 🙂

These are gone now, but they stayed a whole six months!

Episode 76 Transcript


[read_more id=”1″ more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast today, we’re doing a follow up to episode number 10, how to decorate affordably and not just from Target — except for this time we’re doing how to decorate affordably and not just from Amazon. And we love our Amazon. We shop on Amazon, but today we’re focusing on how to save money and shop at creative places that are not Amazon.

Emma: Mm hmm. Yep.

Elsie: OK…

Emma: I feel like it’s more just sometimes you go on default. That was kind of part of the theme with the episode about Target. Because I feel like if you’re there, sometimes you’re like, oh, well, I need these three or four things for this room, so I’m just going to pick them all up here. And that’s cool and that’s fine. And that’s — I feel like what happens with Amazon because I’m like, oh, I’m I’m buying my eyedrops. Oh yeah. I needed some curtains, you know, and it’s that kind of thing. But what ends up happening is, one, you’re not supporting as many interesting places and small businesses, but two, it’s just kind of bland, like things end up a little not personal.

Elsie: The same every time. Yeah.

Emma: Yeah.

Elsie: We’re going to talk a lot about vintage hunting and also just like places where you can find things that are more personal to you and things you can make, which is our number one, because obviously A Beautiful Mess is still a DIY blog and like every day people message me, have you ever done a tutorial for blah, blah, blah? And I’m like, yeah, we’ve done like eight of those tutorials. (laughs) You need to search our website because we have so many tutorials for, like, everything you could possibly want to learn for painting furniture or, you know, really like any kind of DIY project almost.

Emma: Yeah, anything that like a basic I mean, we’re not professional carpenters ourselves by any means, but anything that like the average, I feel like our 14 years of blogging, there’s something on the site about it. But maybe this just speaks to our website isn’t easy enough to use. And we don’t emphasize our search bar enough. I guess so.

Elsie: Definitely.

Emma: I don’t know.

Elsie: Let’s talk: thinking outside the big box. So places that are not big box stores where we found really exciting, cute, fun, you know, unique things. So I want to do my vintage rant first. So estate sales are amazing. I have been only to a couple during covid times, but I really think that when you’re wearing your mask, it depends, obviously, that it’s not a big estate sale. But the ones I’ve been to were very empty and it was no more dangerous than any other store because, you know, it just wasn’t busy. So I still think that’s a good option, although there aren’t as many right now going on as there would have been last year and there probably will be next year. I have historically lived in old lady neighborhoods and it is a great place where if you just see one, you just stop and go in and check every room. The things I usually find at estate sales are surprisingly — like I always think I’m going to find like furniture or like, you know, something like that. But what we surprisingly usually find is glassware, because I love vintage glassware and then fun things like instruments or games for the kids, like vintage games that have been like saved in their box with all the pieces are so cool to find things like that. And I do always check the closets, of course, just in case.

Emma: Yeah, I think I found a few really great lamps over the years from like estate sales or that type of thing. I feel like you have to kind of have an eye for it, but you can find things that, you know, I think are even better than a place like Anthropologie or whatever, and they’ll be way cheaper.

Elsie: Part of having a timeless style is not shopping all new stuff. It’s really, really a key. So if that’s something like timelessness is one of your goals, shopping old stuff is a key factor. It’s — we highly recommend it. And I do think the more you practice, the better… I’ll get — further down I’ll get into like the online tips because you can also do it online. You don’t have to go anywhere in person. But first, I’m going to go through the best in-person places during our quarantine lifestyle this past year, having alone time. So I’m an introvert. My husband’s an introvert. Actually, one of our kids is already a verified introvert who needs her alone time. To me, it’s so funny. Introverts quarantine all — like we all understand each other. And we know that, like, there’s…yes, there’s a such thing as being alone too much. But there’s also a such thing is like never being able to be alone ever, you know. So yeah, we are stuck. And so I go to flea markets as my one of my one or two things that sort of like gets me all the house, that only I enjoy and it’s my me time and I can do it pretty slowly. I usually go on the weekend if my kids nap somewhere around that zone for a couple of hours. So anyway I have two, there’s two flea markets in Nashville that are close together. If you live in the area, they’re Gaslamp and Gaslamp Too. So they are on the southeastern side, I guess you would say, like near Berry Hill. And anyway, they’re amazing. In Missouri, the flea markets in the thrift stores are just like plentiful. And there’s so many good ones to choose from. I always love to do it when I’m there. But in Nashville, it was more of a struggle to find like that gem. So I always go to these stores and the other day. So I’ve been working on my cocktail glass collection ever since we completed the wine cellar. And I’ll put that in the show notes. And I’ve been working on filling up all the shelves. I have like a vintage teacup shelf and then I have several shelves that are just like beautiful, fancy grandma glassware, so molded glassware. And those are perfect for flea market finds. I almost feel like I don’t ever want to buy a new fancy glass ever again because there’s so many good vintage ones already out in the world.

Emma: True.

Elsie: Do you have anything you want to say about flea markets? What’s your like top finds?

Emma: I always have a list on my phone, like in the notes app of things that I’m looking for at flea markets or at nice thrift stores. Yeah… right now, let me just pull it up.

Elsie: Yes!

Emma: And I can see what’s on there right now. OK, yes, I have one.

Elsie: I think this is a great tip for staying focused and also just like remembering to look for things.

Emma: Yeah, it literally says Fleamarket list, and right now it says coatrack, medium dresser, four foot tall by two foot wide. So that’s as big as it can be. Large picture frames, rocking chair. That’s what I have on my list right now.

Elsie: Rocking chair! I bet you’ll find that. Nice.

Emma: And yeah, the dresser. So, like, I’ll put measurements in the notes app too so that, you know what, I’m there and I usually keep a little sewing measuring tape in my purse because I don’t always have room in my purse for like a hardware store measuring tape, like the kind that comes out of the tiny box. So I’ll measure things at a flea market or wherever I am with a sewing measuring tape that’s like the kind of fabric plastic. So it probably looks a little silly, but I feel like it’s such a bummer when you buy a piece and then it’s a couple of inches too big or, you know, something where it just doesn’t fit the wall you thought it would. It’s like, oh, man. So get a measuring tape in your purse.

Elsie: I absolutely recommend keeping a measuring tape on your person at all times. The little mini kind. It’s very useful. Yeah, whenever I shop, I text Jeremy or call in depending on the day like measurements and like ask them if things would fit and things like that too. It’s a great tip.

Emma: Actually. I should get a keychain one. You know how they make the tiny ones that go on your key.

Elsie: OK, we’ll link one of those in the show notes because that is actually a really useful, smart idea.

Emma: Because I always have my keys. So that would be even better.

Elsie: Yes. OK, so thrift shops. So we grew up thrifty. It was our main way to stretch our allowance and also our way to express ourselves in fashion. I think that from a very young age we had an idea that we wanted to be fashionable and we didn’t know how. And the Springfield, Missouri Mall doesn’t exactly push you in that direction. So we went to thrift stores and this was in the nineties. So we bought lots and lots and lots of 70s clothes. And now if you go thrifting you can find lots and lots of 90s clothes, which is fun too.

Emma: Yeah. (laughs)

Elsie: So yeah, I, I highly recommend it as just a creative exercise. It was formative in our youth. It was something that gave us self-esteem and made us feel unique and was — I mean it’s just extremely creative. And then when we got old enough to have our own homes, it definitely carried over because we already knew that you could get a whole set of dishes for fifteen dollars. So we started doing that instead of saving up, you know, a hundred and fifty dollars.

Emma: Yeah. My dishes up until I think I got married were all thrifted like thrifted sets. I’ll also say whether you’re buying clothes like any time in life. But for us high school or whether you’re buying home stuff, furniture or whatever, I love thrifted in that I like to kind of give things a little makeover. And we’re going to talk about some ideas for that here later in this episode. But I feel like when I don’t spend a lot of money on something when I thrifted something — so I didn’t spend a lot of money, the money went to charity and this was basically headed to the dump pile — the trash anyway, then I feel a lot of freedom to make a mistake. And when you’re, you know, just learning how to paint furniture or you’re wanting to try some kind of DIY that you honestly don’t know if it’s going to work, I feel like that really helps a lot to take the pressure off, because sometimes when you’re, you know, trying kind of an art project, it doesn’t work out and it ends up looking bad and you kind of have to scrap it. So I feel like using thrifty materials kind of takes that pressure off. And for me, doesn’t make me feel so much anxiety basically around like, oh, I spent money on this, I have to make it work or oh, I hate, I hate that I wasted something. It’s like, well, it was already kind of like one step away from, you know, the landfill. So you can just try your hand at it.

Elsie: Right. I definitely agree with that. It takes off a lot of pressure. And yeah, we’re going to talk about how to customize your second-hand finds here in a little bit. It’s definitely probably the number one way to get a house that matches your color scheme and your esthetic for very inexpensive.

Emma: Yep. And Without buying it all in one day from a big box store.

Elsie: Right, yeah. The IKEA haul. (laughs) Which I’ve done that too. And it’s it’s fine, but it’s a little boring. All right. Let’s take a quick sponsor break.

We’re so excited to be partnering with one of our first ever podcast sponsors, Agility Bed. We are true fans of their mattresses. Both of us have actually bought agility matches with our own money since we first learned about the brand. The mattresses are super comfortable, they sleep cool, and they’re easy to set up. One of our favorite things is that all Agility Bed mattresses are made in the USA. I love that they’re made to order so that you know that your new mattress wasn’t sitting in a warehouse for months or years, before it arrived at your house. And Agility Beds offers a 100-day risk-free trial for their mattresses. Any company that offers a trial like that is obviously confident that you’re going to love their product. And now they’ve expanded their offerings further with new CBD products that can be part of your overall sleep system for a restful night’s sleep. They’ve launched a tincture with melatonin and a linen spray with lavender. The CBD products are organic, pesticide-free and made right here in the USA. Right now they have a huge President’s Day sale going on, which is one of their biggest events of the year now through February 22nd you can get 20% off your total at checkout and a free gift with purchase of your choice of one of the new CBD products. And if you’re listening to this after the President’s Day sale, you can always save two hundred dollars with the code ABM. Visit Agilitybed.com/abm to learn more. That’s Agilitybed.com/abm.

If you missed out on my beverage bridge tour, you missed out on seeing a sneak peek of Bev in my fridge! We’re so excited to have them as a podcast sponsor. Bev is a female-founded and run business with super cute packaging and a great product. Their wines are dry, crisp and a little fizzy, super refreshing and delicious. Bev is breaking norms and creating something from a female perspective that is fun, approachable, and tastes great. Each can is small but holds a glass and a half of wine. That’s perfect for when you don’t want to open a whole bottle just for yourself. A twenty-four pack is equivalent to eight bottles of wine. My personal favorites are Pinot Noir, California rosé, and sparkling white wine. We’ve worked out an exclusive deal for the A Beautiful Mess podcast. Listeners received 20% off your first purchase, plus free shipping on all orders. I suggest trying their best selling ladies night variety packs so you can check out all their delicious wines. Go to drinkbev.com/abeautifulmess or use our code ABEAUTIFULMESS at checkout to claim this deal. That’s drinkbev.com/abeautifulmess.

The last one I had on here was garage sales, which OK, I will say garage sales. What I love is a neighborhood garage sale where there’s a whole bunch at one time. I feel like that’s when you can find the really cool stuff. But when it’s like a one off garage sale that you decide whether or not to stop the car for like it’s a little risky and it usually doesn’t pay off.

Emma: Yeah. Do you remember that time? I don’t think we’ve ever told this story. Do you remember that time we went to a garage sale and the people hosting the garage sale had, like, locked their camper, their RV?

Elsie: Ok, can I tell it from my vantage?

Emma: Yes. (laughs)

Elsie: OK. I have a picture and I’m going to put it in the show notes unless you object.

Emma: No you can put it in. (laughs)

Elsie: So this is a time in my life when I carried my camera with me at all times, we were about like twenty-five years old…it was my Flickr lifestyle. Ok, so we went to a garage sale near our parents’ home where we grew up, and they had…like they were selling a vintage camper that was very cool, like one of the smaller ones that are like yellow and brown, you know what I’m saying? Not like a big Airstream. Trying to paint the picture for everyone. And they asked Emma if she could crawl through the window to let them in and she started crawling in and her ass got stuck in the window. (laughs) And I took a picture of it and I still have it!

Emma: Yeah and Elsie said that they were all — I couldn’t hear this because I was trying to crawl into this RV that they had, like asked me…they’re like older people. So I was like, OK, I’ll do it. And apparently, they were all outside. They’re like, oh, no, I don’t think her ass is gonna fit.

Elsie: Did you do you know if you got in or not, because I can’t remember that part.

Emma: I did. I got in, yes, because I got in and then I ended up buying a pair of earrings and they didn’t give me a discount! And you were like, oh, they should have given you a discount. (laughs)

Elsie: They should’ve given you those earrings for free. Well. Oh, well. OK, I’m going to have to dig to find this for the show notes, but it’s going to be so worth it. And I feel like people are actually going to go to our show notes this week just to see this picture of you stuck in a camper, stuck trying to get into a camper. You’re gonna love it!

Emma: I think I had to shift my butt sideways to, like, get it in diagonally. (laughs)

Elsie: Yeah, which does bring me to another point. Garage sales are a great way to make new friends if you just need a friend. (laughs)

Emma: Yeah!

Elsie: We’ve made many friends at garage sales and thrift stores. So just real quick mention, this is not my thing, but I have friends who swear by it, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist Free. So if you either set alerts or I guess like refresh it constantly, you can find furniture totally for free and then you have to speed your car over there and get it before someone else does. But like our friend, Jenae has this, like, incredible set of chairs that she’s had for ten years. And we always, like, ask her, you know, where they’re from and they’re very cool, like, they look very expensive and they’re from Craigslist Free and she’s very proud of it. So I feel like if you’re willing to put the time into that type of thing, you probably will get something you’re really proud of for free.

Emma: Yeah, and it’s one of those things where I think you have to turn on your imagination with it because you could get a really cool chair. But it needs to be re-covered like it needs to be reupholstered, but it has a great shape or something like that. So, but that’s still probably going to be a lot cheaper than buying a new one. I mean, depending, you know, so, you know, it’s that type of thing. And I personally don’t really make the time to go on these to get things. But I have put a lot of things on Craigslist Free. It’s kind of my way to get rid of things that are too heavy for me to move myself. And I’ve put things on there before that were really nice. I just didn’t need it anymore. I had gotten a new something like a new table, and I didn’t need the old table and I didn’t want to go to the trouble of selling it or I just didn’t feel like doing all the back and forth. And so I just put it out on the curb and someone got a free, nice table that day, you know? So I think it is a great thing to try, especially furnishing your first place or…

Elsie: Like there it doesn’t matter like how nice your Pottery Barn table is. If you can’t fit it in your moving truck or you’re not planning to use it in your next house, you might give it away for free the night before you move. So there’s definitely — that’s definitely like a good trick. I think that because of covid and because of how full my garage is, I think that I’m going to have essentially a Craigslist free garage sale on the side of my driveway so that my neighbors don’t hate me. And I think I’m probably going to give away like 20 to 50 things in one day, you know, just like get it over with, because it’s also like at a certain point, is it worth all those trips to donate them? If you could be donating to someone who would pick it up for free from your house?

Emma: Right, exactly.

Elsie: So that too you know.

Emma: And if you have the time to sell things, great, because you can you know, that is probably, then you’ll make money. But there’s there’s been times that I just have, like, one thing and it’s just a busy season. And I’m like, I don’t really have time or this past year because of covid, I’m like, I don’t really want to meet with someone that I don’t know. Even if we’re wearing masks, I’d rather just put it on the curb and put a photo up and be like, you go get it. That’s it.

Elsie: Let’s talk about Elsie for a minute and eBay. So I think that Etsy is thought of as being expensive sometimes. But I’ll just tell you, from experience for vintage shopping, Etsy can be just as cheap as eBay. It’s not necessarily expensive at all. You just have to hunt on there because there’s thousands and thousands of items and everyone knows eBay is amazing. eBay is definitely the number one place. Lately I’ve been doing a deep di ve for a vintage light fixtures and I’m trying to basically find look alikes from this really pretty lighting company called Stray Dog Designs. And I’ll link it in the show notes and you can Google it if you’ve never seen it. It’s it really has like the look and feel of vintage pieces that have been painted either white or a bright color. So I’m kind of just shopping for those. It’s been really fun and I think that it’s going to give our home like a lot of personality. So I feel like shopping on eBay and like filling up your is it called watch list? It’s like a gift to yourself, because then the next day when you come back and look at it, you have no idea what’s going to be in there. And then sometimes it’s amazing. So, yeah, I’ve been shopping on eBay a ton lately, I buy rugs, I buy glassware, serving pieces, holiday decor, what else? Lighting I just said. And then definitely like candlestick holders, like brass, things like that. Definitely. If you have a wicker basket love like I do, or you love wicker from the 70s, like I love like little animals made out of wicker, things like that. eBay is definitely your place for those types of things that are — their popping up in like places like Target. Now, you know, like remakes of this really cool 70s stuff that you can actually get for like ten dollars still on eBay, just FYI.

Emma: Mm hmm. Yeah, I’ve definitely bought a few rugs off eBay and then I always check Etsy too. It’s a great place for vintage rugs like both of those.

Elsie: Mm hmm.

Emma: And now we’re going to take a short break. And here a word from our sponsor.

Even if you’re not planning to or trying to conceive, there can be so much learned about your body and reproductive health with the at-home Modern Fertility hormone test. You can learn all sorts of things about your body, like egg count, menopause timing, and if your hormone levels indicate conditions like thyroid disorders or PCOS, there is so much valuable information you can gain whether you’re wanting to get pregnant soon, plan for the future, or simply know more about your body. It’s so helpful to be able to collect information with Modern Fertility. Doctors are still able to provide the most important resources when it comes to medical information. But being able to understand more and have more knowledge at home is amazing. Funny enough, I actually learned about Modern Fertility from a podcast and I took the at-home test while I was trying to conceive. What appealed to me most was I didn’t have to make an appointment or go to a doctor’s office to complete the test. They simply mail you the kit, you complete the finger prick test at home, mail it back and you get your results online through their website. Right now, modern fertility is offering our listeners twenty dollars off the test. When you go to modernfertility.com/mess. That means your test will cost $139 dollars instead of the hundreds or thousands that it could cost at the doctor’s office. Get twenty dollars off your fertility test when you go to modernfertility.com/mess. That’s modernfertility.com/mess.

Elsie: When a pair of leggings are sold every 90 seconds and has pockets, you know it’s a winner. The Sweaty Betty leggings are super comfortable and I’ve been loving wearing them, whether I’m working out or not. Back to the pockets. You all know I love pockets in my leggings. They’ve become a must-have feature. Sweaty Betty’s pocket leggings have both back and side pockets. The zipper pocket in the back is perfect for holding your phone on a run. They’re also high waisted and squat proof and every print is tested for opacity. So you never have to worry about your leggings being See-Through. Having sold over five hundred thousand pairs, Sweaty Betty’s five star rated power leggings have helped women crush millions of workouts in style with no excuses for years. They’ve become London’s most popular workout pants, and customers love their leggings for running, cycling and everything in between. These leggings will keep you looking gym-ready no matter where or how you’re working out, because you deserve to look amazing during and after your workout. Go to sweatybetty.com/abm And use our code ABM at check out for 20% off your purchase. This is the best offer Sweaty Betty has available anywhere. It’s spelled sweatybetty.com/abm. Use our code ABM at Check-Out. Sweatybetty.com/abm Promo code ABM.

And a little shout out to like the places where you can get very cheap stuff to customize because just in case, I definitely think you should hit up Facebook marketplace and thrift shops and things like that. But when you’re shopping for something that’s like when I was doing like our diaper table and it has to be exact specific size, those are times when you will have to buy something new, probably just to get that exact specification for your home that, you know, you have to do. So in those…

Emma: Especially if it’s like you’re on a deadline, like you can’t wait forever because like my rocking chair, if I don’t find one this month, it’s OK. But if you’re like, no, I need the diaper changing station now, it’s like, well, you’re gonna need to maybe buy it new. (laughs)

Elsie: Inn the show notes, I’ll put a big list of all the places where I found deals with a Z, (laughs) like for just affordable things. I’ll put some surprising places. Like I will say I wanted to shout out to Walmart for the Drew Barrymore Flower Home collection — is actually so legit and adorable and I feel like they are definitely becoming competitive in that space. So, yeah, there’s a lot of places where you can find something real affordable. If you need to is a certain size or whatever, and you’re not able to find it used. But that’s not what this episode is about, so let’s move back to our vintage shopping obsession. Ok, our next idea, and this is real, and I want someone to please try it and then report back to us. So Emma does a lot of what do they call closet swaps?

Emma: Yeah, clothing exchange is what we call them. But yeah, you could call it whatever.

Elsie: So and I really give like half of my house away every year to Collin. So this is like really…

Emma: Me too, Jenae!

Elsie: Like we all have our friend or a family member who we know is like trying to fill up their house and they have a similar style as you. And so, yeah, I think trading with friends and family is one of the best possible options, like mom and dad have this like wicker look, dresser drawer I’m talking about, it’s in your old bedroom. And I kind of want that thing. It’s a part of our childhood. It’s a relic of our childhood. I know it would be so cute painted and it is like wicker molded wood. So it’s definitely like an 80s relic. And anyway, I think trading things that you see potential in and someone else is tired of is such a good idea.

Emma: Yeah, for sure. So definitely next time a friend invites you over to their house, just like shop their house (laughs) like, oh, can I have that?

Elsie: No Laura does that. She really told me, like, if you get rid of this rug, then call me. And I was like, I’m not going to. And then 6 months later, she said, if you get rid of this rug. And then a year later, guess what? Guess who got that rug. Laura.

Emma: Laura. That’s the way to do it. For real, though, if like just putting it out there, being like if you ever get rid of this, just so you know, I do love this. Like, I do think because I’ll remember like I would definitely remember that if a friend told me that and then I ended up moving and not needing something or whatever, then I’d be like, oh, yeah, I’m going to text so-and-so because she said, you know, she might want it. So…

Elsie: Yeah, definitely. Our grandparents had a used furniture store in our childhood. So I feel like between our grandparents house and our parents house and our own houses, there’s just like so much cool old stuff, you know, that we can trade around. And I love that idea because I feel like if you find a way to get something like that, you can customize that. You can. And it means something to you already, you know, like a piece of childhood that’s just really special. And I don’t know. I do — I am like of the camp, like I’m not a I’m not a boycotter and I’m not pretending to be zero waste because I’m not at all, you know, that good at things. But I do agree with the mindset that there’s already enough of everything for all of us and we don’t need new things all the time. We can just, you know, trade around and repurpose and reuse old things any time we have the chance. I think it’s such a great mission. OK.

Emma: Well, and it’s fun. It adds to the story of the piece, too, because I also think, like in my women’s book club, there’s definitely lots of like trading of maternity clothes or like a baby pillow thing or, you know, mostly it’s like kid stuff or like things that people only use for a certain window of time. So it ends up not being super used. And it’s just funny how it’s like this group of, you know, people and you’re just kind of trading things around all the time. And it’s like, oh, so-and-so has that now. But it was mine two years ago, you know, whatever. And same thing with furniture, with rugs, with clothes, with shoes. It’s just kind of a fun. I don’t know. In a way it almost — this is so cheesy. I’m getting very sentimental. I could feel it, but I just think that it’s a very, like feels like a community like, no, this thing belongs to our community instead of just me. Like this rug belongs to all of us. (laughs)

Elsie: Yeah! Emma is getting so much baby stuff for me right now. I already sent her an organic mattress and a diaper bag that was used one time. And now I have for you one of those little diaper changing things that goes on the that you attached to the dresser, you know. So yeah.

Emma: This is my subtle soliciting from all my friends to to like, go ahead and just send me all your stuff right now. (laughs) Hey, if you ever get rid of this!

Elsie: (laughs) All right. So the next thing, this is really like the main thing I wanted to talk about in this episode, but I feel like we’re just like in a very chatty mood because we just are. So anyway, try giving things that you already have a new home in your home and a new look like you’re painting it, you’re recovering it. You’re finding a new frame for this art that you know or this photo. I think that moving things around this is why I have my big sales pitch about how your whole home should be on one color scheme. And this is really one of the reasons that I believe in that, is because then you can move things around and you can kind of shop your own home when you’re styling a room, which I think is so useful. I love the idea that everything can just be like swap, swap, swap. Do you know? Because I think that when you’re bored or stuck at home, sound familiar? You can move stuff around and it kind of gives you this, like feeling of escape, move the furniture for no reason. Did you want to talk about lighting?

Emma: Yeah, that was just one tip I had, is try changing up or modifying the lighting in your space, that’s like a really…I mean, it can be a very inexpensive thing to do, just trying like a different color light bulb, not necessarily color, but I mean, like going from cool to warm or a very bright one to a much more moody one. And especially in the wintertime. I think that this bit, you know, a big part of when I’m in my house paying attention and not just like on my computer working is the sun has already set because it sets it like five PM or even early. So the lighting in your home can really give things a feeling. And I feel like that’s one area that in the past I haven’t really paid that much attention to. I’m just like, oh, I need a light bulb. I’ll just put whatever in there. And it’s like, I know really kind of set the mood being a little more intentional.

Elsie: Yeah. I totally agree. We’ve gone like dimmer and warmer on all of our light bulbs. And then when we moved and we have like still some of the really bright ones around, like there’s this one stairway by our bedroom that has really, really like bright light bulbs. And they kind of buzz. And I just need to take care of that because it’s a bad vibe. It just feels bad. Every time that light is on, I immediately want to turn it off and it’s like I could just switch out the bulbs (laughs) So, yeah, I think it’s totally worth it to make those efforts.

Emma: Yeah, put that on your weekend to do list right there because. Yeah, that’s an easy swap that makes such a difference.

Elsie: Yes. OK, so I wanted to do a quick flash list of DIYs that are easier than they look because I get it. So many people write to us and say like I’m not a DIY person or I would never DIY my house. And it’s like, listen, you don’t have to DIY everything in your house. Try one project. And I’m telling you, these are like the easy ones. These are the ones that you can’t fail on. There are other ones like building shelves I would never recommend to anyone. Ok, all right. So painting a mural, painting a mural is a great one. It can be as simple as like a color blocked. You know, like there’s a couple of different colors on the wall. Those little arches people are doing, that stuff is all super easy. There’s tutorials all over the place. We have a ton of mural painting and wallpaper alternative tutorials on A Beautiful Mess. Anyway, and even just painting, like just a pattern, like just like a cool pattern that you like. Like a lot of wallpaper patterns are so simple that you could paint them if you took the time and the effort. So look for that. Painting furniture. And I will also add to that also cabinets. So we have a hard drying paint tutorial. Emma just used it to paint her piano. I’ve used it multiple times, probably five to ten times since we’ve moved already. Ever since I learned about it. I’ll never, ever paint a cabinet or a shelf or a piece of furniture with regular latex paint again, because this holds up, it doesn’t get sticky, it doesn’t chip off, it doesn’t get gummy. It’s really worth the extra supplies. And once you have the extra supplies, you can use them a bunch of times. Like I, I feel like it’s very useful and not hard to do. You can also do it in your garage if you’re a little nervous about the fumes. Swapping hardware, obviously it kind of depends. Like if you find, especially knobs, knobs are the easiest because like the holes are already there and you don’t have to match up the holes. But swapping out hardware is just so high impact because how many people buy a house and love all the hardware that’s there? It’s one of the things that you usually like want to swap first in our daughter’s bathroom, we still have these giant — I’ll put a picture in the show notes — giant porcelain drawer pulls that have orange fishes painted on them.

Emma: I was going to say the fish pulls. Yeah. Those are nice. (laughs)

Elsie: I can’t believe I’ve left them there for five months. It’s only because I’m overwhelmed in other areas. But they like, they should never be there. Yeah. And swapping them out when I do it will feel so satisfying and it’ll probably take ten minutes. Another thing is collecting vintage. So our friend Jenae, she gets two shout outs in this episode. She has this collection of I don’t know what you would call them. They’re not snow globes, but they’re kind of like the glass, little round glasses that kind of have like blown glass inside of it, like it looks like kind of swirly in there or something like that. She has this whole shelf of these — this vintage glass shelf. And I will say from my experience with my rainbow glassware, it became like the one thing in my house that every magazine, every repost, just like hundreds of times. People wanted to repost this one specific collection. And it really was not that expensive. It wasn’t hard to do. It just was time-consuming, but it was fun and I was already wanting to go to those flea markets at that point in my life, and it gave me something to look for. So I think collecting one thing that’s vintage and filling up a whole shelf with it is such a high impact thing that you can do on a low budget. And it’s just like impressive. And then my last thing is curtains. We should do a whole episode that’s just about curtains, but probably no one will listen to it. (laughs) But I’m so passionate about hanging your curtains correctly and getting the right size of curtains for your rooms. As Zillow enthusiasts, we know that like 80 percent of people are buying curtains that are too small for their windows and it’s making their rooms look bad. And you can — you don’t have to have expensive curtains. You just have to have the right size curtains, the right size rods and just redo them up there. And then suddenly your windows look bigger and your room looks better. And it’s the simplest, easiest thing to do. It’s my number one.

Emma: I agree. Yeah, I will say it’s kind of tough when you’re in a house like some people have historical homes and I feel like they don’t make as many curtains that are weird sizes. Like I feel like there’s kind of four standard sizes. So you end up needing to hem or needing to lengthen or you know be okay with them splashing onto the floor…

Elsie: But here’s the thing, as someone who started going to get like my jeans hemmed and stuff, it’s so easy and it’s not expensive at all. So just take them to an alterations place and just give them the correct measurement. You don’t have to learn how to sew yourself to do that. And if you really want to, I know John and Sherry have a tutorial about using, like the you know, the iron on tape that you can do like no-sew way too. So I’m too lazy to even do that. But yeah, don’t have the wrong size curtains in your house no matter what you have to do to make it work. There’s always a way.

Emma: Yeah. We could probably do a curtain episode.

Elsie: OK, let’s do a curtain episode or maybe a curtain blog post. We’ll do something that’s like a deep dove about all about curtains, curtain rods, sizes. I actually have done a lot more blackout curtains in our new house. I’m very passionate about the subject.

Emma: Yeah. Do a blog post for sure.

Elsie: OK, (laughs) cool. Ok, well thank you all so much for listening to our podcast this week. Thank you for sharing it with your friends. The best way you can help us grow is sharing it with your friends, sharing it on Instagram, because we just need other people who like podcasts to hear about our podcast and give it a shot. So, yeah, every Monday when we see you guys reposting our podcast, it means the world to us. And thank you so much. We feel like we’ve said it before. I will say it again. Our podcast portion of our audience is our favorite. You are all the best. You are all the winners of every contest and every trophy.

Emma: Indeed! So thank you.

Elsie: Have a good week!

Emma: Bye!


Author / Contributor: Elsie Larson

Nancy Benard Homes

Before you leave...

Join our Mailing List

Get notified of News & receive our Newsletters.


(708) 927-1014


850 Brookforest Avenue, Shorewood, IL 60404