Home Design

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand

Decorating on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on style. If you’re clever, you can decorate your home with quality pieces and still stick within budget by buying second-hand.

Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or are simply looking for a change to your current space, home decorating can be an exciting yet daunting process.

When you start to consider things like how to get your dream look without blowing the budget, the idea of decorating your home can begin to be a little overwhelming.

To help guide you through the process of decorating on a budget, I’ve come up with a list of the most important items to look for when buying second-hand.

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

You will know that over the last year, I have been slowly decorating my little rental.

The intention was never to spend too much money on the project.

Firstly, I am decorating a rental house which means that the furniture may not transition into the forever home.

For me, there is no point investing in a beautiful sideboard or corner sofa that may not fit the dimensions of my dream house.

Also, I am still learning about the interior design world and how my style fits into it.

Right now, my aesthetic voice seems to be constantly evolving as I learn more about my home style.

Because of this, I am very adaptable to change with relation to the design choices in my home and am known to rearrange the house on a whim — just ask Tarq.

This experimentation excites me and I enjoy doing it, so for now it makes more sense to spend on inexpensive items which can be on-sold or donated when the time comes.

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

The best way I’ve found to do this is to buy second-hand.

I’d admit that probably 90% of everything I own is from the op shop or second-hand auctions sites.

There are many reasons why I like the notion of buying second-hand.

Most obviously, saving money is the main reason.

So, for all those who like the idea of buying second-hand in order to save money — I’ve put together my Second-Hand Buyer’s Guide for you.

This guide will give you an idea of the items I look for when buying second-hand and hopefully will help you to achieve a cohesive decorating scheme while sticking to your budget.

Buying Second-Hand: Ceramics

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

When I’m scouting second-hand shops, one of the key decor pieces I look for are ceramics.

Pottery and ceramics are very trendy at the moment and for good reason.

A collection of similar looking ceramics can make a unique and original statement in your home — clustered on a shelf or mantel, ceramics can be both decorative and functional.

Ceramics can be used for many purposes around the home, try using them to hold small succulents or pillar candles.

Buying Second-Hand: Vintage Mirrors

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

Vintage mirrors are another item which I look for when buying second-hand.

I like to hang vintage mirrors above a dresser or positioned on top of a bookcase — I find they really help to finish off a styled vignette.

Hanging a collection of vintage mirrors in the hall or bathroom could also make a beautiful focal point.

Mirrors also help to make any space appear bigger by reflecting light and opening up the room.

Buying Second-Hand: Rugs

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

Again, I have several second-hand rugs in my home — one of which is a huge 2m x 3m Persian rug that I scored for $80.

Frankly, the Persian rug was a fluke find and surely brand new could set you back thousands of dollars!

If you’re not so lucky to find a large rug, do not dismiss smaller rugs.

Many small rugs layered together in one space creates the same effect as a larger one, but for half the cost.

Another option is sheepskin rugs — even if they are discoloured or unattractive, do not pass them up.

You can dye a sheepskin rug very easily, like the one I did over at Eclectic Creative blog — see the full tutorial here.

Buying Second-Hand: Baskets

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

Baskets are my very favourite thing to search for at op shops.

You can usually purchase baskets for a couple of dollars yet displayed around the home, they can give off a very expensive and polished look.

Baskets are no longer just for laundry.

Try using them to to store paper goods in the office, blankets in the bedroom or indoor plants around the home.

Buying second-hand also means that you can achieve a very varied and interesting look with one of a kind baskets.

Buying Second-Hand: Oversized Frames

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

Oversized art in the home is an instant way to make a big statement.

A beautiful piece of artwork is typically used as the foundation of any design scheme and in my opinion the bigger the better.

Brand new, an oversized frame could set you back a couple of hundred dollars but buying second-hand it is a fraction of the cost.

When I’m buying second-hand, I keep an eye out for oversized frames first, then will buy an inexpensive piece of art to fit the frame.

Etsy has a great range of art that is very cheap yet provides a huge impact — check out my Art Wish List for inspiration and where to buy.

Decorating on a Budget: A Guide to Buying Second-Hand | Keenie / DIY

Admittedly, buying second-hand can take some time and is definitely not a hard and fast option to decorating.

You are not going to walk into a second-hand store and buy everything you need in one day — it’s just not going to happen.

But if you’re diligent, eventually those perfect pieces will turn up.

Buying second-hand doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality — if you know what to look for.

I hope this Second-Hand Buyer’s Guide has given you a few more ideas about what to look for when you are shopping second-hand.

Happy Decorating!

Keenie xx

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