The Secret To Shopping Your House

I think people rush out to the stores to buy things before they’ve really looked at everything they own when in the decorating mood.

Why is this do you suppose? 

Because people don’t always want to think outside of the box. And that’s what you have to do when you repurpose something to become something else. 

Got a dresser that you don’t want hidden in the bedroom, and prefer that it be out on display? Turn it into a coffee bar.

I buy indoor/outdoor chairs at Pier 1. Whenever you buy something that is considered indoor/outdoor, it always seems to be cheaper. Which is kind of funny, since it has more purposes.

I only have two chairs at my dining table. So when there are three people dining, I go outside and bring in a wicker chair.

Look around and see if you’ve got a table that could become your desk. Things do not have to match. In fact it looks more interesting and intriguing  if it doesn’t.

When I look at things in a store, I stand looking at it for a few minutes and think of my space. I have a living space that adjoins a dining space, a small kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom. 

I stand there and think of what all that item could become in various rooms. Because if I’m going to buy it, it’s going to be multi-purpose so I’m getting more bang for my buck. 

Do you need some shelf space up high, but only have a short shelf? Put it up on a table. And you didn’t have to spend a dime. 

The secret, really, is to make things look like they go together

When first you look at it, you may think, this doesn’t look right. But then use your creativity to make it look right

By adding things to it, trying things out, editing and adding, oftentimes it will begin to look right.

It isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you put something together and pretty it up, people will not notice that it is just a table with a shelf on it. They will see it as a great piece and not even think about it being two pieces.

Have a dining table, but never use it? Then repurpose it somewhere else in your home. Use it as a desk, for instance. Use it in a craft room to do your crafts. Use it for your sewing machine.

Just because we have a dining room, doesn’t mean we have to use that space as a dining room. We can make it an office, studio, den, book nook, play room, whatever you need most for your home.

That is also the secret of living in small spaces. You have to make them work for you. 

So before you head out to the stores to find that special something, make certain that that special something is not right there in front of you. But you’ve just never looked at it in that way. 

You will save money. You will save time and effort from going around from store to store looking for that special piece. It may be right under your nose and you just haven’t had the opportunity to figure it out yet. So take your time.

If you have a piece but it just doesn’t have that much going for it, you can give it new life in many ways. Paint it, stencil it, add wood appliques, change knobs.

The sky is the limit! 

Now walk around your home and garage, basement or attic, and look at your things in a whole new way. Tilt your head to the side and look at that piece of furniture from every conceivable angle. 

It may just have many, many possibilities. You just haven’t discovered them yet. 

As Confucius said: “He who will not economize will have to agonize.”


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  1. Hi Brenda, I just wanted to let you know you are one of my favorite blogs to read each day. You are so real. None of this fluffy, pretend stuff. I enjoy the posts you do about small gardening. The post this week on bring in house plants was very interesting. I have never re-potted my plants, I just bring them in. Now I know better. You decorating ideas are so wonderful. Full of ideas for those of us living simply, in small houses. I enjoy reading about your struggles in life. We all have them, and you are so real and talk about them. I like that. I know that most blogs are showcases, but yours is real, it is true life. I like that very much. And one last thing, your little dogs, Charlie and Abbi, are adorable. I have two little Yorkie's, Teddy and Cash, and I love them so much. It is always good to know others that feel the same way about their pets. I don't comment all the time, but I want you to know, I enjoy your blog so much. Keep going. I know it helps others just as it helps me. Thanks so much, Karie

  2. And ALWAYS keep a measuring tape in your purse. I never go anywhere without mine, especially when I know I will be perusing second hand furniture stores.

  3. Brenda, this is a fabulous post!! And I seriously adore your home – you have such a terrific way of putting things together. Love, love, love your style!!!

  4. Brenda, I love to shop my home first and you have inspired me for years to look at things with an eye for repurpose. I want a gallery wall and will keep finding treasures until I have enough to try it.


  5. Brenda, you have moved most of the furniture in your home to different areas/spaces. It always looks great and like it is supposed to be that way. The variety of colors that you use work in every area.
    I'm looking forward to seeing your new office area.
    I would like to move a few things around in my home but the pieces are so big and heavy………..can't do it.

  6. Yours is the first blog I read everyday. I find you inspirational, informative, funny. I have enjoyed the blogs you have shared! Thanks for what you do.

  7. You are so uniquely talented when it comes to making an ordinary place become a warm and cozy home. Thank you for teaching me so much about the art of repurposing. You are indeed the master of that! I truly love each and every change you make to your already very charming home…

  8. I learned this much to my surprise when I remodeled some rooms a while back. made me appreciate some items I had. I love those buffalo check red curtains. I'm hoping to move next yr and downsize and I will be checking her web site out. Your place just radiates happiness!

  9. The other place I like to shop, other than my home is what I jokingly call "The Free Store", aka my Mom's house. We have swapped stuff back and forth for years! Now that my daughter is married, she has joined in the swapping! Love to get a new look for 0$! Yours is one of the first blogs I ever read, as well. Your lovely quilts and creativity attracted me. Did you ever try turning that little orange bookcase upside down, so that the pretty curved part was on the top? Then the part on top of the table wold be flat with no gap. Just wondering. Love your reds as I decorate with a lot of red as well.

  10. I've been trying to do just that, Brenda! I used to buy a few new items every holiday season, but now that my husband's retired and I hope to someday, too, I've found that I've got more than enough and there's no need to spend on this year's trendy decor. In fact, I sold a garage full of vintage things and now it's so much easier to find what I'm looking for. I love all your red & white pillows and quilts!

  11. ….AND….I finally broke down and created a Pinterest Board entitled 'BREND'S IDEAS'….now i'll go back to your arcives and pin all those that I want to COPY!!!!!

  12. Another home run!!!! I love 'shopping' YOUR HOME!!!! Where did you get the plates that are on your dining table? Walmart? Pier 1? online? I LOVE THEM!!!!! Thanks again for ALL the good info you send our way!

  13. Hi Brenda! I love this post! Great tips but not all of us have your unique way of making things look so cute as you do! Love your place and the reds just smile!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  14. Brenda, I just emailed you to ask your opinion about something and I received an email that your domain doesn't accept emails from AOL because of the DMARC policy. I'm going to look up what that is now. t I think it is because I use AOL.

  15. I, too, always loved your red and white colors. That was how I found you two years ago…I think you were the first blog I ever followed. Everyone of these rooms, I love, love, love. And, that little yellow egg cooker…perfect. You are the queen of red and white and cozy.

  16. I love this Brenda.

    I took my old kitchen island, which I could not bear to part with, and made it into a coffee and drink bar in our family room. A bit odd….maybe, but I love it!


  17. You have such a talent Brenda! Your home is lovely. Your decorating reminds me of another blog called Daisy Cottage. Similiar styles, colors, she even has two little doggies. I really liked this post!

  18. Making things look like they go together is a real art. Don't sell yourself short. It seems easy for you because you have a decorator 's eye. For many of us, putting things together like you do is an impossibility. Not to say our rooms aren't nice but they'll never have the pulled together look like yours does. You have a real talent! I can buy items designed to go together and when I get them home they just look like a hodge podge of stuff.

  19. Brenda, I just love your home and you have so many wonderful ideas! We have been shopping our house and the storage unit to pull things to use before popping out and making a purchase. Just moving a few things around always gives our homes a different look! So looking forward to your new office space!! Hugs!!

  20. Brenda,
    You have the BEST ideas! I really appreciate "use what you have" decorating and you excel at it. I've had to make do all my life and now that I'm older I appreciate the skills that I've acquired. It is harder to make something beautiful when you don't have $$$ to throw away. It takes no talent to pay someone to decorate your space. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas you share with us daily!

  21. I too like your red an whites.. I think shopping your own home is a great idea.

    I just bought 9 yards of red n white buffalo check fabric this morning. I could'nt believe real buffalo check fabric for 5.00 per yard.

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